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Repentance: Literal & Symbolic
How To Study

1 John1:9 Neh.1:6b

Repentance is not only feeling sorry for our faults but correcting them and making up for the offense committed. Repentance is getting out of sin by entering God's domain. It is a process done in the will and way of God, where the plumbline is Jesus. He is the reason, truth and principle of repentance. He is the standard and basis of godly repentance--- its philosophy, science, art, process, system, network, relationships, progress and results.

Repentance is a change of mind, attitude, behavior, emotion and action. A change from wickedness to godliness. A change that may be drastic, dramatic, quiet, overnight or slow. Its pace depends on the measure of fear and love of God of the repentant person. One who is passionately in love with God and gives himself totally to the Lord will likely pursue, at all cost, the will of God to breakthrough the obstacles and inconveniences of repentance to the detail quickly even when situations seem impossible. One of the fiercest obstacles of repentance is fear and pride. One who is afraid of the reaction of the offended or offending party will hesitate to go to the people concerned. He will dilly dally for the comfortable time in making amends with them. This is a wrong attitude. Repentance and restitution must be treated with urgency because of the need to close the doors to demons who intrude and infect the relationship to fester and deteriorate into hostility, bitterness and hatred.

We have counseled a couple that cannot become legally married to each other due to their previous marriages. They were not Christians at that time when they got entangled in this wrong relationship. But by God's grace, they came to know the Lord and became believers. Now they realize that they are in a sinful situation and they are wanting to correct their situation which is humanly complex to comprehend because of their having children to father and mother. What should they do?

The primary approach to this situation is to know and understand the will and way of God. Then to believe the power of God to manifest in the most impossible situation when you pursue to obey him will launch you to complete obedience to his will. Many Christians are afraid to walk on waters, basically, because of fear. Fear cripples the person's ability to trust God. But almost every human being has this but it is the choice of the person to overcome this fear, a lie of the enemy that attacks anyone of us as we blaze into new heights or venture into new paths entirely alien to our comprehension. But one who chooses to believe God in spite of the odds will move mountains. But this person is one who is determined to love the Lord above all else. As it is written, those who do not love their lives so much as to shrink from death and by the blood of the lamb and by their testimony, they shall overcome ( Rev.12:11 ).

We told the couple to stop sinning by stopping their sexual relationship. They have found comfort and dependence, financial and emotional, on each other and these factors that bind them led them to express their love physically resulting to sexual relationship which is obviously sinful because they are not husband and wife in the Lord. To cut this emotional tie and dependence that leads to lust and sexual sins, they need to separate and cut off their dependence, emotional and soulish tie on each other. This is the hard part because this can be regarded as an impossible thing to do for those who have enjoyed the security and pleasure of such a relationship. But if those involved are dead to self and are determined to love God above all else, then they can do it. Indeed, they will reap the harvest of righteousness.

Also in cases where couples are afraid to separate, reasons to justify their togetherness become their focus rather than on the wisdom of separation. They may put credit to their click relationship that led them to know the Lord as their Lord and Savior. They may also use their children as a godly reason to stay together. These reasons are very common in these cases.

But one whose love is God above all will do what God wants him to do. He knows that God is the author of families. He knows that righteousness will not destroy though at first it hurts. It will heal then builds up godly security and dependence on God rather than on man. Then the experience of walking on water will establish a sure foundation of trusting the Lord and being secured in his command. This experience will usher you to divine understanding because you fear and love the Lord. You see what no eye has seen, hear what no ear has heard and conceive what no mind has conceived before because you love the Lord ( 1 Cor. 2:9 ).

The evidence of repentance is the physical change seen in behavior and action. The change starts in the mind and attitude. The plan and the will to change leads to the change of behavior and action. But the process of change is under the direction of the Holy Spirit. He gives the wisdom on how to make up. He is also the grace, peace and comfort when pain and rejection attack. The common setback of pursuing restitution is the fear of rejection and pain. In other situations, insecurity becomes the main obstacle particularly when restitution calls for giving up of rights where false security is anchored. This slows down the plan and move to make up in most of us.

Every person has built-in conscience. This enables him to distinguish good and evil.

When we have done wrong, our conscience tells that what we did is wrong. But we make choices and these are some of them:

* accept the fault and make up. You make plans and moves to make up, restitute even when others share the bigger fault in the situation.

* accept the fault and let it be. You choose to leave it as it is. You assume that time will heal.

* accept the fault and wait for the person involve to make the first move then that will be the time for you to make up.

* accept the fault but blame the other person for your fault. He should come to you first before you ask him for his forgiveness

* accept the fault but regard the other person to have the bigger fault. You don't see any sense in asking for his forgiveness because this will only make him proud and blind to his faults.

In any given situation, repentance is

our godly response to conviction. Our spirit-soul-body responds to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. So we ask for forgiveness from God the Father through his Son Jesus, our Advocate. We make a choice and a commitment to shift from ungodliness to godliness, from bad to good, from lust to love, from bitterness to forgiveness, from fear to faith, from flesh to spirit, from pride to humility, from rebellion to submission and so on.

The process of repentance may be swift or slow, depending on the response of the repenting person. It can be overnight or over the years.

Repentance include restitution and retribution.

Saying sorry and being remorseful for what you have said and done is not complete repentance.You must replace what was damaged. And the most difficult to restore or replace are damaged emotions. This is where humility and persistence in pursuing restoration are needed, particularly when the victim of your wrong doing is not responding to your repentance. It is easy to go to God who does not reject repentance, but God wants us to restore and replace what we have damaged. He wants us to go to the persons we damaged and restore them.

The Prophetic Repentance

This is one of the warfare tactics and strategies God gives to his intercessors and warriors. When they are interceding for individuals, tribes and nations, the Holy Spirit will lead them to travail. They groan for God’s grace and mercy.

The intercessor is lifted up to the presence of God in his Throne of Grace. He gets soak with God’s compassion and breaks into weeping and groaning, laboring in love like a pregnant woman about to give birth. He emotes the heart of the Father and of Jesus, who remembers mercy instead of wrath ( Hab.3:2 NIV ).

God reveals the sins of the sinners. He may open your spiritual eyes to see in visions the things you need to cover in prayer. The angel of the Lord may grab your spirit and take you to the places of abomination and weep in the behalf of the sinners ( Ezekiel 8 ).

But this experience is not something that intercessors opt to do. Every detail must be in God’s plan and purpose, tactics and strategies.

There is a season of pregnancy and a season of birthing, weaning, growing and maturing. Even our prayers, intercession and warfare are in the seasons of the Lord. He leads us in different situations, events, time and place. This is becasue He is our Lord and Master who commands us to do his will.

We are not little children sent to battle but spiritual grown-ups who must obey in the disciplines of his army. But being tough in battle does not make our hearts callous to sinners needing God’s grace and mercy. We might be tough and offensive to the devil but we must be kind and gentle to people. So, we cry for them in our prayer and go in their shoes and say, “ Lord, deal with me. Let me take the floggings in their behalf..Let me restore what they have damaged...Let me pay their debt.” This is prophetic repentance and restitution.