Bulletin Banner

Return to March/April 2015 articles.

Cynthia Article title


As I write this at the coldest time of year, looking out my back window at the St. Joseph River which is frozen and covered with snow, I look forward to spring when the cycle of renewal and regeneration begins again. We can count on this — the seasons follow one after another.

Just as the earth is renewed, God gives each human the opportunity to be renewed — to begin again. No, not to change the past, but to be forgiven of it and have it blotted out of God's memory (Isaiah 43:25). God remembers our sins no more (Jeremiah 31:34b). That is an incredible gift and blessing God gives to those who repent and turn to him in humility and obedience!

What is repentance that is acceptable to God? Remember that God knows our minds and hearts (Psalm 139:1 – 4). We cannot fool God. What exactly is repentance and what does it do? Is worldly sorrow the same as repentance? Second Corinthians 7:8 – 11 discusses the differences between worldly and Godly sorrow. We also have two classic, biblical examples of worldly and Godly sorrow in Judas and Peter, two of Jesus' twelve chosen disciples. Judas betrayed Jesus for money, was sorry he did it, and attempted to return the money. But, his worldly sorrow led to his death — he hanged himself (Matthew 27:1 – 5). Peter, on the other hand, denied Jesus three times and “wept bitterly” about it (Luke 22:54 – 62). But, his Godly sorrow led to repentance and forgiveness. He rejoined his fellow disciples (John 20), and then Jesus himself “reinstated” him (John 21:15 – 19).

Real repentance is not just talk or a verbal admission of wrongdoing. It is demonstrated in a changed life that conforms to God's word in how we live and how we treat others every day (1 John 2:3 – 6). Peter's repentance was demonstrated by how he lived the rest of his life. The Christian life, just like the seasons, is a continual journey of repentance and renewal (1 John 1:7 – 9) as we strive to “walk as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6).

— Cynthia Clayton

Picture credits:
©Patty Gibson