Repentance means to exercise the mind, think, comprehend and change one’s mind with remorse and sorrow for past actions.
In the NT repentance primarily relates to the Greek words metanoé? and met?oia, meaning to understand something differently after thinking it over. This change of mind necessarily leads to changed actions, in keeping with the Greek view that the mind (noús) controlled the body. Repentance comprises a central theme in the preaching of Jesus, Peter, and Paul.
Jesus began his ministry with a call to repentance as the prerequisite for entering the kingdom of God (Mark 1:15; Matt. 4:17). Mark 6:12–13 summarizes Jesus ministry by saying that Jesus preached repentance, cast our demons, and healed sick people. At the conclusion of his earthly ministry Jesus commissioned his disciples to preach repentance and forgiveness to all nations in his name (Luke 24:47). A call to repentance characterizes the content of his preaching.
Freedman, D. N., Myers, A. C., & Beck, A. B. (2000). Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible (p 1118). Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans.
The first use of the word repent in the Bible is in Solomon’s prayer of dedication in front of all the people at the dedication of the new temple.
1Kings8.47 yet if they turn their heart in the land to which they have been carried captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors, saying, ‘We have sinned and have acted perversely and wickedly,’ 48 if they repent with all their mind and with all their heart in the land of their enemies, who carried them captive, and pray to you toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city that you have chosen, and the house that I have built for your name, 49 then hear in heaven your dwelling place their prayer and their plea, and maintain their cause 50 and forgive your people who have sinned against you, and all their transgressions that they have committed against you, and grant them compassion in the sight of those who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them 51 (for they are your people, and your heritage, which you brought out of Egypt, from the midst of the iron furnace).
Notice that Solomon is praying in advance for sins that the people of Israel may commit. The repentance must be with all their heart and mind. God is then expected to hear in Heaven their cause and forgive them by having compassion on them. He does the same today. All that God asks is that we turn 180 degrees back toward Him and call on His son’s name. Repentance is a turning back toward God.
For the unbeliever, it is turning with sorrow and surrendering. For the believer, it is a return to fellowship by claiming 1John1.9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Published on Tuesday, September 7, 2010 @ 7:23 AM CDT