Chapter 3 - Repentance From The Heart



Chapter Three

Repentance From The Heart




“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent.  Has He said, and will He not do?  Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”  Numbers 23:19


“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.”  Ezekiel 18:30


John the Baptist came … saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand!”  Matthew 3:2


From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”  Matthew 4:17


“Then he [Jesus] began to rebuke the cities in which most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent.”

Matthew 11:20


“I tell y ou … unless y ou repent y ou will all likewise perish!”  

The words of Jesus — Luke 13:3

God has spoken the exact same message of repentance through the prophets, John the Baptist and then, even through Jesus.  You can observe from the preceding verses that repentance is a very serious issue with God.  When you give God sincere repentance, God will give you total forgiveness.  It all starts when you give God your heart.  That is when God starts to speak to your heart.  The Bible then becomes a living breathing instruction guide for your life (B.I.B.L.E.).  It is the place you turn to find out God’s character and what His likes and dislikes are.  God will acknowledge you because you have acknowledged Him .  From this point, your thinking and reality about God will dramatically change.  It is then that true repentance will outpour from your heart effortlessly.


“So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as He did to us.”  Acts 15:8


        Chapter 2 ended with the statement that standing one’s ground for truth and righteousness is the hallmark trait of the true and sincere believer.  It is a clear way to identify those who really do walk with God.  I could also state this in the reverse.  If you observe that a “self-identified” believer fails to stand for truth and righteousness, it is the giveaway mark of the insincere believer.  This is the person who talks the talk; but does not walk the walk.  


They would like to have you believe that God is embodied within their sins, lies, deceptions and other ungodly behaviors.  Or, that God is somehow embodied within their “earthly-focused” desires and compromises.  They often offer solutions that are designed to circumvent rather than validate the truth.  Let me be very clear.  God’s Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth and, if truth is not in the person or the situation, then clearly the living eternal God of truth is also not in the person or situation.  God knows your heart.  He walks with those who walk with Him .


“Good is the opposite of evil, life is the opposite of death, and sin is the opposite of devotion to the Lord .”  

Sirach 33:14 GNB


“Behold, all souls are Mine ; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine ; the soul who sins shall die.”

 Ezekiel 18:4

Closely behind and associated with truth and righteousness is another identifying mark: that of humility and true repentance.  Repentance means turning away from sin and returning to God. It means we stop sinning. There are no exceptions to this command in terms of the willfulness of your heart.  Those who know God are more likely to know themselves and their true place in God’s kingdom.  Genuine humility is a sign and indication of true repentance.  The humble believer then translates repentance into a lifestyle of obedience that glorifies God and is not into glorifying himself or herself.  


The evidence of true repentance is available for all to see in the form of actions easily identified as being changed, new, different and or a part of God.  These actions are of such a nature that those people who knew you prior to this moment in time will now find that you truly have changed your heart, your ways.  That your thinking is very different.  That you are not the same person that you used to be prior to your sincere repentance.  Your old behavior has passed away and new behavior is now in your life.  


The filthier your sins are at that point in your life, the more dramatic will be the changes in your life.  People may even question your sanity because your behavior changes are so dramatic.  You may even experience a 180-degree turnabout in areas of your life that you have struggled with for years.  In a moment of time, God can give you a complete turnabout in your sinful behavior. That is what happens when God enters the temple of your heart.  Indeed, it is often the substance of astonishing miracles in your life.


“If indeed you have heard him and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”  Ephesians 4:21-23

For example, many Jews in authority doubted the Apostle Paul s true conversion and discipleship.  Even those from the original twelve disciples.  However, Paul responded with different actions that spoke well of his new found belief.   Paul’s sincere visible actions became a living testimony.  It is a characteristic of true repentance.  It should be a part of your repentance.  


Paul’s example of true repentance unfolds in the New Testament beginning in Acts 7:58 — “as a young man named Saul.”


“As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.”  Acts 8:3


“Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ ”  Acts 9:4


And he said, “Who are you, Lord?”  Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.  It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”  Acts 9:5  


Note: The goad was a staff-like instrument used by farmers to poke at the Oxen plowing their fields to get them to move.  Often it had a sharp point at the end of it.  Jesus’ analogy was an indication to Paul of the uselessness of his behavior in God’s larger context.  It is like “the Oxen kicking at the goads.”  It doesn’t do the Oxen any good and Paul’s actions won’t help him either.  In modern day parlance, it was like Paul beating his head against a wall.


Paul had always meant to glorify Jehovah and this experience on the road to Damascus fully revealed to him God’s Son.  As Paul recognized the Shekinah Glory of God, he also was able to fully understand His Son Jesus.  For Paul, God had moved His reality from Paul’s head down to Paul’s heart.


God’s Reality Shifted From Paul’s Head To His Heart!


But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he [Paul] is a chosen vessel of mine to bear my name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.”  Acts 9:15


Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?” Acts 9:21


Clearly there was confusion among those who knew Paul.  “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name [Jesus] in Jerusalem?”  This is like knowing someone you care about who is a drunkard and who has been that way for several years.  You leave for a two-week holiday.  When you come back, you find to your amazement that your friend is stone sober and has been that way for the last two weeks.  It turns out that on the Sunday you left, your friend went to a church service and gave his or her life to God and accepted the salvation of His Son Jesus.  


