Okay, I have been doing a study on repentance of late. Then yesterday I mentioned Judas and tares, and now I just can't get the whole subject out of my mind. I'm not sure if it will benefit anyone but myself, but maybe if I write it down I can free up my brain to think about something else. Because apparently it can't handle more than one deep thought at a time. :)
First let's define the word, because that pretty much lays it all out there right up front. First the dictionary definition:
re·pent·ance rəˈpentəns/ A noun meaning the action of repenting.
So then we need the definition of repent:
re·pent rəˈpent/ A verb meaning to feel sincere, deep regret or remorse about one's wrongdoing or sin.
Okay, so that's pretty good right there, right from the secular dictionary. But I know in the Bible there is more than one Greek word for repentance. Now, I'm not an expert in Greek by any means (skill level- zero). I was able to skate through all of my years of Bible College without one semester of Greek or Hebrew. Good thing. I stunk at French way back in Junior High. Two years, and pretty much all I can do is ask you your name and for the time of the day. :) Anything that involves line-by-line memory work is a weak subject for me.
My son had a couple of years of Greek in college, and I would defer to him if he were home. But he is not. And all of my books are in storage. So I'll have to resort to my amazing google skills.
Bible dictionary meaning of repentance:
First: metamelomai; A Greek verb meaning a change of mind, often producing regret, but not necessarily a change of heart.
Second: metanoeo (a verb), with metanoia (a noun); Greek words meaning a change of mind, heart, purpose, and life, to which remission of sin is promised. This repentance consists of a true sense of one's own guilt and sinfulness and a hatred and sorrow for it, an understanding of the mercy of God through the finished work of Jesus on the cross, and a genuine turning from the sin of self to that mercy of God.
I know this is deep, but stay with me. It's SO good!
Let me tell you about my kids when they were little. I would walk into a room, and immediately time would stand still. BIG trouble! Not an accident or mistake. Major and obvious disobedience! (There is a HUGE difference between the two. We'll talk of that someday.) Trouble on the front!
The kids would freeze and look up and see the look on my face. And immediately they would burst into tears. Nobody likes to be in trouble.
Sometimes I would have standing before me a child who found themselves in a mess and they were sorry that they were in a mess. Really sorry. They were crying because they were in big trouble and they wished they weren't. They wished that the discipline that was coming didn't have to happen. They regretted what they did because now they were in a bind. This is the first Greek word for repentance.
And then, sometimes I would find before me a child with a broken heart. They would look up at me with such love and sorrow, with the tears rolling down their face. Those tears were not for themselves. They were for me. They were sorry that they had hurt me and made me sad. They had a broken heart. I really did have a child who reacted this way more times than not. This is the second Greek word for repentance.
And I always knew the difference. I believe every parent reading this knows exactly what I mean, if you were fortunate enough to have a child who even occasionally responded like the second one. I always knew.
And God always knows, too. I was good at reading the hearts of my children. God is perfect at it. He knows our hearts. Always and without words or tears. He knows everything.
1 John 3:20 - "...God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things."
Jeremiah 17:10 - "I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins..."
And so, the two Biblical definitions for the word repentance. The first was the way Judas responded to the situation getting out of hand after he had betrayed Jesus.
Matthew 27:3 - “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders.”
And then he went out and hanged himself. He died a lost man and went to hell. After spending three and a half years living with Jesus in the flesh. Are you kidding me? Amazing!
I know Judas was lost because in John chapter six, Jesus called him a devil! How could the other disciples have missed that clue? And then, before the betrayal, the Bible tells us that satan entered into Judas (Luke 22:3). Satan cannot enter into or possess a true believer. We have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and are sealed. He can only tempt us and harm our bodies if God allows. Oh, my-- this is a whole different post. Someday. :)
Okay, now the second kind of repentance. The kind that leads to salvation. The kind that results in being born again. The kind that leads to a very real relationship with God and heaven as your ultimate home. The kind that the tenderhearted child in the second example pictures for us.
Except this second kind spiritually involves one more thing, and that is essential. The Spirit of God. There is no salvation without the knowledge of these things (...a true sense of one's own guilt and sinfulness and a hatred and sorrow for it, an understanding of the mercy of God through the finished work of Jesus on the cross, and a genuine turning from the sin of self to that mercy of God.), and the drawing of the Holy Spirit of God. And God will send the Holy Spirit to do that work in your life if you cry out to Him and turn your heart toward Him.
True repentance is all about the heart. Many times when we sin we regret the consequences of that sin rather than the actual sin. Biblical repentance is grieving and brings great sorrow, because the sin is against God and hurts Him.
This is more of a Bible study than a blog post. I have left out dozens of Scriptures that would be such a help to your understanding of repentance, but my words are limited.
But if you are not saved and have not experienced the metanoeo kind of repentance, then you can and should take care of that today. This post shows you how. And today will absolutely become the best day of your entire life!
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