What It Means to Repent
Part 3
Copyright 1994 - 2019 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
June 10, 2019

Last Updated :
June 10, 2019

"Repent Of Your Sins" Is Not Found In The Bible, Being Sorry For Our Sins Is Not Enough, Repentance Equates To Belief In Jesus Christ, Blasphemy Against The Holy Ghost, God Does Not Lie, It's God The Father Alone Who Draws Us To Christ And Who Remits All Of Our Sins, Due To His Own Goodness And Grace God Leads Us To Repentance, Salvation Isn't The Result Of Our Own Good Works, We Have No Righteousness Of Our Own, Process Of Conversion: Changed Mental State, Become As Little Children, The Faith Of A Little Child, Koine Greek Words "Strepho" And "Epistrepho", The Apostle Peter's Denial And Conversion, True Repentance Is An Ongoing Process, We Need Transformed Minds, New Creatures In Jesus Christ, Regenerated By The Holy Ghost

As we concluded in part two, the phrase "repent of your sins" is nowhere to be found in the KJV Bible. Not only that, but just being sorry for our sins isn't enough to save us anyway. As we have already established, true Salvation results when we change from a reprobate mind which rejects Christ, to a receptive mind which embraces Christ as our Savior. It is a mental change from unbelief to belief. So in answer to my friend's question regarding what we need to repent of, my answer would be that we need to repent of -- or better said, change our minds about -- our unbelief. Is that not what the Lord said to do in Mark 1:14-15? Did He not say "Repent ye, and believe the gospel"?

Make no mistake. Unbelief is indeed a sin. Because as I explain in other articles, it is my understanding that it is akin to blasphemy against the Holy Ghost; which I believe is to call God a liar, and His Word a lie. It is in fact to deny the record which God has given of His son. However, as we saw in part one of this series "God is not a man, that he should lie." His every word is true. Following are some additional verses which confirm this very same point:

"God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?"
Numbers 23:19, KJV

"God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."
Romans 3:4, KJV

"In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;"
Titus 1:2, KJV

"He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son."
1 John 5:10, KJV

"If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
1 John 1:10, KJV

"He is‭ the Rock, his work ‭is‭ perfect: for all his ways ‭are‭ judgment: a GOD OF TRUTH and without iniquity, just and right ‭is‭ he.‭"
Deuteronomy 32:4, KJV

"Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD GOD OF TRUTH.‭"
Psalm 31:5, KJV

"That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the GOD OF TRUTH; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the GOD OF TRUTH; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.‭"
Isaiah 65:16, KJV

"And because I tell ‭you‭ the truth, ye believe me not.‭"
John 8:45, KJV

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
John 14:6, KJV

But concerning the popular phrase "repent of your sins", it may interest you to know that there are only two verses in the entire New Testament where the words "repent" and "sins" are found in the same sentence, and those verses do not even mean what some Christians think they mean. Those two verses -- which I shared with you in part one -- are the following:

"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Acts 2:38, KJV

"‭‭Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;‭"
Acts 3:19, KJV

Please notice very carefully what the previous two verses are saying. They do not say that we need to repent of our sins. Rather, they say that as a result of changing our minds and believing in Christ, our sins are remitted, or blotted out. In other words, the remission of sins is not something that we do, but something that God does, once we are symbolically washed in the Blood of the Lamb of God. Do you see that? In fact, as I explain in a number of other articles, even the process of repentance itself is a work of God's Spirit, and is not something for which we can take credit. The Scriptures inform us that God is the one who draws us to Christ, and God is the one who works in our hearts to perform His Will. This is made plainly evident by verses such as the following:

"ALL THAT THE FATHER GIVETH ME shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out . . . No man can come to me, EXCEPT THE FATHER WHICH HATH SENT ME DRAW HIM: and I will raise him up at the last day . . . And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father."
John 6:37, 44, 65, KJV

"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. MY FATHER, WHICH GAVE THEM ME, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand."
John 10:28-29, KJV

