Repentance

Repentance

“Repentance” is probably the most misused word in religion, particularly in Christianity. The word is used in a number of ways, one of which is the repentance of sin. In fact, most people only relate the word to sin. However, the Bible even talks about God repenting. So, it must relate to some other things besides sin.

Next, people are under the impression that repentance means to be sorry for sins. This is not the meaning of the word. Neither does it mean to be remorseful of one’s sins. These feelings can lead to repentance, but they are not the definition of the word.

The word “repent” comes from the Greek word, metanoeō, which means to change one’s mind, to think differently, to reconsider. Usually, to change one’s mind for the better.

In Luke 13:3, Jesus makes this declaration: “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Somewhere in ages past, someone got the mistaken notion that all God wants to hear is that we are sorry for our sins. And if we are sorry, then He will just forgive us and all will be well.

It’s something like when we were little children and got caught doing something wrong by our mother. We confessed our sorrow and mommy said okay, but don’t do it again. Somehow, people think God is like “mommy” when it comes to sin. NOT true. In any event, as I said earlier, sorrow is not repentance.

To repent is to change one’s mind about God. Although many people are religious, the whole world is actually going in the opposite direction to God. Repent means that a person recognizes this departure and begins to consider God and to consider what He says.

In Mark 1:15, we read these words: “Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’”

When one responds to the call for repentance and begins to consider the things of God, then they are in a position to hear the word of God. And, in hearing the word of God they can believe in the Gospel and be saved. So, you see, there is no mention of sin here. Sin plays a very large part in salvation, but sin does not have to be resolved before becoming saved.

If you were able to resolve the sin issue before salvation, you would not need to be saved. Unfortunately, no one can resolve his or her own sin issue. Fortunately, God can and did resolve sin for us in Christ.

If a person refuses to repent about God and take Him seriously, then Hell will be his or her final destination. As Jesus said above, “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” The opportunity to be saved will not always be extended to you.

 

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