What Repentance Is & Isn't

In light of the sermon last Sunday on sin, confession, and repentance yesterday, we wanted to make sure everyone was clear on what repentance is. We figured a good place to start was by discussing what repentance is not. So here's some things repentance isn't:

  1. Repentance is not getting caught. It is coming clean. What does your spouse not know about you?
  2. Repentance is not denying our sin. What sin is in your life and marriage that you simply have not accepted as sin that has to be dealt with honestly?
  3. Repentance is not diminishing our sin. What have you partially confessed without telling the whole truth? What have you downplayed as a minor sin that if not put to death will only grow to damage your marriage greatly?
  4. Repentance is not managing our sin. What sin are you trying to keep under control or not letting your spouse or other people you respect see?
  5. Repentance is not blame-shifting our sin. What ways have you blamed others for your sin rather than accepting responsibility for it? Who or what do you, like Adam and Eve in the garden, blame? Do you blame God? Your spouse? Your parents? The culture? Your personality? Stress?
  6. Repentance is not excusing our sin. What excuses do you most commonly use to justify and excuse your sin?
  7. Repentance is not about someone else’s sin. When conversing with your spouse, which sins of theirs are you most apt to bring up, rather than speaking about your own sins?
  8. Repentance is not about manipulating God or people for blessing. In the past, how have your faked true repentance in an effort not to put your sin to death out of true sorrow, but rather in an effort to manipulate God or people to bless you for being a good person?
  9. Repentance is not worldly sorrow. Non-Christians can and do feel bad about their sin but do not see it as an offense against God and do not hate it out of love for Him and others. Have you simply shed a few tears, looked sad, said you were sorry, but not really repented?
  10. Repentance is not solely grieving the consequences of your sin but it is hating the evil of the sin itself. How have you lamented the consequences of your sin and what it has cost you but not truly come to hate it, fight it, war against it, and put it to death?
  11. Repentance is not mere confession. How many times have you said you were sorry with no real, deep, heartfelt commitment to change, and what confusion has this caused your spouse?

What repentance is, luckily, is much simpler than what it isn't. At the same time, it's much harder to do and can only be driven by the gospel. True repentance is a combination of three things:

  1. Repentance includes confession.  In confession, you agree with God that you have sinned. Confession includes both your mind and mouth.
  2. Repentance includes conviction. In conviction, you feel what God feels about your sin. Conviction includes both your emotions and expressions. Your heart is affected, not just your words.
  3. Repentance includes change. In change, you stop worshipping sin and start worshipping Jesus. Change includes your will and works.