Repent: 1: to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life
2 a: to feel regret or contrition b: to change one’s mind
It’s a word every Christian should be familiar with. Unfortunately, it’s a word that is quite unpopular today; that many church-goers may have never even heard of.
The Greek word for it, which is how it was originally written in the New Testament, is metanoia. Metanoia means to change one’s mind, or more simply, to turn around.
We all remember the preaching of John the Baptist, don’t we?
1 Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying,
2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:1-2 NASB)
Do you remember the way Jesus preached when he was starting out on His ministry?
17 From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17 NASB)
Why did they say that? What does repenting have to do with anything?
Well, are you a sinner?
Is that a tough question? It shouldn’t be. The Bible tells us that all have sinned, every last one of us. It tells us that the only person who never sinned was the Lord Jesus himself. But beginning with Adam and Eve, every last one of us is a sinner, deserving the wrath of God and to be thrown into the lake of fire in punishment for our sins.
If you’re honest with yourself, you should be able to think of some way in which you have sinned at one time or another in your life. If you can’t think of anything, then you either don’t understand the concept of sin, or you’re kidding yourself.
Sin is anything that separates you from God.
God gave us the Ten Commandments as a very basic group of laws which should show you your sin. Now you tell me you haven’t broken any of them? Come on now. Jesus tells us that it’s more than physically breaking the laws, it’s also a matter of your heart and mind. He tells us that if you harbor any anger in yourself towards any brother or sister, that’s sin. He tells us that if we’ve ever looked at another woman (or man) who we aren’t married to, with lust in our hearts, that is the same as physically committing fornication or adultery with them, and therefore a sin.
Face it. We’re all sinners. We all have no hope of ever getting to heaven in ourselves; all we can do is fall on our knees and plead for mercy from the only one who can possibly save us, that is Jesus Christ himself.
And what does he tell us?
Turn around. Turn away from your sin, and turn in faith towards him, for he is the only one who can save you.
There is no salvation without repentance.
If you haven’t repented, then you’re not saved, and you will die in your sin.