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Sometimes we forget that repentance is something that everybody needs to do. God commands us to repent of our sins, and we cannot be saved without obeying that command. If we are fairly "good" people, however, we may think our own sins are not serious enough that we need to repent as others do. We may reserve the word "repent" for murderers, adulterers, drunkards, and the like -- believing that we ourselves merely need to "mend our ways" a little or engage in a bit of "self-improvement." But the Bible is clear: "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead" (Ac. 17:30,31).
Most of us underestimate how many of our problems are the result of sins that we need to repent of. Sin has a way of wreaking havoc in our lives -- making us unhappy with ourselves, disrupting our relationships with others, spoiling our work, and much more. We pay a high price for our sins. And as long as we call our sins by some nicer sounding name and avoid doing what has to be done, we will continue to suffer the consequences. The pain will not go away until the cancer is cut out. If only we could see how often our problems would vanish if we would merely have the courage to call our sins exactly what they are . . . and repent of them!
When we wander away from Him, God wants, like a loving Father, to win back our hearts and receive us home again. Knowing that God is on our side and that He patiently awaits our repentance ought to make a difference in our attitudes. As Paul asked, "Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?" (Rom. 2:4). We need never doubt God's love for us or His willingness to forgive. He is eager to accept our repentance and clear us completely of our wrongdoing. But we must have the courage to admit that the command to repent applies to us. As we go through this week, let's consider this often-neglected command of God. Let's see what sins we need to repent of, and let's simply do it!
Monday: Acts 2:36-41
Key Idea: We cannot obey the gospel without repenting of our sins.
Questions for Family Growth: When we obey the gospel, what does it mean to "repent" of our sins? What should motivate a person to repent of his or her sins? What are the other steps a person must take to become a Christian?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 20:20.
Tuesday: Matthew 3:1-12
Key Idea: All of us have things we need to quit doing in order to enter God's kingdom.
Questions for Family Growth: What was the problem with the attitude of the Pharisees and Sadducees? Why do you think they didn't see their need for repentance? What did John mean when he told them to "bear fruit in keeping with repentance?"
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 20:21.
Wednesday: 2 Corinthians 7:5-12
Key Idea: Being sorrowful in a godly way is what makes us want to repent of our sins.
Questions for Family Growth: How should we feel emotionally when we come to understand that we have disobeyed God? Should painful emotions always be avoided? What are some differences between "godly sorrow" and the "sorrow of the world" (NKJV)?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 20:22.
Thursday: Luke 13:1-5
Key Idea: Just because God has not punished us yet, that does not mean that we are free of sin.
Questions for Family Growth: When a disaster happens and people are killed, does that always mean they were wicked people whom God was punishing with the disaster? Do other people need to repent any more than we do?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 20:23.
Friday: Luke 15:11-32
Key Idea: When we decide to come back to God, He will be happy to forgive us.
Questions for Family Growth: How do you think God feels, as our Father, when we quit doing something that we shouldn't have been doing? What does Lk. 15:7 say will cause "joy in heaven"? How should we feel when someone else repents?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 20:24.