Home   e-Library       中文 
e-Library Home |  Browse By Category |  Study the Bible    
 (A New Life in Christ)
Week 9: Repentance
TOC | Previous | Next

Week 9: Repentance

Just as sin separated Adam and Eve from their creator, sin can also ruin a believer’s relationship with God. In the history of Israel, sin was always the reason for her downfall. The prophet Isaiah pointed out to the people why God seemed so distant from them: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden his face from you, So that he will not hear” (Isa 59:2). Our fellowship with the Lord can likewise suffer as a result of our sins. If we do nothing about our sins, our hearts will soon be hardened and we will turn away from the living God (Heb ,13).

Despite Israel’s rebellion, the Lord offered them a way to restore their relationship with him. God cried out to them, “Return to Me, and I will return to you” (Zech 1:3; Mal 3:7). Only when we turn away from sin and turn back to God’s way can we once again enjoy the fellowship we had with God. As believers whose sins have been cleansed by Christ’s blood, we still commit sins in our lives, whether in our thoughts, speech, or actions. But we must learn to humbly return to God when we have failed to obey him and ask for his forgiveness.

This lesson examines the meaning of repentance and how we can restore our relationship with the Lord when we have sinned.

Some Basic Principles

Confess Your Sin.

Nobody likes to admit that they are wrong. Confession is humiliating. But the Bible tells us, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (I Jn 1:8). Denying our sin certainly doesn’t help us. We may fool ourselves into thinking that we are pure and righteous, but we still stand guilty before God. We just need to come to him, tell him that we are sorry, and determine not to go back to sin. God’s love is so great that he will freely pardon us when we repent: “If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1Jn 1:9).

Let the Truth be our Guide.

The Bible is our moral standard, and it helps us see where we have gone wrong. Like a mirror, God’s word points out our shortcomings so we may correct ourselves (Jas 1:22-25). Like a double-edged sword, God’s word exposes sins that we may not even be aware of (Heb ). We need to constantly examine ourselves against the teachings of the Scriptures. Then we will not be led astray by sin’s deceitfulness.

Walk in the Light.

True repentance involves not only confession but also change of heart and change of actions (Isa 55:7). In our daily living, we must shun evil and practice righteousness. “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1Jn 1:6,7).

Forgive Others.

God expects us to be forgiving before he forgives us. Therefore in the Lord’s prayer, the Lord reminds us that when we seek the Heavenly Father’s forgiveness, we also need to examine ourselves to see if we have first forgiven “our debtors” (Mt 6:12). In the parable of the unmerciful servant who refused to forgive his fellow servant for a small debt even though he was forgiven of a much greater debt, the Lord teaches us that the Heavenly Father treats each one of us the same way we deal with our brothers (Mt 18:21-35). If we forgive our brothers from our hearts, our Father will also forgive us of our sins.

Suggested Guidelines

Fear God and Shun Evil.

The Bible tells us that people sin because they do not fear God (Rom ). To fear God is to feel reverence for the all-knowing, all-present, and all-powerful God. If we truly believe that God is our sovereign Lord, we will obey his commands and stay away from evil. If we truly believe that “God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Eccl ), we will watch our thoughts and conducts.

Respond to Correction.

The believers in Corinth responded to Paul’s correction in a positive manner (2 Cor ). Where before there were divisions in the church, they now sought to worship together as one body. Where before they mocked at the sanctity of marriage, they now promoted family values. Where before they took each other to court, they now settled disputes according to God’s commandments.

Let the Holy Spirit Counsel You.

Before Jesus was taken away from his disciples, he promised them that the Holy Spirit will teach them and help them remember all that he’s taught them (Jn 14:26). This promise is also for today’s believers. So if you have sinned and the Holy Spirit puts it in your heart to do the right thing, be prepared to listen to counsel and act accordingly.

Fast and Pray.

Sin and repentance often go hand in hand with fasting and prayer. We see this in the Bible. When the people of Nineveh learned that God was going to destroy their great city in forty days, they immediately fasted and prayed. The king even issued a proclamation, “Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water” (Jon 3:7). The Bible tells us, “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that he had said he would bring upon them, and he did not do it” (Jon 3:10).

