Lent Reflection: Repentance - decision followed by action

What is repentance? Many people assume it has to do with a deep inner emotion. Yet repentance, as defined in the Bible, is not an emotion, it is a decision. It springs from the will. You can repent without any obvious emotion, but you cannot repent without a change of your will.

The Greek word ‘to repent’ in secular language is always translated ‘to change your mind’, to change the way you think. So, first of all, repentance is changing your mind about the way you have been living.

The Hebrew word for repentance involves a result. It means literally ‘to turn around.’ You have been facing one way—the wrong way, with your back to God—so you turn 180 degrees to face God, and say, ‘God, here I am, tell me what to do and I‘ll do it.’

If we put the Greek and Hebrew definitions together, we have a complete picture of repentance: It is a decision followed by an action.

Some believers never really change their mind. They are still making decisions based on this point of view: ‘If I do this, what will it do for me?’ If someone has truly repented, that is not the way they think. Instead, they think, ‘If I do this, will it glorify Jesus?’ How is this in your life?

This reflection is taken from:

Through Repentance to Faith

What is faith? And how can you develop it? It starts with repentance: to change the way we think and to act accordingly.


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