Summary: Some believe repentance means simply to "turn around" and go in the opposite direction. But the Bible tells us repentance is much more than this.
The Greek word for repentance is metanoia. Meta means "to change or shift" and noia means "perspective." It literally means a change in the way one views things. Repentance means not only saying you’re sorry, it means you are going to genuinely change and mend your ways.
John was preaching repentance, a change in the way things are done. Not just being sorry, but changing the way things are done by us.
"The repentance that John was preaching goes beyond making some flip comment about being "sorry". Sorry is what we are if we go to the store and bring home a loaf of pumpernickel bread when we were asked to bring home rye. The repentance that John preaches is better understood by the phrase "a contrite heart". This is a heart that finds its present condition unacceptable. A heart that seeks real and substantial change.
EXCEPT YE REPENT
There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:1-5)
I. THE DIRECTIVE IS PLAIN.
“Repent or perish”
A. GOD CAN NEVER BE “SOFT” ABOUT SIN.
1. Sin is deceptive.
2. Sin is destructive.
B. YOU CAN BE “SURE” THAT NOT EVEN ONE SIN
WILL NOT GO UNPUNISHED.
1. There will no escape.
2. There will no excuse.
II. THE DUTY IS PERSONAL.
“Except ye repent.”
A. YOU ARE DEFILED.
For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. (Isaiah 59:3)
1. It affects how we think.
2. It affects how we talk.
III. THE DECISION MUST NOT BE POSTPONED.
A. HE WARNED THEM OF THEIR DANGER.
“Ye shall all likewise perish”
B. HE WAITED FOR THEIR DECISION.
1. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: (Acts 17:30)
Some believe repentance means simply to "turn around" and go in the opposite direction. But the Bible tells us repentance is much more than this.
The full, literal meaning of the word "repent" in the New Testament is "to feel remorse and self-reproach for one’s sins against God; to be contrite, sorry; to want to change direction." The difference in meanings here rests on the word "Want." True repentance includes a desire to change! And then makes the necessary change(s)!
Moreover, simply being sorry doesn’t constitute repentance. Rather, true sorrow leads to repentance. Paul states, "Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death" (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Paul is speaking here of a sorrow that’s without regrets -- one that’s genuine, that "sticks" in the life of the repentant person. This kind of godly sorrow naturally produces a repentance that includes a hatred for sin, a righteous fear of God and a desire to right all wrongs.