A thought about repentance…
Posted on February 28, 2013
Matthew 4:17 says, “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Before we get too far into the main point, let’s remember that since Jesus came full of grace and truth (see John 1:17 ), every command given is infused with grace (divine empowerment) to successfully, easily, and joyfully walk out that command. Life is released in what Jesus says (John 6:63) and those with ears to hear are able to operate in a way that completely escaped them under the rule of the Law. There is a Spirit dynamic that is awakened so the command is easily unpacked and lived out as if it is the very essence of who we are. Which brings me to the main point of this post.
The word ‘repent’ means different things to different people. The Greek word actually means a radical change of mind. Don’t think of it as merely regurgitating an answer but as a completely new way to understand and process all of life. Here’s the point. Repentance is not changing WHAT you think about, though that helps, for sure! Biblical repentance is changing the WAY you think, altogether.
Under the old covenant the WAY people thought was what they did made them become who they are. In other words, the essence of my being is based on my daily actions. If I sinned, I’m a sinner. If I acted righteous, I am righteous. Make sense? The problem is that perspective doesn’t work in the new covenant. To repent is to change the WAY we think about God and all of life. Now, because of what Jesus did, who I am has already changed! Now, I process life as: here is who I am (aligns with nature of Jesus) therefore I am able to demonstrate (do something) that reveals this truth.
To repent is to stop living towards holiness and begin living from holiness. Stop living towards generosity and begin living from generosity. Stop living towards courage and begin to live from courage. Stop agreeing with what you are NOT doing and start agreeing with who He is. Let me be clear, real agreement is not simply parroting a statement that is positive in nature. It is allowing the Holy Spirit to do a full over-haul on your understanding of who you are because of Christ. It is a process of not agreeing with accusing thoughts and statements and allowing new thought patterns, belief systems, and actions to develop. It is NOT a process of becoming.
It is a process of realizing who you already are, in Him. For example, take a new born. When a baby is born, no one says, I can’t wait until they turn 25 and become fully human! A baby is born fully human, but not fully mature. It is the same for us in Christ. When we awaken to the gospel we realize we are fully a new creation, but we are not fully mature as a new creation. Time and processing with God and others helps us to grow in being established in our understanding of what it means to live in Christ. So, let’s stop all the performing and trying to be godly.
Realize, you are godly because of God! As you agree with this truth, you will find acting godly is normal, natural, and fun! It is a real drag to live in a way that focuses on jealousy, fear, insecurity, hatred, and the the like. See that in Christ all your sin has been dealt with (read Romans 6) once for all. Take the advice of the apostle Paul and consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God. This change in perspective will change your experience in life. And this, my friends, is good news!