How Do I Repent?

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Category: Questions & Answers

This comes from Brandon. He says, “I need help. Only last night, I’ve learned what true Christianity is, which is living by faith, or seeking and living for God in everything and not living in habitual sin. I, too, was told that the sinner’s prayer is your way to heaven, but I was really wrong. Right now, I live in habitual sin, and I need to know how to repent. I want to know how to let go of myself. I can tell you that I honestly believe in God and in His Son, and I do hate sin. But it’s overpowering, and I need Christ in my life. How can I be saved? How do I get to the point where I completely let go?”

I want to bring this one up, because I don’t doubt that there are some of you here that are wondering exactly this: how to I repent? You know what’s amazing? Is that when Jesus Christ came, He didn’t explain it. He said, “Repent.” Repent! For the kingdom of God is at hand. Repentance. Let me tell you something. In Luke 13:1-5 Christ says this, “Unless you repent, you will likewise perish.” Can I tell you something? Everyone in this room, that applies to. If you do not repent, you will perish. Here’s the thing. Repentance is something you must do. You know, when John the Baptist came on, and he said, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” He said bring forth fruit, bring forth works that are in accordance with repentance. That are suitable to repentance, that are meet for repentance. And they came to him and they said, ok, we’re soldiers, what do we do? We’re tax collectors, what do we do? We’re the common people, what do we do? And he didn’t say, “Do nothing. There’s nothing you can do.” You know what he said? He said basically turn away from sin. Leave it. Walk away from it. So, let’s come back to this. Brandon says, “I need help.” He’s wondering ok, I need to know what I need to do to truly repent.

Well, what I would say, Brandon, is: Repent. You see we’ve missed what that is. Well, what is repentance? Well, the Bible says there’s a godly sorrow that leads to repentance. Are you guys sorrowful for your sin? If you’re not sorrowing over your sin, you’re pretty wicked; you’re pretty wretched. You’ve got a pretty depraved heart if you can’t be sorry over your sin. Look, if you’re not sorry over your sin, there’s no reason to even talk about repentance. If you’re not sorry over your sin, you love your sin, ok, go on with your life and love your sin. And yes, there will be hell to pay at the end. The pleasures of sin are there for a season. Go out and drink them up. If that’s what you want, and that’s what your heart is set on, go do that. But you know what? As a preacher of the Gospel, what I’m called to do on behalf of Jesus Christ command you to repent. What does that look like? How do I get prepared for it? No, you don’t get prepared for it. You repent. What does that mean? It’s a turning from sin. That’s what it is. It is a turning. You say, “I can’t do it.” Well, the Bible never says you can’t do it. The Bible says do it. And it doesn’t give this precise definition. You know why? You know what that means? Look, let me explain this to you. This has everything to do with trusting Christ. Think about the different times when Christ told people to do things that in and of themselves it was impossible to do. Does He not do that? Does He not repeatedly tell men and women to do things they couldn’t do? For instance, “Rise up and walk.” To a palsied man. What did he do? He rose up and walked? You say that’s impossible! Well, certainly it’s impossible! It’s just as impossible for your heart that loves sin to repent of it and turn away from it. But what I’m telling you is do it! You see what that guy did? He heard Christ say it to him? And he said, ok, I believe. I believe that Jesus Christ is going to do something to me by which I’m going to be able to do this. And that’s what I’m calling you to do as well. He says repent. And I’m telling you to trust Him, that He’ll do something to you that’s going to make it possible for you to do it. What’s repentance? It’s turning away from sin. That’s exactly what it is. If you don’t repent, you’re going to perish. Well, what’s that look like?

Well, whatever sin you’ve got in your life. Look at your life right now. Do you have sin there? Turn from it. If it’s like this sexual lust and temptation we’ve been talking about, turn from it. Go away and sin no more. Isn’t that what Christ said? You say, but I can’t. I’ve tried. Well, you’ve tried in your own strength. You’ve got to do it in the strength of Christ. What does that look like? It looks like this: It looks like, “Oh Lord, I feel temptation coming on. Lord, I don’t think I can stand up against this. Lord, if You don’t help me, I’m going to fall. I’m going to fall.” It’s kind of like Peter standing in the boat. Do you think Peter had the ability to walk on water? Do you think Peter had the ability to cause that surface tension on the water to be so tight that it would bear his weight? He couldn’t do such a miracle. He had no control over water in that fashion. Nature was beyond his control. Again, it’s this, Come. That’s what Christ says to you. Do you think Christ is bidding you to come to a life of conquering sin? Yes, that’s exactly what He’s doing. That’s exactly what He’s calling you to do. He’s calling you to come to Him. Peter could no more walk on the water than you can. Was he able to get there? Yes, but as soon as he took his eyes off Christ, what did he do? He started going down. Folks, this is really not complex. The reason people get so hung up with it, is this: They’re looking to trust themselves and to produce some kind of repentance that they can then come take to God and say, “see what I’ve done,” “Now, save me.” That’s not what it is. What it is is doing what Christ beckons you to do in His strength. You say, how do I get strength from Him? Well, it’s trust. It’s trust. It’s like the person that’s going to jump off the second floor when there’s a fire up there and there’s a fireman down there, a great big guy, and he says, “Jump, and I’m going to catch you.” It’s that kind of thing. He’s saying jump! And you’re saying, “I can’t tell you’re going to hold me.” But you step out there, and He holds you. Same kind of thing. I guarantee you, Look, Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners. You put your trust in Him, He’s not going to let you fall. Some of the most incredible desires and passions to afflict us come with what we’ve already talked about, these sexual passions. I’ll tell you what, you get out there where His name’s on the line, “Lord, I’m sinking. I’m sinking!” “If you don’t give me a way out of this, I’m going down! I’m going to fall into this.”