No counseling trips, no trips to Alcoholics Anonymous, no family trips to alcoholic support groups.  The family’s solution never developed in that manner.  Instead, in an instant of time, a sheer moment in your friend’s heart, your friend’s life was forever changed.  This is the stuff talked about when we use the word miracle in Christianity.  Yet, for God, it is routine stuff when we give our hearts to Him .   Isn’t this what Saul experienced on the road to Damascus?  Didn’t Saul have a change of heart?


“But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.”  Acts 9:22


        The Apostle Paul is a good example of what true repentance is really all about.  Paul is a man who persecuted and sought to put into prison and to destroy the early believers of the church of Jesus Christ.  These people were called Christians because they had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior and had repented of their sins unto God.  In the process they were led through, they gave God their whole hearts.  For them it meant, that through Christ, they would forever change their behavior in this earthly existence.  They had a new perspective.  One that now included eternal life and for these new believers, there simply was no turning back to any prior human-only type of behaviors.  Commitment meant that there were no alternatives for the rest of their life.  Why?  Simply because they now belonged to God the Father .

On the road to Damascus, Saul suddenly found himself choosing this same path [Christ] for his life.  God gave Saul a moment to remember that would forever change his life.  A confrontation with Jesus in which, he then “knew” Jesus as the only begotten Son of God.  It was an experience that Saul would never forget; it was the beginning of a new life as Apostle Paul.  The message Paul received is the same one of time immemorial.  It was God’s message of repentance and eternal life; first through the prophets, then John the Baptist and finally through Jesus, God’s Son.  Consider these words of Ezekiel.  Are they so different from the words of Jesus?


“Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die?”  Ezekiel 18:31


“For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God.  “Therefore turn and live!”  Ezekiel 18:32


God’s Message Is Simple: Get A New Life In Him !


 Paul’s new life would no longer entail persecuting the new believers who were not understood by the established authorities [Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees].  Jesus had chosen fishermen at the start of the building of his group of disciples.  Now Jesus picked scholarly Paul [Saul], a Pharisee and whose father was also a Pharisee.  In addition to these matters of the heart, Paul would also be able to argue for God’s Son from an intellectual point of view having been schooled as an advocate of Old Testament Law.

If you examine closely the life of Paul, you will find out that he wasn’t a Christian one moment and then the next moment a humanist.  He wasn’t with God one moment [or day] and not with God the next moment [or day].  He didn’t decide to show up for Sunday morning church services so he could be a “good” Christian.  Then, the rest of the week, feel free to go about some ungodly business [sinful activities].  


No, for Paul had given God the Father his whole heart through Christ.  Then, he was filled with the Father ’s Holy Spirit.  Paul was now “fully hot” to do God’s will.  Paul’s perspective on life and eternity had changed.  Paul knew that he was going to be dead a lot longer than he was going to be alive in this earthy state.  What is your perspective in this regard?  Do you as a Christian even have one?  In the Apocryphal book of Sirach it is written …


“If a person lives a hundred years, he has lived an unusually long life, but compared with all eternity, those years are like a drop of water in the ocean, like a single grain of sand.  That is why the Lord is so patient with us, why he is so free with his mercy.   He looks at us and knows that we are doomed to die; that is why He is so willing to forgive us.  A person can show compassion to someone he knows, but the Lord shows compassion for all humanity.   He corrects us; He disciplines us; He teaches us.  Like a shepherd tending sheep, He brings us back to Himself .   He will have compassion on us if we accept His guidance and are eager for Him to show us where we are wrong.”  

Sirach 18:9-14 GNB


A wise man once taught me, that if I were to be a good man, I should remember four things in life: 1) To love the mother of my children; 2) To give my children a home to grow in; 3) To give my children wings; and, 4) To remember that I too am just passing through this earthly existence.  


Like the Apostle Paul, I understand that I will be dead a whole lot longer than I will be alive.  I too am just passing through this earthly existence.  Again, what is your perspective?  Are you so focused on this earthly life that you now have no concern for an eternal life with God?  Are you cold, lukewarm or hot for God?  As a Christian you should be hot for God.  Paul got turned on and he certainly was hot for God.  Are you?


“So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth.”  Revelations 4:16


As Apostle Paul preached [filled with God’s Spirit], he came upon a person who sought to turn people away from God’s truth and told him the following hot and timely message:

“Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord ?”  Acts 13:9-10      


That same hot and timely message of Paul should now be offered to the preachers and pastors of the many pulpits across the world that now routinely lead God’s people astray.  They do this by preaching a false god of forgiveness that gives the erroneous impression that your behavior during the week is of no consequence to you, “As long as you’ve got Jesus.”


The message continues that, “with Jesus you ve got it [eternal life] in the bag.”  This false god also says you need not worry about the killing of babies by abortion, about being a lesbian or a homosexual.  God’s grace and love are all you need and they’ve got you covered?  No!  You wouldn’t find Paul preaching this apostasy junk.  Paul had given God his heart.   He preached the “straight ways of the Lord .”


        When Paul gave God his heart, God gave Paul the truth.  It started with the heart.  Then, once God had Paul’s, He spoke to Paul in an intimate fashion that still exists today.  Nothing has changed from God’s perspective.   In the process, the Spirit of truth was imbedded in Paul. Thus Paul could speak the truth without any fear.  Paul turned 180 degrees when he repented.