"I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for THEM WHICH THOU HAST GIVEN ME; for they are thine . . . And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name THOSE WHOM THOU HAST GIVEN ME, that they may be one, as we are . . . Father, I will that they also, WHOM THOU HAST GIVEN ME, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, WHICH THOU HAST GIVEN ME: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."
John 17:9, 11, 24, KJV

"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, THE LORD KNOWETH THEM THAT ARE HIS. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
2 Timothy 2:19, KJV

"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
John 12:32, KJV

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
Philippians 2:13, KJV

"Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"
Romans 2:4, KJV

In particular, notice what the Apostle Paul writes in that very last verse. He says "the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance". God led you to repent. It was nothing that you did personally. It was His Spirit which worked on and in your mind and heart to bring about the change in your attitude so that you would accept Christ. Yes, we still have to make the personal choice to accept Christ. We have to do the believing and the receiving; but it is God the Father who leads us to the point of decision. Thus we see that from start to finish, it is really all God alone. Despite what some self-righteous Christians like to think, we just cannot take credit for our own Salvation. As the Scriptures make very clear, we are all unclean, sinful, and have no righteousness of our own. Thus, we must depend solely upon God's Grace through Christ to save us. Here again is proof:

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Ephesians 2:8-9, KJV

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"
Titus 3:5, KJV

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."
Isaiah 64:6, KJV

"They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
Psalm 14:3, KJV

"If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?"
Psalm 130:3, KJV

"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."
Psalm 51:5, KJV

"For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not."
Ecclesiastes 7:20, KJV

"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one . . . For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
Romans 3:10, 23, KJV

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us . . . Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"
Romans 5:8, 12, KJV

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
1 John 1:8-10, KJV

"And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:‭ Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.‭ The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men ‭are‭, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.‭ I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.‭ And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as ‭his‭ eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.‭ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified ‭rather‭ than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.‭"
Luke 18:9-14, KJV

Thus far, we have come to understand what the word "repent" actually means in both the Old and the New Testaments. We've also come to understand that this changing our minds refers to switching from a state of unbelief, to a state of belief in Christ. It is switching from a state of denial, to one of acceptance. We have likewise seen that this entire process is a work of God's Spirit. What I have described for you is in effect a process of conversion. You may recall that in a verse I shared with you previously from Acts chapter three, the Apostle Peter in fact tells his audience that they must be converted. What is Peter talking about? As it turns out, this conversion process is mentioned in both the Old and the New Testaments. For example, in King David's famous Psalm of repentance, he writes the following:

"Then‭ will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee."
Psalm 51:13, KJV

In the previous verse, the word converted is derived from the Hebrew word "shuwb". Pronounced shoob‭‭, this word means to return, turn back to, go back to, or come back to. Now, because David is talking about transgressors and sinners, the verse is obviously referring to returning to God, to faith in God, and to obedience to His holy Laws. After all, as the Apostle John writes in his first Epistle, "sin is the transgression of the law", as we see by this verse:

"‭‭Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.‭"
1 John 3:4, KJV

So what we see then is that this conversion process is directly related to our discussion regarding repentance, or changing our minds and accepting Christ for who He is. In both cases, we are talking about a changed mental state. We are talking about changing from disobedience to obedience to God's Laws, and changing from a state of unbelief to a state of belief in Christ. In fact, Jesus discusses this very same conversion process in the eighteenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, as we see by the following verses:

"At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?‭ And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,‭ And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.‭ Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.‭ And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.‭ But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and ‭that‭ he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
Matthew 18:1-6, KJV

What does the Lord mean when He says "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven"? This is a topic which I likewise discuss in the article entitled "The Faith of a Little Child". Stop and think what young children are like. While children have changed a lot since I was a young boy, generally speaking, most young children will accept and believe whatever their parents tell them without question. Stated another way, they have faith in their parents' words, and it would never cross their minds that their parents might possibly be stretching the truth, or perhaps even being outright dishonest with them.

