This morning I was thinking about how we have redefined yet another great word and in the redefinition have completely lost it’s meaning.
That word is repentance.
The word repentance is found in hundreds of biblical references. The Greek word used most often in the New Testament is the word μετανοέω pronounced metanoeō and it has a meaning different from the way we most often think about what repentance is. For most people, when you mention that a person should repent from their sins what comes to mind is the sorrow or remorse that a person feels and expresses at the moment of salvation.
While this is awesome and is a part of the definition of the word, it is an incomplete definition. When this word is used in the context of salvation it is the response to that remorse and sorrow that is crucial to the definition. This word does indeed denote a change of mind, but wherever it is used in connection with salvation it is the development of a desire to flee from the wrath that accompanies sin that is very important.
This sense causes a person to seek the relief that only comes from a change in lifestyle or the turning away from the old sin-filled life.
Stated more simply, it is not primarily about how you feel, it is about what you do in response to how you feel. In our effort to understand grace and a salvation not based on works we have thrown out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.
Being a follower of Jesus begins and is lived in a state of being constrained. Just because a thing does not have the power to make you unsaved does not mean you should do it. In fact I have serious concerns about the state of a person’s salvation who consistently behaves in a manner contrary to the person of Christ. We have turned from the old life to the new. We have turned from the dark to the light.
Let’s not turn back!