Jesus called people to repent.
- When his ministry began, Jesus said, “The time has come, the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the gospel!” (Mark 1:15).
- Jesus said that his mission was not “to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32).
- “After he had risen from the dead, Jesus said, “It is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47).
What does it mean to repent?
Look more closely at the Greek word behind our english word “repent.”
Repent – μετανοέω – metanoeo
Two parts: (meta and noeo)
- Meta – change
- Noeo- the mind and its thoughts, perceptions and disposition.
Repent = to change your mind or your way of seeing things or perspective.
Insights from others
C. S. Lewis explained repentance not as “something God demands of you before he will take you back; it is simply a description of what going back is like.”
“To repent is to adopt God’s viewpoint in place of your own… In itself, far from being sorrowful, it is the most joyful thing in the world, because when you have done it you have adopted the viewpoint of truth itself and you are in fellowship with God.” (William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury)
Joy and repentance
- “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Luke 15:7).
- “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).
“Repenting is what happens inside of us that leads to the fruits of new behavior. Repentance is not the new deeds, but the inward change that bears the fruit of new deeds.” (John Piper).
- “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham” (Luke 3:8).
Repentance is not merely feeling bad about our sins. Repentance is sorrow for what we are in our deepest beings, that we are wrong in our deepest roots because our interior life is governed by Self and not by God.
Sorrow and repentance
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter” (II Corinthians 7:10-11).
Repent or perish
“Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.’” (Luke 13:1-5, cf. vv. 6-9).
God grants repentance
“Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses (return to a sound mind, free from illusions and intoxicated thinking, become sober) and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (II Timothy 2:24-26).