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Summary: When I say “repentance” what comes to mind? The word has become one used primarily in religious conversations. Dinner time talks don’t usually center around the concept of repentance. Yet is a key to our eternal destiny and our every day walk with God.

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What Is Repentance?

2 Corinthians 7

Pastor Tom Fuller

When I say “repentance” what comes to mind? The word has become one used primarily in religious conversations. Dinner time talks don’t usually center around the concept of repentance. Yet is a key to our eternal destiny and our every day walk with God.

What does it mean to repent? As we get into the 7th chapter of 2nd Corinthians we’re going to find out but first I want to talk about what repentance is NOT.

• Repentance is not feeling guilty.

We do something wrong and the Holy Spirit or our conscience tells us its wrong and we feel guilty – that isn’t repentance

• Repentance is not confession.

Confession is a part of repentance but isn’t the whole picture. Just admitting to a sin doesn’t mean you have repented.

• Repentance is not rationalizing or giving reasons for sin.

Remember the Garden of Eden? “The woman …” “The serpent …”

We don’t necessarily think the sin is okay, but there were extenuating circumstances. That’s not repentance.

• Repentance is not penance.

This is big in the Catholic church – but we do it too. “God if you’ll forgive me I’ll go to church every day for the rest of my life and spend 4 hours a day in prayer.” Or we do something to prove that we really should be forgiven like give lots of money. This too is not repentance.

So what is it? It’s obviously important.

Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”

Let’s read on and find out.

7:1 Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

Some people stop right here – they preach the purity and the “perfecting holiness” but they leave out God’s grace in the “how”. They say “be holy, even as I am holy” but don’t let us know that we are simply incapable of it. It’s impossible. So we are set up for failure.

To understand how to get to purity we must understand 1) that only God can make us pure – and that 2) the first step for us is repentance. (Paul gets to that in verse 8)

First he sets the stage by stating his own innocence. And here’s a good word too – if you didn’t do anything wrong, you have nothing to apologize about!

2 Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. 4 I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.

Wronged: injured. Corrupted: bribed. Exploited: cheated.

Our actions didn’t cause anyone harm – we didn’t “buy” anyone’s loyalty, nor did we use other people for our own gain.

Paul had really opened himself up, made himself vulnerable to these people – but they held themselves aloof. “I’ve given everything for you” he says – don’t separate yourself from me, don’t fight against what I’m trying to bring to your life in the Lord.


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