In 2 Corinthians 7:11, Paul tells the church of Corinth what repentance looks like. True repentance is evidenced by:
- earnestness (diligence)
- vindication (some versions say, ‘clearing of ourselves’)
- indignation (we begin to hate the sin; it becomes disgusting to us)
- fear of the Lord (reverence to the point of trembling before Him)
- longing (intense desire)
- zeal (we pursue, embrace, and defend Him with enthusiasm)
- avenging of wrong (we move from tolerating our own sin to punishing it; we force sin to depart from us by submitting to God)
When we begin demonstrating these attitudes, we show ourselves to be innocent in the matter–true repentance (repentance means ‘a change of mind’) has taken place.
Remember when God the Father instructs Moses about how the Jewish people should sacrifice to the Lord? Exodus 29:10-30, amongst other places, shows that there was to be a “sin offering”, “burnt offering”, “wave offering”, and “heave offering” (other passages even include “guilt offering”).
Let’s not cut repentance short by stopping after ‘sin offering’; let’s continue to offer a fragrant aroma of prayer to the Lord and to continue fighting against our flesh until everything in competition with the Lord is purged from us.
It’s not enough for us to JUST confess our sins and receive forgiveness–this is a good start, but Christianity is more about seeing and knowing Jesus than simply being forgiven. That is, a Christian can be forgiven and ‘saved’, and yet not be walking in the freedom Christ intended. The freedom occurs when we let godly sorrow move us to full submission and a renewed mind. As we experience this full repentence, we also begin to experience the Lord Himself because the cloudiness of sin clears itself from us enough that we can begin to see our Lord.