What is "Repentance"?
The word for "repentance" in the New Testament is μετανοια "metanoia" in Greek. "μετα" meaning "change" and "noia" meaning "to think about". So repetance is to change the way you think about stuff. It is not referring directly to a change of behavior, but rather a change of mind or of attitude. It deals with the realm is ideas.
It can go without saying that while faith is the SOLE condition for salvation, faith involves a change of attitude, a change of the way you think about certain things, and thus repentance is part of what it means to believe. When Jesus says in Mark 1:15 "Repent, and believe in the gospel."
, he's saying "change your mind from not believing the gospel to believing the gospel"
. This is why the word "repent" or "repentance" is seldom used. Never in the gospel of John. Only once in Romans, which is an extensive diagnostic presentation of the gospel. It's seldom used because to change one's mind, one ideas, one thoughts, one's attitudes, is incorporated in what it means to believe. What does Repentance involve
To believe the gospel a person may have to change his mind about a number of things.
What about works?"I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds." Acts 26:20b Deeds of repentance are not the cause but the proof
- He may have to change is mind about God, God's existence, God's character or characteristics, to be in line with how God is portrayed in scripture.
- That God is not simply Creator, but the Lord God and that unlike idols, God speaks, God commands, God insists upon conforming his design, such as his design of gender and marriage, that people comply with His demands concerning how to treat others. And that God is just and that God is judge, all being subject to judgement on His terms, rather than our terms. God defines what constitutes sin, not us.
- The person may have to change his mind about Jesus, who he is, being God incarnate, the LORD.
- The person may have to change his mind about himself, that he is not good, he is wicked and on his way to hell in light of God standard of righteousness.
- The person may have to change his mind about how he can be reconciled with God, not by his works or behavior or through religious rituals or attendance or involvement in religious organizations, but simply by believing the gospel and so doing accepting eternal life as a free gift.
of Saving Faith.
A change of mind is evident in a change of deeds, a change of behavior. A person is saved by faith apart from works, but then as a saved, eternally secure child of God, the believer will apply his faith. And as is implied above:Saving Faith Results in the Intention to Repent of SinAs an example of application oriented faith note Zacchaeus of Luke 19. He was a wealthy tax collector Jesus came to visit. Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham." Notice that Jesus declared this man saved when he simply declared his INTENTION to repent of sin. Zacchaeus had not given away half his possessions to the poor, and he still had the money in his pockets which he had cheated out of others. He had not done any good work at this point. Yet Jesus declared him saved. Furthermore, why did he happen to express his intention to repent of sin at that moment? While the text doesn't tell us explicitly, I think it's safe to say that he expressed such an intention because he had come to believe in Jesus.More generally we could say, Saving Faith results in visible applications of that faith. Absent such applications calls into question whether one's alleged faith is the faith the Bible speaks of. Saving Faith is a Conviction in which one weighs its implications and consequences.