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Anyone who knows about military service understands marching
orders. One command that those in basic military training
frequently hear is “To the rear, march!” This means to turn around
and go in the opposite direction. The biblical word repentance
means to change the way one thinks and lives. From the spiritual
and moral perspective, repentance means turning away from sin
and turning to God. Repentance is the spiritual change that the
Holy Spirit brings about in a person’s life, causing him or her to
become a new creation in Christ. The Bible mentions repentance
more than one hundred times, calling for a reorientation of one’s
entire life and purpose. Consider the following Scriptures:
1. Genesis 6:5-7.
Repentance in this text refers to God’s grief over having made man.
The fact that God wanted to “start over” gives a good picture of
repentance. Discuss how sometimes people think they can be saved
without repentance. Is this possible?
2. 1 Kings 8:46–51.
Solomon prayed at the temple dedication with a strong
plea for mercy for his people in response to true repentance.
How does he identify them in verse 51?
Do we tend to give reasons why we or others should be forgiven?
What is the only true basis for forgiveness (on God’s part and on our part)?
3. Job 42:6.
Job admitted that he had said things without understanding.
When Job saw the Lord, what did he do?
How does repentance restore our fellowship with God?
4. Jeremiah 8:4–12.
Man is sometimes like a horse charging into battle.
He does not stop to think or change direction.
How do these verses describe ancient Israel?
Do they also describe us?
5. Ezekiel 14:6; 18:30, 32.
God’s prophets called for His people to turn from
idolatry and detestable practices and return to God.
Do these and other verses give us a picture of the
strong theme of repentance that runs through the Bible?
What changes in our lives do we need to make?
How important is change at the right time?
6. Matthew 3:4–10.
How did John the Baptist describe repentance?
In spite of his strong voice and conviction,
John was a humble man (verse 11).
How seriously do people take their baptism today?
What needs to accompany baptism?
7. Luke 13:1–5.
What two tragic stories do we find in these verses?
How did Jesus apply these stories to the urgent call to repentance?
Is it ever too late to repent?
8. Acts 5:29–33.
What message did Simon Peter preach?
How did his presentation of Jesus—sent by God,
raised up by God, seated with God—cause such a stir?
Why did some respond to the message as they did?
How should we?
9. Acts 17:22–30.
Read carefully Paul’s message that he preached at
Mars’ hill in Athens, Greece. What did he say about idols?
What did he say God commands?
Are there things in our lives that call for repentance?
10. 2 Peter 3:9–11.
Since God does not want any person to die,
what must everyone do in order to live?
What event in the future requires that we be prepared?
From 102 Fascinating Bible Studies by Preston A. Taylor
About the Author (2010):
Preston A. Taylor is a retired pastor and missionary to Argentina. He
received his BD and ThM degrees from Southwestern Baptist Seminary
and his DMin from Luther Rice Seminary. For the past 25 years, he has
written a weekly devotional message for newspapers in the towns where
he has served as pastor. Dr. Taylor currently lives in Zapata, Texas.
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