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RepentWhen I was living in Romania and learning the language, one of the first words I encountered was pocăit. Roughly translated, it means “repenter.” It was a derogatory label given to evangelical believers last century. There were cultural “Christians,” and then there were pocăiții - “repenters” who believed an ongoing life of repentance was essential to the Christian life.

As a Baptist, I was one of the repenters. What separated our church from cultural Christianity we came into contact with was our insistence on repentance in response to God’s unmerited favor. In light of God’s grace, we called people to repent of their sins, their self-justification, and devote themselves wholly to Christ.

Ten years later, the necessity of repentance has become a watershed issue in the fading days of Christendom in the West. Contrary to popular belief, the evangelical church is not dying. Declining, perhaps. But wherever grace-driven repentance is preached and an out-of-the-mainstream lifestyle expected, people are still coming to faith.

I pray that in the West, we will be like our Romanian brothers and sisters: dissatisfied with the idea of being Christian in name only, and passionate about living as “repenters” who have tasted the goodness and grace of God and can never be the same again.

Below are ten characteristics of repentance I hope we can all say with honesty.

~~~~~ Christians, We Are Repenters ~~~~~

We are repenters.

We repent of living for ourselves, and so we commit to trading our personal kingdom agendas for the kingdom agenda of Jesus Christ.

We are repenters.

We repent of making God out to be more like us, and so we ask God to change our hearts and make us more like Him.

We are repenters.

We repent of our silly attempts to justify ourselves before God and make ourselves pleasing to Him through our own efforts, and so we ask Him to save and sustain us in His unwavering grace and help us rest in Christ’s work on our behalf.

We are repenters.

We repent of our hypocrisy and self-righteousness, and so we ask God to deliver us from doublemindedness and help us seek His righteousness above all.

We are repenters.

We repent of valuing most what other people think, and so we ask God to help us value most what He thinks.

We are repenters.

We repent of withholding areas of our life from God’s command, and so we ask God to invade and overcome every part of us – our hopes, our desires, our dreams, our thoughts, our actions – and show us how to love Him and love others from a whole heart.

We are repenters.

We repent of seeking a life of ease and comfort, and so we ask God for the courage to pick up our crosses and follow Christ no matter the cost.

We are repenters.

We repent of all the good things we have failed to do, and so we ask God to open our eyes to the opportunities for us to shine His light in a dark world.

We are repenters.

We repent of serving ourselves and our own interests, and so we ask God to empower us to serve others in the name of His Son.

We are repenters.

We repent of taking pride in our own repentance, and so we ask God to remind us that salvation is all of grace and to humble us before the cross.

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14 thoughts on “Christians, We Are Repenters”

  1. a. says:

    “so we ask God to remind us that salvation is all of grace”

    do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace..

  2. Josh Cushing says:

    I always found it interesting that the first thesis of the 95 theses is “When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said ‘Repent’, He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”

  3. Gralefrit says:

    Good article Trevin. Like Josh I too find that a very interesting point about Luther. I also suspect it influenced Rowan Williams when he suggested we add “Repentant” to the creedal statement “One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.”

  4. Tony J says:

    This life of repentance thing is refreshing to me. I wish I could say I have all of these down pat – I desire them all – but often it is too easy for me to “seek a life of ease and comfort” (hopefully not at the expense of the gospel), “serve my own interests” (again, hopefully not at the expense of God’s), and “withhold areas of my life from God’s command”, and then I fear I “haven’t repented enough” or “aren’t radical enough”. Then I see the “repentance of self-righteousness” and Jesus sets me back on the right path. The repentance is continual, and I just gotta trekkin’ onward with the sanctification process :)

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  6. keijo leppioja says:

    So nice to be loved of God even today by grace no by our own goodness but only of grace ,amen and amen with thanksgiving for Christ in his bloods victory with the Holy Spirit with us,thanks and bless and pray,keijo sweden

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Trevin Wax

​Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher at LifeWay Christian Resources and managing editor of The Gospel Project. You can follow him on Twitter or receive blog posts via email. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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