Repentance or Restitution?

   226ASP3316044095I am convinced one of the most misunderstood concepts we deal with is the concept of Godly repentance. There is a belief among some that repentance requires restitution.
    A few years ago I was teaching an adult Bible class. This class was dealing with the question of repentance. I had carefully described the difference in repentance and restitution. One of the young deacons who had been sitting in the class came up to me afterwards. He told me what we had talked about in class couldn’t be accurate. I asked him why not. I was expecting some Biblical objection to the things I had taught. Instead this was his reply. He said, “What you are saying can’t be true, if what you have taught is correct I will have to change what I believe about marriage divorce and remarriage.” Wow! That ought to be the determining factor in all our doctrinal positions!
    For many of us repentance always requires restitution. We have the view that in order to repent we must set every past sin right. Some believe that repentance requires undoing all the wrong we have done.
    We know that the Biblical definition of repentance is a change of direction. What we misunderstand is this, changing direction doesn’t require undoing sin. If our salvation required our undoing past sins we would never be saved. Certainly if our hearts are right we will want to right as many of the wrongs we have committed as possible. However, repentance doesn’t require restitution on our part.
    If I could provide restitution for my sins why would I need the blood of Christ?  The Lord’s blood was shed to take away the sin in our lives. Forgiveness is in His hands. When God forgives sin that sin is  forgotten, it no longer exists.
    Our forgiveness is based on repentance and baptism not on restitution. Our salvation is dependant on being in the blood of Christ not our ability to perform restitution. Place your heart with God. Submit to baptism and trust Him to take care of the sins you have committed. Don’t let anyone place restitution as a pre-requisite of salvation, God never did.

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7 Responses to Repentance or Restitution?

  1. I’ve always wondered who came up with the “doctrine” that to somehow make right what was wrong, a person would have to divorce his/her second spouse and re-marry his/her first one.

    Especially when God declares that (in Deuteronomy 24:4) an abomination?

  2. Keith this “doctrine” is tied to man’s need to shoulder his own salvation. No understanding of grace.

  3. Wayne McDaniel says:

    Dell, I’m glad that you have written about repentance. It is certainly fundemental to being one with the Lord. Years ago a brother pointed out that where repentance and faith are mentioned together, it is always in that order, repentance and faith. Jesus spoke of this, Mk. 1:15, Paul said he had preached repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, Acts 20:21, and in Hebrews we find repentance from dead works and faith toward God, 6:1.

    The Spirit creates conviction of sin (John16:8) that leads us to repentance, so it is written that God gives repentance, Acts 5:31, 11:18, 2 Tim. 2:25. It assures us to remember that he began a good work in us, Phil. 1:6, so that we may also believe he will complete it, 1 Thes. 5:23-4.

    With repentance toward God, and faith in Jesus preceding it, baptism is a point in time we may always look back to whenever Satan accuses us. Without repentance and faith, baptism is life-less — like a stillborn child.

  4. 1 Middle Man says:

    I believe that Paul shares concerning this in 1 Corinthians 7:17 and surrounding context. This “restitution” concept is a practical carryover from the OT…the result of “legal teaching” that has gone on in many places. Some are culpable in teaching such, while others are unwitting victims, unfortunately. Marriage, divorce and remarriage is an easy issue to be entangled in such a web. There has been a much missing the forest for the trees on this particular subject…and many lives shattered as the result. As one person has pithily shared — you can’t unscramble scrambled eggs. Blessings, Don

  5. Don Morrison says:

    I live on Repentance Road. I could never make up for my wrongs, personally. I even find that it is difficult to want to change (turn to God) sometimes; sometimes I must fight within to merely hold onto my faith, when I am tempted. So I find myself constantly turning back to God. Who will rescue me? (Romans 7)

  6. Wayne McDaniel says:

    Don Morrison has written what we all must come to –an awareness of our continuing need for the Lord’s mercy. We easily forget we must be repeatedly RESCUED from our sins. In Mt. 3 we see the multitude coming to John, CONFESSING their sins. The scribes and P. also come – WITHOUT confessing, so John tells them to bring the FRUIT of repentance — the confessions we all must make.

  7. kevin says:

    l will like you to talk about restitutioins, l will be very happy and if you can, thx
    kevin.

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