REPENT BIBLICAL DEFINITION
by Lahry Sibley
There are two extremely important words in Christian theology that have all but lost their Biblical meaning. One of those words is REPENT. If used at all in many pulpits today, the listener is left to make up their own mind as to what they think the word means. The other word is BELIEVE. Ill get to it in a later article.
I hold this REPENT word and its correct definition is crucial to true salvation experience and newness of life. So its correct definition could not be more important. Since so many respect the Strongs concordance, I think that would be as good a place as any to begin
The Hebrew word for REPENT is nacham. It is interesting to see that it is translated in the kjv as comfort 57 times, repent 41 times, comforter 9 times, and ease 1time. The essence here is to say Im sorry. Sadly, most folks think that there is nothing more to repentance, than saying Im sorry, no remorse, no sense of gratitude, just an easing of conscience.
The Greek word for REPENT in the New Covenant is metanoeō.
The Strongs Concordance defines this word as:
1) to change one's mind, i.e. to repent
2) to change one's mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins
So we see in the New Covenant, the definition changes . I like point 2 above. Changing ones mind for the better is always a good thing. The second part of that is more difficult. We can all affirm to amend our ways and abhor our past sins. But making it a living reality in our hearts and lives, in our walk, is another matter indeed.
On December 31st of each year, folks traditionally make New Years Resolutions, some with strong conviction that they will mend their ways in the new year. Trouble is by January 3rd, few if any can even remember what the resolution was, much less boast of any success in keep their commitment.
It is no different in the kingdom of God, beloved. Folks realize they need to repent, to amend their way. They need to change direction. But when it comes to living it, they do whats natural, and revert to sin. Why, because its their nature to sin.
Mr. Tyndale carries the definition of REPENT a bit farther.
He wrote: "Repentance (metanoia, 'change of mind') involves a turning with contrition from sin to God; the repentant sinner is in the proper condition to accept the divine forgiveness." (F. F. Bruce. The Acts of the Apostles [Greek Text Commentary], London: Tyndale, 1952, p. 97.)
Ah, so repentance puts us in position for Divine forgiveness. I find that very interesting.
Psa 51:16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
Psa 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
What gets Gods attention is a broken and a contrite heart. So true repentance then comes from the heart. From the Strongs we see that contrite means crushed. God can work with a crushed and broken heart.
Beloved, we cannot come to true repentance until we are crushed and broken deep in our heart. God must allow it. There can be no other way. The heart must be crushed and broken until it is more than willing to give up its self life, for the new life. So when Peter says in Acts 2:38
. Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, this is what he is talking about.
He has just finished preaching Jesus the Messiah to the jews before him. He has reminded them that the Messiah that they waited so long for has come. Not only did they not receive Him, but worse, they put Him to death in a most horrible fashion. Crushed and broken of heart, they asked what they might do. That is when he speaks the above too them. Their hearts were ready. The Holy Spirit had turned on the light in their mind from what Peter had spoken to them and the truth of it crushed their soul. How could they have been so unbelievably blind. Yet they were, and they knew it.
So he tells them to bring their crushed and broken heart, and be immersed in Christ, and the good news is that they would be given the gift of the Holy Spirit. Halleluyah. Forgiveness follows repentance. Self is seen in true light as being the hopeless and helpless thing that it is, and worthlessness as far as bringing about any valued and lasting change in the life of the one who now believes that Jesus is in fact, the promised Messiah.
Jesus calls this denying self.
Mat 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Mat 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
Mat 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
To be a disciple of Jesus, self must be denied. How much? All of it. A complete and one time sacrifice of self and its occasions of flesh. You leave where you are to follow. You leave what you were behind. One simply cannot stay where they are and follow Christ, or anyone for that matter. It is impossible.
Rom 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Flesh, self, self interest, the carnal nature of man, is enmity to God. There is only one way to resolve this delima. Death to self. We must be crucified with Christ, by faith.
