Transformation, not Conformity
Pastor Keith Hodges | Liberty Church, Alabama
I believe repentance is one of the most powerful words ever written, spoken, or communicated to human beings. Repentance is the difference between conformity and a transformed life. It is the doorway to eternal salvation and daily transformation. Without repentance we are stuck, bound, and ultimately doomed to a life and eternity separated from God. Repentance opens the door to salvation and then becomes the path all believers in Jesus Christ must continually walk if we desire to become more and more like Jesus. The Apostle Paul conveys this truth in the following scripture as he gives us insight into the power and requirement of repentance. Without repentance, there is no salvation and no transformation.
Before we read the scripture, let’s define repentance. It literally means to change your mind. Now this process of repentance, changing our mind, begins with agreeing with God. Before I can repent, I have to agree with God that His Word and His ways are right. Anything I think about myself, others, God, eternity, salvation, deliverance, prosperity, or ministry that contradicts the Word of God is sin. The reason repentance is required is that until I agree with God, acknowledge my sin, and change the way I think, nothing changes.
2 Corinthians 7:9-10 (NKJV) Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance [leading] to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
Godly sorrow produces repentance; repentance brings salvation, and salvation brings deliverance. Eternal deliverance comes when a person agrees with God that Jesus is the only way, truth, and life; no one can come to the Father except through him. Then, they confess/acknowledge their sin (thinking that they could get to God any other way). Once they repent (change their thinking), they are saved.
I made the statement that repentance is the difference between conformity and a transformed life. Why? Because salvation never comes without repentance. You are not saved because you conform to rules and regulations. It’s like the little boy whose mom told him to sit down. After threatening him with a spanking, he sits down but says, “I’m sitting down on the outside, but I’m standing up on the inside.” Conformity is not the goal; transformation is the goal. Only when we repent (agree with God, change our thinking) are we really transformed. When our inside matches our outside, salvation comes, deliverance comes, and freedom comes.
Consider that the real problem is not that people commit sin; the real problem is they think it’s ok to sin. Jesus’ death and resurrection paid the penalty for our sin. We can be forgiven for what we have done, but unrepentant people disqualify themselves from the gift of God. Without repentance, there is no salvation for those who are lost, nor is there transformation for those who are saved. Repentance frees us from eternal damnation and enables us to experience daily transformation. So, if Jeremiah were a bullfrog, he would say, “Repent, repent.”