So Let’s Start Changing Minds
Very often, people mistake repentance as turning away from bad habits, or stopping a certain wrong doing. In essence repentance is generally associated to works, and how a man can please God with his works and efforts. But even in the old testament, where the promise had not been fulfilled, it was a known fact that man could not please God with his own efforts or striving, we see this in 1 samuel 2:9 “He will keep the feet of his sains,and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by the strength shall no man prevail” and also in jeremiah 17:5 “thus saith the lord; cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the lord.” Now in this verse the curse does not imply God himself placing curses on them, it only paints a picture of consequence, in the sense that there is no peace or blessings outside the arms of the father, only turmoil and despair. As opposed to verse 7&8 where it says “blessed is the man that trusts in the lord and whose hope is in the lord. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreads out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat comes, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”
Now the word repentance is rooted from the greek word “Metanoia” which in itself means a change of mindset. Now we see in Romans 2:4, we see the prerequisite for repentance and it is simply the goodness of God. Now we take our model from the story of the prodigal son Luke 15. After the prodigal son had squandered his money and was now impoverished, many people often think the point of his repentance was in verse 17 where he said “I will arise and go to my father and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee.” But we see that this is not the point of repentance because this came out of a selfish mindset, with motives only to feed his belly. We see in verse 19 “And am no longer worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.” We clearly see here that he was not willing to restore back the relationship of father and son, rather he was just out to feed his hungry belly. So we ask, where was the point of his repentance? Fast forward to verse 20-24, where he had returned home and decided to ask to become one of the hired servants and the father instead welcomes him with open arms, the moment where he accepted the father’s goodness and accepted the offer from the father to be restored back to a son, that was the repentance.
We do not take God’s hand because of choice or compulsion; we take God’s hand simply because He first stretched it. The reason we believe and are saved is because Jesus first came and died for us, it’s the same concept. In essence what repentance is, is a change of opinion we have of God. We see this in the case of the prodigal son, the boy did not think that his father will be willing to accept him back after what he did, but the father’s actions were opposite of the boy’s mindset and opinion of the father. The father proved to him that he is greater than the opinion the boy had of him.
We also see this in the story of Job. Job was a seeming upright man and God fearing man, but we see that he had a very distorted mindset and picture of God. We see this in Job 1:21 job speaking “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb and Naked shall I return thither: the lord gave and the lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the lord.” But we see that this is a very distorted picture of who our God is, As it is written in romans 11:29 where it states that “the gifts and callings of God are without repentance.” Further in the story of Job, we see his three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar continued to build up a distorted picture of God in the mind of Job. We see that Job never really knew who God was; he only heard rumors about God. Then we see in chapter 42 of Job, after he had encountered God first hand and known who God truly is, then he said in verse 5-6 “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eyes seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
Here we see Job’s repentance, it was in the changing of his mindset and correcting of his distorted opinion towards God, his eyes being open to the goodness and true personality of God. Now in this dispensation, we see the personality of God revealed expressly revealed. John 14:6-7, Jesus speaking, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes unto the father but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my father also, and from henceforth you have known him and have seen him.” And he said from verse 10-11, “believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself, but the father that dwells in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the father and the father in me, or else believe me for the very works’ sake”.
We also see in Hebrews 1: 1-3, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
So we see that the person of God and heart of God towards us is expressed to us fully in Jesus Christ. I have come to realize that repentance is continuous, because with each encounter and each step, we are shown more and more of the goodness of God, which shapes our opinion of Him and realize that He is good, when we understand and when we don’t understand.
In conclusion repentance is growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross, because that is the goodness of God expressed plainly to us John 3:16. For in the knowledge of Christ, we are exposed to the true personality of the Father and his perfect heart towards us.
Authour – Abowho Tega