June 27, 2012


            According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, in the New Testament there are three Greek words that are translated “repentance.”

1.  Metamelomai –  A change of mind such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin,  not necessarily a change of heart.  Used in regard to repentance in Judas.  (Mat. 27:3)

2.  Metaneo – To change one’s mind and purpose as a result of after knowledge.

3.  Metanoia – A change of mind, purpose and life to which remission of sin is promised.  Evangelical repentance consists of (1).  A true sense of one’s own guilt and sinfulness. (2) an apprehension of God’s mercy in Christ.  (3)  An actual hatred of sin (Psm. 119:128) (Job 42:5-6) (II Cor. 7:10) and turning from it to God.  (4)  A persistent endeavor after a holy life and walking with God in his commandments. The true repentant is conscious of guilt (Psm. 51:4,9), of pollution (51:5,7,10) and of helplessness (51:11, 119:21-22)  Thus he apprehends himself to be just what God has always seen him to be and declares him to be.  Repentance comprehends not only such a sense of sin, but also an apprehension of mercy, without which there can be no repentance. (Psm. 51:1, 130:4)   Cited from pages 995/996

I have often heard preachers say that repentance is “to agree with what God says about your sinful condition.”

According to II Cor. 7:10,  repentance precedes salvation.  First comes “godly sorrow”, then repentance and then salvation

The great commission in Luke 24:46-47 says “that repentance and remission of sins be preached in his name among all nations.”

The word “repent” appears 43 times in the Bible.  The word “repentance” appears 26 times.

To five of the 7 churches in Asia Minor the message was “repent.”  Revelation 2:5,16,21-22, 3:3,19

Salvation is the forgiveness of sin.  The person who doesn’t repent doesn’t think he has done anything wrong.  If you don’t repent, God can’t forgive you.  It’s better that the sinner comes to God with the humble attitude of the publican in Luke 18:13 who said, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.”

From Mat. 21:28-32 it appears that repentance and saving faith go hand in hand.  In verse 32 Jesus rebuked the Jews saying, ”The publicans and harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.”

John the Baptist came preaching repentance.  Mat. 3:1-2 . “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  After him Jesus came preaching repentance.  “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, the time is fulfilled,  the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15)

Unger’s Bible dictionary says: “Repentance (Gr. Metanoia, a change of mind) in the theological and ethical sense a fundamental and thorough change in the hearts of men from sin and toward God.  Although faith alone is the condition of salvation (Eph. 2:8-10; Acts 16:31) repentance is bound up with faith and inseparable from it, since without some measure of faith no one can truly repent, and repentance never  attains to its deepest character till the sinner realizes through saving faith how great is the grace of God against whom he has sinned.  On the other hand there can be no saving faith without true repentance.  Repentance contains, as essential elements, (1) a genuine sorrow toward God on account of sin (II Cor. 7:9-10; Mat. 5:3-4; Psm. 51). (2)  An inward repugnance to sin necessarily followed by the actual forsaking of it. (Mat. 3:8; Acts 26:20; Heb. 6:1). (3) Humble self surrender to the will and service of God. (Acts 9:6)  End of quote from Unger

The Bible says that those who do not repent perish.  Luke 13:3-5, II Pet. 3:9

When I was in seminary I had to read Strong’s Theology from cover to cover.  It is a book of 1056 pages.  Once I heard someone say that Strong’s theology has small print, fine print and illegible print.  I’m aware that he gave into the theory of evolution.  Never the less, he has always been my source of reference for theological questions.  In regard to repentance he says.  “Repentance is that voluntary change in the mind of the sinner in which he turns from sin – being essentially a change of mind, it involves a change of view, a change of feeling and a change of purpose.  We may therefore analyze repentance into three constituents, each succeeding term of which includes and implies the one preceding.

1.  An intellectual element – change of view – recognition of sin as involving personal guilt, defilement and helplessness.

2.  An emotional element – change of feeling – sorrow for sin as committed against goodness and justice, and therefore hateful to God and hateful in itself (Psm. 51:1,2,10,14)

3.  An emotional element – change of purpose – inward turning from sin and disposition to seek pardon and cleansing.”  End of quote from Strong’s Theology

It’s true that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, but that doesn’t mean that every lost sinner is forgiven.  Jesus death on the cross made it possible that “who so ever believeth in him might be saved.”  The sinner is still under condemnation for his sin unless and until he comes to God and asks for forgiveness.  Because of Jesus sacrificial death on the cross, our righteous, holy God can forgive him.  Asking forgiveness is an act of repentance.  It is saying, “I’m guilty, God has every right to be angry with me.”  Therefore he makes reconciliation with God.  Rom. 5:10, II Cor. 5:20


Taking into account the frequency of the matter of repentance in the Bible, I can’t lightly dismiss it.  Added to that is the weight of evidence of Bible scholars who say that it is a doctrine of great importance that we dare not neglect.  My heart is grieved to see so much shallow, superficial Christianity.  I can’t help but wonder if part of the reason for that isn’t because multitudes have been added to the ranks of Christianity who have never repented of their sins and turned away from the sinful life style they lived before making a profession of salvation.

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