In Acts 11, we read that the gentiles were granted “repentance that leads to life.” But what exactly is repentance? Repentance is not blame-shifting, minimizing, merely being moved by the gospel, feeling sorry, or confessing your sins. Repentance is a turning from sin to faith in Jesus—a change of mind, that leads to a change of heart, that leads to a change of action. Though we need to repent from our sin and trust Jesus to be saved, we will not do so on our own. Why? Because before Jesus saves us, we are enslaved to our sin—addicted to it and in love with it. So how may we repent? The key is in verse 18 of Acts 11: “And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.'” Repentance is a God-given gift of sovereign grace. When God the Holy Spirit personally comes and “makes us alive,” “washing us with regeneration” by grace, we will then see the truth of Jesus, love Jesus, trust Jesus alone, and follow Jesus. God doesn’t force us to repent; rather, He graciously and lovingly removes all of the obstacles that are keeping us from repenting.
ACTS 11:1-18 Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, 3 “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” 4 But Peter began and explained it to them in order: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. 6 Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ 10 This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven. 11 And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea. 12 And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter; 14 he will declare to you a message by whichyou will be saved, you and all your household.’ 15 As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
Repentance is not blame-shifting, minimizing, merely being moved by the gospel, feeling sorry, or confessing your sins.
2. Which of the 5 above mentioned counterfeits of repentance stands out to you and why?
Repentance is a turning from sin to faith in Jesus—a change of mind, that leads to a change of heart, that leads to a change of action.
3. What do you think the worlds perception of repentance is and does this differ from the biblical view? When you realize you’ve sinned, do you seek to repent or do you settle for one of the counterfeits of repentance?
God doesn’t force us to repent; rather, He graciously and lovingly removes all of the obstacles that are keeping us from repenting.
4. How does knowing that God is the one who grants repentance help you understand how you became a Christian? Knowing that God is the one who grants repentance, what should we focus on as we seek to repent? Try and be specific by giving an example from your life.
3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. TITUS 3:3-7
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