        I can almost hear Paul as he was confronted by many irate people who challenged his new found belief in Jesus Christ.  How dare you say that you are now changed.  We know you Saul.  You persecute Christians!  Paul’s response was soft and went something like this.  “Say what you want to about my past.  Even I know that I was guilty as you proclaim.  However, none of you can deny the deeds that I now do.  Yes, I was that Saul that you knew in the past.  I did those terrible things. However, I gave God my heart.  Now I am filled with God’s Holy Spirit and all that you now see is only Paul.  God called me as an apostle to tell the gentiles His message of repentance and eternal life.  It was the message He spoke to us through Jesus.  Would you like to hear about God’s only begotten human Son Jesus and the resurrection of the righteous to an eternal life?”

A Call To Repentance!


“Come to the Lord , and leave your sin behind.  Pray sincerely that He will help you live a better life.  Return to the Most High and turn away from sin.  Have an intense hatred for wickedness.”  Sirach 17:25-26 GNB


David’s Prayer Of Confession

And Request For Forgiveness Of Sin!


“Have mercy upon me, O God , According to Your loving-kindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”


“For I acknowledge my transgressions , and my sin is always before me.  Against You , You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge.”

“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.  Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts , and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.”


“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Make me hear joy and gladness that the bones You have broken may rejoice.  Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.”


“Create in me a clean heart, O God , and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”


“Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.   Restore to me the joy of Your salvation , and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”


“Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You .”   Psalm 51:1-13

“Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness .”


“O Lord , open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise .   For You do not desire sacrifice , or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.”


“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart; these, O God, You will not despise.”

 Psalm 51:14-17


Apostle Paul responded to God’s call and he fully understood David’s prayer in Psalm 51.  It was a message from Paul’s own heart to God.  It is a message from my very own heart to God.  Like David, Paul was a man after God’s own heart.  So am I.  Dear Christian brother, sister or other child of God — Do you have a heart for doing all of God’s will?


“I have found David … [Paul & Edward] a man [men] after My own heart, who will do all My will.”  Acts 13:22  [you?]


“The Lord is always aware of what people do; there is no way to hide from Him .”  Sirach 17:15 GNB


The American Heritage Dictionary 1 has the following definition of the word repent :


1. To feel remorse, contrition, or self-reproach.  2. To feel such regret for past conduct as to change one s mind regarding it: He repented of his … 3. To make a change for the better as a result of remorse or regret.


All of these definitions are good.  All of them apply to the Apostle Paul.  All of them apply to me.  How about you?  In addition, can you relate to Job when he replied to God with these words of repentance?


“Therefore I abhor myself, and repent

in dust and ashes!”  Job 42:6

If you have never experienced this type of regret and contrition for your sins with God, you may likely be one of those Christians that Jesus is talking about in Matthew 7:21-23 when he said: “I never knew you.”  


For decades the word of God has been perverted from the pulpits of the Christian church.  In the process, many of those would call themselves Christians no longer understand what real repentance is all about.  This type of repentance comes from within your heart and involves new behavior.  The kind of behavior that is more acceptable to God than your sinful behavior.


Real repentance occurs when a person gives him or herself to God and they immediately stop stealing, promiscuity, lesbianism, homosexuality, etc.  Name the sin that enslaves you and keeps you out of fellowship with God.  

People Who Are Excluded From Heaven …


Outside Of Heaven

If God Has Your Heart
Bible Reference

Sexually Immoral

You obey God’s sex rules

Rev 22:15


You do not practice sorcery

Rev 22:15


You do not murder

Rev 22:15


You worship only God

Rev 22:15

Lovers of Lies

You are a lover of the truth

Rev 22:15

Practitioner of Lies

You practice truth

Rev 22:15


You practice righteousness

Rom 1:18, 1Cor 6:10


You practice godliness

Rom 1:18


You obey God’s sex rules

1Cor 6:9-10


You obey God’s sex rules

1Cor 6:9-10


You obey God’s sex rules

1Cor 6:9-10


You obey God’s sex rules

1Cor 6:9-10


You do not steal

1Cor 6:9-10


You are temperate

1Cor 6:9-10


You do not slander

1Cor 6:9-10


You do not extort

1Cor 6:9-10


You do not covet

1Cor 6:9-10


Many Christians are fully convinced that the blood of Jesus now allows them to conduct themselves in anyway they see fit.  However, the word of God teaches us otherwise.  The above list is not all-inclusive.  It is only a starting point for your own Bible search for truth in the area of sin.  If the word of God speaks to your heart, you will take heed and repent to God as needed in any of the above areas.  Are you a “slave” to sin?


Some Words Of Jesus Concerning Sin!


Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.  And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.  Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”  John 8:34-36


What you observe when a sinner takes a 180 degree turn is the power of God entering the heart of the truly repentant.  It is God’s power in His new temple that seeks to clean up people [the temple].  People who might have tried for years to reform their bad habits are suddenly released from them.  When God takes the sin away, you won’t have withdrawal symptoms.  You will be too busy praising and worshipping Him for such an awesome act of mercy.  It started with the heart. God wants to dwell there.  And, when He dwells there, you won’t have to worry about the sins in your life.  The major sins will disappear fast when you give God your whole heart.


Apostle Paul did turn on a dime 180 degrees about and ceased forever his sinful behavior of destroying early believers.  Like Paul, you too can have that kind of heavenly power come into your life.  I have seen this very power in action within other people.  I have experienced it in my own life.


