Reapproaching Repentance (Romans with J.D. Walt)

Prayer of Consecration

Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body as a holy and living sacrifice to you.

Jesus, We belong to you.

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.


You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

Romans 2:1–4 (NIV) 

Consider This

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was way back in the late 1900s, near the turn of the century. I was a local church pastor in Texas. One day our worship leader invited me to listen to a new song he was writing and give him my thoughts. The song gripped me and to remember it takes me there. Here are some of the words:

Open up the skies of mercy.

Rain down the cleansing flood

Healing waters rise around us

Hear our cries, Lord

Let them rise

And then the chorus:

It’s your kindness, Lord

That leads us to repentance.

Your favor Lord is our desire.

It’s your beauty, Lord

That makes us stand in silence.

And your love is better than life.

My thoughts? Wow! Amazing! Perfect.

Though I had contributed thoughts and ideas to some of his other songs, I was speechless before this one.

The song revealed something about repentance I had never grasped. In those days repentance felt to me like behavior management. You know—stop sinning.

If there were two words I would not have connected it would have been kindness and repentance. And there they are plain as day in today’s text:

God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

The Greek word behind repentance is metanoia. It means to have a change of mindset. A related meaning for repentance is to make a 180-degree turnaround.

It brings us back around to our conversation about focus. Will we focus on the problem of Sin or on the person of Jesus? We can’t simultaneously focus on that which we are turning away from and that which we are turning to. We must choose. The focus of repentance is not on turning away from sin but on turning to Jesus.

The person of Jesus is the riches of the kindness of God. As we turn to him we begin to turn our lives over to him and sin loses not only its luster but its power. It’s why the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of all who will believe. It’s why the gospel is Jesus.  


Jesus, we belong to you. Yes, Jesus, I belong to you. Jesus, you are the gospel. You are the kindness of God. You are the power of God. It’s why I love to repent because it means turning to you. As I am turned to you I cannot at the same time be turned to sin. Come Holy Spirit and train me in this turning to Jesus and turning my life over to him. It is an awe-filled thought to fathom how he has turned his life toward me. What a kindness. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen.

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