A Different Perspective on Repentance

“So they set out and preached that the people should repent. They also drove out many demons and healed many of the sick, anointing them with oil.” Mark 9:13
“Therefore, bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.” Luke 3:8.

For entire context refer to Luke 3: 1-8.

Repentance is often viewed from the perspective of seeking forgiveness or saying sorry to God or someone else for personal sins or wrongs you have committed against them.

As a result of this specific viewpoint, it often carries with it a very negative often self-deprecating effect that immediately puts people in a defensive position when confronted with the need for repentance. Instead of seeing it for what it truly is they immediately recoil from it because it’s presented as a form of reprimand or rebuke that emphasizes one’s weakness, deficiencies or failures. But, this is not the core of what repentance is.

Repentance is a call for you to re-evaluate yourself and to reflect on your current position in relation to God and others. It’s an invitation for self-evaluation; a concept already synonymous with personal and professional development in the secular world. The objective of this exercise is to help people further improve, grow and strengthen themselves in the area most needed.

Yet, despite being embraced in the secular setting and viewed in a positive light, we shun the concept when it comes to spiritual matters.

If repentance was presented in its rightful context, it would be better understood and applied in one’s life. The act of saying sorry or seeking forgiveness would not be the motivating factor but rather a natural by-product of the application of this principle instead of something beaten out of or forced onto a person.

Original Interpretation & Meaning

To truly grasp this concept you only have to look at the original meaning of the word in the original Hebrew or Greek context. This is because often the word conveyed in English could denote a slightly different meaning from that given in the original tongue. This is what 2 Timothy 2:15 refers to when he speaks of ‘properly dividing the Truth of the Word of God.’ It is intentionally seeking to understand the intent behind the Word of God, a passage or line, through in-depth study and research.

This is clearly demonstrated when we delve into the meaning behind the word used for repentance in the scriptures referenced above. We find a completely different context to that originally conveyed. The word transliterated from the original Greek is ‘metanoia’ which literally means “a change of mind” or "after-thought." In some contexts, it also means reversal or change of direction.

Application of the Principle

So, repentance, from this perspective, is actually a call to change our mind on how we view God, others and the world around us. Our mind shapes the way we see things, our perceptions and views and ultimately who we become. It’s a call to change what you have been taught or influenced into believing and accepting as truth in this world to that which is Truth from God’s perspective. A change of ‘mind’ is also a reference to your will and soul, which are the essence of your personhood.

Repentance is also the process of changing from your current position to the one God wants you to be in.

Example, someone said something or did something that offended or hurt you so you made up your mind that they were evil or cruel and selfish. You decide to hold that against them. Your thoughts, emotions and actions are aligned to what you have decided to accept in your mind as truth. This becomes your position and your mindset.

As a result of this we justify the hate we feel towards the person who wronged us which ultimately leads to unforgiveness and bitterness of heart. This becomes the perspective or lense through which you view the world and taints everything around you. You not only hold that offence against the person who wronged you, but against everything associated with them, e.g., those of the same gender, race, ethnicity, class or creed.

This is a common scenario we either find ourselves in or observe in others around us. It’s also the reason for much conflict, division and social disorder. People choose to remain in the same state of mind and refuse to change their views or opinions of others, themselves and God. Repentance is the act of changing the lense so to speak. It’s a willingness to change your lense to God’s lense and to view things from an eternal God-perspective.

A Kingdom Pre-requisite

Repentance is a crucial prerequisite to entering into God’s Kingdom. Matthew 5: 3 says,

“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God.”

The phrase ‘poor in spirit’ is a reference to having a contrite and teachable spirit, not one that seeks to promote or serve ones interests but rather to be constantly transparent and open before God. One that always seeks self-evaluation and desires to be tried and tested so that their ‘lense’ and thus, their perspective, remains clear and impartial before God.

In the same sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew 5 and verse 8 a crucial catalyst for this ‘change of mind’ is found. Here it says,

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.”

We can’t see God or have a God perspective of the world around us and of others or ourselves if we do not first have a desire to change. If repentance is to change one’s mind about something then repentance must first begin in our hearts. Our hearts are the emotional control center of our soul and our will. If you can touch someone’s heart, you can change their mind.

When John the Baptist started his ministry his primary message was ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2). He would then baptize them in water following their repentance to symbolize the conscious decision they had made to change their lives, to turn away from sin and to follow God. This was all done to prepare the way for the One who was to come, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who would not only change their minds, but also their hearts, soul and spirit. He was the only One who could make them a completely new being by transitioning them from death into eternal life.

So, when we view repentance from this perspective we can appreciate its true purpose; to pave the way for salvation, deliverance, and all that is rightfully our inheritance in the Kingdom of God. Repentance is you giving legal authority to God to take control of your life and to change those areas that need changing.

Sin is anything that is in defiance to God and His Laws or His Word. The greatest barrier to salvation, deliverance and healing is a person who chooses not to change their mind about sin in their lives. They choose to hold onto the old mindset and views that have distorted the truth and led them into a state of bondage. But when a person repents they are choosing to change their position and to relinquish that control or hold they had over their lives to God and are giving Him the full power and authority to change them from the inside out and to set them free from the power of sin and death.

This is the reason why repentance was the first thing that had to take place before Christ Jesus and His disciples could perform miracles. Once this vital transition took place they were then able to exercise all authority over the enemy to drive out demons and heal the sick; some from life-long ailments rooted in negative or destructive mindsets.

The Kingdom of God cannot manifest as it did when Christ was here on earth without this crucial element.

Inner Change, Outward Demonstration

We often pray and cry out to God to see Revival in our Churches and nations as a whole, but we can’t see Revival without first starting the revival in our lives through repentance. Revival only comes with change. We get so stubborn in our ways and refuse to change our mindsets, views and perspectives of others that we end up missing out on the benefits that come with it.

Luke 3:8 refers to ‘bearing fruits worthy of repentance’ which is a call to really do some serious self-evaluation. Sometimes we pray and convey all our problems and issues to God pointing out all that is wrong with the world and everyone else except us and fail to see the role we play in that situation. These types of prayers require no genuine commitment on our part to change. It’s a one way dialogue with God that’s the most convenient for us, but, the least productive, least effective and least powerful in effecting change in us.

Repentance or a change of mind must be evident in our lives if it is to be believed or taken seriously. If we are to be ambassadors of Christ and the Kingdom of God here on earth, the change must be seen in and felt through us first. That means that repentance is also not a private thing. Repentance must be demonstrated before others. Its not a one-off thing either. It’s a constant state of re-alignment of your thoughts, your speech and actions to God’s.

Look at it this way: When you’re saved, you have been set on a straight path and that path leads directly to God. But, along the way, there are various distractions, temptations and setbacks that occur which cause you to detour or deviate from that path. Repentance are the road signs along the way to help re-route you back to your original path. It’s like that constant checkpoint along your journey in life to assess whether the road you’re on is the right one or the wrong one and to lead you back to where you belong.

I pray this blesses you.

If you have any questions or would like me to pray with you, please feel free to get on chat, email me or call. I’d be honored to help you through this process of re-alignment back to your true destination in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Your Sister in Christ

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