Reading through the book of Revelation I did a quick study on the theme of repentance. In the first part of chapter two (v. 5) the church at Ephesus is called to remember her first love, repent of falling away from it, and return to the works they did at first. We see in this admonition a word picture of repentance. Recognize you are heading in a wrong direction, and turn toward a different direction. Turn away from sin (in this case falling away from their first love) and turn back toward the plan of God.
Later in verse 16 the church in Pergamum is called to deal with sin in the body and call for repentance. There is a picture of the church as a whole repenting though the sin was individauls within the body. We see an emphasis on the necessity and responsibility of church discipline in this example. Then in verses 21–22 the church in Thyatira has a sin issue where the Lord has given time for repentance and must now bring judgement. In chapter 3 Jesus calls the dead church in Sardis to repent and be made alive (3). Then in verse 19 Jesus reminds the church at Laodicea He disciplines those He loves so they should be zealous and repent.
As Revelation begins to describe the judgement of God through the Seven Trumpets, Seven Plagues, and Seven Bowls, we are reminded of the stubbornness of man and a sometimes complete embrace of sin even in the light of clear pain and consequence. In Revelation 9:20–21 the world sees a third of mankind die and yet it is noted they would still not repent. In Revelation 16:9–11 as the bowls are being poured out we are told again of the stubbornness of the people and refusal to repent.
As I pondered these passages two main thoughts flooded my heart and mind:
- The conviction of the Holy Spirit. Do we realize the conviction of sin and a called to repent is one of the greatest gifts we have ever received and one of the greatest evidences we are one of God’s children.
- The stubbornness of Man. How often do we hold on to destructive and sinful attitudes, actions, and thoughts? God grant us grace to fall under conviction, we should humble our hearts, and repent quickly!
What has God shown you recently needs to change direction in your life? Are you willing to repent and turn back toward Him in these areas?