The Characteristics of Repentance

2012 RightNow Conference

In this 35-minute session from the 2012 RightNow Conference, Eric Mason, Lead Pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia, explores the full impact of what it means to be deeply repentant and how that impacts those we have sinned against.

We all struggle with sin. It's real and it brings destruction. Take a look at this video that shows the damage we can cause and the healing power of forgiveness.

In his magnificent mercy and grace, God completely forgives those who confess and repent. What does it mean to be deeply repentant?

As you watch this session, take notes and write down thoughts about how this session can impact your own life and ministry.

Eric Mason said that repentance is a high level subject. You cannot become a believer in Jesus Christ without repentance. And he gave the simple definition based on Mark 1:14–17:  repentance is that you change your mind about the way you think things should be like, and embrace what God thinks they should be like.

What do you think of that statement? What pops into your mind about the way you think things should be and how it differs from what God thinks they should be?
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Eric uses Psalm 51:1–7 to show us the characteristics of repentance

       1. Throws him/herself on the character of God. 
            a. Don't give me what I deserve (mercy) 
            b. End what I am experiencing based on what I've done (consequences) 
            c. End the challenging state I'm in. (covenantal love)  
       2. Fully owns the extent of his/her sin.
       3. Longs for real transformation.

Ultimately our sin is against God, but we must recognize that our sin causes damage to others. What are you begging for God to take away? What collateral damage or consequences have you caused by your sin?
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Eric referred to Hebrews 3:13 to remind us that there are people who have not gotten over our sin. He challenged us to go back to family, friends, children, business relationships and give them time to tell us what we did to them. Who do you need to go to? What have they been trying to tell you? What will you do this week to give them the ability to tell you, maybe for the hundredth time, how your sin hurt them?
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Eric reminded us that we rush to ask for forgiveness and mercy that we're not willing to give away. Is there someone that you have refused mercy? Why? What do you need to do this week?
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Who is your "Nathan"? What did he/she last confront you with? How did you treat their message of accountability? What does that say about your willingness to repent?
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Eric encouraged us from Hebrews 10:19–24 that we have assurance of our forgiveness and the hope of transformation. We can open up the darkest corners of our life. Eric said, "your mess ain't the worst mess Christ has seen." Is there a mess that you think you're hiding from God? What do you want God to clean up?
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Consider Eric's teaching in your role as a leader … in ministry, at home, in business, as a volunteer. How are you modeling the characteristics of repentance? How are you leading others to be deeply repentant? How will you lead and equip others out of the transformation of your own life?
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We will all need to repent of sin until Jesus returns. We are not powerful enough to bring ourselves to change. Go before God and open the door for the Holy Spirit to lead you into transformation and freedom in Jesus Christ.

For information about the upcoming RightNow Conference, go to