Posted on Sat, Feb 1, 2014
Transforming the Heart to Repent
“…And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit…” (Acts 2:38)
Repentance is an often misunderstood concept among believers and followers of Christ. An etymology (word study) of Metanoia (the Greek word for repentance) seems to suggest contemporary (modern) English mistranslations of what it actually means to repent. The mistaken application of repentance to “being sorry”, “changing one’s mind”, or some other definition, is far from the true idea that John the Baptist, Jesus, or Peter meant when they used the word “Metanoia”. To repent means to transform, transfigure, or transmute one’s mental attitude and conduct. Author Todd Nibert stated, “Repentance is siding with God against self.” Business analysts and anthropologists may describe this as a “paradigm shift” or refreshed view of belief, understanding or culture. Truly letting go of old habits or beliefs to align with God’s convictions is often a more extended process rather than an immediate change. This suggests that if believers or the word desire to transform to disciplined followers of Christ, the commitment to growth and change must be at the core of each heart. Thinking we are just perfect and do not need change is the opposite of Metanoia or repentance. If we reject the notion of repentance, we will effectively establish our own standard or “righteousness” and justified (i.e. aligned) ourselves to that standard. In general terms, this is called “staying in our comfort zones”. This is the most dangerous form of pride which rejects the need for the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. If we are being perfected, we must continue the perfection process. We only stop when we become perfect; and if that standard of perfection is one set internally, we are deceived. Jeremiah noted that, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah (17:9-14) James follows that thought with another route to self-deception…in-action. He said, we should, “…be doers of the word, and not hearers only, or we end up “…deceiving ourselves.” (James 1:22). Repentance is more than a thought, or a mood, or a word, or a text, or an email. To adopt a lifestyle of Metanoia means we have sold out to be different from one moment to the next…always moving towards our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. By the way, with man, this Metanoia of the heart is impossible to start or sustain…without God. But with God, it is not only possible but assured. We only need to position ourselves to the Light and “LET GOD” do the rest.
"Repentance was never yet produced in any man's heart apart from the grace of God. As soon may you expect the leopard to regret the blood with which its fangs are moistened,—as soon might you expect the lion of the wood to abjure his cruel tyranny over the feeble beasts of the plain, as expect the sinner to make any confession, or offer any repentance that shall be accepted of God, unless grace shall first renew the heart.” ― Charles H. Spurgeon
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