How do you truly repent? Do you repent of all of your sins, or do repentance unto life?
The following was said by Jesus when he began his Galilean ministry.
Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."
When studying the bible, it is wise to sometimes dive into the meaning of words from the original Greek or Hebrew text. The word repent is one of those words that will surprise you of its original meaning and will take you down the right path when properly understood in biblical context, or the wrong path when misunderstood. The Internet has made doing the research into the meaning of words much easier than ever before. Many of the online King James Bibles have the Strong's Hebrew and Greek words highlighted and can be quickly clicked on to read their meanings from the original language. Our understanding of even simple words today have been changed with usage over the years. English dictionaries typically give the usage meanings for today, while many times totally ignoring the meaning of the same word usage from hundreds or thousands of years ago.
Why is this important for biblical study? Well, with a wrong understanding of even one word in a verse of scripture today, people can get off track and go down the wrong road very easily. Even scholars, have made the mistake of building on the wrong foundation because of a wrong understanding of a word in the first place. Entire doctrines have been built using a single word, with having the wrong understanding of the meaning of the word.
Words are everything. We communicate with words. If our words have different meanings, then the message will have a different meaning for those that are hearing. So, lets get on the same page and take a look at the words repent and repentance.
Repent and Repentance
Whether you are are a Christian, or one that is looking for information on Christianity, it might come as a surprise to you that no one has ever repented of all their sins. But a Christian has repentance unto life and salvation, and has repented of their sin. At first glance, that statement is confusing, because I am sure you have heard ministers, teachers, and evangelists tell people that they must repent of their sins in order to be saved.
The meaning of the word repent is more than feeling sorrow for your sins. The word is a complete reversal in the thinking process. In fact, repent is so strong a word that it involves a 180 degree turn from what a person is thinking to new thinking. The Strong's Greek Dictionary has the meaning of repent from a couple of different words; to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (morally, feel compunction):--repent. Understand the word repentance: compunction (for guilt, including reformation); by implication, reversal (of (another's) decision):--repentance. It's important to note that both of the definitions include a reversal in the thinking process. For example, if I have repented of my unbelief in Jesus Christ and have become a believer that he died on the cross for all of my sins, then I have truly repented of the sin of unbelief. However, if a person says they have repented of all of their sins, and then goes out and gets angry with someone, or lies, or cheats, or steals, or does any sin at all, then they really have not repented of all their sins in the first place. Because if they had, they would never sin again, according to what true repentance is. Now, let's be honest here, no one has ever repented of all of their sins. Sure they might feel sorry for all of their sins, but that is not biblical repentance. In addition, a person can not repent of their unbelief and start believing in Jesus, and then go back to unbelief in Jesus Christ. Because in essence, the person never had true repentance in the first place. Repentance is a one way process. You can't repent one way, and then repent another way, because that person never truly repented to begin with.
Now, if this all sounds confusing to you, simply replace the word repent with the phrase (changed my thinking permanently).
Think about all the ministries that you have heard over the years that say over and over again that you have to repent of all of your sins. You know in your heart you could never do this, nor do you want to be a hypocrite and say that you have done this or could do it, because you know that would be a lie. And, since lying is a sin, you know you couldn't repent of all of your sins. Strange, but not so strange logic right...
Now, let's also understand that it is impossible to be brought back to repentance, because a person can't go back where they never had gone in the first place.
"It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace." Hebrews 6:4-8
This had to do with people having heard about Jesus, and saying, "yes we believe in Jesus and his dying on the cross for our sins," and then in the next breath saying, "we need to sacrifice for our sins on the alter according to the law." These people were in effect spitting in the face of God, and telling God he was a liar, and they were crucifying the Son of God all over again. It was a total public disgrace. They never truly repented, for if they had, they would never have gone back to the sacrificial system.
Things are not so different today. People say, they believe that Jesus died for their sins, now, I have to go to the Catholic confession booth to get my sins forgiven, or thinking as a Presbyterian and having to ask for forgiveness to get my sins forgiven, as though someone could do something in order to get their sins forgiven by God.
Get out of the mode of wrongful thinking, turn back to God. Repent and believe that your sins are forgiven. Repent unto new life. Repent unto salvation. Place your faith in Jesus, and his works; not on your asking for forgiveness, not on your false thinking that you are repenting from all of your sins, or going to the confession booth, or doing penance.
If you are a born again believer in Jesus, understand that the verse of Hebrews above was talking to the people that said they had repented, but really never had repented in the first place. They shared with the true body of believers, they nibbled on the fruits, but never completely swallowed hook, line, and sinker.
Please read the welcome message.
Someone recently wrote in a short hypothetical question in regards to not having an understanding about Hebrews 6:4-8 and being confused about falling away from the Lord. For the response to this question please refer to: Hebrews 6 Understanding of Falling Away.
Forgiveness of Sins and Jesus
- Jesus Asked, "Who do you say I AM?"
- Recommended Books
- The True Meaning of Biblical Confession
- What is The Judgement Seat of Christ? The Bema Seat?
- What is True Worship?
- The Sin That so Easily Entangles
- Love, Joy, and Peace; and the Greatest is Love
- Confession of Sins 1st John 1:9
- Saints and Sinners
- When Jesus Christ Comes Again
- Hebrews 6:4-8 Understanding of Falling Away
- What Must I Do To Be Saved?
- Do Sins Separate Us From God?
- Baptism By God
- Are There Prophets in Contemporary Christianity Today?
- What Do I Do After I Sin?
- Do You Believe Jesus is God?
- What Makes a Christian a Christian?
- The Lord's Prayer After the Cross
- Journey to Discovering New Life in Christ Jesus
- Your Sins Have Been And Are Forgiven!
- You are Forgiven Ministries!
- Repent of Repentance and Believe
- 1 John 1:9
- My Christian Journey
- Why Do I Need Jesus? Why do you Need the Cross?
- What is the New Testament or New Covenant?
- Jesus Said: I Am The Way, The Truth, & The Life
- God has Reconciled you, so Be Reconciled to God
- What is the True Gospel?
- Everyone is Forgiven By God, But Not Everyone Is Saved
- Forgiven Forever now Receive Eternal Life
- The Christmas Message
- Welcome to the Seekers, Searchers, and Finders
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