Summary: Repentance is a life style not just words.

Colin McGeer Page 1 2002/06/27

Characteristics of Repentance

James 4:7-10

7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

This letter, as a whole, was written to spiritually young, Jewish converts.

James describes 6 characteristics of genuine repentance.

(1) submission to God,

(2) resistance of the devil,

(3) drawing near to God,

(4) cleansing of hands, and purifying the heart,

(5) Grieving, mourning, and weeping,

(6) humbling oneself in the sight of the Lord.

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Characteristics of Repentance

(1) Submitting to God

Submission is the opposite of human pride.

If you want to draw near to God, it requires your submission to God.

You cannot repent if you are unwilling to submit to Jesus sovereign authority in your life.

If you consider yourself to be a child of God yet you will not submit to the will of God because you are uncomfortable with the thought, or because your offended that anyone would suggest that you let go of what you may consider to be your independence, then you should reconsider just how genuine your faith is. The rich young ruler

You choose to submit it is a voluntary.

It means I commit myself entirely to God’s will. He in turn entirely protects us. (I submit because I know he wants the best for my life) Like a doctor wants good health for you.

Psalm 91

1He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 4He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shall thou trust:

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Characteristics of Repentance

Proverbs 3:5

1My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2For length of days, and longa life, and peace, shall they add to thee. 3Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: 4So shalt thou find favour and goodb understanding in the sight of God and man. 5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Those whom God is calling to Himself, those who are truly being led by the Spirit of God, will voluntarily submit to the authority of Jesus Christ in their lives as children of God.

If you truly repent, then you must swallow your pride and not only acknowledge Jesus Christ as your Saviour, but you must also submit to Him as the Lord of your life.

Jesus must have complete control of your life. Story of aircraft on ship deck.

Submitting to God means that you consciously, intelligently, purposefully put yourself under God’s control.

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Characteristics of Repentance

It is not just an act you perform at conversion; it is a daily choice from my side to submit.

Romans 12:1-2

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

1 Corinthians 15:31

31 I die every day!

(2) Resist The Devil

Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.

We are tempted in all forms of ways.

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Characteristics of Repentance

Galatians 5:19

19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I

have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God

Sin does not start with some large action. It begins with a thought.

When a person commits adultery that is not where the actual sin began. It started as a thought and pondered on long enough became lust and then the actual action.

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Characteristics of Repentance

Matthew 5:27

27Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29And if thy right eye offendd thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

The Greek word translated here as “resist” also means, “to stand against or oppose”

Illustration with cotton around your finger.

We can only submit to God in our day-to-day lives if we are actively engaged in resisting Satan, the enemy of God.

Peter wrote of this active engagement against the enemy. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world” (I Peter 5:8-9).

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Characteristics of Repentance

The Devil never comes openly, he deceives you. He is sly. You will not hate some one.

But some one hurts you.

You do not forgive.

A root of bitterness and he has you in his grip.

Un- forgiveness and you loose your peace and anointing. You become inactive and no more use in the body of Christ.

The Devil got you. Resist the Devil do what the word says “Forgive.”

Luke 4:3-14

3And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. 4And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. 5And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7If thou therefore wilt worship mea, all shall be thine. 8And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 9And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: 10For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: 11And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 12And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 13And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.

14And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee

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Characteristics of Repentance.

(3) Draw near to God.

The third characteristic of repentance is a desire to draw near to God.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

We cannot draw near to God if we have no desire to be in close to Him.

The desire of our heart must be to have intimate fellowship with Him, and, for the right reasons.

Isaiah 29:13.

“Then the Lord said, ‘Because this people draw near with their words and honour me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by habit or routine”

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Characteristics of Repentance.

In the verse from Isaiah, we see what I consider to be one of the saddest aspects of man’s existence—false worship.

Just as Jerusalem turned their back on God in order to hang on to their man-made, man-cantered traditions, we see the same things happening in churches today.

People are filling churches on Sundays under the auspices of worshipping God when, in reality, they are just paying Him lip service.

They think they can draw near to God without having a heart for true worship.

As the verse tells us, people remove their hearts far from the Lord as they fall into the ruts of their traditions.

They sing the songs on Sunday because everyone else in the room is singing.

They stand, sit, clap, or kneel before the Lord based solely on the command of the people in front of them, not out of reverence and genuine awe for the God in whose presence they think they want to be.

Their reverence has deteriorated to little more than habit memory.

When believers are involved in genuine worship, they come before God’s throne of grace, not to seek a warm fuzzy feeling but to seek Him.

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Characteristics of Repentance.

In fact, look at what James writes immediately after he gives the command to draw near to God. He writes, “ . . . and He will draw near to you.”

Psalm 63:1-5

“O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Because Your loving kindness is better than life, my lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.”

(4) Cleanse hands and purify heart.

We cannot let anything come between us and the Lord.

We can confess it to the Lord, whether it is sinful behaviour, evil desires, thoughts, attitudes, goals,

True confession is not the mere mental assent that we have done wrong, for even a thief will admit he’s done wrong in the bragging of his accomplishments.

No, confession means seeing and agreeing with God how our sins have harmed us and others.

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Characteristics of Repentance.

Several years ago the Peanuts comic strip had Lucy and Charlie Brown practicing football. Lucy would hold the ball for Charlie’s placekicking and then Charlie would kick the ball. But every time Lucy had ever held the ball for Charlie, he would approach the ball and kick with all his might. At the precise moment of the point of no return, Lucy would pick up the ball and Charlie would kick and his momentum unchecked by the ball, which was not there to kick, would cause him to fall flat on his back. This strip opened with Lucy holding the ball, but Charlie Brown would not kick the ball. Lucy begged him to kick the ball. But Charlie Brown said, "Every time I try to kick the ball you remove it and I fall on my back." They went back and forth for the longest time and finally Lucy broke down in tears and admitted, "Charlie Brown I have been so terrible to you over the years, picking up the football like I have. I have played so many cruel tricks on you, but I’ve seen the error of my ways! I’ve seen the hurt look in your eyes when I’ve deceived you. I’ve been wrong, so wrong. Won’t you give a poor penitent girl another chance?" Charlie Brown was moved by her display of grief and responded to her, "Of course, I’ll give you another chance." He stepped back as she held the ball, and he ran. At the last moment, Lucy picked up the ball and Charlie Brown fell flat on his back. Lucy’s last words were, "Recognizing your faults and actually changing your ways are two different things, Charlie Brown!"

(5) Grieving, mourning and weeping

James 4

9Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

This verse does not make much sense.

Jesus told us that he came to give us abundant life and to fill our lives with joy.

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Characteristics of Repentance.

James is talking to people who think that everything is all right in themselves and in their world.

People that say, We are healthy, we are wealthy, all is good in the world. Let us party

When you are living in a lie it is easy to pretend that everything is ok.

It is only when you face reality that you see how poor and weak you really are. When you are faced with your condition that is when you begin to weep, over your own state.

Joel 2:12-13,17

"Yet even now," declares the LORD, "Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping, and mourning; 13 And rend your heart and not your garments." Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in loving kindness, And relenting of evil. 17 Let the priests, the LORD’S ministers, Weep between the porch and the altar, And let them say, "Spare Thy people, O LORD, And do not make Thine inheritance a reproach, A byword among the nations. Why should they among the peoples say, ’Where is their God?’"

Jesus declared, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5.4).

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Characteristics of Repentance.

(6) Humble your self.

Humility suggests lacking all signs of pride,

Not having the I did it my way attitude

Humility is agreeing with God

1Peter 5.6-7.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”


i. Submit yourself

ii. Resistance of the devil,

iii. Drawing near to God,

iv. Cleansing of hands, and purifying the heart,

v. Grieving, mourning, and weeping,

vi. Humbling oneself in the sight of the Lord.

He shall lift you up.

The beautiful conclusion to this repentance is the divine raising up that comes from God and not ourselves.