Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Three Elements of Repentance

by John MacArthur

Three Greek words are used in the New Testament to refer to repentance and they illustrate the three sort of elements of repentance. There is the word metanoeo, it's used a number of places. It's used in Luke 11:32; Luke 15 verses 7 and 10. And this word, metanoeo,basically expresses a reversal of your thinking, mental attitude. You change your mind. So that repentance deals with the mind. You have to change your mind about how you view yourself, to see yourself the way you really are, to see yourself the way Scripture says you are, see yourself the way God says you are, to see yourself as fallen and depraved and corrupt from the top of your head to the tip of your toe.

The second word that is used is metamelomaiand that's another Greek word that means repentance. It's used in Matthew 21:29 to 32, only it emphasizes regret and sorrow. Once the mind has grasped the new definition of who I am, there is a consequent motion that goes from the mind to the feelings and emotion kicks in and there is sorrow and there is shame and that's metamelomai.

And there's a third word, epistrephomi[?], that is also the word for repentance. It's used in Luke 17:4; Luke 22:32. And it actually means you change direction in life and that refers to your will. So it starts in your mind and moves to your emotions and it activates your will.

And those are the three elements that are involved in repentance. You change the way you view yourself, you feel remorse and sadness about that and so you turn around and you head in the direction of change. And that's going to put you in the direction of God. And you're going to be like the publican in Luke 18, you're going to be saying, "God, God, my mind understands my wretchedness, my emotions feel it so I can't even lift up my eyes and I'm pounding on my breast and then my will kicks in and cries to You and says, 'I want You to be merciful to me, a sinner.'"

Excerpted from The Gospel: Self-Love or Self-Hate?
Listen or read all 5 messages from the series "Hard To Believe".

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