What Does Repent Mean?

Q. I recently found the following definition for repentance.  It’s different from others I’ve seen.  Can you tell me if it’s correct?

The word in the New Testament usually translated “repent” is the Greek word “metanoeo”.  It means “to change your mind; reconsider; or, to think differently.”  Granted, if a person changes his mind (repents) toward certain sins in his life, he may become very sorrowful and may even stop committing those sins, but this would be a result of repenting, not repentance itself.

When God tells an unsaved man to repent, He means for that man to change his mind about how to reach God and accept His way of salvation. The person must change his mind from any idea of saving himself through religion or good works, and trust Christ’s death as payment for everything he has done wrong.

A. This is a great definition and the correct one. Thank you for sending it to me. Repent means to change your mind.  If you already know you’re a sinner in need of a savior, you don’t need to repent to be saved, you just need to ask Jesus to save you. If you already know your behavior is a sin, you don’t have to repent, just confess.

Many of us were taught that repenting means to stop doing something, but if that was true we’d all have to stop sinning before we could ask Jesus to save us. Since we can’t stop sinning, none of us would ever be saved.

After we’re saved the Lord sends His Holy Spirit to dwell in us and help us change our behavior, but that happens after were saved, not before, and even then we really won’t ever completely stop sinning until we’re raptured or resurrected. That’s why we’ve been saved by grace through faith, not by works. (Ephes. 2:8-9)

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