Write down other guidelines that have worked for you.

Write down new guidelines that could work for you.


1.      What did the prophet Isaiah say was the reason God seemed so distant? (Isa 59:2)

2.      What happens to our hearts if we do nothing about our sins? (Heb 3:12,13)

3.      Read Zech 1:3 and Mal 3:7. Do you think God has ever cried out to your with these words?

4.      What does 1 Jn 1:8 -9 tell us about sin and repentance?

5.      People sin because they do not fear God. T/F

6.      Like the Corinthian believers, today’s believers must also respond to correction in their faith journey. T/F

7.      Jesus taught that believers must not hold grudges against each other. T/F

8.      What must a believer do when the Holy Spirit moves him or her to repentance?

9.      What did the people of Nineveh do when they learned that God was going to destroy their city in forty days?

10.  What does Jonah 3:10 tell you about sin and repentance?

Case Studies:

1.      Olive loves to watch movies. Every opportunity she gets, she will try to get other people to watch movies with her. She likes all kinds of movies. However, Olive also loves to come to church to worship God, pray, and study the Bible. Recently, Olive was put in charge of the Religious Education (R.E.) at her local church. She has been doing an excellent job. In fact, Olive is one of the most respected teachers among her R.E. students. One Sabbath Day, following church services, Olive took all the children from her R.E. class to see a very sexually explicit and violent blockbuster movie. There, she reminded the children that they should not use movie stars or the plots in the movies as models for their spiritual life. But over time, one of her students, a young sister in the eighth grade, decides that it would be a good idea to get a boyfriend. The young sister recalls how the good-looking hero in the movie had intimate relationships with a number of beautiful women. The young sister is excited about experiencing what it’s like to have a boyfriend. So the young sister decides to start chasing one of the best-looking guys at her school. Eventually, this young sister gets this popular guy at her school to go out on a date. As time goes on, this guy wants to spend more and more time with the young sister. In fact, he wants to spend so much time that this young sister can no longer come to church on the Sabbath. Olive, her R.E. teacher is concerned about this young sister’s faith. She calls her student and asks her if she wants to go see a movie with her on Saturday night. The young sister accepts Olive’s invitation and they go see a popular romantic comedy. What problems can you see in this story? Can you find any Biblically-based sin in this story? Is there any place for repentance in this story? Think about or discuss the role sin and repentance could or should play in this story. Do you see any obstacles that could hinder repentance here?

2.      Johnny and Zack live in the same neighborhood and go to the same local church. They spent much of their free time together. However, all that changed after Zack got back the videocassette recorder he had lent Johnny. Not only was the VCR case damaged, the machine would not work when Zack tested it. Furious, he calls Johnny, who confesses that he had dropped it accidentally. Zack tells Johnny that he better get him a new VCR. Johnny refuses. The two brothers have a heated argument and no longer want to talk to each other. At the Sabbath day service, Zack sees Johnny at church and feels disgusted. As time went by, Zack feels like he no longer enjoys coming to church. But he does anyway. He simply ignores Johnny and gives him an occasional dirty look. About a month later, Johnny feels bad about the whole incident and brings Zack a state-of-the-art VCR one Sabbath Day. It is even better than the old one. As Johnny is giving the new VCR to Zack, the latter simply snatches the VCR out of Johnny’s hands and says, “It’s about time!” Other members try to patch up the relationship between these two brothers, but Zack only drove away with the VCR. What problems do you see in this story? How would repentance help resolve the problems between these two brothers? What obstacles do you see that could hinder repentance here?


1.      Make a short list of things you think you need to repent of (i.e., what you could improve upon or change your mind and actions about). After making your list of things to repent about, think about how you will go about repenting of each sin or vice. Try to repent of these sins and vices, bearing in mind that process of sin and repentance is often a life-long process. Be patient with yourself and pray for God’s empowerment to overcome sin. Remember also that while repentance begins with a turn of mind, repentance means nothing if there is no outward manifestation to support the changes in your mentality.


PDF Download

Publisher: True Jesus Church