We are all sinners, but Christians are repentant sinners. In his first thesis Martin Luther said, “the entire life of believers should be repentance.” So, are you still repenting?
In his book Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, J. I. Packer wrote, “It needs to be said that faith is not a mere optimistic feeling, any more than repentance is a mere regretful or remorseful feeling. Faith and repentance are both acts, and acts of the whole man. Faith is more than just credence; faith is essentially the casting and resting of oneself and one’s confidence on the promises of mercy, which Christ has given to sinners, and on the Christ who gave those promises. Equally, repentance is more than just sorrow for the past; repentance is a change of mind and heart, a new life of denying self and serving the Savior as king in self’s place. Mere credence without trusting, and mere remorse without turning, do not save” (79).
That last part of Packer’s quote is essential. Repentance is “a new life of denying self and serving the Savior as king in self’s place.”A true Christian doesn’t merely repent of their sins to become a Christian but lives a lifestyle of repentance. A lifestyle of repentance is an ongoing process of recognizing sin, confessing sin, repenting of sin, and seeking reconciliation, restoration, and forgiveness with all the parties that may have been affected by our sin. This is not easy, and it is often messy, but it’s worth it…
The non-Christian must repent or perish, but the Christian repents in order to walk in obedience to the Lord, to weaken our need to do anything contrary to God’s heart, and to repeatedly tap into the joy of the Lord. The Christian repents because he loves Jesus and loves people… But, the more we repent the more joy we have in Christ, and as our joy in Christ grows so does our motivation for obedience. So, walking in obedience to the Lord means living a life that is marked by self-denial—killing sin and pursuing holiness; and living this way—in a lifestyle of repentance—leads to ever increasing joy in Christ. So repent and believe in the gospel over and over again, because Jesus is better.
I am nothing; Christ is all!