Sunday, January 14, 2024
Repent Means Change Your Beliefs
MATTHEW 4:17 NKJ 17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
The word "repent" as used in the New Testament, means to have a change of thinking, which results in a change of action.
Repent does not mean to ask forgiveness. You could ask for forgiveness all day and never repent.
Repent does not mean to have regret, remorse, or sorrow. You could be remorseful, full of sorrow, and regret greatly what you have done, yet never repent.
Repent does not mean to "shape up" and "live right." Of course, the right kind of repentance should cause your actions to change so that you will be living right. But repent does not mean "to live right."
It is even possible to quit a sin without repenting. People can quit a sin (at least temporarily) for many reasons. For example, the danger of being caught. That does not mean they have changed their thinking regarding the sin.
Repentance has to do with your beliefs, not primarily your actions. Do beliefs determine actions? Certainly. But we must look at them separately if we are to understand truth.
You might say that repentance is "coming to your senses" or "waking up to reality."
Repentance has more to do with unbelief than with sin. But we have become so sin-conscious that most people think about repentance only as it relates to stopping sin.
If a person is walking one direction, why do they turn around and change direction? Because their belief changed.
They previously believed going that direction was the best thing for them to do under the circumstances. Then somehow they got new information and their belief changed to thinking going another direction was best for them under the new circumstances.
What you believe is what you will be-living or be doing.
A belief according to the Bible teaching is not just a mental idea, but what you have accepted as truth worthy of action.
Everything you now believe was once a choice you made. You chose either to accept or reject the evidence presented to you as being worthy of believing.
No human being is forced to believe anything. Every belief is a choice we make.
You may think that "seeing is believing," but it is not true. Many times people have seen things but still refused to believe what they saw.
Repent does not mean "shape up and do right." It does involve change. But the reason for the change is not guilt, but a change in belief.
Humans always do what they do because they believe it is in their best interest. What you have been doing in life is what you believed was your best option -- under the circumstances you faced.
When you get new information and see a better option for yourself to take, it requires no struggle to choose the new better option.
So what was Jesus really saying when we read, "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand."? Change your beliefs! God's rule is here!
SAY THIS: God's Message in the New Testament gives me the information I need to change my beliefs, so they agree with reality.
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