Those lingering sins are like climbing a set of steps with God.  Your goal is to move from where you are up the steps to where God resides.  As you climb up the steps closer to God, the junk [sin] keeps falling and falling away.  The big and serious junk fell off at the beginning when you gave your whole heart to God.  As you climb, the smaller sins [from our poor humanly perspective here] and weaknesses shed themselves away from you step by step as you surrender more and more of your will to God.  First came the heart, next is the will.  With your heart in God’s hands, He has a chance with your will.  The more things you surrender to Him , the faster the climb.   He will accept you where you are at and help you make the climb to a sin free life.  With God holding your hand, get ready for a real life adventure.


It starts with the heart.  Then through the blood of Jesus, you are immediately perfect in God the Father ’s eyes.  Like any son or daughter who desires to please their father, you endeavor for the rest of your life to do those things pleasing to your heavenly Father .  You study and read the easy to understand word of God to find out what He likes and dislikes.  The Spirit inside of you rebuilds you from a sinful life into an awesome temple of God.  This is not some kind of junk science.  This is simply how it works with God.  It all started with the heart you gave to God.


You wouldn’t think that repentance would be a real issue with “real” Christians.  However, I have long lost count of the unrepentant people I have met and known that call themselves Christian.  Of course, the intellectual response from many “real believers” will be that “those particular people are not real Christians.” This is an allusion to the fact that “true believers” are “truly repentant.”  This is a debate as old as the Bible.  Do a Bible study on the word sincere and you will find the words “sincere faith.”  Even in times of the early church, there were those who did not walk the talk.  This book is being written for all of Christianity.  If you are one of the “real” Christians, please excuse the sections that do not pertain to you or that you cannot relate to.  I will trust that God is guiding your walk with Him .


The arguments are more complicated than this in Christianity, as the discussion of sincere repentance usually has to involve sin.  For example, I was conversing with a friend on a recent afternoon on this very subject.  Agreement was quick on the insincere Christian that “really” never knew Jesus.  However, the conversation fell apart when it entered the subject of Hebrews 10:26 which deals with the issue of “continuing to willfully sin.”  Let me refresh your memory on this very important verse.

“For if we [continue to] sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth [Jesus], there no longer remains a sacrifice for [our] sins.”  Hebrews 10:26


 The stumbling block in our conversation was two fold.  First, the idea of actually losing one’s salvation seemed to horrify my friend.  Second was his statement: “Well, everyone in the church is a sinner!”  Translated, I took the comment to mean: “No big deal, we can’t do anything about that with Jesus.  Can we?”  Part of today’s pulpit teachings is the erroneous idea that since we are all sinners, sin no longer matters to God.  Especially to Jesus.  After all, isn’t this the object and purpose of the blood of Jesus?  Not only that: “Remember grace; this sounds like a ‘works’ thing to me.”  Works?


        If I ask you: “Is everyone in the church a sinner?”  Your answer would certainly be YES.  If I asked you whether Jesus forgave all of your sins, you would again answer YES.  And at least one false teacher named Keith told me that that forgiveness extended to all sins I have had in the past as well as those sins I could ever commit in the future.  Keith and others like to pick out selected verses and then develop a theology around them.  Keith liked Romans 6:10 and similar verses that talked about how Jesus died for all sins .   All in this particular verse meaning 100% of the sins of 100% of the people born from time immemorial.  All sin … period … Once for all.


“For the death that he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life that he lives, he lives to God.”  Romans 6:10


 Keith’s intellectual argument had two main points.  First, Jesus saves us from all our sins.  No argument with that point.  Second, we are free to sin, as we want to because of this fact.  There can be no doubt that this is a very popular theology among Christians around the world.  In fact, very nice indeed.  We get to do what ever we want on planet earth.  Then when we leave, we get eternal life in Heaven by the blood of Jesus.  Pretty cool, huh?


 Well, I decided to take Keith’s theology to its logical conclusion.  I wrote Keith who referred to himself as the “teacher.”  Dear teacher: You have taught Fred that all his sins are now forgiven not only from the past; but, also those sins that will occur in the future.  In fact, you have taught Fred that he is free to sin any time he wants to and in any manner he wants to because Jesus died once for all sins.  All sin … period … Once for all.  Is this the theology that you have been exposed to?  Do you believe it?  I continued the discussion with Keith the “teacher” …


Teacher, Fred has come in for Christian counseling and here is what he would now like to know.  You see Fred claims that he is a serial killer and said he killed five people last month.  However, Fred does say that he understands your message that all of his sins are forgiven.  All sin … period … Once for all.  Fred says that in his heart he has accepted Jesus.  However, Fred now wants some more assurance that your teachings are true.  Fred said he plans on killing another six people over the next 30 days and wants to make sure that those sins will also be forgiven.  


So teacher, what should I tell him about the sacrifice of Jesus for those upcoming [future] sins?  Are Fred’s upcoming [planned serial murder] sins truly forgiven as you say they are?   Preposterous arguments for “real” Christians you say?  Maybe.  But isn’t that the kind of sick dialogue that permeates Christianity today regarding sin in our lives?  Maybe your sin isn’t at the extreme end of killing people, but do you think that God now grades our sins on a curve like some college professor grades math scores?


 Sin gets us back now in a full circle to the issue of real repentance.  Exactly what is repentance and what is it not?  Can one truly repent without actually stopping their sin?  If so, how is that done?  Or, does repentance by its very nature require us to stop sinning?  It would appear, in the serial killer example, that repentance would not make any intellectual sense unless God actually intended for us to stop sinning.  Would it?  Or, do you still believe that Christians are free to sin in anyway and at any time they choose?


