How do you repent?
It’s an important question because it is an important matter, though one we don’t hear much about these days. And yet, Jesus talked about it a lot and conditioned salvation on doing it.
2 Chronicles 28 gives us an example.
God often sent warring peoples against Judah to punish Judah for her sins. But the warring peoples all too often took that opportunity as a time for excessive cruelty and exercised a vindictiveness that reached far beyond the intent of God’s discipline. You see this plainly in Zechariah 1:14-15. There, an angel is astonished by the seemingly hostile nature of God’s punishment. God replies: “I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion, but I am very angry with the nations that feel secure. I was only a little angry, but they added to the calamity.”
In chapter twenty-eight of 2 Chronicles, Israel is the rod of God’s discipline toward Judah, but in that discipline, Israel goes too far. Confronted with this fact by the prophet Oded, how will Israel repent?
Repentance involves a change of heart that results in a change of life, often involving seeking to make up for sin. You can’t really “make up” for sin, but you can act like you sorry and seek to mitigate the results of your actions. In this case, Israel takes all her captives from Judah, clothes them, doctors them, and delivers them back home with compensation for their inconvenience.
Repentance isn’t just being sorry for sin, it’s acting like we are sorry and seeking to make right the wrongs we have committed.