Monday, July 23, 2018

The Scriptural Definition Of Repentance

        There is confusion amongst professing Christians as to the definition of repentance, namely whether it consists of a change in mind or a change in ways. The Bible does provide a simple, clear answer to this dispute, which will be found unsatisfactory to the many in our culture and to those who preach a watered-down version of the gospel (2 Timothy 4:3). 

        According to Scripture, the act of repentance is more than a mere change of mind. It involves turning from sinful ways. It involves entrusting oneself to God, who gives lavish, tender forgiveness. Repentance is not a work, but a change in heart. It is a change in purpose. It is a change in perspective. It is crying out to God, admitting the futility of remaining in sin. This theme was taught especially in the Book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 14:6; 18:20-31). The underlying theme of the gospel is repent or perish. Repentance is certainly accompanied with godly sorrow and grief, as was the case of the Apostle Peter who denied knowing Jesus Christ three times in a row (Luke 22:62-64). Consider how the men of Nehemiah responded to the preaching of Jonah:

          "Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes He issued a proclamation and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.” When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it." (Jonah 3:5-10)

          Note also how Jesus Christ alludes to this Old Testament event:

          "The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here." (Matthew 12:41)

          People who profess the name of Christ have no excuse for not having repented of their sins. They will have a desire to serve God. These are evidences of a changed heart. The lives of the apostles themselves are evidence of this truth. If we truly wish to inherit eternal life, then we must turn to God and seek the forgiveness that He provides. True repentance will inevitably result in a changed lifestyle. Repentance is the conviction that sin should no longer persist in our lives. We must recognize that we are spiritually bankrupt sinners who are in need of His redemption. The New Testament indicates that faith and repentance are inseparable (Mark 1:15; Luke 24:47; Acts 20:21). If there is no repentance, then there can be no forgiveness of sin.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of the most important topics in my opinion to be studied.

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