Main Causes of Repentance?
Ninety-five percent of Christians today confuse the causes of repentance with the result of it! So, to be clear, why repenting happens?
The causes of repentance are not opinions but the Word of God. Therefore, putting all opinions and religious prejudices aside, let’s explore biblically, what are some of the main causes of repentance?
Regardless of how we feel about repentance, know for certain that we cannot repent autonomously on our own.
I have examined what is repentance and will not duplicate that effort here?
Repentance is intricately tied up with sins and forgiveness. Therefore, in dissecting the causes of repentance we must examine their relationships and inter-relationships.
However, forgiveness and confession are different from repentance!
One fundamental relationship, is how repentance is inextricably bound up in the Lord God and His Word.
In order for anyone (saint or sinner) to experience repentance such a one must first hear the Word of God.
The Call to Repent
Consequently, both Apostles Mark and Luke announced: “When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance“ (Mark 2:17 & Luke 5:32).
It is this “call” from our Lord Jesus Christ, which motivates us to repent. However, the call is distinct. It emanates from the Word of God and it vociferously says “Repent”. There is no mistaking this call for anything else.
No wonder all the major players in Christianity from John the Baptist to now when making the call to repentance: initiate it with the simple but effective word:”Repent”.
“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4).
God Commands Repentance
We experience the “goodness of God” via His Word. And this manifests during the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s this Word of God that reveals the goodness of God towards sinful man and proclaims the call to obey His Word.
Your obedience to this call is one of the major causes of repentance.
Since the call to repent comes from the Lord God but via earthly vessels, then He commands repentance.
“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30).
Proximity to this Motivates Repentance
According to Matthew, the proximity of the kingdom of God is such a phenomenal motivator to repent that the forerunner of Christ, John the Baptist, and Jesus himself preached this.
John the Baptist starts by preaching, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2).
Note his simple message, “repent” because the Kingdom of Heaven is nearby.
However, the Lord God to emphasize this cause of repentance, sent His Son, Jesus Christ, also to preach the identical message to John’s.
When it comes to understanding the Holy Bibe we just need to teach only what the Word teaches.
Subsequently, Jesus teaches us two important motivators of repentance. He too like John the Baptist teaches that because the Kingdom of God is near that’s reason enough for us to repent!
He encorages us, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).
Mark adds more details to Jesus’ exposition on repentance. For he not only explains two causes of repentance, but also one major consequence.
John & Jesus Preached This!
He explains that after John’s imprisonment Jesus came preaching repentance.
“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God” (Mark 1:14).
Now, pay attention as Jesus reiteriates a major cause of repentance that Matthew wrote about.
Apostle Mark writes, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
Jesus informs us because “the time” is accomplished and “the kingdom of God is” near we should repent.
But he’s not finished, for he then tells us what will happen when we repent; we will “believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
Thus, anyone who fails to repent cannot believe the gospel!
So, both John the Baptist and Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ inform us that the proximity of the Kingdom of Heaven to us motivates repentance in us!
Primary Causes of Repentance
The “riches of his goodness“; “forbearance“; and “longsuffering” do expose additional causes of repentance.
For example, over the years you have been haughty. The Lord has been “calling” you to repentance. You have heard His Word through preaching time after time. But you have not repented.
Had it not been for those three contributing factors above you wouldn’t have another opportunity to hear the call again.
Nevertheless, even after many years the Lord still suffers long with you and sends His Word to your heart time after time. He is longsuffering. And this feature is one of the causes of repentance.
The Lord doesn’t desire that anyone dies in sin before such a one could repent. Thus He’s patient and longsuffering with us.
This provides us with more time to repent before we die. His “forebearance” aids us to repent.
This Reason for Repentance is Unique to Individuals
This next reason for repentance is very unique to each individual. You are the only person that has the ultimate control over this cause of repentance. And this one speaks of the state of your heart.
The primary causes of repentance flow from the identical place from which lack of repentance stems: The heart.
If your heart (spirit) is tough and unbelieving you will not perceive any reason to repent.
However, if it’s broken and contrite it’s readily repentant. Moreover, the unbelieving heart cannot get near to the Lord God.
But He accepts and will never despise a heart-broken before Him.
All the major causes of repentance flow from the heart. They ebb not from a firm and unbelieving heart but from a meek and quiet spirit.
All Other Causes of Repentance Depend on this One
To conclude, for repentance to occur one must hear the Word of God, which calls the sinner to “Repent”. And it comes by way of hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Because of the goodness; forbearance and long-suffering of the Lord many repent and turn to Him.
Have you been postponing repenting over something that’s been gnawing away at your conscience?
Stop! Yield yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ. Your repentance comes from Him. The more Word of God you imbibe and put into your heart the easier it becomes for you to repent before God.
Because this Word of God is sharp and powerful it cuts away all the “hardness” from your heart thus making it easier to accept and believe His Word. Then comes repentance when you need to repent.
But if you have never heard or receive the Word of God repentance is far from you. How can you believe in Him whom you have never heard?
In closing, the major cause of repentance is God Himself. He sends His Word, His Son, and the riches of his goodness, and His forbearance and longsuffering and all work repentance in us.
The Bible puts it this way:
“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).
The Lord God by His mercies and grace is our one and only cause of repentance, for without Him we would all die in sin!