The Gift of Repentance

Whether you’re a new Christian or have been a believer for quite a while, you can certainly agree with and attest to the truth of a verse which is absolutely pivotal in one’s salvation. Ephesians 2:8 says in fact, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” You could shout from the mountaintops your witness about the endless grace of Jesus Christ!
But there is another equally-important act of grace that begins with- no; actually predates- our personal, individual moment of receiving eternal life. And, it is necessary that it happens first. Further, it is also free.
2 Timothy 2:25 states this wonderful fact saying, “God may perhaps grant (you) repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.” Embedded in this verse is the truth that it is God- and Him alone- who must give us the ability to prequalify, if you will, for our salvation BY granting us depraved sinners even the ability and desire to come to Him in a broken and contrite state of mind and heart.
So, not only is salvation a free gift but so is its precursor- repentance. Even Arminians and Calvinists can agree on this, I believe. The great hair-splitter is that the Calvinists believe that God, the great gift-giver, does everything (and we do nothing) and that salvation and repentance are fully by grace because man is wholly depraved. This is true that we are totally guilty before a just and holy God. However, Arminians counter with the fact that even a gift- while unearned- must be received, no matter how small an action on the part of the one to whom the gift is imparted. Jesus’ essential act of forgiveness on the cross, as hugely powerful as it is, does not in itself change the human heart unless embraced by the sinner.
The Son of God has died in your place as a free gift; a gift no one else could give. He is also willing to grant you repentance; another free gift that no one else can give. Is your heart satisfied, hard as it is? Or will you accept it and live? As the Bible warns in Hebrews 4:7, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart(s).” It is the eternal difference between Heaven and Hell.

Advertisements