“As a Christian, all my sins of the past, present and future have been forgiven. Therefore, I don’t need to repent. Repentance is only for lost people, isn’t it?”
Unfortunately, many of God’s children have such an attitude concerning repentance. And their lack of repentance causes them to miss the blessings of a close relationship with Him.
Repentance is not one of the things from which we are “set free” when we are saved. This is pointed out in II Chronicles 7:14 when God said “…if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin.” (Emphasis mine.)
We, more than non-Christians, should be sickened by sin, especially the sin in our own lives. We know that our sins damage others and displease God. Thus, more than all other people we should be ready, even anxious, to repent.
The Chronicles verse makes another important point. Repentance is more than confession. Confession alone involves only “I acknowledge I did it and I’m sorry.” There is nothing beyond the past (“I did it”) and the present emotional impact (“I’m sorry.”)
Spirit-led repentance includes both of these plus a future resolve. God included this factor when He said “…and turn from their wicked ways.” Genuine repentance requires that we attempt, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to avoid sinning again.
For the Christian, confession is the beginning of what we are called to do after we have sinned. Repentance is the completion of God’s call to destroy the barriers sin places between us and our heavenly Father.