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IN TOUCH WITH GOD   by Edward Heppenstall

Fellowship With God FEBRUARY 15


Him hath God exalted . . . for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. Acts 5:31.

Christ came proclaiming the good news of resurrection to a new life, to free those enslaved and held prisoners by the prince of darkness, to make the weak strong, to open the ears of those who are deaf to the love and mercy of God. Christ came bringing God to us. He wants us to return to God. Therefore, He calls, "Repent ye."

The original word means a change of mind, of heart, a complete shift at the center of our lives, a return to God. Repentance is the highest creative activity of which we are capable. It is not only a passing outburst of emotional regret for past sins that quickly wears away. It is not simply saying, "I am sorry for what I have done." There are momentary feelings of regret, the stings of remorse, the fear of punishment. Thus repentance has been thought of as a sad, painful, humiliating experience.

Repentance does include true sorrow for sins committed, but Christ has much more in mind. He calls for a complete turning to God and acceptance of His mind in place of our self-centered mind-total commitment to His side. Repentance is not a word to be feared and avoided. It is a wonderful word. When we turn to God with all our hearts and minds, that is repentance. When we make Christ our center of reference, that is repentance. When we make the mind of Christ our mind, that is repentance.

The concern of repentance is a change of mind that prepares us to judge and condemn sin before we have actually committed it. We recognize the seed of sin the moment it enters the mind, and we condemn it right then. We face the problem of sin at its source. Therefore we refuse to go into sin. We have the mind of Christ. "As he thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Prov. 23:7). True repentance is aimed at motivation, changing the motivation before we have committed the sin itself. We need more than forgiveness for past sins. We need the mind of Christ that keeps us from getting into sin. That is what Christ offers to us in repentance.

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