The Kingdom of Heaven Is at Hand: How To Repent
In recent years, disasters have been growing more and more severe, such as earthquakes, plagues, fires, floods and so on. Many people have realized that frequent disasters are signs of the Lord’s return, and the Lord’s day is upon us. The Lord Jesus said, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Clearly, only those who truly repent can be protected by God and avoid being destroyed in disasters. So, what’s true repentance? How can we achieve true repentance? Let’s explore this topic together.
What’s True Repentance?
What’s true repentance? Many people think, “As long as we pray to the Lord to repent, practice humility and patience, suffer, bear the cross and do lots of good deeds, then it means that we have achieved true repentance.” Is this view in line with God’s will? What does God say? God says, “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45). Revelation 22:14 predicts, “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” God is holy and He hates man’s sin. So true repentance refers to when people no longer sin or resist God. Only when we attain purification and transformation in our corrupt dispositions, such as selfishness, deceitfulness, arrogance, evil, greed, and more, thoroughly cast off the shackles and constraints of sin, are able to completely obey and love God, and never rebel against and resist God, can we be people who have true repentance and are qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Reflecting on Whether We Have True Repentance
Let’s compare ourselves against the standards required by God to see whether we have true repentance. We outwardly do some good deeds, but does this mean that we don’t sin or resist God anymore? Does this mean that we have been purified? We often live in the state of sinning and confessing and are unable to put the Lord’s words into practice, so how can we be called people who truly repent? For example, though we can work hard, we frequently count up our own contributions, and show off ourselves so that others think highly of us and look up to us. We can still struggle for reputation and interest, and engage in jealous disputes. In our everyday life, we can be tolerant and patient with people and do not quarrel with others, once other people infringe upon our interests or hurt our pride, however, we come to hate them, or even take revenge on them. In our home life, we claim that Christ is the head of our home, but we are self-centered, always wanting to have the final word on everything and wanting others to listen to us. When encountering natural or man-made disasters, we blame and misunderstand God, and can even betray God …
From these facts, we can see that no matter how many good deeds we do on the outside, how hard we work, and how capable we are of suffering and paying a price, this doesn’t mean that we have true repentance. Only by casting off our corrupt dispositions and no longer sinning to resist God, can we be people who truly repent. Only such people are able to be compatible with God and are eligible to enter the heavenly kingdom.
Why Is It That We Haven’t Achieved True Repentance?
Maybe some people will ask, “Our sins are forgiven for we have accepted the Lord Jesus’ salvation. But why do we still live in sin and fail to achieve true repentance?” Let’s read two passages of God’s words and then we’ll understand this question.
God says, “For all that man may have been redeemed and forgiven of his sins, it can only be considered as God not remembering the transgressions of man and not treating man in accordance with his transgressions. However, when man, who lives in a body of flesh, has not been set free from sin, he can only continue to sin, endlessly revealing his corrupt satanic disposition. This is the life that man leads, an endless cycle of sinning and being forgiven. The majority of mankind sin in the day only to confess in the evening. This way, even though the sin offering is forever effective for man, it will not be able to save man from sin. Only half the work of salvation has been completed, for man still has a corrupt disposition.” “The sins of man were forgiven, and this is because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live within his corrupt satanic disposition of old. This being so, man must be completely saved from his corrupt satanic disposition, so that his sinful nature may be completely extirpated, never to develop again, thus enabling the disposition of man to be transformed. This would require man to grasp the path of growth in life, to grasp the way of life, and to grasp the way to change his disposition. Furthermore, it would require man to act in accordance with this path, so that his disposition may gradually be changed and he may live under the shining of the light, so that all that he does may be in accord with the will of God, so that he may cast away his corrupt satanic disposition, and so that he may break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation.”
