Day 3

Repentance (1 of 3): Turning from Sin

from the Lent 2016 reading plan


Joel 2:12, Psalm 51:1-19, Acts 3:19-20, 2 Peter 3:8-9

Mrs. Enzor was my 4th grade Sunday School teacher. Even now, the room she taught in is easy for me to navigate with my memory as my guide. She was the pastor’s wife. He had already baptized me and then she taught me one of those lessons I still rely on.

I can’t remember the passage, but the subject was repentance. She stood us up and had us march. And then we had to make an “about face” and turn and go in the opposite direction.

“That is repentance,” she said. It was a turning from the sinful direction we were heading and walking toward Jesus.

The memory still moves me. But what made it stick was Marty McFly.

All of us wanted a skateboard after seeing the first Back to the Future movie. And my friends and I all got one. Mine was a thing of beauty and I took it everywhere.

Out in the church parking lot, I learned my first move— a 180.

A 180 is when you are riding in one direction and then you put your weight on the back of the board and spin the board around and skate in the opposite direction. It’s the first move you have to learn. Everything else builds on that move. I can remember connecting those 180s to that indelible lesson on repentance.

When the prophet Joel preaches to the people of God, they are suffering from a plague of locusts. Their crops are being destroyed. Their misery runs deep. They are desperate for help. And where does Joel think they need to start? Repentance. He calls them to do a 180 and return to Yahweh. You get the idea that the loss of crops isn’t their biggest problem.

In Mark 1, Jesus begins His ministry by announcing that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. His audience is a people waiting on a King. They were living under the thumb of Rome, waiting to be set free. And what does Jesus call His hearers to do? “Repent and believe the gospel.” He says they need to start with a 180. They need to turn around. Essentially, Jesus says the same thing as Joel: “Return to me, the LORD.” Rome is not their biggest problem.

Both groups were given a call to repent in the midst of difficult circumstances. Why? The very least we can say is God wanted them to see that their sins against Him were a bigger problem than their circumstances.

Historically, Lent is the season when Christians look forward to the cross and celebrate that Christ gave His life to address our biggest problem— sin. During this season it is helpful to start with repentance and to build on it, regardless of our circumstances.

Right now, your life may be filled with real disappointment and hardship. Maybe loneliness marks your days. Maybe your marriage is not what you thought it would be. Maybe you are facing real dangers. Maybe even death is on the horizon. The call to repent of our regular turning away from God can be the beginning of seeing that our greatest problem has already been dealt a final blow. And in this we find immeasurable, eternal comfort.

Written By Matthew B. Redmond 

Post Comments (60)

60 thoughts on "Repentance (1 of 3): Turning from Sin"

  1. Sheriffe Oliver says:

    God is teaching me that despite the temporal, but seemingly huge and nasty issues life brings, sin is the eternal and biggest battle I will ever face.

    The good news is that He has already has defeated sin!

  2. Sheriffe Oliver says:

    Man is easily distracted by seemingly pressing hardships. However, those issues pale in comparison to the ultimate hardship sin brings

  3. Sheriffe Oliver says:

    The good news is God has already defeated man’s biggest obstacle, sin. Man must do a 180 from sin, and believe that the power of the gospel saves us from sin

  4. Sheriffe Oliver says:

    Flee from sin and the temptation of sin

  5. Sheriffe Oliver says:

    Ask God to let me view sin as He views sin. Let me love what God loves and hate what God hates

  6. Donnie Gebhard says:

    “While we were yet sinners Christ died”

  7. Donnie Gebhard says:

    Repentance. Asking Him to illuminate the dark areas of my life and in response repent.

  8. Donnie Gebhard says:

    His greatest need is repentance and return to a relationship

  9. Donnie Gebhard says:

    It reminds me of His love, in the great lengths that He would go to redeem me.

