This is an interesting and often misunderstood topic. If one was to ask a variety of people “What does it mean to repent?” your answers would vary from “being sorry” to “turning away from sin”. Though these examples can be part of the repentance process, they in themselves are not repentance. Let’s go into the scriptures and see what we can find.
Matthew 3:1 Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying,
Mat 3:2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
(AMP) And saying, Repent (think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
(GW) “Turn to God and change the way you think and act, because the kingdom of heaven is near.”
Repent:G3340 metanoeō (met-an-o-eh’-o)
From G3326 and G3539; to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction): – repent.
“Metanoeo” comes from two Greek words “Meta” meaning a change or modification and “Noeo” meaning a thought process. Therefore metanoeo can be defined as “a change or modification of the thought process.
Matthew 3:2 could be read “Change the way you think and see, for the realm (kingdom) of the eternal (heaven) is here!” John the Baptist was the forerunner for the Christ and his message was that of preparation for one to recognize and enter the Christ.
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Jesus realized that a people who would not allow themselves to think differently would never be able to believe in what they cannot naturally see.
Remember what is said in Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Faith is a conviction of things that we cannot naturally see. This conviction is a result of learning to think differently, learning to think beyond the physical and into the eternal or heavenly realm. This is what John the Baptist and Jesus were attempting to do, to empower people to believe and see in a way they never had before.
Matthew 11:20 Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent.
Note here in this scripture that Jesus began to denounce those who would not allow themselves to think differently. The miracles were tools that God used to allow people to see beyond the natural and allow their minds to expand into a heavenly or eternal perspective of thinking.
John 3:1-7 Here we see Jesus teaching Nicodemus to think and see from a higher perspective. To be “born again” is to be born from above, to think and see from a higher perspective. This phrase “born again” indicates repentance which enables one to see and enter into this Kingdom (The Christ realm) which cannot be seen from a lower level of thinking or perspective.
So we see that repentance is a daily lifestyle that empowers us to grow into the fullness of the Christ through a continual change in the thinking processess.
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