Summary: An insightful look at Godly Sorrow, Confession, Contrition, Consecration, and Conversion
“Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark 1:15 NIV)
Jesus said, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev 3:19-20 NKJV).
Repentance is most often thought of as ceasing to sin, doing penance and turning around and going the opposite way. Many think that repentance is how you measure up to the high standards of God. It’s their way of saying, “I'm deeply regret, and am sorry what happened and promise to never do it again.”
The sense of remorseful "regret" is common to New Testament uses. A son "changed his mind" about doing his father's bidding (Matt 21:29). Judas Iscariot was "seized with remorse" after betraying Jesus (Matt 27:3). Paul did not "regret" the sorrow caused by his severe letter to Corinth (2 Cor 7:8); instead, the pain brought "repentance" (Gk: ‘metanoia’) that leads to salvation, and leaves no "regret" (vv. 9-10).
Webster's Dictionary defines the word repent: 1) to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life; 2a) to feel regret or contrition; 2b) to change one's mind.
The first definition is what many believe that Jesus taught - that only people who repent (stop sinning and change their ways) will enter into the Kingdom of God. Actually, many non-Christians do this all the time as they realize it will benefit their lives.
Jesus began His public ministry proclamation as the promised Messiah with the call "Repent" (Mark 1:15; Matt (4:17). The word ‘repent’ comes from the Greek word ‘metanoeo’ and means to change one’s mind, opinion or purpose with regard to sin and to withdraw from, reconsider, think differently and turn away.
In the New Testament, the verb form of repent is ‘metanoeoo’ and occurs once only (2 Cor 12:21).
The noun ‘metanoia’ occurs four times (Rom 2:4; 2 Cor 7:9,10; 2 Tim 2:25). It is used frequently in the book of Revelation, often as part of God’s exhortations to the churches (Rev 2:5,16,21-22; 3:3,19). It expresses the true New Testament idea of the spiritual change implied in a person’s commitment to follow Jesus. It was used by John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Apostles (Matt 3:2; Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38). Born-Again Christians are also called to repent (turn away from) throughout their life of various behaviors and thoughts so they can grow and mature in their previous faithfulness.
Another Greek word ‘epistrophe’ is used to bring out more clearly the distinct change required by New Testament repentance. It means "to turn over," "to turn upon," "to turn to.” It is used to strengthen the primary role grace through faith in Jesus plays in salvation, and the positive change that comes as a result of repentance as a person spiritually transitions from sin to God (Acts 9:35, 11:21, 26:20; 1 Thess 1:9).
The Greek term for ‘repenting’ is “metamelomai” which occurs six times in the New Testament. It signifies to have a feeling or care, concern, or regret. It expresses the emotional aspect of repentance.
These Greek words emphasize the will to change one’s mind for the better and think differently about and reconsider what they are doing or what they have done by completely and sincerely turning to God, which involves both the apprehension of the nature of sin and the consciousness of personal guilt (25:5; Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38; 2 Cor 7:9-10).
True repentance is the gift of God (Acts 5:31; 11:18; Rom 2:4). It contains three essential elements; (1) a genuine sorrow toward God on account of sin (2 Cor 7:9-10; Matt 5:3-4; Ps 51:1); (2) an inward hatred to sin necessarily followed by the actual forsaking of it (Matt 3:8; Acts 26:20; Heb 6:1); and (3) humble self-surrender to the will and service of God (see Acts 9:6).
Repentance involves turning from sin, but most importantly, it means turning to God. It’s not about a person working their way into heaven. The primary idea of repentance in the New Testament is a change of mind that leads to the abandonment of sin and turning to God for salvation through Jesus Christ. True repentance is manifested by the natural bearing of good fruit in the life of the Born-Again Christian (Matt 3:8).
The first Commandments states, "I am the LORD your God”…"You shall have no other gods before me. "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below..” (Ex 20:2-5 NIV)
The primary motives for repentance are found in the goodness of God and His divine love because He desires that all come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. When a person makes that conscious decision, they will experience the hope and peace only He can provide through salvation as they gain membership in the Kingdom of Heaven (Mark 1:15; Luke 13:1-5; John 3:16; Acts 17:30; Rom 2:4; 1 Tim 2:4).