From God’s words we can see that the Lord Jesus, according to the needs of man in that age, did the work of redemption, became a sin offering for humanity by means of the crucifixion, and relieved man from the curses and condemnation of the law. Therefore, as long as we confess and repent our sins to the Lord, then our sins are forgiven, and we are then fit to enjoy His abundant grace. However, what the Lord Jesus did was just the work of redemption which did not involve changing people’s dispositions. And the satanic dispositions deeply rooted within ourselves like arrogance and conceit, selfishness and baseness, crookedness and deceitfulness and greed and evil, still remain within us and they are the source of our sinning. If we can’t rid ourselves of these corrupt dispositions, we will frequently sin and resist God in spite of ourselves. This is an undeniable fact. That is to say, if our sinful nature and the source of our sin can’t be resolved, no matter how long we have believed in the Lord, we still can’t achieve true repentance or stop sinning, and we will never enter God’s kingdom.
How to Achieve True Repentance
So, how can we achieve true repentance? The Lord Jesus prophesied, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come” (John 16:12–13). “He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). The Bible prophesies, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). It can be seen from these verses that there are many truths that the Lord Jesus hadn’t told us when He did His work. So, the Lord Jesus promised us that He would return in the last days, express more and higher truths, and perform the work of judging and cleansing man, thereby allowing us to completely free ourselves from the shackles of sin, be cleansed, and achieve true repentance.
Now the Lord Jesus has become flesh and returned. He expresses all truths to purify and save mankind and does the work of judgment starting with God’s house to utterly uproot the cause of mankind’s sins, so that people can achieve true repentance and change, and no longer sin or resist God. This fulfills the Lord Jesus’ prophecy, “And if any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:47–48). Then how does God use words to do the judgment work to purify us and allow us to achieve true repentance? Let’s read a passage of God’s words.
God’s words say, “Christ of the last days uses a variety of truths to teach man, to expose the substance of man, and to dissect the words and deeds of man. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the substance of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, the words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan, and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes over the long term. All these different methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth of which man is utterly bereft. Only methods such as these can be called judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced about God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt essence and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the essence of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him.”
In the last days, God expresses the truth to make people achieve true repentance. His words reveal in total clarity our satanic nature of resisting and betraying God, our attitudes toward God and toward the truth and our wrong pursuits in our belief, and dissect our actions and innermost thoughts. Like a double-edged sword, God’s words pierce our hearts, and make us know the root of our sinning and see clearly the truth of our corruption at the hands of Satan, allowing us to recognize how our nature and substance is full of arrogance, self-conceit, selfishness, and treachery. We know clearly God’s requirements, but we are always controlled by these satanic dispositions, rebelling against God and resisting God against our will, and unable to practice the truth, so we have become the embodiment of Satan. Facing God’s judgment and chastisement, we have been utterly convinced by God’s words, we prostrate ourselves before God, and begin to hate ourselves and curse ourselves, and thus we have true repentance. Meanwhile, we also sense profoundly that God’s word is the truth, it is all the revelation of God’s disposition and what the life of God is. We see that God’s righteous disposition does not tolerate offense, and that the essence of God’s holiness does not tolerate blemishes. The result is that a heart that reveres God is born, and we begin to seek the truth with all our might, and to behave according to the word of God. Following our gradual understanding of the truth, we know more and more the satanic nature and satanic disposition of ourselves, and we also know God more and more. Gradually, we can practice the truth to make up for our past transgressions, and then our corrupt dispositions can be purified. We will gradually escape the bonds of sin, no longer be controlled by satanic corrupt dispositions, no longer do evil or defy God and we will be able to truly obey and worship God, and achieve true repentance. Thus, accepting God’s judgment work in the last days is the only path for us to achieve true repentance.
Now, God’s judgment work is nearing its end, and all kinds of disasters occur one after another, so we don’t have much of a chance to repent. At this crucial moment, only by accepting God’s judgment work in the last days can we escape sins and achieve true repentance. Otherwise, our dream to enter the kingdom of heaven will never be realized.
Source: Grow in Christ — The Second Coming of Christ