  10. AJ Casillas says:

    We as humans, especially men, don’t want to acknowledge how weak and broken we really are. We don’t want to reach out for help. And when things go wrong, we quickly try and do damage control and fix the situation, rather than taking a step back and realizing how far from the Lord we are…and that’s the source of all our problems. The further we stray, the harder life gets. And we know how beautiful life can be when we are in a close relationship with our Heavenly Father…but we still haven’t grasped that concept fully yet. We know what we should be doing. We know we should be turning to the Lord, constantly repenting for our sins. But we can’t seem to do that yet.

  11. AJ Casillas says:

    The Lord’s needs and wants from us are so simple. He just wants us to give Him our heart. But He doesn’t want us to hand him a blemished heart with no remorse. He wants us to ask Him for forgiveness. He wants us to come running back to Him. He knows we are facing hardships in our lives, and He’s going to fix those things, but not until we ask Him to fix our broken lives first.

  12. AJ Casillas says:

    The Lord doesn’t will bad things to happen in our lives. The Lord’s will isn’t for us to suffer. But He does ALLOW these times of suffering to happen so we can see God’s will for our lives. He sent his only Son to suffer and die for our sins. His will is to save us from the enemy. But the only way we can experience this loving action is if we do that 180 turn for all that keeps us from receiving love and run back to His forgiving arms.

  13. AJ Casillas says:

    Consistent daily prayer. Time with the Lord in adoration. Take a look at the bigger picture and see what the problem really is.

  14. Gabe A says:

    God will not give up on us. He will call us to repent even after the millionth time we turn away from him. He is patient with us and will do whatever it takes to have us back.

  15. Gabe A says:

    I will identify the things in my life that cause me to live sinfully and turn as far away from them as possible.

  16. Gabe A says:

    God is so graceful that he would make the ultimate sacrifice for us. He has defeated sin for us so that all we have to do is an about face and start walking. We don’t have to live with shame or guilt; we just simply have to walk in the path Christ lays out for us.

  17. Gabe A says:

    It is our job to turn and put our backs to sin or else we will be lead by it. The way we’re facing is the way we’ll go. The thing that has our attention will guide us. We cannot walk towards God if we’re not giving him our full attention.

  18. Gabe A says:

    God give me discernment to see the harmful things in my life. Show me the error of my ways so that I can correct my path and turn towards you. Give me the strength and endurance to not give in to temptation. Give me the hunger for you so that I may run after your goodness.

  19. Daniel Scotti says:

    He wants our steadfast loyalty. The one way he created us to remain loyal is by repenting. God wants a firm and solid spot in our feelings, thoughts and heart. Unless he is there and we have given him that control we will see a repeating pattern of sin continue.

  20. Steele Fredricksen says:

    Man is a funny thing. We all are so focused on what we see. That’s the problem: what’s in front of us is what we see, and we don’t see God. We CAN see God, in a non-literal way, but we believe the problems right in front of us is the issue, but the real issue is us not looking to God.

  21. Steele Fredricksen says:

    This teaches me that God is not here to shame me or condemn me for my sin, rather show me that I need Him, and I cannot do it without Him.

  22. Steele Fredricksen says:

    The Gospel is there to believe, and needs to be believed by us. The Gospel is not there to be looked at from afar and (maybe) admired, but to be embraced and shared. Gospel = good news = purpose of life. We have no need to ignore this and live our lives broken for ourselves.

  23. Steele Fredricksen says:

    I will respond confessing sins to God, sharing how I’ve gone astray, not trusting or even acknowledging His existence. I will cry out to Him because I need Him, and I am nothing by myself.

  24. Steele Fredricksen says:

    Dear Lord, I pray you will work in my heart and direct me to you. Wipe away the guilt and shame of my sins. Help me be wholesome in you. Take away all my pride and independence. I NEED you, Lord. Help me truly understand that and live my life according to that.

  25. Drew Mader says:

    That is the story of the Gospel; repent and God will forgive you and then fellowship with you! Amen!

  26. Drew Mader says:

    Holiness counts; for a Holy God to fellowship with us we need to be forgiven and cleansed A we need that new heart in us that David sings of. And God has provided it all. We just need to turn and run toward God and believe.

