Is repentance a burden? A legalistic work to earn God’s favor? Not according to Scripture. In Acts 3:25-26, while preaching the gospel to the Jews, Peter called repentance a blessing:
You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness (emphasis added).
To be turned from our wickedness is good for us: it is a blessing. We were made to worship God and walk in holiness; living according to God’s word is where true happiness is found. That is why Scripture says that sin is a snare which enslaves us (John 8:34).
When John the Baptist came preaching and calling people to turn from their sin and bear the fruit of deeds that reflect genuine repentance, Luke characterized this preaching as good news.
So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people (Luke 3:18).
Why is the call to repentance good news? Because it turns us from sin’s fleeting pleasures to God’s promise of eternal pleasure (Ps 16:11). Repentance is not a burden; sin is. And the call to repentance is a call to be delivered from that burden. This is why Paul described repentance as a gift that God grants us.
God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will (2 Tim 2:25-26).
So when you are confronted with a call to repentance in your own life, remember that you are being called to joy, happiness, and deliverance from the snare of sin. And when you speak to your friends and family members about the gospel, explain to them that the call to repentance is for their good, that they might be set free from slavery to their ungodly lusts to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4). Repentance is a blessing.