“6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”Romans 4:6-8
Faith, a knowledge of who God is and a trusting in His promises given freely through Christ, produces repentance. Trusting in the promises of the gospel necessitates that we see the problem. We see that God is good and He hates our sin, and we see that God sent Christ to deal with our sin and offer us life.
True repentance cannot exist without faith, but they are not the same thing. Paul distinguishes faith and repentance in explaining part of his ministry in Acts 20:
“And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”Acts 20:20-21
Repentance, like faith, is a gift from God. It is most certainly something you must do, but only after God has worked it into your heart. God is the one who grants repentance.
“Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.”Acts 11:17-18
Repentance involves turning from our sin to follow God, produced by a true and godly fear. Repentance causes us to put off sin and to live in the Spirit, to walk in line with Christ’s commands. All of this is produced from the gift of faith given by God, but it is nonetheless our duty to put off sin and to pursue righteousness.
Repentance must be present in the life of the Christian. The opposite of repentance, living in sin (concealing sin, justifying sin) is the mark of one who in fact does not have that saving faith which produces the fruit of repentance.
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”Proverbs 28:13
Herein is the summary of our deep need for repentance. If we want prosperity, if we want mercy from God, we must confess and forsake our sin.
This reality affects not only our ultimate standing with God but our day to day life, our ongoing relationship with God.
Love of sin for the unbeliever will keep them from having eternal life. Some live their entire life in blatant disobedience and others seemingly walk with Christ but fall away. For Christians, love of sin to any degree will keep us from walking God as we ought, which is to be blessed, and may lead to us falling away from Christ.
If we cover our sins, if we do not confess and forsake them, we should have no confidence that we will be among those who shall have mercy. We must forsake sin and believe upon Christ.
Prosperity comes through right relationship with God, and sin keeps us from right relationship with God, even as Christians.
We are to seek God’s blessing, and that through repentance and faith. David, a man who like Abraham was saved through faith, describes the blessedness of such a man in Psalm 32. Remember also that David speaks here as a believer. Repentance is not a one-time thing in the Christian life. Repentance is not simply the door through which you enter the path of Christianity. It is to be a consistent practice throughout the life of the Christian, all the way to the end.