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Knowing just what one needs to turn from is part of its reality. Vague repentance is nothing, or at least next to nothing.            

 --J.I. Packer

In the Old Testament, repentance was the acknowledgment of sin, accompanied by an acceptable sacrifice. The sin was then forgiven and the sinner restored to fellowship with God. Repentance was seen in external forms such as, fasting, sackcloth and ashes as well as general days of penitence intended to bring Israel to repentance. These public displays of repentance were often subject to criticism. God desired that the people genuinely repent, not partake in empty ritualism (Isaiah 58, Hosea 6:1-3, 6; 7:14, Amos 5:21-24).

God’s desire for us is that we not only confess our sins, but that we repent of them. The Greek word repentance means, a change of place or condition. It’s the abandonment of a course of action which defied God by doing what He dislikes or forbids. It shows a change of one’s mind or direction with the intent of never returning to the prior condition. Here’s where we see the importance of obedience to God and His Word.

God created us for fellowship with Himself and is worthy of our obedience to His commands. We can be indifferent to sin by ignoring it, but God is not indifferent to sin.  Knowledge from God's Word of His expectations is needed to recognize the sin we are committing and thus confess it and claim forgiveness. The reading, understanding and applying of God's word is of utmost importance if we desire to raise our consciousness about God's hatred of sin and how we offend Him by not taking His demands seriously.

Daily we need to examine our lives against the Word of God, humble ourselves before God, and repent, desiring a radical change of direction, not only in behavior, but in thought. When a Christian has repented and lives in obedience to God, it is then and only then, that the world will see that Christ is making a difference in an individual’s life.

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