 Those Christians who feel they can readily sin any time they feel like it certainly have no intellectual integrity.  In fact, these people have bought into some errant theology.  The argument is specious and holds no weight from a common sense standpoint with anyone participating in an honest intellectual debate.  And as previously shown, it holds no weight with God’s Word.  Well, what about Jesus?  Doesn’t it hold some weight with Jesus?


More Words Of Jesus On Sin!

Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well.  Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” John 5:14


Jesus said: “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:11

Walking With God







Sin no more






Sin no more






Sin no more






Sin no more






Sin no more






Sin no more






Sin No More








When you really walk with God, all sin is forgiven and all sin starts dropping away from your life.  It is like walking up a set of steps toward God the Father .  The first step is the really big one.  That is where you give God your heart.  Each successive step you take closer to God finds you more and more pure in your faith and trust.  Each step upward you take also finds you with less and less sin.  Each step upwards becomes easier and easier as your faith gets stronger and stronger.  The sin [gap] you have remaining in your life is covered by the blood of Jesus in as much as it is not willful sin.  


Yes, there is sin that is not willful and even sin that you are not even aware of.  God has got those types of sin covered for you with the blood of Jesus.  These verses from the Old Testament show clearly that there are other types of sin.  There exists sin that is different than that of willful sin.

Unintentional & Unknown Sins!


“If a person sins unintentionally against any of the commandments of the Lord in anything which ought not to be done, and does any of them …” Leviticus 4: 2


“Now if the whole congregation of Israel sins unintentionally , and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done something against any of the commandments of the Lord in anything which should not be done, and are guilty; when the sin which they have sinned becomes known, then the assembly shall …” Leviticus 4:13


“If a person sins, and commits any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the Lord , though he does not know it , yet he is guilty and shall bear his iniquity.”  Leviticus 5:17


It is clear that, while Jesus forgives all of our sins, Jesus’ expectation for all of us is that we would no longer continue to “willfully sin.”  This is the clear biblical message from God on repentance.  A salient characteristic of true repentance is that it is actually followed by a cessation of continued willful sin.  That doesn’t mean there is zero sin in a person’s life.


Now doesn’t that salient characteristic of repentance make intellectual and spiritual sense?  If you have a changed heart, wouldn’t you expect to do things differently in your life?   I would.  If you find yourself having sinned unintentionally, you still need to repent, as God will hold you accountable.  You need to keep a short list of all sins with God.  You do this through daily prayer and repentance or by a specific repentance prayer whenever sin sneaks into your life.  You will know when sin has crept into your life.  God will speak to your heart to set “His ” will straight with you.  As you grow in faith and trust in the Father , the Spirit will convict you of sin the moment it happens in your life.  His Spirit testifies to you concerning real repentance.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:9



Apostle John Clarifies The Issue Of Continued Sin!


“And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.  Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.  And you know that he was manifested to take away our sins, and in him there is no sin.  Whoever abides in him does not sin.  Whoever sins has neither seen him nor known him.  Little children, let no one deceive you.  He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as he is righteous.  He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning.  For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.  Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.  In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.”  1 John 3:3-10


Clearly there is a serious issue with God and Jesus concerning the cessation of the willful sin in the life of the believer.  If you have not fully grasped this important point as a Christian to date, I hope this chapter has helped to clarify God’s Word and how sin and repentance are interrelated.  Without sin, there is nothing to repent about.  If you call yourself a child of God, then you should be diligent about casting sin out of your life.  You should also be diligent about who you associate with.  This aspect of the believer’s life will be discussed in detail in a later chapter.  For now, let God’s Word speak to your heart and understand that all sin is evil.

Let’s go back to the dialogue that I had with my friend and the issue of sin within the church.  This is another area of great Christian apostasy today.  You see, quite frankly, we as Christians are NOT suppose to tolerate sin inside the church.  Let’s clarify two more specific issues in these regards: a) judging people inside the church; and, b) purging evil from the church. How do these issues relate to our sin and our need for repentance to God?  


Paul writes to the church at Corinth that they are to judge those within the church for sin.  God’s instructions are to purge evil from amongst the congregation and from your fellowship. Really?  Sound radical to you?  Isn’t the church supposed to be a home for sinners?  No, actually it is not suppose to be a home to them [willful sinners].  It is suppose to be a home to God’s people who have given Him their hearts and who are intent on worshipping Him .  A lot of confusion is in the Christian church today among believers concerning these issues.  The church teaches you to go into evil trenches to claim souls for God.  Doesn’t it?  Then bring souls [evil] into the church?  


Note that we are now talking about those who willfully sin and are actually unrepentant with God.  Weed them out of the church.  They do not belong in the house of God.  Those sinners that the Father calls into His house are already in the process of a radical change of their heart.  They are people in the process of giving themselves to God and in need of help or a little guidance.  They are already moving toward God and are in repentance.  You can see the “progress” they are making in their lives.  However, if any in the church are unrepentant sinners, they do not belong in the house of God.  Again, you can find these people by the willful sin that continues in their lives.  We are told to get the Word out to sinners.  We are not told to fellowship with anyone who is a [willful] sinner or with any evil.


Apostle Paul writes about the company we believers should keep.


