Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. Because heaven is a prepared place, our Christian lives should be characterized by rejoicing and anticipating being with the Lord. Because heaven is for a prepared people our Christian lives should be characterized by repentance and turning away from ourselves. Therefore, the Christian life is both one of rejoicing and repentance, at the same time. In fact, it could be said that, though we mourn over and hate our sin, our repentance should be joyful knowing that God has promised bring to fulfillment that which he began in us, namely the glorification of His Son in us. There is no genuine joy without thorough repentance, and genuine repentance ought to bring about increasing joy as sin is displaced and we draw nearer to Jesus.In my study of the life of David in Samuel and Chronicles, I have concluded that the major difference between David and Saul, the difference that made Saul a failed king and David a man after God's heart, was that David was a good repenter. Saul, on the other hand, was like the character Fonzy on Happy Days; He could not say that he was wrong.
We often call Christians “believers”. “We are a gathering of believers . . .” but Christians are also “repenters,” so why don’t refer to a gathering of repenters? Our response to the gospel at conversion is both – a repenting faith or believing repentance, and our response to the gospel from that moment on is the same. The more we behold Jesus by faith as seen in the gospel, the more we are transformed into His image from one degree of glory to another. If there are no degrees of glory being experienced on earth, then what, pray tell, would such a professing Christian claim to experience in heaven? The very degrees of glory we experience in the daily transformation of our lives through repentance and faith are meant to be a foretaste of the fullness of glory to be seen when we are “taken up into glory.” To miss it here is to forfeit it there.
Martin Luther was right when her wrote as the very first of his 95 Thesis: "Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance."
May I always be found in the company of the good repenters!