Who needs to repent? According to the scriptures, we all do.
The call to repent is an urgent and consistent message repeated many times. I believe that repenting of our sins before the LORD Almighty is as important as praise and worship, perhaps even more so. The problem is that praise and worship is considered uplifting and promoted strongly (congregations can rise and fall on the strength of their worship and praise leaders), whereas repentance is looked upon in a negative light, and usually not encouraged at all. Acknowledging that we are sinners is not in vogue today.
Our reluctance to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness stems from a gross misunderstanding of GOD’s nature. Our sins separate us from Him and he despises that separation. He wants to accept our apologies, if we will take the first step and admit to Him that we have fallen short. Our human hearts and minds cannot conceive of GOD’s depth of forgiveness. His mercy and grace are unfathomable. He desires a close relationship with each one of us if we will only repent and turn away from disobedience. Consider these words from the scriptures:
We must come before the LORD in humbleness. "The sacrifices of GOD are a broken spirit" A broken and contrite heart, O GOD, you will not despise." Psalms 51:17
We must turn away from our sin. "Let the wicked person abandon his way and the evil person his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; Let him return to our GOD, for He will freely forgive." Isaiah 55:7
We will be forgiven through GOD’s grace. "Rend your hearts, not your garments; and turn to the LORD your GOD. For He is merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, full of grace." Joel 2:13
Yeshua urges us to repent. "Yeshua began to preach; and to say ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matt. 4:17
John the Baptist preached repentance. "John did baptize in the wilderness, & preached the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." Mark 1:4
GOD loves a sinner who repents. Yeshua said "I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who turns to GOD from his sin than over 99 righteous people who have no need to repent." Luke 15:7
Have you noticed that great and wonderful blessings are promised to those who repent of their sins and make themselves right with the LORD? One of Yeshua‘s greatest parables, The Prodigal Son, is a great example of a father’s restoration of a wayward son who humbled himself and asked for forgiveness. He received much more than he deserved! Consider James 4:10 "Humble yourselves in the sight of the LORD and He will lift you up." Yeshua‘s parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18: 11-14 is one of my favorites: "The tax-collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes toward heaven, but beat his breast and said ‘GOD, have mercy on me, sinner that I am!’ I (Yeshua) tell you, this man went down to his home right with GOD rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but everyone who humbles himself will be exalted."
Would our prayers have more power if we repented? I have noticed that in most occasions of prayer today (prayer lines, bible studies, worship services), supplications of all kinds, requests for healings, pleas for financial help, etc., are lifted up to the LORD without any thought or concern as to how He perceives us. Do we realize that we have sinned and fallen short of GOD’s standards? In other words, we are covered with the fifth of our sins, standing before the LORD with our hands out! Why do we presume that we even deserve to stand before the LORD in our unclean state? Wouldn’t it be better if we confess our sins first, and then lift up holy hands instead of dirty ones? "Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood, and has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the GOD of his salvation." Psalms 24:3-5.
These days before the Fall Feasts are traditionally observed as a time to repent of our sins. Although I am among the worst of sinners, I have the assurance of being forgiven and restored, if I confess my shortcomings. GOD also requires a sacrifice for sin and has provided the final and ultimate sacrifice through the blood of His Son, Yeshua the Messiah. So, in the days to come, I will do my best to develop the practice of talking to the LORD and telling Him how sorry I am that I have fallen short in so many ways, with the expectation that His grace will cover me and that I will have that "peace that passes all understanding". Hopefully, the Holy Spirit will lead you in that direction also.
"He that covers his sin will not prosper, he who confesses and abandons them will gain mercy." Proverbs 28:13