Repentance brings freedom.
Here is how it happens.
Sin is breaking the law of God.
Repentance is seeing the rejection of the his law in relational terms and seeking obedience as a response to his goodness So, you don’t just acknowledge that you were angry, but you also repent of the lack of love that produced the anger.
Sin is hating what is good and loving what is evil.
Repentance is examining the root of the things you are passionate about. What are sometimes known as besetting sins, sins like anger or lust or self-pity that you cling to, are in reality a love of evil and a hatred for what honors God. Repentance here means actively turning and replacing them with their biblical opposites.
Sin is making the pursuit of anything in life, no matter how noble and good, more important than the pursuit of God.
Repentance is making God the center of your pursuit. So if you love music, you turn from selfishly making your pursuit of music an excuse for not serving others. You repent of not knowing more of God’s word because of your passion for music. Or perhaps, the reason you want your children to obey quickly is because that means you have a godly home. This is pursuing the right thing for the wrong reason. You want your kids to obey because it pleases you and not necessarily because it honors God.
Sin is being consumed with self-pleasure.
Repentance is consciously replacing self-pleasure with finding joy in serving in other people.
Sin is failing to view others as more important than myself.
Repentance is embracing humility to see that life does not revolve around you. So, you move from seeing your teenager as a constant source of irritation, to seeing him as someone to invest in because you see him as more important than yourself.
Sin is being unwilling to listen with compassion and respect.
Repentance is shown by not answering without really hearing what was said. That means you will stop interrupting or forming an answer before the other person is finished speaking.
Sin is living for my honor instead of God’s.
Repentance is not looking for praise when you do something for someone else. Living for God’s honor means your satisfaction is not dependent upon someone else acknowledging your good works.
Sin is seeking to be served by your relationships.
Repentance is being a true servant and not building your life on needing the needs of others to be the reason for your existence.
Sin is depending on others to do what only God can do.
Repentance is not looking for affirmation or satisfaction from the responses of people, especially those closest to you. For example, no child can bear the weight of making his parent’s life worth living by his performance.
Within this context we can begin to grasp what Paul means when he speaks of Godly sorrow bringing repentance. When I run to repentance, I run to life, I run to God.