Repentance: In the New Testament, the key term for repentance is metanoia [metavnoia]. It has two usual senses: a “change of mind” and “regret/remorse.” In the Synoptic Gospels metanoia [metavnoia] indicated “turning away from sin” ( Mark 1:4)-Source Baker’s Dictionary of Biblical Theology.
The ability to know God’s truth and turn from darkness to light is a gift.
There is not as much talk about repentance today as there was in the time of Jesus and early apostles. There is a teaching of “You just do you, God must accept whatever you do and approve because He loves you.” This is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “Repent or you will perish (Luke 13:3, Luke 13:5). Stop sinning lest something worse comes on you (John 5:14).” The bible clearly states the wages of sin is death and the gift of God is eternal life (Romans 6:23). It also says those who live according to the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:5-6).
“Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance [not fully aware of what you were doing], just as your rulers did also. And so God has fulfilled what He foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ (Messiah, Anointed) would suffer. So repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins] and return [to God—seek His purpose for your life], so that your sins may be wiped away [blotted out, completely erased], so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord [restoring you like a cool wind on a hot day];”~Acts 3:17-19.
Grace (God’s riches at Christ’s expense) empowers righteousness, not lawlessness. Holy Spirit reveals truth and empowers believers to walk in truth. If being saved was just about professing Jesus then living like the devil, well that means Jesus died for nothing. Part of His death was to atone for our sins so we could be free of the bondage of sin and shame. He gave His life to FREE us from bondage, not leave us in bondage.
Think about the ridiculousness of these statements:
“I know I beat my wife during the week and scream at my kids, yet Jesus loves me. I am clothed in His righteousness. There is no condemnation for me. You can’t judge me.”
“Oh yes, I have many sexual partners and live with one of them. I am so glad Jesus set me free to be me. Grace, amazing grace.”
Both these people have misguided beliefs as to what it means to be in relationship with Jesus. Jesus never, ever clapped when someone sinned. He never placed nor places a stamp of approval on immorality, abuse, or partnership with satan. He told people, “Go and sin no more.”
Love and approval are not the same. God loves everyone. God does not approve of everything humans do. If He did, God would cease to be holy and just. God is 100% love. God is also 100% holy.
Thinking we are not responsible for our choices blocks repentance. It keeps us in a state of perpetual immaturity and we do not grow to look/behave/love like Jesus. We stay in the shallow kiddie pool eating our mud pies, shouting, “You can’t judge me! No condemnation for me,” playing in the devil’s field Monday through Saturday…jumping up for a quickie date with Jesus on Sunday.
Let us not mistake conviction for condemnation.
Conviction: an awareness something is not right and needs corrected. A warning signal to turn around.
Condemnation: sentencing someone, a final judgement. If you stand condemned before God it is a sentence to eternal life separated from him. “Go to hell,” is a condemning statement.
People quote there is no condemnation for those in Christ without reading/quoting the rest of that passage (Romans 8) which says, “God did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit (Romans 8:4).” Paul states after there is no condemnation verse 4 which is above…we who no longer follow our sinful nature but follow the Spirit. A person who proclaims Jesus then lives completely independent of Him is not the objective of salvation. Screaming, “I am in Christ,” to bypass responsibility for my choices or to live a sin filled life is ungodly.
True believers are not condemned if they are in Christ because their eternal fate is wrapped up in Jesus. This does not mean their poor actions are excusable, they are no longer accountable for bad choices, repentance is not required, or God approves of their sin. If so, the New Testament letters to churches would be meaningless. Why address sin within the church which Paul and others did if God pretends believers are perfect?
God does not pretend we do not need repentance. God encourages renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2), taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), making amends when we mess up (Matthew 5:24), humility (1 Peter 5:5), loving one another (John 13:34-35), sexual purity (Ephesians 5:3), and seeking first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). Most of all Jesus invites us into intimate relationship with Him. Knowing Him, abiding in Him, is transformative. It becomes, “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me and through me (Galatians 2:20).”
It is not about striving to be good. It about abiding in the One who is good. Union with God, through relationship, leads to good fruit (John 15:4-5).
It not about legalism-trying to obtain right standing with God through works. It is about abiding in Jesus and receiving grace-Jesus paid for my freedom. Since I am free in Him, I will not become a slave again to bondage. Sin will not be my master. I am empowered by God to follow Jesus. I abide in His truth. Believing His truth sets me free.
Papa I ask any place in our minds not aligned with Your truth be set right today. Help us to renounce lies and turn from darkness to light. Help us to abide in You. Saturate our minds with Your truth. Anything not like Jesus, may it be laid before You. Thank You for the gift of repentance.
📷: Pinterest, Repentance