Every cook knows the difference a vital missing ingredient makes to the taste of the product.
What about a missing ingredient (say a square root sign) in a mathematical equation?
Or a missing direction (such as “turn left at the crossroads”) in instructions to reach a destination?
Or how about a missing ingredient (the murder weapon?) in solving a crime?
In many years of counselling I have found there is a missing ingredient in many accounts I have heard from people professing to be Christians, and that missing ingredient is REPENTANCE.
It is said that Mickey Cohen the notorious gangster once professed to invite Jesus Christ into his life. His life showed no sign of change and when challenged by his friend, he replied “You didn’t tell me I’d have to give up my work” (ie his criminal rackets). He had heard that so-and-so was a Christian cowboy and she was a Christian actress and he was a Christian senator – so he concluded he could be a Christian gangster!
What a contradiction! – Christian gangster!? But it would seem this is the base thought of many who think life will just continue as it was, but because of a “decision” made, they can now wear the tag “Christian.”
SO WHAT IS REPENTANCE?
Repentance is a U turn: an about face. We have been travelling in one direction, pleasing self and facing the road to disaster. Repentance is recognising the error of the way and doing a 180° turn; thus turning our back on the wrong way and travelling in the opposite direction: the way God directs.
Repentance is to leave the sin
That I indulged before
And show that I am grieved by it
By doing it no more!
The Greek word for repentance is metanoia. It is composed of two parts: meta meaning change and noia meaning the mind. Therefore, repentance requires a change of mind and attitude.
The word occurs more than 50 times in the New Testament and yet we seldom hear of it in preaching or counselling today.
Too many people are like young Tommy . . .
Tommy had trouble pronouncing the letter “r” so his teacher gave him a sentence to practice at home. He had to say constantly “Robert gave Richard a rap in the ribs for roasting the rabbit so rare.” Some days later the teacher asked Tommy to say the sentence and he rattled it off quickly: “Bob gave Dick a poke in the side for not cooking the bunny enough.”
A lot of people go to great lengths to avoid the “r” word but GOD REQUIRES REPENTANCE. Without repentance there can be no forgiveness.
When Christ appeared to the eleven after His resurrection
He charged them
“that repentance and remission of sins
should be preached in His Name among all nations”
Are we guilty of missing a vital ingredient from our witnessing?