What Did Jesus Mean by Calling People to Repent?

Repentance means to have a change of our mind - of our way of thinking about things. It's not just, "Okay, I don't want to sin anymore, so I'm going to change my mind. I'm not going to sin any longer." It really is, it's coming under the knowledge - the truth - to agree that my sin is terribly offensive to God.
Joel Bradberry
What Did Jesus Mean by Calling People to Repent?

Why Are We Called To Repent?

It's almost like some of the things we heard after 911. Some preachers were preaching the same thing, repent. Jesus, I suppose in Luke 13, his first five verses, when he was told the Galileans, their blood being mingled with sacrifices that were happening, that Jesus maybe would have gotten angry. 

But instead, Jesus did say, "You know what, unless you repent, same thing's going to happen to you." Not necessarily that some leader's going to come and kill you and mingle your blood with your sacrifices or that a tower is going to fall on you today. Jesus is making the point that these people were no worse or no better than any other human, and that unless we repent, you're going to die in your sins. 

When Jesus spoke repent, when he said that we are to repent, you ask yourself well, what does he mean there? What's that all about? Repentance means to have a change of our mind - of our way of thinking about things. It's not just, "Okay, I don't want to sin anymore, so I'm going to change my mind. I'm not going to sin any longer." It really is, it's coming under the knowledge - the truth - to agree that my sin is terribly offensive to God. And so I do then, I recognize it with my mind and I change my way of thinking and I don't want to sin any longer. I don't want to be opposed to God. I want to turn. 

But repentance by itself is not the total conversion. Conversion occurs when okay, when I do agree with my mind that my sin is egregious to God, it's offensive to God, but then I turn away from myself, I turn away from my sin. But then I embrace by faith the gospel of Jesus Christ, that God has sent his Son to die in my place and I can receive his forgiveness and his righteousness. It's a double-sided coin, repentance and trust and faith in Christ. 

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Allef Vinicius


Originally published October 17, 2012.