"Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe (do) all things whatsoever I (Jesus Christ) have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.2 Corinthians 7:1 ... dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
I am a retired pastor of
the Church of God (Tennessee).
My name is Isaac Livingston. I am from Neyyoor India.
What is Repentance?
'Repent' is a word of command, that is, you are telling someone to repent. When you give the command 'repent', what do you expect the person to do, and that is called repentance. In my language Bible, (Tamil Bible) repent is "change your mind". That is, to change our mind from one thing to another thing. This is repentance. So, repent from your sins means, change your mind from sinning to not sinning. A foot note: sorrow also was referred as repentance in a few places in the Old Testament. It does not interfere us since our study is from the New Testament. Repentance is not only to say sorry for our sins, but also to do restitution to those the harm is done and not to do such things again. But Christians have learned to say sorry in a private prayer, without doing any restitution to whom the harm is done, and they will do such harm again. This is just a joke and it is not repentance. True repentance will make a way to forgiveness. But fake repentance will make the sinner worse. Most Christians take the blood of Jesus Christ for granted, downplay sin, and preach that salvation can be obtained by a simple ritual or a prayer. God has rejected them. But, God has given repentance to Israel as well as to Gentiles and he desires that all should come to repentance. "Acts 5:30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. 31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." So, God wants everybody to come to repentance, and God is willing to give to all.
So, repent from sins means, to change our mind from sinning to not sinning. So, in another word, it is to be converted from sinning to not sinning, and so it is conversion. Or, we may say that repentance without conversion, means nothing. "Acts 3:18 But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;" John the Baptist was baptizing people of repentance for the remission of sins. Many came to him, also the religious leaders. John the Baptist confronted them, since they just came without any intention of conversion, but they thought that it is their right to be baptized since they are the children of Abraham. "Matthew 3:6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." So, repentance is to be converted, but not just to go through baptism, which is a ceremony. "Luke 3:6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. 7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 9 And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." So, repentance without conversion is fake, and it will lead to be thrown into the fire of hell.
In general, we accept that everybody except Jesus Christ has committed sin. John the Baptist, Jesus Christ and the apostles of Christ, they all called the people to repent in order to be a part in the kingdom of heaven. "Matthew 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." In Matthew 9:13 Jesus says "I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." And apostle Peter preached people to repent and to be baptized. "Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, ... Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Then apostle Paul confirms the commands of God that everybody must repent. "Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:." After he was seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven, Jesus Christ visited apostle John to send messages to the Churches requiring them to repent. They have repented, baptized and joined the churches. When they fell back God requires them to repent again. "Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. Revelation 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent." This will apply to all of us in the church also. Without repenting for our sins and taking water baptism, there will be no salvation. Any outward show of religion will not convince God. God honors the broken heart and obedience.
"Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Here, what for do we repent or to change our mind? It is for the kingdom of heaven that is eternal. So, we must change our minds from the things of the world to the kingdom of heaven. But, we always approach God for worldly needs, and comforts. We take eternal things for granted. "Colossians 3:2-4 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." This is to change our minds from sinning as well as from the things of this world and to desire the things of heaven. Believers usually say 'born again', 'new creature' and such words or phrases, but in practice they live as the same old person with no change, but have learned a few new phrases or vocabulary. They have to "repent" that is to "change their mind" to the mind of Jesus Christ, and to live his Life, in order to be new creatures.