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¶610.3        Repentance and Restitution

Awakened by the Holy Spirit to their lost condition before God, persons may move toward God.  Since “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), all must repent in order to come into a right relationship with God (Acts 20:21).

Repentance calls for a sincere and thorough change of mind.  To repent is to turn from sin with genuine sorrow and to turn to God in confession and submission (I John 1:5-9).  The whole person is involved: mind, feelings, will. Repentance is more than regret for wrongdoing or sorrow at being caught.  It is personal sorrow that one has sinned against God (II Corinthians 7:10).  Repentance demands a radical turning from sin and a sincere turning to God (James 4:7-10).

Sincere repentance leads to moral renewal, often evidenced by restitution – the effort to right one’s wrongs whenever possible.  Acts of restitution, as in the case of Zacchaeus, are certainly fruits befitting repentance (Luke 19:8). Neither repentance nor restitution save, however. Salvation is by faith in Christ (Acts 4:10-12; Romans 5:1).