A friend asked me to read a small booklet about repentance. He was concerned because something bothered him about the context. Could I find what it was? In my haste nothing seemed obvious. Later, I determined to spend more time to see what was bothering my friend.
Surely God’s Spirit will help us if we take the time to ask questions as we read. This time it was evident where the author was going. This booklet started with a scenario most everyone could relate to. By getting us to start saying, ‘Ah, yes, I see.’ We allow ourselves to be lead down a path where we ought not to be. I was reminded of the serpent with Eve in the Garden of Eden. Looks good, sounds good, finally it tastes good. There was a cleverly crafted mixture of good and evil. It was an excellent document of man’s educated ability to appeal to our own reason, our logic.
So what is repentance all about? What does it mean to repent? Does it have anything to do with faith? Does it have anything to do with sin in our lives, or changing our ways?Isn’t faith and love all that is required? What about the statement of Yeshua (Jesus), "If you love me you will keep My commandments." (John 14:15)? NAS
The writer of the booklet wanted us to just believe, that is all. Just believe and trust Jesus for He has done it all for us. The author had several good, valid points, however, mixed with these right points were errors. His statements like,repentance is not about morals. It is not about good behavior. It is not about doing better. And he said, that Peter in Acts 2:38, by saying, ‘repent,’ was implying ‘believe,’ or ‘trust’. This author is telling us by simply believing we have repented, Jesus Christ has done it all for us, because you are incapable of moral perfection… The gist of the booklet is, there is no need to strive for perfection because you will only end up sinning anyway. He did point out repentance is a matter of the heart and we need to see our inability of changing ourselves. But with the help of God’s spirit we can change.
We must be alert, prayerful, and proving what is said, by seeking the truth in Scripture.
The Hebrew word for repent (#5162 and 7725) have the connotation of being sorry, regret, and to return, turn back, to restore. It is a verb and indicates an active involvement.
The Hebrew word translated return in some versions is translated as repent in other versions. To someone who has understanding and knowledge of God’s way (instruction, Torah) then leaves, or departs from that way, to that person God calls out to ‘Return’, or repent, stop sinning. [1 John 3:3-5]
The Greek (#3340) for repent is 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.
The Hebrew word for repentance (#07729) is returning, retirement, withdrawal.
And the Greek (#3341) for repentance is, a change of mind, as it appears to one who repents, of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done
It appears to repent is to abhor the way or what we have become or done and return to the way God has given, to follow His instructions (Torah), to trust Him (faith) that He knows what is best for us. These instructions are given to us in all His Word.
Let us look at some Scriptures:
Repent(taken from the NAS, underlining mine)
God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?(Numbers 23:19)
Looks like if we lie, (a sin), we need to repent.
Because of sin, or wickedness, we will lose our blessings, will suffer judgement, so what do we need to do? Repent (turn back), with supplication (pray for mercy).
If they take thought in the land where they are taken captive, and repent and make supplication to You in the land of their captivity, saying, ‘We have sinned, we have committed iniquity and have acted wickedly’(2 Chronicles 6:37)
If we refuse truth (Your Word is truth) we resist God’s correction.
O LORD, do not Your eyes look for truth? You have smitten them, But they did not weaken; You have consumed them, But they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; They have refused to repent.(Jeremiah 5:3)
It is our ways that bring upon us great trials (9/11). Wake up! Repent.
I will winnow them with a winnowing fork At the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy My people; They did not repent of their ways.(Jeremiah 15:7)
‘Perhaps they will listen and everyone will turn from his evil way, that I may repent of the calamity which I am planning to do to them because of the evil of their deeds.’(Jeremiah 26:3)
Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD, Repent and turn away from your idols and turn your faces away from all your abominations.(Ezekiel 14:6)
By our conduct we are being judged. We must stop transgressing.
Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct," declares the Lord GOD. Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you.(Ezekiel 18:30)
"For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies," declares the Lord GOD. "Therefore, repent and live."(Ezekiel 18:32)
Yeshua said to repent.