Whatever it is in your life. If you’re addicted to pornography. If you’re addicted to money. If you’re addicted to lust in the mind. If you’re addicted to food. If you’re addicted to some drugs. If you’re addicted to alcohol. You’ve got some addiction for pride and for applause and for recognition, whatever it is, you’ve got homosexual tendencies, folks, I’m telling you, whatever it is, repentance is to turn away from it. You say, but how do I do it? You turn away. You say, but I can’t. You certainly can. In the strength of Christ, you can. And do you guys ever read about how it was in the Scriptures? It was like here comes Pharoah, and Moses is saying, “Lord, what do we do? We’re in trouble.” “The people are crying out.” And God says, what are you standing there for? It’s kind of like the priests at Jordan. You know what? He didn’t just stop the water. He said, you know what, the priests have got to go down and put their feet in. Ok, you’ve got a Roman soldier who’s in the grip of sin. He comes to John the Baptist and says what do I do? He didn’t say do nothing, just sit there and wait on God. God’s sovereign. God is sovereign, and I don’t take away from that. But he didn’t say you just sit there and do nothing because God’s sovereign. What did he do? He said you guys need to stop extorting. Ok, don’t chase after money anymore. Don’t use your superior strength and your weaponry to extort people and get things from them, get their service from them, get their money from them, don’t extort things away from people. Tax collectors – they came to him. And same kind of thing. Be honest. Look, if you’re here today and you’ve got sin in your life, you’ve wronged people, you’re bitter at people, you’ve got jealousy, you’ve got envy in your life. You’ve got these different kind of things that you’ve been controlled by. You hate people. You hate somebody. You’re in bondage to something. Stop. Repent. Turn from it. Not so that you can go to God and say, “See Lord, see what I did.” “Now will You save me?” That’s not it. It’s “Lord, I can’t do this unless You do this for me.” But you see how that’s trusting Christ. That’s turning away from your own reliance on yourself. Must you do something? Yes. But not relying on yourself. You rely on Christ. Repent. Turn. Walk away. And bottom line, people come along and they say, “Well, I would repent if I could.” What are you saying? Are you saying you can’t? What you’re telling me is you won’t. That’s what you’re saying. Because I’ll tell you this, every single person who has turned from their sin trusting that Christ will give them deliverance from it, has been delivered. A lot of people in this room have been. You say you can’t repent. Well, that’s interesting. God commands you to do it. God desires you to do it. I’ve done it. Many sitting around you have done it. So what in the world are you saying? You can’t do it. What you’re saying is you won’t do it. Or what you’re saying is what you’ve tried to do, is you’ve tried to clean up your life and make it pretty so that God’s arm was twisted to have to save you. But that’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about where you basically come to the end of yourself and you say, just like the palsied man, that man had nothing in him to allow him to rise up out of that. And yet, did he try to stand? He did. And what Christ is saying to you is this, no, you don’t have power over your sin to conquer this thing; you don’t have power to clean up your life, you don’t have power to beat this thing. But He tells you: Walk. Just like He told that man. In a physical sense, “Rise up and walk.” He’s telling you in a spiritual sense: Walk. And you can no more do it than that man could. But that man could do it. Not in his own strength. Can you imagine the first time? Walk. The man’s palsied, he’s crippled. And yet suddenly, he tried to move the leg, and it moved! And he set it on the ground, and it lifted him! Why? Because Christ gave him the strength. You see, when there’s a trust and a reliance on Him, He will give you the strength to do what you need to do. This really comes back to the whole masturbation thing too. If you will say, “Lord, I’m trusting You.” “Your name’s at stake here, Lord.” “You tell me to follow You, and I don’t believe You were a masturbater. And so I’m going to seek to walk the line of purity.” Just like Peter coming out of the boat. Keep your eyes on Him. Because I’ll tell you what, if they get off, you’re going to start sinking. You’ve got to keep them there. They’ve got to be on Christ. He’s got to be your trust; He’s got to be that source from which you draw. And you’ve got to be pleading with Him, you’ve got to be crying to Him, “Lord, You know this sin in my life, You know I’m going down, I’ve never been able to conquer this. Lord, if You don’t help me…” You start telling people, I’m trusting the Lord to give me victory. Put Christ out there. “Lord, I’m putting Your name on the line. I’m telling people about You. I’m trusting You.” That’s what repentance is. Repent.