If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
True repentance results in changed lives! Scripture puts repentance and faith together as different aspects of the one act of coming to Christ for salvation. Trust in Christ (faith) and turning from sin (repentance), all occurring at the same time.
Tax collectors have never been popular. The Roman government wanted to take as much tax as they could without tying up their own personnel. So they recruited locals who received a percentage of what was collected. These local collectors were hated and seen as bloodsuckers who profited off their fellow countrymen.
Zacchaeus, a tax collector, wanted to catch a glimpse of Jesus and climbed a sycamore tree. As Jesus stood under the tree, He said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”No one understood why Jesus would waste time on a person such as this. Yet, Jesus offered him mercy and grace. Zacchaeus’ response paints a picture of true repentance:
“Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
For Zacchaeus, it was a no-brainer; what he had to give up was nothing compared to what he was being offered.
Why would we want to cling to our sinful ways? The choice was clear to Zacchaeus. Is it as clear to you?