During his Messianic mission on earth, one day while Jesus was with his disciples, they sent them (see Mark 6: 7-11). And the Bible says, “They departed, and they preached repentance (Mark 6: 12). Here is a word that catches our attention: repentance. This word comes back several times in the Bible where we observe that God asks His people to repent. What is repentance? This is the question that will be the subject of our Bible teaching proposed in this article.
Repentance Definition and Meaning
What is repentance definition? This is the verb ” to repent ”. From this verb comes the word “Repentance” which is the act of repentance. That is to say: the feeling, the regret of a fault with the desire to repair it and/or to fall back.
In view of this definition of repentance, we notice three aspects that repentance implies. In this biblical passage of Mark 6:12, through this phrase ” repentance “, it is a call to repentance that the Lord wants us to understand. And this repentance involves 3 aspects:
1st Aspect: felt the regret of a fault or the aspect of regret and confession.
2nd Aspect: having the desire to repair this fault to obtain forgiveness or the aspect of conversion and to accept and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Savior.
3rd Aspect: the fact of not doing this fault again or the aspect of ” to be born again ”.
Let us see in a detailed and explicit way the three inseparable and respective aspects of repentance:
First Aspect of Repentance: Regret and Confession
No one on this earth can say that he is not a sinner or that he has never sinned against God, or harmed his neighbor. It is in this sense that the first aspect consists:
– First, to recognize that we are sinners, therefore guilty, faulty before God. It is also to recognize our spiritual misery, our spiritual weakness, our wrong in the eyes of God.
It is, in a way, an awareness of our sins. We realize that we have sinned against God and that we are on the wrong path.
– Then to confess our sins. Yes, we must proceed to confession. To confess our sins is to confess our sins. It is to realize and to admit that we do not do the will of God.
This first aspect of Repentance is therefore justified by the passage from 1 John 1: 8-10: ” If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have no sin, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. ”
The Book of Romans 3:23 also rings the bell saying, “All have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.”
It is clear, then, that repentance is first of all due to regret and confession of our sins. In other words, recognizing one’s sins, regretting them, and confessing them is the first step in repentance.
But, what is about the second aspect of repentance?
Second Aspect of Repentance: To Convert, and Then Accept and Believe in Jesus Christ as Our Lord and Personal Savior.
This second aspect of repentance consists of:
– First to convert. It means the change of belief, and of the path. We leave our old life (our old man, our old habits and behaviors, our bad way of seeing things, our pleasure in sinning).
At this point, we make the decision, the commitment to give up our bad life.
– Then, accept and believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and personal Savior. To accept Jesus Christ as Lord is to recognize him as our teacher, our guide, our God. It is, therefore, putting our life in his hands. Decide to be his disciple and walk with him.
To believe in Jesus Christ as our personal Savior is to recognize his sacrifice by believing it for us. It is to acknowledge and accept the fact that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. It is to recognize that only Jesus Christ by his blood that flowed on the cross can erase our sins.
This second aspect of repentance is the logical and inseparable continuation of the first aspect of repentance. Since in the first aspect, it was a question of regretting and confessing our sins. The second aspect of repentance comes as a first step for us to make a commitment to abandon our bad ways and habits. What is the use of recognizing one’s wrong and always remaining in the acts that make us wrong? And then, to give us the opportunity, the grace to see our sins be forgiven and erased by a person who alone to whom God gives the power to erase the sin of anyone after deciding to abandon his wrong way, would accept Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Savior.
This second aspect of repentance is justified by the biblical passage of the Acts of the Apostles, say Acts 3:19, from which it is written, “Repent and convert, that your sins may be blotted out.”
Just as John 1:29 could designate Jesus Christ in these words: “… Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
Sin takes us away from God because sin is the opposite of the will of God and His law. Sin is the transgression of the Law. In the sense, we have sinned against God. Because we have transgressed his law. However, there is only one person who can forgive our sins, it is Jesus Christ, who gave his life for us on the cross; by his bloodshed, he paid the price of our sins in the sight of God. It is, therefore, necessary that we obtain the forgiveness of our sins, and only Jesus Christ can grant us this forgiveness.
Hence, the importance and reason for being the second aspect of repentance.
Now, how is it necessary to go to the third aspect of repentance?
