The difference between repentance and apology is at the core of Christian faith. As it states in 2 Corinthians 7:10:
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.
Repentance conveys reversing. Like a U-turn, repentance means to change course. As the verse above states, “sorrow…leads us away and results in salvation.” Repentant people are saddened by sin and turn away from those actions to something better. That something better is Jesus. Christians realize sin will destroy their lives now and after death. They understand turning toward Christ is the only way for life to improve.
What is an apology? When I think of that word, I immediately picture of those practiced statements spoken by children, internet influencers, and celebrities. They contain all the right words but not the spirit. These apologies are intended to douse the fire of anger towards them. The sorrow expressed denotes feeling bad that others are upset, not feeling bad for their actions. The verse above describes this attitude as “worldly sorrow.” This sadness does not lead to change and spiritual death occurs–relationships are shattered, lives are cut short, and an eternity separate from God awaits.
We must understand the depth of what we’ve done, so that we can embrace what Jesus did on the cross. To receive salvation, we must turn our backs on sin and run to him. Salvation requires more than the right words–it requires changing direction.
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