"God commandeth all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30)
U-turns can be dangerous. On fast roads they are often illegal. There is one U-turn, however, that is not only right but absolutely essential. Not only are we allowed to do it but we must. The Lord Jesus Christ said, "Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke 30:3).
The word translated "repentance" in our Bible is made up of two words. One of these words means "change" and the other means "mind". Repentance is a change of mind, a change of attitude, a change of direction. It is a U-turn.
Turning From Sin
"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God for he will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:7). This is more than an outward clean-up of the life due to fear of the trouble some sins might bring in this life or Hell in the next. This change reaches to the "thoughts" and it includes a change of attitude towards sin specifically because sin is against God. David, when confessing his sin to God said, "Against thee, thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight" (Psalm 51:4). Sin is every way in which we fall short of what God requires of us in thinking, speaking and doing. A Christian is not perfect in this world but when a man claims to have become a Christian without a basic change of attitude towards sin he is deceiving himself but he will not deceive God. "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy" (Proverbs 28:13).
Turning From Pride
The heart of man is full of pride ever since the devil’s false promise was listened to when he said "Ye shall be as gods" (Genesis 3:5). Sinful pride makes men want to be independent of God and nowhere more so than in the realm of salvation. Some deny the existence of God, some deny they have sinned against God, while others admit they are sinners but desperately want to believe they can save themselves. When a man repents he abandons all this futile arrogance and acknowledges himself to be what God says he is - a helpless, guilty and justly condemned sinner.
Turning to Christ
The Apostle Paul preached "repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21). Turning from sin (including self-righteousness in all it’s forms) and trusting in Christ to save us from our sin and guilt are two sides of the same thing. Conversion is turning from sin to Christ. Have you done this? Our opening text makes it clear that God requires you to do so.
"Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?" (Ezekiel 33:11)