Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Do we understand repentance?

Upon beginning his ministry, Jesus led with the message to “repent for the kingdom of Heaven is near” – Matthew 4:17. Paul summed up his whole ministry with the following statement given to King Agrippa: “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” I think we can all agree that repentance is extremely important.

What is repentance? Is it feeling sorry; how about asking for forgiveness; maybe it is simply living a disciplined life and changing my behavior? While these things are all important, they are not repentance. Godly sorrow will lead to repentance and our behavior will definitely change as a result of repentance. But these things are not in themselves repentance.

Then what is repentance? The Greek word used in the New Testament for repentance is metanoia which mean to “think differently after” or to “change your mind and heart”. We repent when we stop thinking the way we used to think when we were focused on ourselves and the world. It takes effect when we replace that mindset with the mind of Christ which is focused on doing the will of the Father.

True repentance will always result in a change of actions. Therefore, repentance can be further defined as a change of mind and heart that results in a change of action. If our actions have not changed and have not come into alignment with the will of God, then we must ask ourselves if we have truly repented.

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