Before I was a Christian I lived a life of sin, but when I became a Christian I lived a life of repentance. ~A.W.Tozer
On the surface this quote sounds nice, and most of us would agree with it. A lot of times people equate repentance with forgiveness. That thinking is not necessarily wrong, after all, God does say if we will repent He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. So a lot of people would say, to live a life of repentance is to live a forgiven life and stop there. We cannot just stop, though, there is a deeper meaning to this "life of repentance". You see, repentance does not equal forgiveness. They go together, but they are not the same thing. Repentance is a literal turning away from sin.
Picture it like this. You are walking a path in the woods. As you go farther down to path you reach a split with a sign that says do not enter on one side. You choose the blocked path. As you continue on nothing seems wrong until you suddenly stumble across a bear trap (you know, the kind that can break your leg). You have another choice, keep going or turn back. Perhaps you choose to skirt that trap and continue on, only to find the path and even the woods are filled with them. You realize your error. Now you still have a choice continue forward or turn back. To repent would be to turn back and return to the correct path.
To live a life of repentance takes on a whole new meaning now. Living this life (aka. the Christian life) literally means to stop, confess the sin, seek forgiveness and completely walk away from it, constantly.
No matter the perceived size of the sin, it still has to be done away with. I know this is a hard lifestyle. We as people stumble and fall, but God will forgive us when we ask, and He asks that we repent too. He will pick us up, clean us, and mend the brokenness. He may leave a scar as a reminder, but He is faithful, just, and merciful.
Let us truly live a life of repentance as we constantly turn away from sin.