“I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.  Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.”  1 Corinthians 5:9-10

Judge the morality of those inside the Church! <<<

“But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner not even to eat with such a person.  For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside?  Do you not judge those who are inside?  But those who are outside God judges.  Therefore put away from yourselves the evil person.”  1 Corinthians 5:11-13


God judges the morality of those outside the Church! <<<


The message from Apostle Paul is that we are to judge those people within the Church.  Separate yourselves from sinners is the message of the Bible.  Judge those who call themselves brothers and sisters.  Don’t worry about those outside the church, because God judges those outside.  Paul writes that you would have to leave the planet if you were to judge all the sinners outside of the church.  


Jesus provides a simple process.  Confront the sinner first in private.  If no repentance occurs, then confront him or her with one or two witnesses.  If there is still no repentance, tell it to the church [go public].  Christ says to shun and excommunicate the sinner within the Church who will not repent.


“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.  If he hears you, you have gained your brother.  But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’  And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church.  But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you [and the entire Church] like a heathen and a tax collector.”  Matthew 18:15-17


Why should we bother doing this?  It gets back to the fruit basket.  You will know them [true believers] by their fruits.  Therefore, bear fruits worthy of repentance [Matthew 3:8].  How do you know you are keeping company with good or evil people?  Examine their fruit.  In this case, you examine the behavior of “anyone named a brother [or sister].”  Take heed!


Our obligation to God is to purge out evil from amongst the church.  If your church currently tolerates sin and evil like many do, they are not obeying the command of God in this regard.  However, when it comes to purging evil from our midst, I have to warn you in advance that we have long since lost and forgot God’s perspective on what evil is really all about.  That is why some of the following verses may be difficult for you to relate to.  Yet, if God speaks to your heart, you will begin to understand evil from God’s perspective.  After all, isn’t that the perspective we are searching for?


Purge Evil From Among You!


“That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because … he has tried to turn you from the way the Lord your God commanded you to follow.  You must purge the evil from among you .”  Deuteronomy 13:5 NIV


“The hands of the witnesses must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people.  You must purge the evil from among you .”  Deuteronomy 17:7 NIV


“The man who shows contempt for the judge or for the priest who stands ministering there to the Lord your God must be put to death.  You must purge the evil from Israel .”  Deuteronomy 17:12


“Then do to him as he intended to do to his brother.  You must purge the evil from among you .”  Deuteronomy 19:19 NIV


“If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard.’  Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death.   You must purge the evil from among you .  All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.”

Deuteronomy 21:18-21 NIV


“If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her fathe r’ s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death.  She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house.  You must purge the evil from among you .”  Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NIV


“If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife , both the man who slept with her and the woman must die.   You must purge the evil from Israel .”

 Deuteronomy 22:22 NIV


“If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the girl because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife.   You must purge the evil from among you. ”  Deuteronomy 22:23-24


“If a man is caught kidnapping one of his brother Israelites and treats him as a slave or sells him, the kidnapper must die.   You must purge the evil from among you. ”  Deuteronomy 24:7 NIV


“Now surrender those wicked men of Gibeah so that we may put them to death and purge the evil from Israel .”  Judges 20:13


Wow.  Unbelievable, isn’t it?  Imagine, getting purged and having to die for losing one’s virginity.  Times have changed when you consider that in the early 21 st century we now expect our young children to have sex out of marriage.  So much so that we pass out condoms to teenagers in some high schools in America.  You know what God thinks about that, don’t you?


You can surmise from the above ten biblical references quite a few things.  First, God expects us to purge evil from among His people.  This includes the church of Christ.  Second, the definition of evil has been changed by our modern day society.  Why, you could get run out of a high school today teaching kids that if they had sex it would be appropriate to stone them to death.  And how about that rebellious son?  Imagine mom and dad carting the kid off to the edge of town to be stoned to death.  Ugh!


God knows something that today’s believers have long since forgotten.  It is a fact that “People will rise to the level of expectations laid before them.”  I don’t think that too many rebellious sons were stoned to death.  Nor that too many girls who lost their virginity were stoned to death.  Once the word got out after the first one or two, I am sure that there was an “attitude correction” that took place.  In modern day parlance, the kids got their “act” straightened out before it was too late.  You get the picture here, don’t you?  God has a very different perspective on sin than most people who call themselves Christians.   His is a holy and righteous standard.


Now I imagine that the above verses may have really turned off quite a few people that count themselves as Christian.  Perhaps even the table on sinners that are excluded from Heaven was a very big turnoff.  The questions you have to ask are these: “Is Apostle Edward spewing out his own opinion here?  Or, are these words from God verifiable in the Holy Bible as cited?  If they are really from the Bible, why should I just ignore them now?”


If I have lost you, I guess you are really just one of the Christians that Jesus is talking about in Matthew 7:21-23.  The fact that you’ve gotten this far is great news for me.  It means that you have gotten the main point of the message God has called me to deliver to those “who call themselves a Christian.”  Congratulations on reading this far.  I can see God’s stamp of approval coming down.  One more job well done for you and Apostle Ed?


Still, there is incredibly powerful stuff coming and I would certainly hate to lose you now over some “purging evil” stuff.  Do you really consider yourself a Christian?  If so, you had better stick around for the entire ride.  Why not let God’s Word really open up your eyes.  Besides, your eternal life may depend upon it.  If you read the whole book, I think God will be talking to your heart before it’s over.  What a wonderful thing that would be.  Now let’s conclude this section on evil with some words from Peter.


