Greek - metanoeo, lit. to perceive afterwards (meta, after, implying change, noeo, to perceive; from nous, the mind)
Repentance is basically turning from something to something for something. To repent is to have a change of mind, a change in your thinking. Hence, our thinking mind needs to be changed and turned from something, to something, and for something.
Repent from sins:
God's word is clear. All have sinned (Rom. 3:23). At its source, sin is any rejection of God and disobedience to His righteousness (Rom. 5:12-19). In fact, Romans 14:23 says "for all that is not out of faith is sin." Therefore, to repent from sin is not only to turn from any outward acts of obvious evil, but to have a change of mind regarding any rejection of God and disobedience to His word. God looks not only at the acts of sin, but knows the wickedness of the intentions of man's heart (Acts 8:21-22). Idolatry is sin. An idol is anything or anyone that takes His place of love in our hearts and trust in our lives. To repent is to turn away from or have a change of mind regarding anyone or anything that replaces our love for God and our trust in Him.
Repent and turn to God:
There are a slew of things from which to repent. But there is only one to whom we are to turn - God! Repentance is not to some philosophy, religion, code of ethics, moral behavior, or any human system. True biblical repentance is uniquely for turning to the living God (Acts 14:15; 26:20) through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21).
Repent for the forgiveness of sins, receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the kingdom of God:
As there are a slew of things from which to repent, there are also an abundance of spiritual blessings that are gained by true repentance. So as not to go beyond the length of an acceptable size blog, I will only cover three specifically mentioned in the Bible: 1) The forgiveness of sins. John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:4). Jesus showed from Scripture that repentance for the forgiveness of sins was to be proclaimed in His name (Luke 24:47). His coming was to call sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32). Sin keeps us from the blessing and enjoyment of fellowship with God and living in His presence. Jesus Christ the Lamb of God has been crucified for the taking away of our sins (John 1:29). Therefore, turning away from sin to God through faith in Jesus Christ is for the forgiveness of sins and returning to the presence of God (Acts 3:19-20). 2) Receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness of sins opens the door and makes the way for the life of God, the Holy Spirit, to be received and continually enjoyed (Acts 2:38, 11:18). An unrepentant mind because of the hardness of the heart prevents both the receiving of the Holy Spirit and the enjoyment of God's life in us (Eph. 4:17-18). 3) The Kingdom of God. Forgiveness of sins opens the way to receive the Spirit of God. Receiving the Holy Spirit is actually to be born of God and to therefore enter into His kingdom (John 3:3-7). Both John the baptizer and Jesus the Lord began their ministry by proclaiming "repentance for the kingdom" (Matt. 3:2; 4:17). The coming of Jesus was the coming of God's kingdom and His sacrificial death initiated for us a new and living way to enter His kingdom and live in His presence (Heb. 10:19-20). Glory be to God!
Through repentance we can be forgiven of our sins, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and enter into and live in the reality of the kingdom of God today! Hallelujah!
What else does the Bible say about repentance?
- Repentance is foundational in the Christian life (Heb. 6:1).
- God's kindness leads to repentance (Rom. 2:4).
- Sorrow according to God can produce repentance (II Cor. 7:9-11).
- God is long-suffering as He intends that all would repent (II Pet. 3:9).
- There are oodles of promises and blessings to those who repent (The New Testament).
May we all be as those in the church in Thessalonica who "turned to God from idols for serving the living and true God" (I Thes. 1:9).
God now charges all men everywhere to repent!
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