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Before going into how Christians are expected to repent, it’s first essential to understand what repenting means in the Bible. Two Hebrew words help us understand repentance, which appears regularly in the Old Testament. The first is ‘nacham,’ and the second is ‘sub.’ Nacham translates into changing the mind and turning around, and ‘sub’ can be translated into words like ‘seek,’ ‘restore,’ and ‘return.’ Nam is a word used more than 600 times in the Old Testament and is very important to help us understand repentance in the correct context. 9 Steps To Get Closer To A Partner Emotionally
Moving to the New Testament, another word is also important to understand to help our investigation into repentance. ‘Metanoia’ is a Greek word that directly translates into ‘to change the mind,’ which is, in essence, the meaning of repentance. Repenting is the act of changing how you think about something, from one way of thinking to another. 6 Great Ways to Enjoy the Seasonal Decors
As an example, think of a person that wants to do a bungee jump. They learn the health and safety implications, how to ensure that they are strapped-in correctly, and how to jump correctly. When this person reaches the top of the bridge, they intend to jump off, but they get filled with fear, and even with the instructor’s encouragement, they decide not to leap.
The person in this story has fundamentally changed their mind – they have repented. Not all acts of repenting are this obvious, but they often have a significant impact on a person’s life, as a decision is made to think about something in a completely different way. Repenting isn’t just something that happens on the mind, although this is where it starts. To truly repent means changing the way you think, feel, act, and talk about something.
What does repenting mean?
Repenting is a powerful word, and many people have an innate fear of it if they don’t understand it. As we’ve learned, repenting means to turn around and comes from the Greek word metanoia, which was initially used in the military, meaning to turn around physically.
In Christianity and the Bible, repenting means to change your mind and is a perfect way to describe someone turning to Christ. Someone who rejects Christ to believe that He is the Son of God changes fundamentally, affecting how they think, feel, and act. Understanding this means that we don’t need to be afraid of repenting. It’s the process of moving away from sin and toward Christ.
How do you repent?
Jesus’ first public teaching was to repent (Mark 1:15) – making it hard to understate the importance of this teaching. There are five steps to repenting. They are explained in Psalm 32, which wonderfully goes through the process.
1: Understand your need for repentance.
Like with many processes where a fundamental change of mind is needed, the first step is to be honest that something needs to happen. Repenting starts with being honest with yourself that you need forgiveness and have sins that need to be accounted for. Covering up the fact that you’ve sinned will make the process of coming closer to God impossible, but coming with an honest heart gives you the chance to reconcile. With this honesty in hand, you’re ready to begin the process of changing your heart – away from sin and toward repenting.
2: See the dangers of sin and how guilt can be damaging.
Holding sin inside without acknowledging it is fundamentally damaging, and hiding away from it or ignoring it often makes us feel pain that’s easily blamed on external influences. Rather than blaming others, understand that if you’ve done bad things, you’ll naturally feel bad about it and you need to repent for your actions to be free. When you’ve identified that you’ve sinned, take the time to think about how it has negatively affected both you and those around you.
3: Fully confess your sin.
True repentance necessitates a full confession. It makes the process uncomfortable, but it’s necessary to open up about your sin fully, so that Christ can forgive you. By confessing yourself before God, you’ll find that the process of repenting will relieve you of your suffering and will lead you to joy and freedom.
4: Hide in God.
The story of Adam and Eve is a clear example of using a mask of righteousness to hide sins, and is a tactic that many people use to try to appear more acceptable than they are. To really change, which is the purpose of repenting, you must not hide behind a self-made mask, but rather, in God. You can’t just repent sins that are overt only to maintain an image, but instead, you must repent fully before God.
5: Seize hope.
Many fear repenting and aren’t fully believing that God will forgive them, especially when sins are significant. You must remember God’s unfailing love and the promises He made and fulfilled through history. With this, you’ll find that you’ll be forgiven and that you’ll be free if you come to God with an honest heart. Here is a guide by Never Thirsty on How to Repent Properly?
Repentance before salvation
In Acts chapter two, Peter tells thousands of people to repent for their sins, rather than telling them to believe. It’s common in the Scripture for belief and repenting to be used together, and that they are two sides of the same coin, both being needed to find salvation. Faith that Jesus Christ will forgive your sins is needed, and to have your sins forgiven, you must repent them and change the way you lead your life – they happen together.
Many people think that they must first repent before God accepts them and before they can have faith, but the two must happen together. If you’re waiting until you’ve thoroughly repented and are ‘worthy,’ then this is a mistake. Jesus is ready to receive you now. You need to have faith in Him.
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