Lent: Repentance, Penitence and being set free by forgiveness

 Repentance is about reviewing one's actions and feeling sad regret for our wrongs of the past!


It involves a commitment to change our lives and correct our mistakes, resolving to live a more disciplined and obedient life that honours God and his authority over us.


It includes an admission of guilt, a promise not to repeat these sins and an attempt to make restitution for the consequences of what we did wrong, or in some or other way reverse the harmful effects of our sins.


Penitence emphasizes the regret for one's wrongdoing. Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone feels bad (or sad) about it afterward, and if you have regretted something you did, that sorrowful feeling was penitence.


The word penitence shares the same root as the verb repent, which means “to express regret.” It is also connected to the word penitentiary, another word for prison and has a strong association with the expectation to be judged, found guilty and to be condemned.

Sometimes penitence is so painful you might think you deserve to be in prison or you feel that you are imprisoned by shame and remorse.


But Romans 8: 1 – 4 address our fear of condemnation.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus... the Spirit who gives life, has set you free from the bondage of sin and death.”


Those who are “in Christ Jesus” are released from the prison of guilt and the judgment of God. Those who are “in Christ” are “out of prison and condemnation”!


During Lent we are set free of blame and receive forgiveness when God responds to our repentance, our penitence, with mercy, grace, forgiveness and the restoration of our lives through the work of the Holy Spirit.