We seen yesterday that saving faith and repentance always work together, like two sides of a coin we have faith and repentance. Today we will continue to look at what is meant by repentance.
We seen that the repentance is mentioned over and over in scripture. And today we will see that it teaches not simply improving one’s behaviour and trying to be better, but the inner change that gives rise to new God-centred, Christ-exalting behaviour.
- From that time Jesus began to preach, saying ,“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”(Matthew 4:17)
- I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. (Luke 5:32)
- The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. (Matthew 12:41)
- Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3, 5)
The first demand of Jesus’ public ministry was, “Repent.” He spoke this command indiscriminately to all who would listen. It was a call for radical inward change toward God and man.
Two things show us that repentance is an internal change of mind and heart rather than mere sorrow for sin or mere improvement of behaviour. First, the meaning of the Greek word behind the English “repent” (metanoeo) points in this direction. It has two parts: metaand noeo. The second part (noeo) refers to the mind and its thoughts and perceptions and dispositions and purposes. The first part (meta) is a prefix that regularly means movement or change.1So the basic meaning of repent is to experience a change of the mind’s perceptions and dispositions and purposes.
The other factor that points to this meaning of repent is the way Luke 3:8 describes the relationship between repentance and new behaviour. It says, “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance.” Then it gives examples of the fruits: “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise” (Luke 3:11). This means that repenting is what happens inside of us that leads to the fruits of new behaviour. Repentance is not the new deeds, but the inward change that bears the fruit of new deeds. Jesus is demanding that we experience this inward change.
Repenting means experiencing a change of mind that now sees God as true and beautiful and worthy of all our praise and all our obedience. This change of mind also embraces Jesus in the same way. We know this because Jesus said, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God.” Seeing God with a new mind includes seeing Jesus with a new mind.
A.W. Pink: Repentance is the hand releasing those filthy objects it had previously clung to so tenaciously. Faith is extending an empty hand to God to receive His gift of grace. Repentance is a godly sorrow for sin. Faith is receiving a sinner’s Saviour. Repentance is revulsion of the filth and pollution of sin. Faith is a seeking of cleansing there-from. Repentance is the sinner covering his mouth and crying, “Unclean, unclean!” Faith is the leper coming to Christ and saying, “Lord, if You will, You can make me clean.”