“As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.  But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’  Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.”  1 Peter 1:15-17 NIV


Peter’s words are important.  Live your lives as strangers here [on the earth] in reverent fear [of God].  It is true; you should reverently fear God.  Inside your heart, this begins as a healthy respect for God.  When He speaks to your heart, all fear is subdued because of the love you share with Him .  Real believers are “Heaven-focused” and Heaven bound.  They know they are just passing through earth on a journey with God — on their way home.


Now that we’ve moved past purging evil, would you like to know what Jesus’ attitudes were concerning those who did and did not repent?  There is a wonderful contrast that Jesus supplies us in God’s Word.


Warnings From Jesus To Repent Or Perish!


There were present at that season some who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.  And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?”   “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”


“Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?”   “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”  Luke 13:1-5


He [Jesus] also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none .


Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down ; why does it use up the ground?’  But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also , until I dig around it and fertilize it.


And if it bears fruit, well.  But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ ”  Luke 13:6-9  

        In Luke 13:1-5 the message of Jesus is to repent or you will perish.  It literally means that you will not have any eternal life.  In Luke 13:6-9 the message of Jesus relates to a Christian who has already been planted with “the seed of God” into his or her heart.  The wait is on for this believer to bear fruit worthy of his or her eternal life.  Fruit worthy of repentance.  Jesus indicates that in God’s eyes there is a time limit to His patience.  Yes, God gets turned off at a certain point in time with those who willfully sin.  That is the time when He simply turns His back on you.  You might think He is still with you like Samson did when God left him.


“And she said, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’  So he awoke from his sleep, and said, ‘I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!’  But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.”  Judges 16:20


 There is a point where God will leave you high and dry as the old saying goes.  When that is, I have no idea.  I only know that God’s Word makes it abundantly clear that He will put up with only so much from unrepentant sinners.  His forgiveness is awesome, His patience is wonderful and His grace is truly without measure.  Still, His Word makes it abundantly clear that there are limits He has with us “mere” humans.  Then there is this wonderful contrast from Jesus Christ.


Jesus Contrasts A Sinner Who Repents

“The Sinner Who Repents Brings Joy In Heaven!”


Parable of the Lost Sheep


Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to him to hear him.  And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.”  So he spoke this parable to them, saying: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.”


“And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ ”


“I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”  Luke 15:1-7


Parable of the Lost Coin


“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?  And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ ”


“Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  Luke 15:8-10

Parable of the Lost Son


Luke 15:31-32 sums up this joy and merriment with the words of Jesus in this parable of the lost son.


And he said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.”


This is a message for the righteous who does not need to repent.


“It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.”


This is a message for the sinner who is sincere in his or her repentance.  Joy is in God’s kingdom when your heart repents.


Kingdom Joy Occurs When Sinners Repent!

 Can you see the wonderful contrast Jesus speaks of?  When a sinner repents — there is joy in the Heavens.  Also note that the righteous already have all that God has to offer.  Jesus speaks of this in Luke 15:31.  Many Christians think they have a lock on God because we claim the blood of Jesus.  However, as we will see from the word of God, there is such a thing as a righteous person who already belongs to God.  This is also a topic that might disturb Christians who have come under the false idea that only they will be going to Heaven.  However, this is a subject worthy of its own chapter.  For now, let’s close this one with a final thought on repentance.


 Christians are under the impression that they can forgive someone who does not repent.  Often, the words of advice go something like this: “You should forgive him, her or them for your own sake.  Forgiveness is for you and not for them.”  Does the dialogue sound familiar?  Over the years, we have come to confuse bitterness with forgiveness.  It is a biblical fact that you cannot forgive someone whom does not first repent.  Forgiveness is not for you; it is for the sinner or person who has trespassed against you.  Does God forgive unrepentant sinners?  No.  Neither can you.


        Still, you should not allow any bitterness to come into your life.  This is where the phrase “let go and let God” really does have application in your life.  When a person sins against you and is unrepentant in the matter, you cannot forgive them.  What you can do is to give the matter over to God and move on with your life.  Simply refuse to become embittered by the incident involved.  Trust God to take care of it.  It is God who says: “Vengeance is Mine and I will repay.”  You could, if you wanted to—simply place the matter into God’s hands instead of festering over it and becoming bitter.


 One particular verse in the Bible that may account for this kind of theological thought on forgiveness is Isaiah 43:25 which reads:


“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.”  Isaiah 43:25


        The King James Version uses the word “blotteth” which occurs only once in the entire Bible.  According to Strong’s Concordance, the usage of this word is derived from the Hebrew word machah , maw-khaw.’

        The Hebrew word means to literally rub out or erase — abolish, blot out, destroy, put out, reach unto, utterly, wipe (away, out).  God is telling us that He “blots” out completely our transgressions for His own sake.  This verse should not be construed as God providing forgiveness when we do not repent because of the very next verse and the entire chapter context.


“Put Me in remembrance; let us contend together; state your case, that you may be acquitted.”  Isaiah 43:26


 The principle of forgetting any transgression against us and “blotting” it out [of our mind] is very important to remember.  By choosing to let God handle something that you are not fully equipped to handle, you will feel a great sense of relief.  The Bible teaches, “Love covers a lot of sin.”

