Lead me in your truth and teach me for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 25 verse 5

Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will He instruct in the way that he should choose.

Psalm 25 verse 12

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Psalm 32 verse 8

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Psalm 51 verse 6

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.

Psalm 86 verse 11

Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord, and whom you teach out of your law.

Psalm 94 verse 12

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good spirit lead me on level ground.

Psalm 143 verse 10

All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children's peace.            

Isaiah chapter 54 verse 13

Jesus said: Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Matthew chapter 11 verse 29

Jesus said: It is written in the prophets, "And they shall all be taught by God". Therefore, everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.

John chapter 6 verse 45

An online digest of the truth about God as we find it in the Bible

2. What it Means to Repent?

Let's begin by having a look at what the word 'repentance' actually means.

Chambers English Dictionary defines the verb "to repent" as:

"to regret, sorrow for, or wish to have been otherwise, what one has done or left undone; (repent of) to change from past evil; to feel contrition."

Mark's Gospel opens with the prophet John the Baptist:

... baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.Mark 1:4

After Jesus was baptised by John, He himself began to go about preaching:

"The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel." Mark 1:15

The Greek words here translated as "repent" and "repentance" are respectively the verb 'metanoeo' and the noun 'metanoia' (numbers 3340 and 3341 in Strong's Concordance). The basic meaning here is to have a change of mind, or a change of heart, brought about by a recognition that up until now one has been in the wrong.

There are two things that human beings tend to resist fairly vigorously; one is change, and the other is admission of guilt or failure. We always like to put a brave face on things and endeavour to justify our beliefs, opinions, and actions. Nobody likes to own up to being wicked, foolish, or selfish. We like to think of ourselves as being honest, decent, fair-minded, and tolerant. We also like to believe that we're always right, and we take exception to anyone suggesting the contrary.

There are many ways of enlightenment on offer today, with varying degrees of popularity. They tend to have in common the belief that man is able, of his own resources, to attain to enlightenment (however that may be defined in the system of your choice). The Gospel of Jesus Christ, however, begins with the following assertion:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23

In other words, whoever you are, whatever you may have done, whatever you may have achieved, however many accolades you may have received from other people, as far as God is concerned you're just not good enough - you don't make it in God's estimation. As Paul says elsewhere:

you ... were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath Ephesians 2:1-3

That doesn't sound very encouraging. I can hear you saying, "I thought the gospel was supposed to be good news. This sounds like pretty bad news. It seems that God's got it in for me".

Well, in a sense that's perfectly true. If you have set your heart on going your own way and doing your own thing without any reference to God; or, even worse, if you're pretending to be godly and holy and righteous, but all the time you're following your own agenda; then, yes, God is going to deal with you quite severely. The truth is that the Kingdom of God is not open to self-righteous people, no matter how good-living they may appear to be, or may think themselves to be. God's judgement is that "all have sinned". That doesn't leave many out. Does it leave you out? Welcome to the human race.

The good news is that it doesn't stop there. In Romans chapter 3 Paul continues:

... all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement (or "as the one who would turn aside his wrath, taking away sin"), through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished. He did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so that he might be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.Romans 3:23-26

We'll be thinking more about faith in another lesson. All I want to say about it at this point is that without faith you're going nowhere. The reason for this is because if you are going to make good out of what Jesus has done for you, you need to believe two things:

1. That you need His help, because you can't do anything for yourself. You're a sinner; you've incurred the wrath of God; God is going to deal with you; there's not a thing that you can do to appease Him. Anything you try to do will only make things worse, because the root motivation of everything that you do is selfish, and that is obnoxious to God.

2. That He has done everything that needs to be done to make a way for you to be accepted by God, forgiven, cleansed, healed, delivered, set free, and empowered. What Jesus accomplished through His death on the cross and His subsequent resurrection is all that is necessary to enable you to come into the presence of God and find grace and mercy there.

Go back to "1. Why do we Need to Repent?" Go on to "3. How to Repent"