Rom 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Baptized means immersed. The way we are immersed into Christ is to be immersed into His death. His death becomes our death, and God sees us as being crucified with Him. We take self to the cross for DEATH! It is the only solution. There the heart is crushed and broken. All confidence in our flesh is destroyed. All self effort for being justified with God is rebuked and cast aside as worthless, and we enter into His death. That then makes us ready for His resurrection.
Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Being immersed (baptized) into His death, prepares us to be resurrected. But wait, dont miss this. In order to be buried with Christ, we must first be put to death with Him. All our hopes and schemes, plans, goals, ideas for the future, crucified with Him. That means they are DEAD. Most folks do not bury live people! First comes the DEATH, YOURS AND MINE. Then comes being raised up by the glory of the Father. Hallelyah.
To do what? Continue on in sin as though we had not died to it? Oh no. The newness of life is just that. It is a new life lived by a new creation. It is a life of holiness and obedience. The old sinfilled creation has been put to death, and the new Spirit filled life immersed in Christ is brought forth from the grave to live its new life, or rather, let Christ live His life in us.
Rom 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
The likeness of His death is the CROSS! If we have died the death He died, then and only then will we be resurrected in the likeness of His resurrection. From now one we do NOT SERVE SIN!!!!
Beloved, this simply cannot be circumvented. There is no way around. If you want eternal life, His life, you must FIRST give up your life. The body of sin must be destroyed! No exceptions. NONE! HENCFORTH WE SHOULD NOT SERVE SIN!!!
It makes me ill when I hear people claim to be Christians and yet admit they cannot stop sinning. They cannot stop sinning because they have never presented themselves as a living sacrifice at the cross for DEATH! They are not saved because they have not repented. They claim salvation because it feeds the god of their own design, an idol, that loves and feeds on comfort and pleasure. There is no comfort in a crushed and broken heart. There is not pleasure in death to the body of sin. But it must happen, or there is no salvation. YOU CANNOT BE SAVED UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST!!!
2Ti 2:11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
2Ti 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
Is it unreasonable to say that if we are not dead with Him, we shall not live with Him, we shall not reign with Him? If we deny Him, He will deny us?
Jesus said Joh 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
Joh 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
Keep your life and you shall surely lose it. Crucify it with Christ and you shall surely keep it. Come to the cross. Submit to its crushing force. Let it take your life and keep it, that you with Christ shall be immersed into His life now and forever more.
There is just so much the bible says about this, I suppose I could write a book on it. But I want to leave you with one more conclusive verse. Paul lays it out as plain as can be. Here is the transformation that is appropriated by an act of faith on our part, and a supernatural transformation worked in us on Gods part.
Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Paul admits he has been (past tense) crucified with Christ. He proclaims it. He says that even so, he yet lives. But wait, theres more. He says it is not I, but Christ that liveth in me. What happened to I? I has been crucified! Broken and crushed to the heart. The old man is now dead, and the new Adam is alive in him and in us. Notice one other astounding fact. He says that the life he now lives in his flesh, he lives it by THE faith OF the Son of God. Not faith in but faith of. Jesus faith is now our faith. His life is now our life. We have the mind of Christ. We have the leading of His Holy Spirit within us. We are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14) And now we have the power to be witnesses of His wonderous love. Where did we get it? At the CROSS.
1Co 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
We are saved and we have His power to lead a victorious life over our flesh, its nature to sin, and the temptations of this world. Glory be to God!
So, beloved. This brings us to decision time. A 3 word message if you will
.REPENT, OR PERISH!!! That is the choice you MUST MAKE. To not choose repentance, you choose by default to PERISH.
What will you do? Repent
..or perish? I beg you, run to God. Ask Him to overshadow you with His power to believe, and to present yourself for death. (Romans 12:1,2) Repent, turn from your wicked ways. Slay your flesh by faith with Christ in the faith of Christ. Rise into a new life, life in Christ and His life in you. He is the hope of glory. There is no other
.or not! Selah - Lahry