If we closely examine the previous group of verses again, we can see that Jesus is likewise talking about faith. In fact, it is evident that He is talking about faith in Himself as the Savior of humanity, because He specifically says "these little ones which believe in me". In short, my impression is that His words are meant to be understood as a light rebuke to His adult listeners. Why? Because unlike the unbelieving Jews who constantly demanded signs and miracles before they would believe in and accept Jesus as their Messiah, those young children just took Jesus at His word. They didn't need any further proof. That is why He told those Disciples "ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" unless they were converted and became as little children. While they were referred to as the Lord's Disciples, apparently, some of them still had doubts about Him.

In this case, according to Thayer's Greek English Lexicon, the word "converted" is derived from the Koine Greek word "strepho". Pronounced stref'–o‭‭, this word means to turn, turn around, to turn one's self -- in other words, to turn the back to one‭ -- or to turn one's self from one's course of conduct. That is, to change one's mind‭. Consider the following:

----- Begin Quote -----

‭‭‭4762 ‭στρέφω‭ strepho ‭stref'–o‭‭

‭AV turn 11, turn (one's) self 2, turn (one) 1, turn again 1, turn back again 1, turn (one) about 1, be converted 1, vr turn 1; 19‭‭

‭‭1) to turn, turn around‭
‭‭2) to turn one's self (i.e. to turn the back to one‭
   2a) of one who no longer cares for another)‭
   2b) metaph. to turn one's self from one's course of conduct, i.e. to change one's mind‭
‭----- End Quote -----

Well, there it is again -- "to change one's mind". In short, Jesus is telling his adult audience that if they expect to partake of God's Kingdom, they need to change their minds about Him, forsake their doubts and disbelief, abandon their denial, and accept Him as their Messiah by faith, just like those little children around Him. It is the same thing we have been discussing all along. There are a number of other verses found in the New Testament where the word "converted" is used as well; and in each case, it refers to basically the same thing. In some cases, the Koine Greek word "strepho" is used, while in others, a related word -- "epistrepho" -- is used. This latter word signifies to turn to‭, to cause to return, to bring back or to come back. Again, it is talking about restoring one's faith and obedience to God. Consider again what Thayer's Greek English Lexicon has to say: ‭‭‭‭

----- Begin Quote -----

‭‭‭1994 ‭ἐπιστρέφω‭ epistrepho ‭ep–ee–stref'–o‭‭

‭‭‭‭AV turn 16, be converted 6, return 6, turn about 4, turn again 3, misc 4; 39‭‭

‭‭1) transitively‭
   1a) to turn to‭
       1a1) to the worship of the true God‭
   1b) to cause to return, to bring back‭
       1b1) to the love and obedience of God‭
       1b2) to the love for the children‭
       1b3) to love wisdom and righteousness‭
‭‭2) intransitively‭
   2a) to turn to one's self‭
   2b) to turn one's self about, turn back‭
   2c) to return, turn back, come back ‭‭

----- End Quote -----

Following are five groups of verses where "epistrepho" is used, and translated as "converted":

"And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.‭ And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all ‭these‭ things are done in parables:‭ That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and ‭their‭ sins should be forgiven them."
Mark 4:10-12, KJV

"But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:‭ That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?‭ Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,‭ He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with ‭their‭ eyes, nor understand with ‭their‭ heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.‭ These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.‭ ‭‭Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess ‭him‭, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:‭"
John 12:37-42, KJV

"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began."
Acts 3:19-21, KJV

"And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into ‭his‭ lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and ‭out of‭ the prophets, from morning till evening.‭ And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.‭ And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,‭ Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:‭ For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with ‭their‭ eyes, and hear with ‭their‭ ears, and understand with ‭their‭ heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.‭"
Acts 28:23-27, KJV

"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired ‭to have‭ you, that he may sift ‭you‭ as wheat:‭ But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."
Luke 22:31-32, KJV

I find those last verses from the Gospel of Luke particularly interesting, because they clearly demonstrate that Jesus knew beforehand that in a moment of mental weakness, the Apostle Peter was going to deny even knowing Him. However, at the same time, Jesus also knew that once Peter had been broken, he would return to the Lord. That is why He said "when thou art converted." In other words, "once you have come back to me"; which is exactly what the Greek word "epistrepho" means.

