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by Frederick Drummond, Sr.
(2 Corinthians 7:1-11)
If I didn’t believe this, I wouldn’t have dedicated my life to the ministry back in the late sixties. Surely if this wasn’t the case, the Christian message would have become obsolete a long time ago. Nevertheless, it hasn’t. It is as vibrant and full of hope as it ever was in the first century. It is the most powerful force for change in the world. Those who get saved are in for the ride of their lives!
God sent His only begotten Son to save, and this speaks volumes. Getting saved opens the door to a new life in the Spirit and not only in the flesh. It gives us options we never had before. What could be more life-changing than this? Not enough can be said about the power of the conversion experience that Holy Ghost repentance and faith has brought about in Christians’ lives. Repentance speaks of a change in mind and heart, and faith, a new belief system to rest in based on our triumphant Savior at His Father’s right hand.
These two, repentance and faith, are the earmarks of real Christians, those who are willing to change and have become excited about the God life in Christ.
Everyone can change. For some it may take longer than others; nevertheless, if you are a real Christian, sooner or later you will change for good and be empowered to walk away from things that have unbelievers trapped and in bondage.
Christians have a new spirit about them, and they are the first to enthusiastically confess their need to grow and become more Christ-like. The presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit has given them a new and genuine desire for spiritual things. They don’t have to be forced to change; they want to with all of their new hearts. In fact, there is nothing they won’t do to match up their lives with who they have become in Christ. Repentance and faith mean more to them than anything in the world.
There is an error that is common today in Christian circles that needs to be addressed. It is the mistaken idea that faith is not predicated by repentance. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, real faith is dead without good works or repentance (James 2:14-26). Repentance is the change of heart and mind necessary that the Holy Spirit brings about in us so that He can release the faith of God in us to change. Perhaps you have had a hard time changing because you have forgotten this. No amount of sincere faith is powerful enough on its own to change us unless it is predicated on genuine repentance. Repentance is the change of heart and mind needed to birth faith in something new. Repentance empowers us to let go so that we can embrace change enthusiastically by faith.
Too many churches are full of people who only want to hear a positive, faith-filled message. And while I am all for their enthusiasm for the optimistic life that Christ offers, to leave out the negative side—the need to repent—leaves us wide open to all the problems unbelievers are stuck with. It ties God’s hands behind His back so that He cannot help us. I have seen too many go round and round with their problems and not change permanently, because they didn’t repent and then believe in the new way. We have all made this mistake. My prayer is that this article will open your eyes to the answer you have been looking for, and that by God’s grace you will at last change, because you recognize that repentance is your best friend and not your enemy.
Repentance is a blessing. It’s a shortcut. It’s about embracing the truth. Doing so yields instant dividends. The offer of repentance is an act of kindness—mercy—and it will set you free from everything and everyone who has ever held you back from superabundant living. When you listen to the still, small voice inside you that says, “You are wrong, and God knows best,” get excited—it’s your answer. God recognizes your problems, and this is His way of solving them. Don’t be afraid. Embrace repentance and be set free forevermore. Thank God, everyone can change.
In some circles repentance has been given a bad rap. The good news is, it’s your best friend. It’s a gift from God, and the key that unlocks the door to normal living.
Because of it, everyone can change. It may take a while, but don’t lose heart, it’s going to happen. God calls the kind of repentance that offers new life “godly repentance” or “repentance not to be repented of,” because it sticks (2 Corinthians 7:9,10). This is the key to real change from the inside out. It also happens to be God’s favorite way to describe the inner healing process.
Whenever this word is used in the Scriptures, it implies both an act and a process, a decision and a commitment, a revelation and a new lifestyle. Repentance only takes a moment to embrace, but a lifetime to work out. Don’t be turned off by this. It is a journey, a way of living, a course of action, a plan, a program, a direction, the Jesus way. In fact, when He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6), it was another way of defining repentance and challenging you to follow Him and live the God life. Repentance sets you up to take charge and live abundantly. It’s a great offer. Surely it saddens God’s heart to see how scared we get about embracing it. Don’t be fooled. It’s your way out!
As we have already seen, the simplest definition of repentance is a change of heart and mind. The call to repentance is based on the supposition that sinful practices aren’t healthy. They are abnormalities that lead to bondages and dysfunctions of every type, and regardless of what you call the alternative, in the sight of God they are sinful; and you need to break agreement with them at least for your own sake, or you won’t grow another inch. Settle this: There is no substitute for godly repentance. Bad habits can be broken no other way.
Don’t lose sight of this: God wants to help you to live a normal, blessed life. To set this up, we need to follow the same counsel He gave the Corinthian church members: (1) Stand on the promises by faith. (2) Practically cleanse yourself from all filthiness. (3) Pursue holiness reverently (2 Corinthians 7:1). He then goes on to show them how to do so: (1) Open your heart (v. 2). (2) Desire change (v. 7). (3) Release yourself to godly sorrow (vv. 8-10). These are the seedbed for change that produces a godly harvest.
Everyone Can Change Today
(God’s Eightfold Plan)
For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
2 Corinthians 7:11
1. Identify the problem area.
“… sorrowed in a godly manner …”
2. Make a commitment to newness.
“… diligence it produced in you …”
3. Deal with the issues truthfully.
“… what clearing of yourselves …”
4. Get mad with the lie that held you captive.
“… what indignation …”
5. Sober up and get real with your life.
“… what fear …”
6. Don’t quit on yourself.
“… what vehement desire …”
7. Enjoy your healing; you earned it.
“… what zeal …”
8. Normalize your lifestyle.
“… what vindication …”