Repentance is a Gospel demand for all who will enter into a right relationship with God through Christ. It is one of Christ’s Gospel commandments. If this Gospel commandment is not obeyed, then serious eternal consequences lie ahead. For without repentance, there is no life; repentance leads to life.
When John the Baptist began his preaching ministry, the first message he preached was repentance. When Jesus started His public ministry, He preached the same message - repent.
Why did these two preachers emphasise the need for repentance? Well, what is repentance? In the Bible, it means to ‘turn’ and change direction. This implies that a mistake has been made which must be remedied, and can only be remedied by a right about turn and going in the opposite direction. You have been living your life in the wrong way. Instead of living for Christ, you have lived for Satan. Instead of loving God with your whole heart, you have refused to love Him at all.
Repentance also means to ‘think again.’ We all have plenty to ‘think again’ about - those things we regret and wish we hadn’t done. Think of your sins against God for a moment. You haven’t loved Him with your whole heart, have you? You had no time for Him or for His death on the Cross for you? You did not even recognise that you are a condemned sinner before a holy and just God.
You need to ‘think again’ and then ‘turn’ right around and come to Christ. You’ll never come to Christ with your back to Him; you must turn around, and face Him, and then put your trust in Him.
Is repentance an urgent thing? Very much so. Do you know you can repent too late? Are you aware that there is a right time for repentance? What do you mean? Well, let me tell you of three men in the Bible who repented alright, but it was too late. Now that’s very scary. That frightens me. Do you mean to tell me that I cannot just repent when I choose? Exactly. The right time to repent is when God is speaking to your soul, when you feel convicted of your sin, when you realise you must come to Christ alone for salvation.
Remember Cain, Abel’s brother? He murdered Abel, and then regretted getting caught, Gen.4:13. He knew he would be punished for his sin, but that’s not repentance. He missed his opportunity. For him, the day of grace had passed.
Then you have Esau, Jacob’s brother. He deceived his father Isaac and his brother, lost the blessing, and was rejected. Did he repent? Yes, but it was too late. Was he in earnest? Yes, because “he sought it diligently with tears,” (Heb.12:17). This wretched man refused to truly repent because he sold his blessing for a mere meal, and all the tears in the world could not save him. He missed his opportunity to get right with God; he missed the day of grace, and was lost eternally.
Think of Judas who betrayed Christ. He sold Him for thirty pieces of silver, betraying innocent blood. Did he repent? Yes, he did; but he was too late. He had some feelings of guilt for what he had done, so he took the money and threw it back to the Priests. He realised he had sinned, but it was too late.
My friend, there could come a day in this life when you realise you are a lost sinner, but you will not be able to repent. When you stand before God in judgement, you’ll know for sure you are a terrible sinner, but you will not be able to repent. It will be forever too late to reverse your decision. You will be tortured by regrets and recriminations. If only... If only... If only... You can repent too late.
But today, and while it is still today, you can hear God speaking to you, speaking in your conscience, urging you to trust Christ alone for salvation. To trust in any other apart from, or in addition to, Christ, is not to trust Him at all.
Don’t risk it. Repent NOW. Turn to Christ in faith NOW and get right with God. God requires the past, your past. An account will have to be made to God. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is ready to receive you the moment you trust in His Son, the Saviour of the world.
Don’t throw away your opportunity to be saved. You can repent too late. ‘Too late, too late, will be the cry.’ Don’t risk your eternal soul; come to Christ NOW. ADMIT you are a sinner in God’s sight; CONFESS honestly to God your sin; CRY OUT to God for mercy and forgiveness; ENTRUST yourself to Christ, the only Saviour of mankind. He died to take away your sins. Ask Him to do just that. He died for sinners therefore for you. His love bore your sins away. So come to Him now. No time to lose.
Remember, you can leave it too late.