v 38. Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
On the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit first filled the Christian believers and Peter challenged a crowd to respond to the Good News of Jesus, the immediate question was – ‘So what should we do?’
At which point Peter made clear the very first steps in following Jesus; they were
repent of your sins.. turn to God, .. be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Jesus himself illustrated the idea of repentance when he told the Parable of the Lost Son. The words he put into the son’s mouth were: (Luke 15)
‘I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’
Repentance requires both action (I will go home to my father) and a frank admission of guilt. (Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you)
Repentance is more than just the ‘sorry’ word, it is a turning round to move in a different and God-ward direction, along with an honest realisation of failure to live as God intended.
This heart-felt repentance and sorrow for sin is a fundamental starting point in a life of following Jesus. And more than that, it is a point to which we often have to return as we become aware of the sin in our lives that requires forgiveness.