Sunday, September 2, 2018

What Does It Mean To Repent?

September 2 (Mark 1:15)

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the Good News!”  (ESV/NLT)

Children will tell their parents that they are really, really sorry when they’ve done something.  They mean it, but that is not repentance.  People faced with an addiction will promise themselves and others that will really, really try harder not to do it again.  They mean it, but that’s not quite repentance, either.  When Jesus says to repent, He is giving a life-transforming command like no other.

The Greek verb here is metanoeite, and it carries the sense of changing one’s way of thinking and seeing the world.  Now, we seem to have no trouble imagining science fiction scenarios, so try that now.  Imagine an alien ship hovering over the earth broadcasting the message, “The time has come!  The kingdom of the Xarbellians is at hand!”  It would change absolutely everything you thought you knew about the universe and your place in it.  Now you have the sense of metanoeite.

And how does Jesus tell people to see the world in place of how they have been seeing it?  He tells them to believe the good news!  Instead of seeing life as “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” we are to give ourselves fully to the good news that we are God’s masterpieces, made new in Jesus to do the wonderful things He planned for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).  Instead of believing that God is out to get us for our mistakes, we are to embrace the incredibly good news that God loved the world so much that He gave His own Son for our redemption (John 3:16).  Now, if you truly believed all that, wouldn’t you live your life differently?  That is the meaning of repentance.

Father, I repent today of all the ways in which I have thought about You and gone about life that are false.  The lies about You, my sinful habits…I renounce all of it now and turn to embrace the fullness of life that You offer through Jesus.  When people look at me, may the see what it looks like when the good news is lived out.  In the name of Jesus, Who makes all things possible, amen.

Copyright © 2018 by Steven R. Perkins

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