2Tim. 2:24-26 – And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
Repent! That is one of those words that just doesn’t sit right in our so advanced civilization. The funny think about it, this was the message Jesus preached. Actually, the earliest quote we have of Jesus is this “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” This quote is found in Mark, the earliest gospel and is Mark’s first quote of what Jesus said. If you believe the Bible is inspired, there must be a reason the first recorded words of Jesus are about repentance. Why is repentance so important? It is our way back to peace and joy found in relationship with the Lord.
The problem with repentance is this, it is the work of God. We all see things in our lives that need to be changed, the Lord is the One who gives us the ability to change. That is what repentance is, recognizing our wrongs and changing. This is the beautiful work of the Holy Spirit. Here are some thoughts from John Calvin on repentance.
“Since the conversion of a man is in the hand of God, who knows whether they who today appear to be unteachable shall be suddenly changed by the power of God, into other men? Thus, whoever shall consider that repentance is the gift and work of God, will cherish more earnest hope, and, encouraged by this confidence, will bestow more toil and exertion for the instruction of rebels. We should view it thus, that our duty is, to be employed in sowing and watering, and, while we do this, we must look for the increase from God. Our labors and exertions are thus of no advantage in themselves; and yet, through the grace of God, they are not fruitless.”
It is because we believe in the power and grace of God that we believe humans can change. So do we sit back and do nothing? Absolutely not! We increase our efforts fired by the love of God that grants repentance that leads people from misery into life.