“And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Acts [2:38]
After Peter confronts the crowd with their sin, they become broken. They feel bad and remorseful over their sin. But Peter presses in and calls the crowd to go one step further and repent!
There is a big difference between remorse and repentance. Pastor Rick Renner describes the difference between guilt, remorse, regret, and repentance:
• Guilt is a prison that will keep you perpetually bound and unchanged.
• Remorse enslaves you in sorrow that engulfs you emotionally and leaves you feeling sad, depressed, hopeless, and unchanged.
• Regret is self-pity that is focused more on your own personal loss than on the pain or loss you caused to others or to the heart of God, and it leaves you unchanged.
• Repentance is a quality decision to change — and when genuine repentance occurs in a person’s heart and mind, you can be sure the Holy Spirit will release His power to effect change in that person’s life and lead him to freedom!
Repentance is what God desires in our lives.
We see the difference between repentance and remorse in the responses of Judas and Peter. In Matthew 27, we see that after betraying Jesus, Judas was overwhelmed with remorse and sadness but never repented. Instead, the feeling overwhelmed him, and he hung himself. Peter, on the other hand, also felt remorse for denying Jesus, but he went further and repented after he looked Jesus in the eyes (Luke [22:61]). Peter’s repentance later led to his forgiveness and restoration by Jesus in John 21.
Jesus, when I sin, please help me to not only feel badly, but cause me to change! Amen.