  27. Drew Mader says:

    Heavenly Father, forgive my sins, sins I commit and sins where I didn’t do something I should have and knew it. Give me a new heart, one that longs for you and puts you first in everything and in every way.

  28. Drew Mader says:

    We are sinful people who need forgiveness and cleaning! The good news is the Good News has provided that through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for us. The forgiveness and cleansing is freely available to all who repent.

  29. Drew Mader says:

    Keep me close to you, give me a repentant heart and nature at all times. Give me a humble spirit that I may be always listening for your guidance and will.

  30. Daniel says:

    I’ve been heavily focused on everything that is happening; how I’m feeling, but not what needs to change in me; God had been revealing sin and selfishness, with it all pointing to the truth that I have long given my focus to changing my circumstances without truly changing myself. Guess what needs to change.

  31. Daniel says:

    God calls us to repentace; which ensures he is loving and grace filled enough to accept us; God’s call to reprentance is not a mechanism of guilt and judgement; it is the offering of love and grace.

  32. Daniel says:

    Grace and repentance are available to ALL.

  33. Daniel says:

    Man is often distracted by his circumstances, which can lead us to look away from our sin, or fail to understand that our circumstances are a result of sin. We must focus on repenting of our sin, which will enable God to alter our circumstances.

  34. Daniel says:

    Lord, thank you for conviction and the offering of repentance. I pray that I am still, know you are God, and wait upon you. Help me to change my heart, and allow you to use that transformation to change my circumstances.

  35. Patrick Shen says:

    We need repentance. We are week. We need to take the time to stop and to repent. Without the Holy Spirit guiding the process, we cannot fully experience what God has for us in the process of repentance.

  36. Patrick Shen says:

    God never skips a step in the process of reconciliation. Repentance is an important step. God is gracious in his forgiveness, but to walk in full freedom he calls us brings us back to our places of brokenness if they are not dealt with.

  37. Patrick Shen says:

    I will look at my sins, turn and really repent from them in spiritual action and deed. Specifically I will repent of 1.fear 2.laziness 3.course/slanderous talk 4.unrighteous anger 5.spitefulness 6.lust

    I repent and will turn my heart back to the lord by; 1.Trusting/seeking in the spirit not in my feelings. 2.thoughtfully making every action concerning work, not avoidance. 3.i will be seeking to edify with my words. 4.i will guard my heart by remembering Gods patience with me whenever I loose my patience 5.I will always seek to bless my aggressors with my prayers before I resolve to carry spite in my heart. 6. I will guard my heart by avoiding the temptation to put myself in situations that I know to be risky. (Don’t click on that link, don’t watch that show)

  38. Patrick Shen says:

    Jesus paid the ultimate cost for MY sin. His death and sacrifice was a very real physical/spiritual act towards reconciliation to God. Repentance is part of the gospel of in the same way. It is the physical/spiritual act required on my part. When you put them together, it creates the full picture of the Gospel.

  39. Patrick Shen says:

    God you know my sins. They are ever before you. I confess them all and I repent, turning away from them in thought and action. Instruct me through your Holy Spirit so that I may not skip any step in this process. Reconcile me to you heart so that I may see your goodness in its fullness. Move me to places of freedom so that I can point others to Christ.

  40. Jeremy Davis says:

    Jesus has already won the victory for us, as he triumphs over son and death. We can take part in that victory by turning away from our sin and running the other direction. God chose us for his team, but we get to pick our side. It’s a daily choice.

  41. Jeremy Davis says:

    God wants complete and total surrender. Our sins against God are a much bigger problem than our circumstances, no matter how bad they may be. God asks for repentance in the middle of hard situations to remind us that it’s what he really wants from us, to return to him.

  42. Jeremy Davis says:

    We are very short-sighted and have a hard time seeing outside of the problems that we have through our circumstances. God wants us to focus on a right relationship with Him before all else. Joel tells us to repent and “rend our hearts, not our garments”. God wants the inward signs of repentance and not just going through motions.

