Luke 13:1-5
Acts 3:19-21
2 Corinthians 7:10-11

These passages give us a good overview of what biblical repentance looks like. Answer the questions at the bottom of this page in your Field Guide.

First we have Jesus in Luke 13:1-5 addressing current events of his day. The Jewish people believed that God was punishing insurrectionists for their sin through Governor Pilate’s gruesome bloodshed and that God had arranged that 18 sinful people would be in the wrong place at the wrong time when a tower fell and killed them. But Jesus had a different take that lines up with what we studied about sin. 

God wasn’t enacting specific punishment for these people because they were worse sinners. Instead, he urged his listeners to use those events as cautionary reminders that we all sin and sin leads to death.

What can we do about it? Jesus tells us we must repent! (Change our lives.) Or we will perish. Remember if sin is not dealt with then it leads to death. Repent or perish. It might sound like doom and gloom but it’s the reality of a fallen world. 

In Acts 3:19-21, Peter teaches us that repentance doesn’t fit the doom and gloom reputation it carries today. Repentance is a gift; an opportunity to change your whole life for the good! 

We see that it involves turning from our old ways to the way of Jesus and that it is associated with blotting out sin (salvation!). Although it is often very difficult to make such radical changes, it should feel like a time of refreshment (think ice cold lemonade on a hot day). Plus, Jesus is with us when we embark upon a journey of repentance making it not only possible, but possible to enjoy.

At the end of his life, Peter would write: 

[The Lord] is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”2 Peter 3:9 

What an amazing gift from God!

2 Corinthians 7:10-11 tells us of the joy Paul had when he heard that the Corinthian church had repented because of an earlier rebuke he had sent. This passage gives us insight into what real repentance looks like. It’s more than a feeling or a desire (worldly sorrow) – it takes actions like the following that lead to change (Godly sorrow leading to salvation):

  • Earnestness – Honesty about your sin – like the notes you wrote down earlier this week. Look you’re already repenting!!
  • Eagerness to clear yourself – a true desire to no longer be guilty of these sins but to find forgiveness
  • Indignation – righteous anger about your personal sinfulness (See Matthew 5:29-30 for an “eye-opening” take on hating our sin)
  • Fear – The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7) We should have a healthy fear of how deadly sin can be to our souls
  • Longing – A deep desire to be free of sin and united with God
  • Zeal – Excitement for a changed life
  • Punishment – Being willing to accept the consequences that come with some of our sins
  • Proving Innocence – How do you know if you have truly repented?

Jesus tells us how we can know that we’ve repented in the Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 7:15-20 “You will recognize them by their fruits…A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.”

We’ll never be perfect this side of eternity, but when we repent, our lives will be filled with the fruit of a wholesale change of mindset.

Answer these questions in your Field Guide:

  • Which sins from earlier in this study will be the most challenging for you to repent from (change to the Jesus way)? Write down 3 and explain what will be difficult.

  • How do you see repentance as a gift? What are you most excited about changing?

  • Looking at the fruits of repentance in 2 Corinthians 7:10-11, in what ways does your repentance mirror the Corinthians? In what ways do you need to go after repentance in a greater way?