Lesson Goal: Help the disciple understand the nature of repentance and determine whether or not they have repented.
Instructor’s Notes: When one repents their entire mindset about life changes, particularly their view of God, sin and themselves. They begin to realize that they are not as good as they thought they were, but are actually rebels against a good and holy Creator. This radical alteration in thinking leads to a fundamental shift in the focus of their lives. Whereas before their own desires and plans were the driving force of their life, God and His will now become the main focus of their lives. They determine that they will no longer live for themselves but will learn to obey everything that Jesus taught.
It is important to understand that genuine repentance is not perfect. True Christians often fail to perfectly obey God’s will out of ignorance, and sometimes due to willful disobedience. But in general they live in obedience to the commands they know and are determined to learn more about God’s will for every area of their lives. Disciples must understand that true repentance is not equal to absolute moral and spiritual perfection. Instead it is a real determination to live a new life of obedience to God and to leave behind the rebellious self-centered life. This determination is not a process, it is a decision we make in response to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, but walking out this determination is a lifelong process with many ups and downs.
It is also important to understand that though genuine repentance does not lead to perfection, it does lead to real and noticeable changes. If a person claims that they have repented of their rebellion against God but still determines that they will practice some sins, they have not yet repented. A person who has repented has determined to stop all sin, though they will fail sometimes, they cannot imagine living in willful and habitual sin. Their mindset has changed towards sin; they don’t want to live in it any longer. They still have sinful desires, but they are determined by God’s help to resist and overcome those desires. If a person is still content to knowingly live in sin, in any area of their lives, they have not yet repented.
Read: Acts 2:38, Luke 9:23-24
Teaching: God calls us to salvation by convincing us of our sin and rebellion. The first thing we must do in response to God’s call to salvation is repent; that is, we must turn from our rebellion and submit to Him. We must determine to stop living for ourselves and our own desires, and make obeying the will of God the primary goal of our lives. We must begin a lifelong pursuit of submitting every area of our lives to the teaching and lordship of Jesus Christ. We must turn away from living self-centered lives and begin to put Jesus Christ at the center of everything we think, say and do.
Discussion: Have you repented of your rebellion against God? Please share about when and why you repented. What changes have you seen in your life since you repented? Are there still some sins that you plan on committing in the future, or have you decided to stop all sin? Are you afraid of falling into sin or are you planning on falling into sin?