Ridiculing the doctrine of repentance and forgiveness, Robert G. Ingersoll once said: "If I rob Mr. X and God forgives me, how will that help Mr. X?" An old man in the crowd answered, "Well, even if you can't pay him back what you took from him, it would still keep you from robbing him again."
The Standard Dictionary defines repentance as "A sincere and thorough changing of the mind and disposition in regard to sin, involving a sense of personal guilt and helplessness, apprehension of God's mercy, a strong desire to escape or be saved from sin, and voluntary abandonment of it."
Charles Spurgeon told his congregation, "Men always like the religion of ceremonies, because it does not need the giving up of their favorite sins."
Rending of clothes in the Orient was a gesture of exclamation or grief. Freeman describes it as follows: "They would take a knife and holding the blade downward, give the upper garment a cut on the right side, and then rend it a hand's breadth."
This is what Joel alluded to when he demanded, "Rend your heart and not your garments" (2:13).
Vance Havner reminded us, "Real repentance is not merely turning from this particular sin and that, but turning from having our own way and letting God have His way."
A verb form for repentance is "metanoia." It means "a complete change of mind, a new direction of will, and an altered purpose in life."
Tony Evans stated that repentance means that we are to "get off on the next exit, cross over the overpass and go back down on the other side."
During the Welsh Revival of 1904 – 1905, a village doctor remarked to a friend, "Well, the revival is doing me good anyway." "Do you mean that you have more patients?" his friend inquired. "Not at all," the doctor answered; "but large amounts of money was due me, which I had written off my books as hopelessly bad debts, have been paid to me since the revival began."
"Repentance is to leave
The sins we loved before,
And show that we in earnest grieve,
By doing so no more."
Proverbs 28:13, "He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy."
Dave Arnold, Pastor
Gulf Coast Worship Center
New Port Richey, Florida