From that time Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."(Matthew 4:17)
And saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."(Mark 1:15)
If one does not repent he will perish. Hmm, not good!
I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.(Luke 13:3)
And we must practice what we expect the Father to do for us.
"And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him."(Luke 17:4)
To recognize our need for repentance is the first step.
Peter said to them, Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.(Acts 2:38)
The Holy Spirit (God’s Spirit), His grace, the empowerment to eternal life. [Galatians 6:8]
Peter shows it is not only a change of mind but also a turning back to the obedience to God’s word (read the whole account).
Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;(Acts 3:19)
Repentance involves more than just outward things it is a heart thing.
Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.(Acts 8:22)
Not just faith but deeds also, repent (mind change with abhorrence to past sins), turn (to God in obedience), repentance (evidence of the changed mind).
… and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.(Acts 26:20)
Repentance, or judgement, you choose.
Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lamp stand out of its place—unless you repent.(Revelation 2:5)
Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.(Revelation 2:16)
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.(Revelation 3:19)
Repent of the works of our hands, our ways and turn or return to His ways.
The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk;(Revelation 9:20)
And they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.(Revelation 9:21)
And they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds.(Revelation 16:11)
This is a very interesting verse. Not only do we repent (turn) from our ways but we must rest in Him, trust Him, He is our strength, quietness is to stop trying to do it on our own.
For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, "In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength." But you were not willing,(Isaiah 30:15)
There is a change, after repentance it is evidenced by fruit, not sin.
Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;(Matthew 3:8)
Repentance, a changing of mind, a turning from sin that we may be forgiven. If one were to ask you to forgive them as they stood there kicking you again and again in the shin with no indication of stopping, this would indicate they are not sorry or about to stop or change.
John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.(Mark 1:4)
What did John the Baptist say to those who wanted to know what to do? [Luke 3:7-14]
Be sure it is Yeshua that we go to for forgiveness when we turn (or return) to Him.
He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.(Acts 5:31)
It is repentance that leads to life.
When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, "Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life."(Acts 11:18)
True repentance is accompanied with faith, faith in the one who can perform this change in us to the glory of the Father.
Solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.(Acts 20:21)
…that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.(Acts 26:20)
Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?(Romans 2:4)
This speaks for itself, there is a sorrow that produces repentance.
For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.(2 Corinthians 7:10)
With gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,(2 Timothy 2:25)
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.(2 Peter 3:9)
To grow in Messiah (Christ) we must turn from dead works.
Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,(Hebrews 6:1)
What is the Word saying to you? Turn, Repent, This is the way walk you in it [Isaiah 30:21].
Our above mentioned booklet says there is no problem sinning because that is our old nature, our flesh doing it’ so just believe. What does scripture say about sinning? (AV and following)
And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before you, that ye sin not.(Exodus 20:20)
Be still, stop struggling, trust in His faithfulness.
Stand in awe, and sin not: Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.(Psalms 4:4)
Looks like we have a job, an obligation, to others and ourselves.
Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning; and thou hast delivered thy soul.(Ezekiel 3:21)
What does sin and the knowledge of God have in common?
Awake to soberness righteously, and sin not; for some have no knowledge of God: I speak this to move you to shame.(1 Corinthians 15:34)
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:(Ephesians 4:26)
Reading first John will help. Here is a sampling.(NAS)
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.(1 John 1:8-10; 2:1-6)
Sin isbreaking, or not keeping, God’s law (instructions, Torah).
Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.(1 John 3:4-9)
The help of God’s spirit (grace) can change us. We can stop sinning. Always? No, but the more we allow the Spirit of God to lead us the more we will become like our Savior, we can walk as He walked.[Romans 8:29][Colossians 3:10]
Do not let anyone deceive you. He who practices sin is of the devil. What is sin? Lawlessness, therefore repent, obey the Word of God by the help of the Holy Spirit, and you will bring forth deeds worthy of repentance.
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