One of the most challenging concepts in Christianity is the idea of repentance. What does it mean, and why is it so important to the Christian life?
Repentance is one of the most important aspects of the Christian life. In fact, it is so important that Martin Luther began his 95 theses, the document that ultimately began the protestant reformation, with the declaration that “our Lord and Master Jesus Christ . . . willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”
So what is repentance? Repentance is a response to God’s gracious call to salvation. It is one aspect of the human side of our conversion, which goes along with faith.
This response includes a genuine sorrow for one’s sin (Luke 5:1-11), a turning away from one’s sin toward Christ (Acts 26:15-20), and a life that reflects lasting change and transformation (Ps. 119:57-60).
The ultimate result of a life of repentance, is that we gradually become more like Jesus because of the Holy Spirit’s continual work in us. We become new people with new desires and new loves. We become transformed people, no longer set on loving darkness, but now loving the light. Finally, we become hopeful people, who live trusting in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection for our salvation, and in the Spirit’s work to finish the work He began.