The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 2 Peter 3:9 NLT
What does repent mean? The American Sign Language sign for change is making the “c” sign and twisting your hands signaling a change. The sign for repentance is the same motion, but with the “R” sign. So when a deaf person (or hearing for that matter) sees the word “repentance,” they see “change.”
And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. Genesis 6:6-7 KJV
Jesus recognized Zachaeus’ salvation when he saw him change, and make things right with those he had cheated.
Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; Luke 19:8-9 NKJV
Judah gave my favorite demonstration of repentance. In Genesis 44:18-34 He basically tells Joseph, I have broken my father’s heart before, and I will die as a slave in a foreign land before I ever break his heart again.
I saw a meme on Facebook the other day that I think says it best.
“Repentance is not when you cry. It is when you change.”
We can’t change ourselves.
Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. Jeremiah 13:23
God can change us!
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
A while back I was convicted that I was drinking too many sodas. I prayed about it. I started drinking a lot more water, and then one day decided to “splurge” and have a Pepsi. That was a waste of $1.06, because after two sips it tasted so sickening sweet, I dumped the rest out and refilled the cup with water. God changed and converted my taste buds when I was totally powerless.
The repentant thief on the cross never actually said he was sorry (at least there is no record of it). He repented by changing his attitude and behavior towards Jesus.
He called Him Lord and professed his faith in Jesus and the resurrection, while everyone else was still mocking Him.
Jesus saw repentance in the thief when He saw a change in attitude and action. I hope He sees a change in us today.
You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.