Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery]. 9 [As you draw near to God] be deeply penitent and grieve, even weep [over your disloyalty]. Let your laughter be turned to grief and your mirth to dejection and heartfelt shame [for your sins]. 10 Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant]. James 4:8-10 AMP
“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]. If we say (claim) we have not sinned, we contradict His Word and make Him out to be false and a liar, and His Word is not in us [the divine message of the Gospel is not in our hearts].” 1 John 1:9-10 AMP
When you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you repented of your sins and asked Him to forgive you and wash you in his blood—which He did! As you may have realized—since then—you are by no means perfect. You may be a new creature in Christ, but you still make mistakes and do and say wrong or bad things. In other words—you still sin! Not to worry though—Jesus has provided for you. Because He died and shed His blood for you, ALL your sins are covered—the past, the present and the future. In order to receive this forgiveness, however, you need to do something to activate it in your life. You must humble yourself to repent.
You must humbly:
• Recognize and acknowledge you have sinned
• Confess it as sin
• Be sorry for your sin and tell the Lord you are sorry
• Ask Him to forgive you
• Turn your back on the sin and start to obey God
Yet I am glad now, not because you were pained, but because you were pained into repentance [and so turned back to God]; for you felt a grief such as God meant you to feel, so that in nothing you might suffer loss through us or harm for what we did. 10 For godly grief and the pain God is permitted to direct, produce a repentance that leads and contributes to salvation and deliverance from evil, and it never brings regret; but worldly grief (the hopeless sorrow that is characteristic of the pagan world) is deadly [breeding and ending in death]. 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 AMP
According to God’s word, sin is serious business and we should not treat it lightly or think it’s just a joke. The only sin that can be forgiven is sin that is confessed from a heart that is genuinely sorry. Some people expect God to forgive them, even though they are not actually sorry for their sin. James admonishes us to humble ourselves, draw near to God, and be deeply penitent—even grieve and weep—over our sin. Without humility, we won’t feel sorry and we won’t come to ask forgiveness and therefore we can’t and won’t be forgiven —even though the Lord, Himself, longs to show us His mercy and grace. Paul tells us that godly grief, and the pain that results, produce a repentance that leads and contributes to salvation and deliverance from evil.
Jesus, in Luke 13:3 AMP told everyone who would listen, “I tell you, No; but unless you repent (change your mind for the better and heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), you will all likewise perish and be lost eternally.” And in Matthew 11:20 AMP “He began to censure and reproach the cities in which most of His mighty works had been performed, because they did not repent [and their hearts were not changed].”
Sometimes, people are sorry or repentant over the consequences of sin, but not the cause. They are not sorry they sinned, they are only sorry that they got caught or sorry that their sin created a problem for them. They have had a change of mind, such as to produce regret or maybe even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. They are not sorry that their heart was wrong and selfish; they are not sorry for their bad attitude.True repentance is to change one’s mind for the better. It is not merely forsaking sin, but to change your attitude toward it and your love for it. The Hebrew words for repentance mean: to sigh; breathe strongly; to be sorry; to turn back; to regret; to think differently; to reconsider. The Greek word means: to change the mind for the better morally; to change the attitude toward sin. In Matthew 3:8 AMP, Jesus told us to, “Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart].” True repentance brings forth the fruit of repentance!
True repentance is:
• Feeling grief over your sin
• Having a true sense of your own guilt and sinfulness
• Acknowledging your helplessness and your need for forgiveness from God
• Having faith in God’s mercy in Christ
• An actual hatred of sin
• Turning from sin to serve God
• A persistent pursuit of a holy life
• Pursuing a walk with God; walking in the way of his commandments
• Must precede forgiveness
• Must be more than admitting guilt
• May require a broken heart
• Is changing the behavior that produces sin
• Is revealed by changed actions
• Measures our spiritual integrity
Acts 26:19-20 AMPWherefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision, 20 But made known openly first of all to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout the whole land of Judea, and also among the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works and live lives consistent with and worthy of their repentance.