  43. Jeremy Davis says:

    I pick Jesus today. God help me return to you and leave sin altogether. I don’t want any part of the life that it leaves me with, but most importantly, I don’t want any part of the separation from you that it causes. God I need to be wrapped in your arms.

  44. Jeremy Davis says:

    God, I turn to you today. Leaving everything behind me and embracing you is the most important thing I can ever do. And I need to do this everyday. Help me to constantly lay my pride at your feet! Break my proud heart and replace it with one of love and compassion. Make me merciful as you have shown me mercy. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, and fill every void because only you can!

  45. Jeremy Nelson says:

    The key that opens the door to the good news is repentance. Without this there is no salvation. This is the key because the main reason that people who actually comprehend the gospel and reject it is because they do not want to give up living their own way. The about-face is saying I will not be living my way any more I will be doing it God’s way. The Holy Spirit will make sure of this.

  46. Jeremy Nelson says:

    As a infant we need. All our needs in every aspect are met by our parents. As time goes on we begin to take on these needs ourselves. The older we get the more we take on. But in the end we only fool ourselves into thinking we are self sufficient. This is a dangerous and false reality. The truth is that in the areas that truly matter and actually make a difference we are helpless. We can only truly be what man was intended to by though the indwelling only God in our lives, restoring is it our original design and purpose. This all begins with repentance.

  47. Jeremy Nelson says:

    Just the fact that God gives us the option of doing an about-face shows that we serve God who is merciful. He did not have to give us this choice. He did not have to be personal or present. He did not have to create us in the first place, he was content in himself and needed nothing. By his nature he gives out of the overflow of his glory and love.

  48. Jeremy Nelson says:

    There is repentance that is part of salvation and there is repentance that is part of sanctification. The first has been done and I will be eternally grateful for this as the centuries and Millenia tick away. But while still here on this earth I have a lot of repenting to do as I often fail during this slow sanctification process. My goal however is that the change from this life to the one to come will not be that drastic of change. But there will need to be a lot of repenting as this rocky process takes place. I just need to be quick about it.

  49. Jeremy Nelson says:

    Lord help me be sensitive to my sin and quick to repent and change. Give me your mind about it and your strength to achieve it.

  50. Nathaniel Wentink says:

    We get what we don’t deserve and we get don’t get what we do deserve because of Gods mercy and grace.

  51. Blair funk says:

    Although my sin debt has been paid for at the cross, my response is to turn from my self centered ways

  52. Blair funk says:

    That we are not only sinful but we have a natural bend away from God.

  53. Blair funk says:

    ThatHe is holy and we are not… His mercy and patience abounds… If we confess and turn/ repent from our sins He is true Nd faithful and will make our filth whiter than snow.

  54. Blair funk says:

    Through my own will I can choose to avoid some areas of my life that lead to sin. Other areas I need Gods help…. ” put in me a contrite heart, make a right spirit in me”

  55. Blair funk says:

    I confess my sin before You, both known and unknown, committed and left undone… Put in me a contrite heart and a right spirit so I may turn from my natural ways against you.

  56. Isaac Jones says:

    We are called not to comfort or success, but to obedience (repentance from sin).

  57. Isaac Jones says:

    God wants repentance, not our comfort or Worldly success. He cares about our spiritual walk first, then our worldly circumstance after.

  58. Isaac Jones says:

    The good news is that by the grace of Christ I can repent and turn from my slavery of sin to my slavery of Christ; Amen!

  59. Isaac Jones says:

    I will respond by continuing to walk in faith by the Spirit, and not in my own abilities as is proper of true repentance.

  60. Isaac Jones says:

    I will pray:

    Heavenly Father,
    Please help me to walk according to your commandments. Overcome my sin and my evil nature, so that I may do what my body would not normally do; to be faithful rather than sinful. Lord forgive me when I fail, by the sacrifice of Christ and the Blood of atonement; Amen.

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