April 7, 2011
April 29, 2011



 Greek = μετάνοια

 Strong’s Greek & Hebrew Dictionary = (subject) compunction (for guilt, including reformation); by implication reversal (of [another’s] decision):- repentance

(Compunction = anxiety arising from awareness of guilt.)
(Reformation = the act or process of improving something or someone by removing or correcting faults, problems, etc.

Merriam-Webster: the action or process of repenting especially for misdeeds or moral shortcomings
Repent = 1: to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life
2a : to feel regret or contrition b : to change one’s mind

All these definitions are from the law based idea of repentance except for 2b. The word has been mistranslated to try to make people do good.  The word for repentance simply means to change one’s mind. It might result in other changes but the word means to change one’s mind in light of new truthful information. This is the process by which we renew the mind. (Romans 12:1, 2) It means to embrace the new and discard the old. Discard the old covenant idea of repentance and replace it with the new covenant way.

The old testament idea of repentance is taught by most churches. They use repentance as behavior modification. If you are sinning, you need to repent and quit sinning. In other words, try to keep the law better than you did before. Under the law, God was calling them to repentance when they strayed from God.

The Old Testament contains many references to the idea of repentance. The primary Hebrew word used with the idea of repentance is shūbh. For example, Isaiah 55:7 says, Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:7 (KJV) This verb indicates a return to something previously left behind. In other words, it meant forsaking the wicked or ungodly ways and returning to the Lord who will have mercy and pardon the evil ways.

The King James Version uses such words as turn, deliver, withdraw, recompense, and back for this Hebrew word. Exhortations as Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11 KJV) were common for the prophets calling Israel back to the Lord after they strayed.

In other words, they were not doing the right thing. They needed to get their thinking straight and return to following the ways of God.

The New Testament continues the call for repentance. John the Baptist issues the call to repent. Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 3:2 KJV) He further calls for the people to Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. (Matthew 3:8 KJV) Although he didn’t say what these fruit were, it shows that repentance is more than saying you’re sorry. It means to change your thinking and match the mouth with actions that show there has been repentance. This is the call to repentance under the law. This is the idea that repentance means doing something as the law required and it just means changing your mind to conform to the finished work of Jesus. John didn’t know about that yet.

Jesus began His ministry with the call to repent. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17 KJV). Jesus preached under the confines of the law, but Jesus was calling to repentance because a new thing was about to happen and it necessitated a call to readiness. The King of the kingdom warned that the Kingdom of God was near and they needed to be ready to change their thinking because of a whole new covenant of grace.

Jesus further admonished that repentance and remission of sins be preached. And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:47 KJV) It’s important to note that Jesus wanted the preaching of both repentance and the remission of sins. (See Dr. Jack’s Word Study on remission for a more comprehensive look at the word.) Let’s call it forgiveness of sins. Jesus wanted to make sure the two were tied together. Understanding true repentance leads to understanding God’s forgiveness. This requires a change in thinking from the old law based covenant to a grace based covenant where He offers unlimited forgiveness.

Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance. (2 Corinthians 7:9 KJV) Paul had sent an earlier letter to the Corinthians (probably 1 Corinthians) that caused them some grief but in the end led them to repentance. Here Paul says that he had corrected their thinking through a previous letter and they recognized they had not seen the truth of God’s love correctly. Paul rejoiced that they had seen what he was trying to say and changed their thinking.

“Metanoia” means a perceiving with. It is our mind that needs correction. Our spirit is made perfect. We renew our minds through the Word. As we see who we are in Christ, we renew our thinking. We begin to think more correctly according to the truth revealed to us.

Peter echoes the words of Jesus when it comes to repentance and God’s acceptance of them. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 KJV). There is call to those who have not yet accepted Jesus as savior. God has great patience and holds out the possibility of repentance because God does not want one single person to perish. The unsaved do not think about God. However God holds out hope for everyone that they would see they are thinking about God incorrectly and proceed to respond to the call of salvation.

The book of Revelation uses the word repent several times in the dialog with the seven churches. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. (Revelation 3:19 KJV) Here He is talking to the church–the Laodicians. He is calling them to repentance. They have strayed from grace and the finished work of Jesus. Sounds like the church of today. He doesn’t force Himself on anyone but stands knocking at the door of their hearts ready for an intimate relationship with them. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20 (KJV) This reveals that believers can get off in their thinking going in the wrong direction and need to change their minds.

God certainly is involved in every aspect of repentance. He is the one who awakens to the fact that we are thinking something wrong. We need to renew our minds to the gospel of grace. Truth always makes us free. The law is bondage and as Paul calls it, “the ministry of death.” Repentance isn’t a call to try to do the law better than you were doing. Nobody could do it and nobody can do it today–that’s Galatianism–trying to finish the work of the Spirit by the flesh.

Our ability to see God’s truth is His gift to us. The Holy Spirit leads us into truth. We make the choice. The Holy Spirit doesn’t make us choose. He shows us the truth. If we choose His way, we choose life. We see the truth. We change our thinking to conform to the truth. We reap the rewards of following God’s way. Jesus is the truth. We follow Jesus. We do so through His finished work on the cross. By grace through faith we receive the gift of repentance.

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