However, the lack of repentance and your desire to simply “forget about the incident” does not excuse you from your duty to God.  It does not give you excuse to turn your back on evil.  If a crime has been committed, it is your duty to report it to the appropriate authorities before you choose to “forget about the incident.”  Some Christians choose the path of turning their back on evil because they don’t want to get involved.  This only perpetuates evil and gives it credibility.  A holy God who says: “State your case, that you may be acquitted” will not view turning your back lightly.  I hope you can distinguish these subtleties and God’s need for us to “purge evil.”


        Forgiveness is a very serious spiritual issue with God that cannot be ignored by Christians.  I suspect it is also not fully appreciated by many Christians.  If someone comes to you and repents, you must forgive him, her or them.  You do not have an option here if you know your Bible.  You must forgive or your Father in Heaven “may not forgive you.”  Indeed, this is a very serious issue worthy of a more detailed discussion later.  For now take a look at what Luke 17 says concerning forgiveness.


“Take heed to yourselves.  If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.  And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

 Luke 17:3-4

The operative words in the above verse are “if he repents.”  You have no business forgiving someone who does not repent.  To do this only reinforces sin and evil.  It also reinforces the bad behavior.  You should also know that there are limits on forgiveness.  We already discussed the limits of God above and that we could not pin down the exact point in time that He will turn His back on the sinner.  Yet, Jesus gives us another lesson that many Christians now take to mean an “unlimited” amount of forgiveness.


“Then Peter came to him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?  Up to seven times?’  Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’ ”  Matthew 18:21-22


Seventy times seven is four hundred and ninety.  Metaphorically, you might take this verse to mean an unlimited amount of forgiveness is due from your heart to anyone who feels that they can trample on it.  We’ll talk more about hermeneutics [Bible interpretation] later on.  However, for now you should understand that the plain word of Jesus does spell out a formula that derives a fixed maximum times to forgive others (7 x 70 = 490 times).  In today’s world, many people can push you to that high limit very fast.  Yet, at some point, isn’t the sincerity of the repentance questioned?


You are created in God’s image and He has some limits.  So don’t think for a moment that this is not a good upper limit to work with from a purely human perspective. You should forgive the way God does.  After repentance occurs and only up to the point where you are obviously being taken advantage of.  I think that is the point where God turns off.  It is interesting to note that in Luke 13 a full three years had passed without any fruit being given and only another year was available for results.  This too may be a metaphor, but then again it may be His timing.  After four years of efforts, you’ve been given enough time for fruit to surface.  God moves on?


It is time to wrap up this chapter and I hope the information provided will lead you into your own serious Bible study on sin and repentance.  In some respects I have only scratched the surface on this key subject matter.  Before leaving the subject, I want to share with you my own prayers of repentance that I use.  Remember to keep a short list of your sins with God.

Daily Repentance Prayer!


        Heavenly Father, forgive me for the sins that I have committed in thought, word and deed.  Forgive me for the sins contained in my dreams, those sins that I am even unaware of and for every way in which I have fallen short of the goals You have for my life.  Forgive me Father for any way in which I have disappointed or displeased You .


        Father, bless me this day indeed.  Enlarge my territory, my ministry, my influence and my finances that I might do thy will more effectively.   Father, keep your hand on my shoulder and your Spirit in my heart and mind that I may truly know Thy will.   Father keep me from all evil that I may not cause any pain.   Father, in Jesus’ name, I ask these things of you.


Specific Repentance Prayer!


Father forgive me for I have sinned* by  ________________________



  *Spell your sin out in detail above.  Don’t try to hide anything from God!


The second paragraph in the daily repentance prayer above is based on 1 Chronicle 4:10.  This is where you will find the prayer of Jabez.  This is a prayer from Jabez’ heart and the Bible says that God answered his prayer.  It is the type of prayer that gets a response because it comes from the heart.  Go to your local Bible bookstore and ask for the small book with the same name 2 .  It will deepen your prayer life with your Heavenly Father .


The adventure with God started at the point that you gave your heart to Him .  Suddenly you found yourself with a set of new thoughts to go along with a new and changed heart.  It was then that God started to speak to you.  Through His Holy Word and through a soft inner voice that now seems to guide you along the paths of His righteousness.  


When you gave your heart, it was simply the trigger that set off a series of chain reactions.  Your heart now leads you and keeps you on the paths of righteousness and sincere repentance.   His Spirit walks with you and helps you walk the talk effortlessly.  You work daily to serve a holy God by eliminating sin, evil and wickedness wherever and whenever they confront you.  Yours is a new life filled with the Spirit of a holy God.

There are many aspects to the issue of repentance and I sincerely hope you have enjoyed reading this chapter as much as I have enjoyed writing it.  For all the hours I spent up late at night has been in the presence of a holy and awesome God.  It is He whom I have come to share my life with.  It is He that I serve.  It is He that I yield my tired body to.  It is He that gives me the strength to continue on and it is He that I trust.   He is my source of joy, peace and of everything I need in life.  This is the loving God that I know and now share with you.  If your heart is open to God, your life will begin a new journey with Him as you continue reading this book.


“Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet; tell My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”  Isaiah 58:1


Father , in the name of Jesus, I ask that you open the heart, eyes and minds of all who read this work that you have ordained by my hands.   Lord , restore righteousness into the hearts of all who call themselves Christian.”


The Apostle Edward


It Started By Giving God Your Heart,

Then, God Spoke To Your Heart!



Now Comes Sincere

Repentance From The Heart

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© Rev. Edward Palmer 2013