Many treat the Bible like it was a magic chameleon able to change its message to agree with their chosen lifestyle. The doctrines and terms of the Bible are transformed to allow whatever they desire. This is tragic. Man ought to conform to the Bible. Instead the Bible is conformed to man. This is man writing his own Bible.
One term that is commonly “chameleonized” is repentance. Men pretend that it only means to feel bad about their sins or admit that their sins are sins. This allows them to be right and wrong at the same time. They get to regard themselves as right with God because they agree that their lifestyle choices are wrong. They get to indulge their sins because they don’t need to forsake wrong to be right.
While repentance includes such ideas, they don’t exhaust its meaning. The essence of repentance is forsaking sin. This separation from sin is true everywhere in the Bible. So we read, “You shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Not in their sins but from them. “Put away your evil … cease to do evil” (Is. 1:16). “Cleanse your hands you sinners and purify your hearts you doubleminded” (James 4:8). In this spirit we understand repentance passages like Rev. 2:20-23 — God is not asking men to feel bad about their fornication; he is demanding they flee it.
~Lee Brainard, May 9, 2015