The satanically-inspired music, obscene video games, and t-shirts with lewd designs were all burned without a shred of regret. I was a new believer, and I had just read the words of Jesus, where He requires repentance from all who wish to follow Him: “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). Therefore, I incinerated the emblems of my former life because God had stoked the flames of true repentance in my heart. I knew that such things couldn’t come along in my new Christian pilgrimage—they had to be left behind for Christ. And that is what real repentance is all about.
Repentance is more than regret or remorse (cf. 2 Cor. 7:10-11). Repentance is not when you cry—it’s when you change. It involves a deliberate rejection and renunciation of sin. It is a holy determination that says, “I am done with sin and I am abandoning it for the Savior.” Repentance is letting go of your sins and taking hold of Christ (cf. Luke 9:23-27; 18:18-30).
Real repentance entails divorcing sin and “marrying” Jesus, no matter the cost. It is what the practitioners of black magic exhibited in Acts 19, which says, “Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver” (vv. 18-19). The loss of their valuable magic books didn’t matter when they were gaining Christ (cf. Phil. 3:7-11).
Have you genuinely repented of your sin and surrendered to Christ? Have you laid aside all the weights of iniquity that would keep you from following Christ (Heb. 12:1)? If so, repentance is something you should still practice as a believer. After all, the Lord calls even His children to repent (cf. 2 Chron. 7:14; Rev. 2:5, 16, 21-22; 3:3, 19). As the reformer John Calvin once said, “Repentance is not merely the start of the Christian life; it is the Christian life.”
Believer, sing the words of I Am Resolved in your heart and life as you continue to repent of sin:
“I am resolved no longer to linger,
charmed by the world’s delight;
things that are higher, things that are nobler,
these have allured my sight.
I will hasten to Him,
hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, greatest, highest,
I will come to Thee.
I am resolved to go to the Savior,
leaving my sin and strife;
He is the true one, He is the just one,
He has the words of life.”
— Palmer Hartsough (1844-1932)
Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).
For more devotional entries like this, check out Brandon’s latest book, Bible Gleanings Volume II, which features 100 daily devotionals gleaned from God’s word: