March 17, 2022 – Thursday
Matthew 3:1-2 NIV
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.
The above gives us the first occurrence of the word repent in the New Testament and it is a verb unlike repentance which is a noun. Now, I don’t know about you, but I have heard the words repent and repentance so many times that I am sure I know what they mean. But do I? Let’s take a look.
Before looking at definitions, I thought to see what modern day apologist David Guizk would say about the above verses. Guzik writes, John’s message was a call to repentance. Some people think that repentance is mostly about feelings, especially feeling sorry for your sin. It is wonderful to feel sorry about your sin, but repent isn’t a “feelings” word. It is an action word. John told his listeners to make a change of the mind, not merely to feel sorry for what they had done. Repentance speaks of a change of direction, not a sorrow in the heart.
Going to the BlueLetterBible.org and looking at the Greek word metanoeō (G3340) we find the Outline of Biblical Usage for repent gives us 1) to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent and 2) to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins while Strong’s Definition gives us to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (morally, feel compunction):—repent. Vine’s Expository Dictionary (edited) says, “to perceive afterwards” (meta, “after,” implying “change,” noeo, “to perceive;” nous, “the mind, the seat of moral reflection)” hence signifies “to change one’s mind or purpose,” always, in the NT, involving a change for the better, and always of “repentance” from sin.
If that didn’t make it clear, there is always the Amplified Bible version of the verse that does a good job of adding clarity, Repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins, live your life in a way that proves repentance; seek God’s purpose for your life], for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
The one thing I don’t want to do is to give you the idea that repenting or repentance is all of our doing. Repenting requires God’s involvement. The King James Study Bible Notes says it this way, Repent (Gr. metanoeō) means a change of mind that results in a change of conduct. Repentance is not merely sorrow. It involves a complete change of attitude regarding God and sin and is often accompanied by a sense of sorrow and a corresponding change in conduct. Such repentance does not arise within man himself, but is the result of God’s mercy in leading man to it. God wants us to repent and to change our ways and He is the one who makes it possible for anyone who seeks God’s mercy to repent.
Bottom Line: When we understand the kingdom of heaven is near, when we truly understand just how near it is, how we could die at any time, the need to repent is now, not at 11:55 p m. thinking we have until midnight. Instead, the train may arrive at 11:30 p.m. and we are too late. It is clearly best not to tarry.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for giving us the opportunity to repent and change our ways, seeking You, Your will, and Your glory. Your love and mercy know no bouds. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton