“Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore.” (Ezra 10:1)
“And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing.” (Ezra 10:2)
“Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.” (Ezra 10:3)
Mankind, because of the fall of Adam and Eve, is now born with a sin nature. David makes this statement plain in Psalm 51:5:
“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
More Scriptures that confirm this thought are given to us in Romans 3:23 and Isaiah 64:6:
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23)
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)
If you have not confessed your sins and received Jesus Christ as your Savior; “yet now there is hope.” If you have broken fellowship with God, and have gone the way of the word; “yet now there is hope.”
The first principle of genuine repentance is: a Sorrowfulness over Sin.
There are two kinds of sorrow: a godly sorrow; and the sorrow of the world. One worketh repentance to salvation; and the other worketh death:
“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)
True and genuine repentance that brings salvation can come when, and only when, we have godly sorrow. Godly sorrow will cause us to pray, confess, and weep; casting ourselves down before God, as Ezra and the congregation had done in Ezra 10:1.
It is important that we understand that when we sin, we transgress the Law of God:
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4)
There is a payment for sin. The Word of God tells us in Romans 6:23a, “For the wages of sin is death…” This is a spiritual death which results in eternal separation from God. But the verse goes on to say, “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
When we come before God with a sorrowfulness for sin, we must come broken before God.
“The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” (Psalms 34:18)
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psalms 51:17)
Only when we come before God with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, can genuine repentance be sought. Ezra and the congregation had come to this point; they came before God broken and sorrowful.
Are we truly sorry for our sins? Do we have a broken heart and a contrite spirit before God because of our sins?