Derek Prince - You Cannot Repent Unless God Turns You
Now I want to say that repentance starts with God. Everything good starts with God, we’re always dependent on the grace of God. Apart from God’s grace, apart from the moving of His Spirit, we cannot repent. This is brought out so clearly in Psalm 80. Psalm 80, the same phrase occurs three times in this psalm. In the version that I’m reading it says in verse 3: Restore us, O God, cause your face to shine and we shall be saved. But where the translation says restore us, the Hebrew says: turn us back. In other words, cause us to repent. That comes three times.
In verse 3: Turn us back, O God, and we shall be saved. Verse 7: Turn us back and we shall be saved. Verse 19: Turn us back, O Lord, and we shall be saved. You understand? You cannot repent, unless God turns you. The turning starts with God. That’s why it’s such a vital moment in our lives when God begins to turn us because if we shrug it off and turn away we cannot repent left to ourselves. We’re dependent on God to initiate repentance. And then in the book of Lamentation, 5:21. Lamentation is the mourning of Jeremiah over the destruction of Jerusalem because of its continued rebellion against God. And It says, Lamentations 5:21, and in this translation it says: turn us back. It’s the same word that’s used in Psalm 80: Turn us back to you, O Lord, and we will be restored. [Or returned.] Turn us back and we will turn.
This is a very, very solemn thought. You cannot turn unless God starts to turn you. That’s why that is such a sensitive moment in every life. I know of one young man who was my companion in the army. When I got saved he was the only witness. He knew of the change in my life. And later on in the same unit I started a Bible class. I thought, I got to do something. I had no idea how to run a Bible class; I didn’t know where to begin, I thought, begin at the New Testament. Where do you begin? Chapter 1. So I began with the genealogy of Jesus. I went on and I had about four or five of my fellow soldiers attending. This was in the desert in North Africa. And then this friend of mine, he really was a good friend came to me and he said, I’m sorry old chap, but I won’t be coming to your Bible study anymore. I said, Why not? He said, Because I know if I do I will be converted.
Years later I met him in totally different circumstances. He was the most miserable person I know. He plead with me to help him. And I did everything I could. I’m experienced in leading people into the Lord and I could not help him. I’d helped his wife, she was saved. I don’t know what his end was but oh, what a warning to me. You think you can turn when you want to turn. You can say, God, I’m busy now but come back later. You cannot do that. When he wanted to turn he couldn’t. I don’t say that he passed the place of repentance, I don’t know what his ultimate end was. But what a lesson that was to me! It didn’t suit him at that moment when God was speaking to him, to accept salvation. When he wanted salvation God didn’t speak to him. Who knows what his end was.
Now, the Bible says there’s only one alternative to repentance and this is stated in Luke chapter 13, Luke 13, the first few verses, in the ministry of Jesus: There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. Apparently Pilate had had them executed while they were actually performing some sacrifice. You’d think that that would count for their good but Jesus answered and said: Do you suppose that those Galileans were worse sinners than other Galileans because they suffered such things? I tell you no. But unless you repent you will all likewise perish. All those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you no. But unless you repent you will all likewise perish. There’s only two alternatives: repent or perish. Those are the words of Jesus Himself. Now, we said repentance is the way to faith.