Saturday, October 1, 2011

REPENT!


"...therefore I despise myself  and repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:6)

"If man does not repent, God will whet His sword; He has bent and readied the bow" Ps. 7:12


"Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand." (Matthew 3:2)

The word, 'repent' in the English language means to feel sorry, self-reproachful, or contrite for past conduct; regret or be conscious-stricken about a past action., attitude, etc. (Dictionary.com)

In Hebrew the word repent is often used to translate the word 'shuv' which means 'to return' and the word 'nicham' which means to feel sorrow. One would feel sorrow for an action and seek or desire to go back to a previous state of innocence. In Greek 'metanoia' is used for repent. This word means to change a thought or to change one's mind about a given action. When we put together the biblical nuances of the word, 'repent' we can understand that God's desire for us is to have a changed heart about who we are and what we think and do.  Perhaps the most famous example of a changed heart is when David was confronted with his sin of coveting Uriah's wife which led to adultery and murder.  He writes in Psalm 51 "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God,  You will not despise. (v. 17) A changed heart is a heart that has the knowledge of the person's true character brought to light. It feels sorry for the sins committed against God and neighbor. (Luke 15:18)

The prophet Ezekiel understood man to have cold hearts of stone. No feeling, no sensitivity that in thought, word, and deed, we hurt God. Man is lawless not keeping the commandments God gave us. But God can and will change man's heart as it is written, "...I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh that they may walk in my statutes..." (Ez. 11:18-20) A changed, godly heart is one that can follow God's laws. (Heb.8:10)

In order for us to enter the Kingdom of God, our hearts have to be broken. Disciples of Jesus are broken-hearted people as we see how we have been sinners since birth. When we come to the knowledge of our sins, we will have heartfelt sorrow towards God who gave us life.  We will understand that we are lawless in God's sight. (Ps.51.3) But we have Good News! Jesus, the spotless lamb of God, met the legal demands of the Law when He died upon the cross. (Col. 2:14) When we have this knowledge our hearts will change, broken as it were and we can rejoice as we can be assured that we are a forgiven people. "Thus it is written, That Christ should suffer and that on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Lk. 24:46-47)