Active Repentance


Matt 3:8


The Definition Matters

Words change meaning over time in ways that might surprise you. Here are just a few examples of words (so, preacher, take your choice) you may not have realized didn't always mean what they mean today.

Nice: This word used to mean "silly, foolish, simple." Far from the compliment it is today!

Silly: Meanwhile, silly went in the opposite direction: in its earliest uses, it referred to things worthy or blessed; from there it came to refer to the weak and vulnerable, and more recently to those who are foolish.

Awful: Awful things used to be "worthy of awe" for a variety of reasons, which is how we get expressions like "the awful majesty of God."

Naughty: Long ago, if you were naughty, you had naught or nothing. Then it came to mean evil or immoral, and now you are just badly behaved.


At one time the word simply mean to rethink or reweigh.

Others said it meant "to feel regret."

To affect (oneself) with contrition or regret for something done, etc

Others said that it was originally associated with a greek or latin military phrase meaning "to turn away."

In the New Testament, the word metanoia is often translated as "repentance". But this kind of repentance is not about regret or guilt or shame; it implies making a decision to turn around, to face a new direction.

T.S. Repentance is key in understanding the kingdom of God. It is one of the first messages of the Forgiver.

Matthew 4:17

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

In the mind of the forgiver repentance is directly associated with experience the kingdom of heaven.


I. Repentance -- Defined

A conscious lifestyle decision to turn to God (a turning that goes beyond sorrow and contrition) triggered by the work of the Holy Spirit, possible only because of the work of Grace.

A. Volitional --

It is a decision. A response. A choice we make as a result of wanting the relationship with Jesus.

It may be accompanied by emotions but at the core it a whole heart decision.

Matthew 4:17

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say , "Repent : for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

B. Evidential

of or providing evidence. "the evidential value of the record"

Lifestyle decisions and changes that are the outcome of the work of Grace in us.

We are transformed into the image of Jesus. We bear the family characteristics of our heavenly father.

Repentance about a changing lifestyle, prescribed or formulaic rituals.

Acts 11:18

And they glorified God, saying, "Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life." ESV

II. Active Repentance

A. Marks the first steps in our journey with Jesus.

Matt 9:9-13

9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"

12 On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'a For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

* Volitional, Evidential

B. Characterizes a growing relationship with Jesus.

Luke 19:1-10

19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a 'sinner.'"

8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."

9 Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."

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