A disturbing trend I have begun to see in church materials and in some churches themselves is the over-simplification of the plan of salvation. Now, let me be clear here – God’s plan of salvation is simple. But some people are over-simplifying it to the point of deceit.
I was browsing a church website the other day and saw the plan of salvation laid out. Everything that was said was correct, but one important step was left out – repentance. It did say that you needed to say you’re sorry for your sins, but ‘sorry’ isn’t repentance.
To say “I’m sorry,” is one thing. It means I’m sorrowful for something I’ve done. It means I regret it. These days, however, it’s even more simplified. People might say something like, “I’m sorry if I’ve done anything to offend you.” To say that, the person isn’t admitting they’ve done any wrong, or anything worth being sorry for at all. It’s a blanket phrase that they hope will cover anything they might have done, rather than acknowledging the act. Weak.
Repentance, however, takes it far beyond an “I’m sorry.” Repentance is a change of mind, a change of heart or a change of direction. Repentance is a turning away from that action, or that lifestyle. It is a life-altering action. At the risk of yet another over-simplification, it’s like saying, “I’m sorry,” but also, “I’ll never do that again.” Repentance is an extremely important step that we can find all throughout God’s Word.
So, to say I’m sorry for a sin is one thing. But to repent of that sin is another thing altogether. To turn away from a life of sin, toward a righteous God is a requirement for salvation. It’s still very simple.