Repentance was the hallmark of the early apostles’ preaching and exhortation to people- Jews and Gentiles alike (Acts 2:38, 20:21). Even the last of the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist, preached repentance through his brief yet remarkable ministry (Matthew 3:1-2). Much to the dismay and apathy of the Pharisees and temple priest, Jesus himself preached as well as exhorted people to repent. Again, when Jesus sent out His twelve and later seventy disciples, He instructed them to admonish everyone to repent (Mark 6:12).
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:47).
Repentance therefore is necessary and importance. It is not be taken lightly, especially by those who need God’s offer of free salvation.
THE MEANING OF REPENTANCE
In the New Testament sense, repentance is translated into two prominent Greek words, namely “metanoeo” and “metamelomai”. Metanoeo, which literally means, “to perceive afterwards” signifies “to change one’s mind or purpose. “Metamelomia, on the other hand means, “to regret, to repent oneself” signifying remorse or sorrow. Both “metanoeo” and “Metamelomai” constitutes what true repentance is as required in the Scriptures. In addition, scriptural repentance is not a directionless act of people. But true, biblical repentance calls for nothing less than returning to God. As metanoeo signifies a turning away from sin, another Greek word “epistrepho” (meaning to turn around, return) calls for a turning to God- away from sin. Prophet Isaiah says.
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous, man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7).
THE NATURE OF REPENTANCE
Meanwhile, repentance as portrayed characteristically in the Scriptures involves three basic human factors constituting repentance’s very nature. In the Matthew 21:29, we can see the first human factor involved: intellect. Realizing there’s no use in disobeying his father’s instruction to work in their family’s vineyard, the first son as verse 29 says ”…Change his mind and went.” In this we can be definite that repentance really involves the changing of the mind, thought or point of view, and intellect of the person repenting. As the mind or intellect very much involved repentance, so is the heart and emotion. This truth is perfectly portrayed by the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:10; also in the book of 2 Corinthians 7:8-11, wherein Apostle Paul acknowledged the sorrow accompanying the repentance of the brethren there. “For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it was but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after s godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! I all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous, man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon”