'... “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.” '
Going through the “Acts of the Apostles”, bible study with Louie Giglio this week, this verse stuck out to me:
'... “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.” ' Acts 11:18
This verse concludes a very important section in which Peter gives proof to Jewish believers that Gentiles do in fact receive the Holy Spirit and are included in the redeemed family of God. That was huge for them, and is huge for us today as many of us are not Jewish and yet grafted in to God’s family.
What I love about this verse is the phrase, “repentance that leads to life”. This description of the work of salvation is worded in a unique way in which repentance is emphasized. Also, earlier in Acts 2, when Peter gives his sermon at Pentecost and is asked, “Brothers, what shall we do?”, Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized…”. These two descriptions of the process of salvation by Peter start with repentance. The word, “repent”, though used by many different authors in the bible, has a core definition of, “turning away from sin, and turning towards righteousness because of your faith in the Lord”. Though that may seem obvious, for me personally it was a concept that I never fully grasped until years after first hearing the gospel. In my mind, faith and repentance weren’t connected. I believed I could have “faith” that Jesus is Lord and go to heaven, without it affecting any other part of my life. But, that isn’t what true faith is. True faith in Christ means that one completely entrusts their entire life to Him. This means that one trusts that living their life in worship and obedience to God is truly the best way to live. This means that how I spend my time, money, and resources is no longer dictated by me, but should be under the Lordship of Jesus. This means how I talk to my family, friends, and co-workers should be a reflection of my belief that Jesus’ way is truly the best way to live. This means that my core direction, dreams, and aspirations are now under the rule of Jesus.
This idea of repentance is an ongoing action, not a one-and-done type of deal. Just as we are to continue to have faith in Jesus each day, we are called to repentance each day. When I began living out my faith through repentance, things changed! There was a lot of conviction of how I was living selfishly and sinfully, but there was joy and peace that I have never known before.
Back to the verse; It is truly a blessing that, “God has granted repentance that leads to life.” I believe that true life is found in a life of repentance with its foundation rooted in faith in Christ as Lord.