Question: To "repent" means to "change one's mind." Where do you or anyone get the idea that it means to "turn away" from sin? | thebereancall.org

Question: To "repent" means to "change one's mind." Where do you or anyone get the idea that it means to "turn away" from sin?

TBC Staff

Question: To "repent" means to "change one's mind." Where do you or anyone get the idea that it means to "turn away" from sin? I realize that a lot of Bible experts teach that repentance means turning away, but shouldn't Christians go to the Bible themselves and not rely on what the "experts" tell them? I'm not interested in modern day retranslations of words. I believe that "repent" has been redefined over the last 2,000 years, because changing your mind and believing the Gospel is all that is necessary for salvation. "Turning away from sin" is a work, and adds work to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Response: You are correct that the meaning of words is of paramount concern. It is also true that context and implication play a role in proper biblical interpretation. Paul wrote in Acts:20:21 of "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." This certainly implies a "turning" on our part.

When Jesus told the parable of "the prodigal son," He gave the following sequence of events. The prodigal son was brought to a teachable point in his life: "And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!" (Lk 15:17). He is in the process of changing his mind, but it is instructive that the change of mind is followed by this action: "I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee" (v. 18). Repentance begins in the mind and the heart, but it affects the course of our life.

Salvation clearly is by faith alone. With the prodigal son as an example, we can readily see that his "repentance" was accomplished with a change in his heart or mind. His repentance was demonstrated, however, when he purposed to "arise and go" to his father. His acceptance by his father prior to even uttering a single word of repentance is shown as "he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him" (Lk 15:20). He still "repented" before his father (v. 21), but he certainly wasn't working for his forgiveness.

Some attempt to create a conflict between Paul (Ti 3:5) and James and have James:2:14-26 saying "not by faith alone, but by works also." On the contrary, it says that works should follow faith."...I will shew thee my faith by my works" (Jas 2:18). This agrees with Ephesians:2:10, "for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (our emphasis). If we are truly saved by faith, there should be visible works showing that our repentance and consequently our salvation is real.Otherwise, "...faith without works is dead also" (Jas 2:26).

 
 
Add This