July 09, 2012

The Lost Mandate of Heaven, Part 1C [Ideas Series, #3]

Matthew 9:12-13
"But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

There is a good deal of trouble among people about what repentance really is. If you ask people what it is, they will tell you "It is feeling sorry." If you ask a man if he repents, he will tell you, "Oh, yes; I generally feel sorry for my sins." That is not repentance. It is something more than feeling sorry.

The word repentance is an old world word. It is a Biblical word. It is a word that has many connotations, most of them bad from a world's point of view. Let's take a closer look -

The Oxford English Dictionary defines repentance as "feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing or sin."

However, according to God's Word sincere regret or remorse is not sufficient. Strong's Dictionary has a more explicit and accurate meaning.

The Greek word for repentance is Metanoia and it means, "a change of mind, as it appears to one who repents, of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done."

In plain English, repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action, which is powered by the Holy Spirit (Jn.15:1-5). Otherwise, the change in action would be works oriented. Again, repentance is turning right about and forsaking sin.

Consider these Biblical references in your Bible devotions:

1. Repentance was preached by John the Baptist, Matthew 3:1-10
Repentance was preached by Jesus Christ, Matthew 4:17, 9:13, 11:20-21; Luke 13:25, 15:7, 24:46-48
3. Repentance was preached by Christ’s Disciples, Mark 6:12
4. Repentance was preached by Peter, Acts 2:38, 3:19, 5:31, 8:22-23
5. Repentance was preached by Paul, Acts 17:30, 20:20-21, 26:20

Christ’s goal in dealing with men was not merely to lead them in a sinner’s prayer, but to bring them to repentance and genuine salvation. He described salvation in terms of coming to repentance.

I will add that repentance is not only a New Testament principle. It goes back to the Old Testament as well. Did not God show His displeasure at the children of Israel in the wilderness because of their stiff-necked ways? If you doubt or wonder, take the time to read the Book of Exodus, chapters 32 and 33.

Isaiah 55:7 says, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."

That is what it is. If a man doesn't turn from his sin he won't be accepted of God, and if righteousness don't produce a turning about - a turning from bad to good - it isn't true righteousness.

Look at King Saul, and see the difference between him and King David. David fell as low as Saul and a good deal lower - he fell from a higher pinnacle, but what was the difference between the two? David turned back to God and confessed his sin and got forgiven (Ps. 51). But look at King Saul. There was no repentance there.

For further study on repentance, consider these other Biblical personalities:
1. Peter and Judas
2. Esau and Jacob
3. Rich, Young Ruler and the Eunuch
4. Esther and Vashti

The Scriptural idea of genuine repentance is used extensively and makes prominent the idea of a radical change in one's attitude toward sin and God. It implies a conscious, moral separation, and a personal decision to forsake sin and to enter into fellowship with God. It is employed extensively with reference to man's turning away from sin to righteousness (Deuteronomy 4:30; Nehemiah 1:9; Psalms 7:12; Jeremiah 3:14).

The term signifies "to have another mind," to change the opinion or purpose with regard to sin. It is equivalent to the Old Testament word "turn." Thus, it is employed by John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles (Matthew 3:2; Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38).

Well, Friend, do you have another mind? Do you have the notion to quit living in sin and turning to Jesus?

Why not do it today? Lord, I Need to Repent.

Sources: International Standard Bible Encyclopedia; Oxford English Dictionary; Strong's Exhaustive Concordance

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