Summary: We can never maintain a right relationship with Jesus without a repentance that comes from Godly grief.
Beauty of Repentance
Illustration – Affluenza
Under almost all circumstances, if a person receives a conviction for vehicular manslaughter, due to drunk driving, that person will receive a lengthy prison sentence. This was not the case, however, for 16 year old Ethan Couch, who is a young man from a wealthy family in the state of Texas. It was the decision of a rather liberal judge that the 16-year-old suffers from “affluenza,” and therefore should not be severely punished. Even though the teen was driving drunk and killed four people, the fact that his wealthy parents let him get away with anything and everything justified the decision not to send Couch to prison.
In a true ironic twist of logic the judge determined that because Couch’s parent never punished him it was sufficient reason for the court not to punish him. At least the judge decided not to punish Ethan Couch to any real extent; Ethan received probation. Ethan, however, just could not deal with having to follow the courts instruction and after a year or two he stopped responding to the probation officer. He appeared to have dropped off the radar shortly after a video emerged that allegedly showed him breaking parole by being at a party where alcohol was consumed. The boy who was never taught to obey just could not abide by the law even when very little was being asked of him.
It turns out that Ethan and his mother fled to Mexico and was living in the Pacific resort city of Puerto Vallarta. Eventually they were apprehended and now both the mother and her son are facing serious charges. It is even possible that Ethan, who is now 19, could be tried in adult court. If this happens, and he is found guilty, he will end up in prison. It would have been so much better for the boy to have acknowledge that what he did wrong, repent of his sins, and endured the mild punishment he was given. Instead, he was totally oblivious to the fact that he was wrong and that he needed to change the way he thinks and acts. He continued to live a sinful lifestyle and it will cost him dearly.
It sounds as if, in today’s world, affluenza means if you have never repented in the past it is justification for not repenting today. This may very well stand in the liberal courts of man but it has absolutely no power in the court of God. Only the repentant person who has sought forgiveness through Jesus Christ will stand un-condemned in the court of God. In this biblical sense, the word ‘repent’ is a translation of the Greek word ‘metanoéō.’ Metanoéō is made up of two words: metá, which means "changed after being with" and noiéō, which means "think differently after" or "after a change of mind." Thus, biblically speaking, to repent is to experience a change in the way we think and act, after we have been exposed to the teachings of Jesus, which has shown us our current way is wrong in the eyes of God. In other words, in the court of man you are not required to repent, but in the court of God you are expected to regret your sin and labor to no longer think the same way regarding this particular sin.
The point in all of this is that “repentance” is not some ritual or simply saying, “I am sorry.” Repentance is a state of mind; and, repentance is the conviction to change ones way of life. John the Baptist, after chastising the Pharisees and Sadducees for their evil lifestyle, told them to bear fruit in keeping with repentance. (Matthew 3:8) John was telling the Pharisees and Sadducees to live a life that is a product of their repenting. Please note, repenting does not do away with our sins. Repenting is the process that changes our minds so that our mind is in sync with God’s instructions, which brings us into a right relationship with God. It is because of our returning to this right relationship with Jesus that God can forgive us our sins. We could say that we understand the seriousness of sin (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-3) and we develop a deep desire to be forgiven. (Psalm 51:1-3, Hebrews 9:14) It also means, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, that we are resolved to deny any attempt at justifying or excusing our actions. Furthermore, it means we are committed to changing our thoughts and actions in order to stop sinning (Matthew 3:8; Acts 26:19-20). It is true repentance that empowers our request for forgiveneness through Jesus Christ.
Affluenza denies the necessity of repentance, making it a warped and distorted logic straight out of the pits of hell. Even more insidious is the demon-spawned belief that a single repentance generates eternal absolution of sin; and thus, we will never have a need for future repentance. This ‘once saved always saved’ demonic myth totally destroys the validity of repentance in the minds of those who buy this snake oil. It is a heinous liar who would teach that we can live a life, which repeatedly produces deeds of the flesh, and still enter the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21) The truth is, when we are saved we enter into a relationship with Jesus and we spend the rest of our lives developing and maturing this relationship. When sin enters our life it destroys this relationship with Jesus and when our relationship with Jesus is destroyed we are no longer worthy to enter the kingdom of God; thus, if we are to enter into the kingdom of God we must live a life, which is filled with repentance. It is like Paul told the Romans; we are in a perpetual battle with sin and this battle demands repeated repentance. (Romans 7:13-25)