“If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.” Proverbs 1:23 (ESV)
Jesus first words – “Repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Among so many today, that line has been abbreviated to “believe the gospel!” and repentance has been sequestered and categorized to “old order” thinking. Repentance is both an old and new covenant concept that must be understood, appreciated and practiced by every believer in order to continue growing in the faith.
Though I reject the brimstone of the fire-breathing variety – the “turn or burn” messages that are more about fear than they are faith, I still recognize the importance of repentance. The Bible definition is to “turn.” The Greek word “metanoia” literally means to “change the mind.” Obviously, turning is both positive and negative. In turning to God, I turn away from my sin and my past. I can’t turn to or from anything until I have my thinking changed – my mind renewed. (Rom. 12:2)
Repentance shows me the entrance to the Kingdom of God. It is present in my initial salvation. Like two sides of the same coin, I must REPENT and BELIEVE in order to be saved. But, it is also on-going in my walk with God in His conforming me to the image of Jesus Christ. I have to regularly “repent” and change my mind from what the culture says about issues, ideas and lifestyles and renew my mind to what God’s Word says about those same things. When I’m regularly willing to repent and believe, then all that the Kingdom of God offers (at hand) becomes available to me! With that said, do you need to repent?