The Pryor Times


May 24, 2012

Thoughts from Adair Church of Christ

Jesus twice stated, “except ye repent, ye shall…perish” (Luke 13: 3–5). His statement signals the indispensible place of repentance in the scheme of redemption. We will thus do well to understand its meaning and its relationship to other elements of the Lord’s plan of salvation.

By definition, the verb repent translates the compound Greek word, metanoeo, which means to change the mind afterward or upon reflection of one’s behavior.

A common perception views repentance as experiencing sorrow for one’s behavior. However, this view mistakes cause for effect. Paul wrote that “godly sorrow worketh [i.e., produces] repentance unto salvation” (2 Cor. 7:10). Thus sorrow and repentance are not the same. However, not sorrow of just any sort will lead to saving repentance. One can sorrow over his behavior because of its costs to health, bank account, or family, and he might repent because of that sorrow. However, if it is not a sorrow rising out of his offenses toward God (i.e., “godly sorrow”), it will not serve his soul’s salvation.

Another mistaken idea is that to repent is to change one’s life. This notion confuses effect with cause. Paul preached that men “should repent…, doing works worthy of repentance” (Acts 26:20b). John likewise preached repentance and told his auditors: “Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of repentance” (Mat. 3:2, 8). These passages make it obvious that repentance precedes reformation (and is therefore not reformation), but also that true repentance will manifest itself in reformation.

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