Repentance that Leads to Life
In Acts 11:18 the early church recognized that God had granted even to the Gentiles, “repentance unto life.” Leaving aside the early church’s Jew/Gentile controversy, this statement encapsulates an essential message of the early church. Consider the following:
- John the Baptist challenged his listeners to repent (Matthew 3:8, 11)
- The “tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him” - they repented
- Jesus tells the woman caught in adultery: “go . . . and sin no more,” John 8:11
The ministry of John and Jesus carried the same message: repent. Though the word has some religious connotations, essentially it means ”change,” or “turn your life around.” More specifically: stop sinning and reorient your allegiance and devotion to serve God and obey his commandments.
Most of us agree that something is wrong with the world, but many of us chafe to think that the problem is sin. The Bible assumes this, hence the command to stop sinning.
Rather than stubbornly refuse to accept this challenge, think about the positive side of it: Peter suggests that turning from wickedness becomes a means of blessing (Acts 3:26), and in Acts 11:18 we hear that repentance leads to life.
Our unwillingness to repent denies us a blessing from God and keeps us from obtaining eternal life. God has opened the door for anyone to experience forgiveness and life. Repent is not a bad word; it is the first step toward eternal life.
- Bob -