Third Aspect of Repentance: ” Be Born Again ”, Do the Will of God Now.
Here we have regretted and confessed our sins, we have decided to convert ourselves into Jesus Christ, to accept him and to believe in him as our Lord and personal Savior. It’s already big steps. It is to congratulate! But our repentance at this stage is not yet complete. And it is this third aspect of repentance that makes our repentance concrete and complete.
This third aspect of repentance is to do henceforth the will of God. This is the meaning of the expression ” born again ” in this context.
We are found sinners because we do not do the will of God. The sinner is the one who follows his own way, the path of evil. For we have only two paths in life in our conduct: good and evil. Evil is the path of sin, the opposite of the will of God. On the other hand, Good is the way of the Lord, doing the will of God.
This third aspect comes so that we really show that our repentance is real and it is characterized thus:
– Have Faith and Trust in Jesus Christ:
It is to put our trust in him completely in all things, in all circumstances. It is also now dependent on Jesus Christ. It means living in Him, through Him, and with Him. Our life belongs to him now.
– Keep the commandments of God (The 10 commandments cited in Exodus 20: 1-17).
By keeping the 10 commandments, we show our obedience to God. This is one of the proofs of our commitment to change our way of life, leaving our bad way which was disobedience, rebellion to God, to now obey God. Whoever says he has faith in Jesus Christ must keep these commandments.
To do the will of God is to do good (James 4:17). One of the proofs that we really accept, Jesus Christ in our lives, is to keep His commandments (1 John 2: 3-5).
– Walk like Jesus Christ, take Jesus Christ as a model to maintain our faith and our relationship with Jesus Christ.
If we say that we believe in Jesus Christ and have given him our life, then we must walk as himself (1 John 2: 6). This is a call to fear God, and to do acts to please God: God takes pleasure in obedience to his word. Whoever obeys God, then will have the fear of God in his conduct.
It is also a call to walk in the light as Christ himself walked in the light: that is, in the justice, good, and love to serve God (1 John 1: 6-7).
We need to nurture our faith and our relationship with Jesus Christ so that we do not fall, and return to our previous bad life. For when we are in Christ, we are called to give up our bad life. And the only way to not return to our bad life of the past is to nurture our faith and our relationship with Jesus Christ through: (1) winning souls to Christ who is a calling for us, – (2) lead a life of active prayer and fasting, – (3) constantly meditate on the Bible, the word of God, – (4) glorify God through our way of life, – (5) and have a life of obedience to God…
These 5 points above summarize fully how we should be, what we should do; now that we have accepted Jesus Christ in our life really.
Also, we notice that the different points addressed in the 3rd Aspect of Repentance are closely related and complementary.
The 3rd Aspect of Repentance is the justification, the demonstration of the other two aspects of repentance. It is on this subject that the book of Matthew could tell us: ” Produce therefore fruit worthy of repentance. ” Matthew 3: 8.
That said, the third aspect of repentance is the proof of our true repentance.
Conclusion on Repentance Definition and Meaning
When we come to the third aspect we see that it concerns those who already have in Christ. For it is the third aspect of repentance that allows us to abide in Faith, Grace, and Trust in Christ for our eternal salvation that is only possible through Jesus Christ who is both our Judge, our Advocate, and Redeemer.
The 3 aspects of repentance are in a logical sequence, coherent and rational and inseparable.
So far, we understand that repentance is a whole lot of process. However, the first two aspects are the aspects that we can accomplish in the immediate future. That is, since we have heard the gospel (the good news) or as soon as we are not yet in touch with Jesus Christ, or as soon as we become aware of our sinful state and that we really want to leave our bad life.
On the other hand, the third aspect is a whole process of transformation. It is done daily until the end of our life on earth. What says is the stage of transformation. And on this subject, only Jesus Christ can transform us. In general, repentance is a lifelong issue as long as we still wear this corruptible body.
For this transformation to be real, therefore, we must have Confidence and Faith in Jesus Christ in all things and in all circumstances and abandon ourselves entirely to Jesus Christ (let us leave him, our lives, our decisions …) while remaining in intense communication with him (prayer, meditation, fasting) and by remaining in his service (winning souls for Christ, letting Christ work in us, therefore, giving himself to him as an instrument in the hands of God for the advancement of his work) . These are the secrets of transformation in Christ.