After believing grace, the biblical response is to repent and be baptized for forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:36-38). Repentance, however, is a powerful blessing from God that has been stripped of its potency. The Greek word for repentance, metanoia, means “after – mindset.” With this gift of ‘hindsight,’ we see clearly to take the right path… the path of living for God rather than for self. Be careful not to present repentance as a work that leads to salvation; rather, it is our awakening to come to our senses and live the way God had always intended for us. It is more than a decision; it is God allowing us to see a new worldview, which always results in the fruit of a turned, changed life.
- 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 - Why does Peter call us to repent as a response to the cross (Acts 2:38)? Because we are convinced of Jesus’ love for us through the cross. His love motivates us to repent; that is, to live for Him rather than for ourselves. Jesus’ resurrection opens our eyes to look beyond the earthly realm. The old is gone, the new has come! What does the new life look like? How do we view people through our new repentant eyes?
- Luke 3:7-14 - The fruit of repentance is the evidence of a changed mindset. John the Baptist insisted on repentance before baptism. If you were to ask John, “What should I do?” – how would he respond to you? (Notice that he directs no one to pray and weep before God, confessing how bad he or she feels about his or her sins – which many people today confuse for repentance.)
- Luke 13:1-9 - Jesus preaches that without repentance, we will all perish. He likewise expects to find fruit every time there is true repentance.
- Acts 26:15-21 - Jesus gives Paul the charge to “open their eyes” (e.g. the “red pill” of the Matrix or the Christmas ghosts for Scrooge) so that “they may turn” and prove their repentance by their deeds. Repentance involves a new perspective, a turning of allegiance, and fruit.
- 2 Corinthians 7:8-11 - Beware of worldly sorrow. Have you previously confused sorrow(s) with true repentance? Thoroughly examine godly sorrow, because it leads to repentance and salvation.
- 2 Timothy 2:24-26 - Has God already opened your eyes via the Scriptures? Can you now see the truth? Then it’s time to escape the devil’s snares. God wants you to be set free from that captivity. Do not neglect this gift that God grants us.