We can extract a very important lesson from this incident. You may recall that in part two of this series, I mentioned that once we come to understand that the word "repent" means to change one's mind about something, it opens up a number of other verses which are found throughout the pages of the New Testament. You see, repenting -- or changing our minds and accepting Christ -- is actually just the very beginning of our spiritual journey and walk of faith. Furthermore, in the truest sense of the word, repentance is a continual process which must be maintained. It is not just a one-time thing that we do. In fact, the writers of the New Testament make it very clear that changing our minds and accepting Christ is not enough. God expects much more of us after we have been converted.

What we all need is a totally new, transformed mind; or what the Apostle Paul refers to as "the mind of Christ". Just as our biological body periodically replaces different parts of itself, such as our blood, our skin, our hair, etc., so too, our mind must be constantly renewed and transformed as well. Otherwise, just like the Apostle Peter, who denied the Lord, and then later said "I go a fishing", we too will fall back into our old ways, and our old way of thinking. Notice how when Peter went back, they all went back, because they all looked up to him. And they caught absolutely nothing that night, because they were obviously in a backslidden state:

"Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing."
John 21:3, KJV

The fact that our minds must be totally transformed, so that we in effect become new creatures in Jesus Christ, is made abundantly clear by such Bible verses as the following:

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye TRANSFORMED by the RENEWING OF YOUR MIND, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Romans 12:2, KJV

"For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST."
1 Corinthians 2:16, KJV

"For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward ‭man‭ is RENEWED DAY BY DAY."
2 Corinthians 4:16, KJV

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a NEW CREATURE: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV

"That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;‭ And BE RENEWED IN THE SPIRIT OF YOUR MIND;‭ And that ye put on the NEW MAN, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
Ephesians 4:22-24, KJV

"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk IN NEWNESS OF LIFE."
Romans 6:4, KJV

"But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.‭ ‭‭Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;‭ And have put on the NEW ‭MAN‭, which is RENEWED in knowledge after the image of him that created him:‭"
Colossians 3:8-10, KJV

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of REGENERATION, and RENEWING OF THE HOLY GHOST;"
Titus 3:5, KJV

In the previous group of verses, the words "renewing" and "renewed" are translated from three Koine Greek words. These words are "anakainoo", "anakainosis" and "ananeoo". According to Thayer's Greek English Lexicon, they have a variety of related meanings including the following: ‭ ‭‭1) to cause to grow up, new, to make new‭ 2) a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better‭ 3) to renew (in the mind) ‭‭ ‭ The word "transformed" is derived from the Koine Greek word "metamorphoo". Pronounced met–am–or–fo'–o‭‭, no doubt you can see how our English word "metamorphosis" is derived from it. Thayer's Greek English Lexicon informs us that this ancient word means to change into another form, to transform, or to transfigure. Of course, in the Christian context, it refers to‭‭ being transformed in a spiritual sense, and to maturing from a "baby Christian" to an adult Christian. This is also the same word that is used when the Lord was transfigured before Peter, James and John on the mount. Another Koine Greek word -- "allasso" -- is used in reference to our being transformed and changed into our new, glorified bodies.

Finally, we have the word "regeneration", as in the phrase "by the washing of regeneration", from Titus 3:5. This word is derived from the ancient Koine Greek word "paliggenesia". Pronounced ‭pal–ing–ghen–es–ee'–ah‭‭, this word refers to new ‭‭birth, reproduction, renewal, recreation or regeneration‭. Insofar as this current discussion is concerned, Thayer's Greek English Lexicon notes the following:

----- Begin Quote -----

"hence renovation, regeneration, the production of a new life consecrated to God, a radical change of mind for the better. The word often used to denote the restoration of a thing to its pristine state, its renovation, as a renewal or restoration of life after death.‭"

----- End Quote -----

Please go to part four for the conclusion of this series.

⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .

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