|Questions and Answers: Prerequisites for Repentance|
Can a person truly repent if he or she doesn't know how God views his or her life and actions?
The simple answer is, "No." A person needs to know how God views his or her life and actions. The Holy Spirit convicts the person. The Father draws the person to Jesus. When a person is born again, they have a slight idea of how wicked they are in the sight of God. That is enough to make the unsaved person feel condemned and drive them to Christ, but a new-born Christian has no real idea of the distance they are from spiritual maturity. They don't truly know what Jesus means when He says, "You must be perfect as the Father in Heaven is perfect." They don't know what God is asking them to become in Christ.
Repentance is progressive. Some Christians think that being born again is the goal rather than the door to the next step with God. All flesh is blind, even the flesh of Christians. Being born again is just the first step. Repentance must continue after being born again until we reach what the Bible calls the Manifestation of the Sons of God.
Repentance is often misunderstood. The word, repent, is a translation of the Greek word, metanoia or metanoeo. These words mean, literally, to have a new mind. (read more about this)
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
We have a problem. Even after we are born again, we have a corrupt natural mind. Before we are born again, the Father must draw us for us to accept Jesus. After we are born again, we must continue to repent, just as Paul told the Roman Christians.
God has given us ways for us to receive His mind. These ways are laid out in Scripture. However, none of us can really see reality fully at present. Our minds distort our vision. We can easily be fooled. Look at the way that sincere, Bible-believing, Christians disagree about the exact same scriptures. The battle with the enemy is for our minds. Did you realize that the same Greek word that is translated as "soul" is also translated as "mind," "heart," and "life?" These are synonyms. They mean the same thing.
Satan is after the mind. So is Jesus. We need to yield to Jesus rather than Satan. When we do choose to obey Jesus, our minds are changed. This is repentance.
As our minds are changed, our senses are exercised by reason of use. We begin to have more ability to see reality. We start to desire the Scriptural order of the Church. We begin to discern the Body of Christ. We start to find out how we fit into that Body. (read more about this)
This word, transformed, actually means "transfigured." The Greek word, metamorphoo is the word from which we get the English word, metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is a change from one type of thing into another type of thing. We apply this word to caterpillars turning into butterflies. This word, metamorphoo, comes up is in the transfiguration of Jesus. This is the secret coming of Jesus. The transfiguration is referred to as the His coming. It appears in three gospels and in one of Peter's letters, and it is His coming--the Greek word is Parousia, meaning "abiding presence."
Last updated: Sep, 2011
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