Repentance, the first requirement of God for a new Believer
This is probably one of the most important words to understand in the New Testament. Before I use some scriptural examples, let me very briefly and simply give you the definition.
Repent - μετανοεω, (μετα + νοεω) - change your mind
A practical application to understand the stark simplicity is if you’re walking in one direction, to repent, you would turn around and walk in the opposite direction.
In the context of the New Testament, repent simply means to change your mind, think differently or reconsider. This is in reference to your understanding of who Jesus is and what He did on the cross. We’ve already learned who God is in the Old Testament thru the 48 names I’ve transliterated. Those 48 names became flesh and walked among us in the person of Jesus the Christ and died on the cross. This is the change we are to make in our mind, from our previous incorrect thinking of who Jesus was, to the understanding of who He is and what He has done.
This is radically different than the definition of today which generally is, “feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one's wrongdoing”
When we come to scripture and see “Repent” used, we can have a much better understanding of what the Scripture is saying to us by correctly understanding repent. Now let’s take a brief look and see how it is used and why it is such an important word for us to understand.
In Acts chapter two, Peter is explaining the meaning the events of the day by quoting from the Old Testament to Jewish listeners and concludes by saying,
Acts 2:38-39 Historical Highway “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that Theos, the Triune God, has made this Iesous, Jesus, whom you crucified, both Kyrios, Lord, and Christos, the Christ, the Anointed One.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Iesous Christos, Jesus the Christ, the Anointed One, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of Pneuma Hagios, the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as Kyrios, the Lord, our Theos the Triune God, will call.”
In Acts chapter 3 we have recorded the lame man healed in the name of Jesus. In explaining to the Jewish crowd that had gathered, Peter continues in verse 14 saying,
Acts 3:13-19 Historical Highway Theos, the Triune God, the Creator of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Theos, the Triune God of our fathers glorified His Servant Iesous, Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom Theos, the Triune God, raised from the dead. To this fact we are witnesses. And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which Theos, the Triune God, foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christos, the Christ, the Anointed One, would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of Kyrios, the Lord…”
In Athens on Mars Hill, Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus, who day and night spent their time hearing and telling something new, and said to the unbelieving Greeks,
Acts 17:22b-31 Historical Highway “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious, for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO THE UNKNOWN GOD’.
“Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you, Theos, the Triune God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Kyrios, the Lord, of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Neither is He served with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek Kyrios, the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For it is in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Therefore, since we are the offspring of Kyrios, the Lord, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Truly, these times of ignorance Theos, the Triune God, overlooked but now commands all men everywhere torepent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
In Acts 26 we find Paul is summoned before King Agrippa, a gentile King of the Roman empire, and in responding to the king he says,
Acts 26:19-20 Historical Highway “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to Theos, the Triune God, and do works befitting repentance”.
In these three examples we see that the term “Repent”, whether to the Jews or the Greeks, the religious or the uninitiated, repent simply means to change their mind about Jesus, who He was and what He did.
When used in other contexts, it always means to change your mind, and at the heart of what is being spoken of, it will at the root be of something related directly or indirectly to Jesus.
Now may God bless you as you read the Historical Highway and may this give you a clearer understanding of what walking by faith means as you study to show yourselves approved unto God, rightly dividing the word of truth.
a fellow soldier of Jesus Christ