Repentance (radically changing our thinking) is of central importance because missing God’s goal (sin) brings God’s judgment. Fellowship with God is only possible through full and sincere repentance (changing how we think and act).
God, through his servants, calls us to change our thinking as the only way to escape the judgment and receive the forgiveness and restoration which he offers.
The call to radically change our thinking. The Greek word for “repentance” derives from a verb meaning “to radically change one’s thinking.” “Repentance” refers to an event in which we attain a divinely provided new understanding of my behavior and feels compelled to change that behavior and begin a new relationship with God. While the Greek language can represent the concept of repentance as an independent action, the New Testament writers demanded that appropriate actions follow the event of repentance.
- Luke 5:32 (NASB) — “I have not come to call the righteous but those who miss God’s God (aka sinners) to radically change how they think (repentance).”
- James 5:19–20 — My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
- Jeremiah 25:4–6 — “And the Master has sent to you all His servants the prophets again and again, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear, saying, ‘Turn now everyone from his evil way and from the evil of your deeds, and dwell on the land which the Master has given to you and your forefathers forever and ever; and do not go after other gods to serve them and to worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the work of your hands, and I will do you no harm.’
- Ezekiel 33:7–9 — “Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. “But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.
- Mark 1:4 — John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
- Luke 24:47 — and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
- 2 Timothy 2:24–26 — The Master’s slave must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.