Sometimes I am asked: "If a person does not undergo a radical repentance at the time they turn to Christ, does that mean they are not converted and will not go to heaven when they die?" My answer is usually along this line: "It is better if a person experiences a radical repentance at the time of their initial commitment to Christ, as this sets the tilt of the soul in the direction of agreeing with God. But God will come in and live in a person's life by invitation, even though the repentance is not as complete as it should be." The advantage of a radical repentance at the time of one's commitment to Christ is, as I have said, that it bends the ego in God's direction and teaches it right from the start that submission is essential.
A major reason for lack of spiritual assurance (people who have committed themselves to Christ not feeling saved) is this issue of incomplete repentance. When repentance is incomplete and there is no "godly sorrow" over sin, the effects of sin (guilt and shame) are not eliminated from the soul. Radical conversion siphons off these things and leaves the soul feeling free. It ensures there are no regrets, no hankering for former things. To change the metaphor, if the soul is not plowed up by radical repentance, the seeds sown by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God will not take deep root. Those who have never fully repented ought to do so now -- without delay. Take time this day to evaluate your spiritual condition. Make Christ Lord.
O God, help me not to move beyond this day without clarifying my spiritual commitment. Am I first in my life, or are You? May I know the godly sorrow that leads to deep repentance. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
For Further Study
1. What had Israel depended on?
2. What was God's word to them?