“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” Matthew 3:8 (NIV)
Here is a good definition of repentance from J. I. Packer: “Repentance is turning from as much as you know of your sin, to give as much as you know of yourself, to as much as you know of your God.”
Once you’ve grasped this definition, you won’t be thinking: Been there, done that when you hear the word repentance.
1. Repentance is turning from as much as you know of your sin. As the Holy Spirit shines the light of God’s truth into your life more brightly, you will see things (you never saw before) that need to change in your life. If you are growing as a Christian, you will be more conscious of sin in your life now than you used to be. Many older Christians can vouch for this. That’s not a reason for fear, but for thanksgiving. It’s a sign of growth.
2. Repentance is giving God as much as you know of yourself. When you became a Christian, you were probably certain that you offered your whole self to Christ. But as you grow in faith, you keep finding areas of your life that need to be surrendered more fully to him.
3. Repentance is giving yourself to as much as you know of your God. As you grow in the knowledge of God, you will find that repentance deepens in your life.
As you learn more about your sin, self, and God, your repentance will deepen. You will be increasingly transformed into the likeness of Christ—from one degree of glory to another.
Which part of Packer’s definition do you find most encouraging? Why?