There are two words that are often avoided when dealing with the faith of a Christian and salvation. Those words are sin and repentance; probably two of the most important words considering that Jesus came so that our sin could be forgiven if we truly repent of our wrongful actions and words. You see many within the mainstream and seeker sensitive Christian circles today teach that you can continue to live your lifestyle as long as you believe in Jesus and live as a good person. You can still have sin within your lives and repentance is just this old term that lost its significance a long time ago. But honestly nothing could be farther from the truth.
It helps to give an honest understanding of the word sin. James 4:17 (ESV) reads that “Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin”. This is where we understand that when we know the right thing…when we read God’s Word and choose to walk in contradiction, then we are openly living in sin. You see, sin separates us from God. When Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden, they lived in close relationship with God. They literally walked with Him. However, when Adam and Eve chose to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they deliberately disobeyed God’s command to them. Thus, they committed sin. Their eyes were opened as they pridefully sought to become like God. Because of their sin, God removed them from the Garden and sin separated man from God. Psalm 5:4 reads, “For you are not a God who delights in wickedness, evil may not dwell with you”. Sin cannot be in the presence of God, which is why God had to send His Son, Jesus, to fix the broken link between man and God. When Jesus came, He reconciled us to the Father by becoming the ultimate sacrifice and atonement for the sin of those who would chose to follow Christ; that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Scripture teaches that all have sinned and have fallen short (Romans 3:23). None of us are perfect. Because of our imperfection and our shortcomings, we have two choices. We can either conceal or confess our sin (Proverbs 28:13) and those who chose to confess their sins will find mercy. 1 John 1:8-10 reads, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”
You see sin is dangerous, in fact Scripture teaches us that the wages of sin is death. The resulting payment for your sin is not death in the thinking of passing on, its eternal death in which one is separated from God. This is why we need a Savior. Jesus Christ came to pay our ransom. We earned the death penalty for our sin, but Jesus paid the penalty for our sins so that we could be reconciled to God and receive eternal life.
So, what must we do? Romans 10:9 reminds us that we should “Confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, and we will be saved”. However, where many people get confused is that when they confess Jesus as Lord, their actions and words must align with this truth. You cannot confess Jesus as Lord and live a lifestyle contrary to His Word…otherwise you are making yourself Lord of your own life. There’s no life change, no remorse for your actions, and even a justification for your error. Essentially, you’re declaring your will over His Word. Acts 3:19 reads, “Repent, then and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” The term repent literally means to make a 180 degree turn, so it is a complete turn around from that lifestyle that separates us from God. It is a completely different direction from a conflicting path that leads us away from God and leads us into a path that runs toward Him instead. When we repent, we are declaring to God that He truly is Lord of our life and that we want His Word and His Will for our lives.
During Jesus’ ministry, He would communicate to people the necessity to repent. Matthew 4:17 reads, “From then on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”. Jesus knew the importance of repentance and He knew that sin truly separated us from God. In fact, He came to reconnect the broken link that sin damaged between God and man. His death and resurrection paid our ransom and provided the opportunity to be reconciled to the Father.
Finally consider what Romans 6:6-7 says, “For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin, because anyone who has died has been freed from sin”. We are no longer slaves to sin thankfully because Jesus paid the ultimate price. All you have to do is repent of your sins and to make Jesus Lord of your life and you shall be saved!