Meaning of Repent

While I grew up attending church, I had no idea what the word ‘repent’ meant. After I started a relationship with Christ, Holy Spirit led me to an understanding of the term. The word transliterated as repent is metanoeo in Greek. 

It is defined as

  1. to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent
  2. to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins

Some verses with this term include:

Acts 3:19
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord

Acts 26:20
First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds

Romans 2:4
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

Repent does not mean feel bad. Repent does not mean acknowledge. Repent means change. If one does not change (of sins, from following one’s own dictates rather than God, and believing one gets to set the rules rather than God, and that one’s efforts are enough, etc.) and turn to God and then have a life that give evidence of that change, then one is not saved to begin with. That’s what James was talking about that even the demons believe and shudder, but we know they are not in heaven. We are saved through faith in Christ, but there must be evidence of a changed heart for it to be true faith.

I am not saying change is easy. But God says it is required. I am not saying change is instantaneous, but it must begin, and continue.

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