What does it mean to repent of something?
I would like to explore with you the meaning of what true repentance is, in my previous article I taught you what it meant to be remorseful about something. To feel sorry about or have a deep regret over something that you have done.
How do we go from having a deep regret over recurring sin in our lives to actually walking in true repentance? I believe that we have to start with understanding what true repentance actually means.
The Greek word for true repentance in the dictionary is the word – metanoeo – and is coupled with the noun – metanoia
This word speaks of a true repentance, a change of your mind and purpose and life, to which the remission of sin is promised.
Wow, God promises that if we trully are repentant for the sin that we have commited, change the way we think about that sin, change our purpose from one bent on death and destruction to life in Him, and change the way we live, turning away from our sin, that He will forgive and remove our sins from us completely.
There are many wonderful passages in the bible that tell us of what God does for us, like sending His one and only Son to die for our sins. Sending His Holy Spirit, so that we can know His mind and heart and will for our lives.
Repentance is different, it requires us to take responsibility for our actions, and see to it that we do not continue on that path any longer.
What do I mean by that?
- We need to have a change of mind and purpose in our lives (go from enjoying our sin to hating it)
- We need to truly hate the sin that entangled us (Psalm 119: 128)
- We need to voluntarily turn away from our sin and turn to God instead (literally to go in the opposite direction from the sin, to run and flee from it)
- We need to persistenly endeavour to live a Holy life in walking in obedience to God’s word (1 Peter 1:13)
- We need to become trully aware of the guilt that comes with the sin and how it pollutes us and the feelings of helplessness that it puts us into. Instead of living with the guilt, we can take it to God and he will forgive us of it.
- True repentance not only brings about an awareness of our sin, but it also brings with it an understanding of the mercy of God, without which there would be no repentance.
I need to clarify something, that it is the Holy Spirit that brings about the awareness within us that sin is around. He does that to gently lead us to a place of repentance so that we can be brought into right standing with God. He does not show us our sin to just remind us of how awful we can be and then leave it at that.
He shows us our sin so that we will cry out to God, for His mercy and truthfuly say from the depths of our being that we will turn away from our sin and endeavour not to do it again. The Holy Spirit has been sent to us to be our Helper to show us the way back to God.
He does that by showing us that there is sin in our lives that needs to be dealt with. Once we are willing to let go of that sin, and no longer hold onto it in our lives he then can tell us the truth from what he hears from heaven.
John 16: 7-15
- 7. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
- 8. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:
- 9. in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me;
- 10. in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer;
- 11. and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
- 12. “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.
- 13. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
- 14. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.
- 15. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
The greatest result that comes from the repentance of our sin, is that you will see and understand yourself to be exactly what God has always seen you to be and who He declares you to be!
The devil, who is our spiritual enemy, loves to get us so caught up in our sin that we truly only see ourselves through the eyes of our sin. Then we fall into the trap of claiming our identity through our sin. For instance, if you told lies in the past to cover something up, the devil will torment you with the false identity of being a liar, forever a liar, you will always be just that a liar.
But God says otherwise. He says that when you repent of your sin, like lying, stealing etc, you are given a new identity, and that identity is in wrapped up in Jesus Christ, you are a new creation.
Therefore, true repentance involves us having a heart change, that moves us in the opposite direction to the sin that we had once entertained. True repentance shows us the way back to God, cleanses us, and sets us free to walk as God intended for us to walk, free of condmenation and fear.
The Old Testament records the writings of King David. He was said to be a man after God’s own heart. Why would God specifically say that about a man, well King David was quick to offer praise to God in good times and bad. He was full of passion for God and his word, the laws and decrees that had been handed down through the ages. He also was a man that was quick to repent when he sinned against God. The Psalms gives us a pretty clear picture of a man whose heart was tender to God and his will for his life.
I want to draw your attention to Psalm 51, this particular Psalm has come to mean a lot to me over the years when I struggled with the right words to express my deep sorrow and repentance over the sin that was in my life. I am sure that it will encourage you as much as it has encouraged me.
- 1. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
- 2. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
- 3. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
- 4. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
- 5. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
- 6. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
- 7. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
- 8. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
- 9. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
- 10. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
- 11. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
- 12. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
- 13. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.
- 14. Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
- 15. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
- 16. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
- 17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
- 18. In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem.
- 19. Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
- Related Blogs on What is Remorse vs True Repentance? 2
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