Repentance is not a welcome idea among many believers today; as a whole, people squirm when confronted with it. No one likes to see himself as a sinner; it is nicer to be a good Christian. Yet don't all four gospels make it clear that Christ came for sinners - not for saints- and that the way to Christ is humility and poverty of spirit, not human goodness?
J. Heinrich Arnold, Freedom from Sinful Thoughts
I have this tendency to diminish that sin in my life. It is easy to see it as no bigger deal, after all it was just a little over eating, over spending, or exaggeration; it is nothing to be concerned about. Other people have far worse sins than I what I have. All I need is a little bit of grace and a little bit of strength and I can become, with a little bit of effort, the person God calls me to be.
When I think this way I totally forget what sin is. Sin isn't simply breaking God's laws. It is that, but it is so much more. You see sin is rebellion against God. Sin is the path way which allows corruption, destruction, and death to enter into God's beautiful creation. This means every time I sin, even in the smallest way, I am participating with God's enemies to destroy what God loves.
It for this reason why repentance is more than just changing the way we live. Repentance does require a change of mind, a change of life direction, and a change of world view, but it also requires us to denounce our sins and to declare our loyalty to God. We need to break the attachments we have with with, we have to burn the bridges we have with the old life, and we need to accept God's way to live. Repentance is more about defecting then it is about a making a U turn.
I am convinced that one of the reasons we struggle so long against sin in our lives, especially when we have victory over sin in Christ Jesus, is because we have never truly repented. We have intellectually decided that Jesus is God's Son and the Way to Life, but we have not verbally denounced our former way of life and declared our undying loyalty to Jesus Christ. Until we do the bonds of sin will hold on to our hearts.
The apostle Paul wrote; For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death (2 Corinthians 7:10; NLT). To feel bad about our sin does not break the bond that has been established between sin and our hearts. Repentance breaks those bonds and allows us to experience the life God desires us to live.