AÂ continuing series reflecting on the book: “What Jesus Demands from the World”, By John Piper (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2006, 400 pgs.)
Jesus began his public ministry with the declaration: “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” (Matt. 4:17) What is repentance? What does it mean, and more important, what did Jesus mean when he said- Repent?
What is Repentance?
The Greek word behind our English word ‘repent’ is metanoeo, which means -an internal change of mind and heart. Meta means -a change of movement, and noeo refers to the mind -including thoughts, purposes, and perceptions.
What did Jesus Teach about Repentance?
In Luke 13:5 Jesus said: “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” The people of his day believed that God brought disaster only upon sinners. Jesus is making the point here that all are sinners and all need to repent, and final judgment is going to overtake us all. Jesus said: “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mark 1:15) The Gospel is the ‘good news’ that we don’t have to all perish, but those who repent or change their mind, thinking and direction, can receive forgiveness and eternal life instead.
Jesus told his disciples after his resurrection to teach repentance and take the Gospel to every nation: “Thus it is written,…that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46-47)
The demand of Jesus to repent is a universal demand for all the world and for every person of every generation. As John Piper says in his closing remarks:
So the demand of Jesus to repent goes to all the nations. It comes to us, whoever we are and wherever we are, and lays claim on us. This is the demand of Jesus to every soul: Repent. Be changed within. Replace all God-dishonoring, Christ-belittling perceptions and dispositions and purposes with God-treasuring, Christ-exalting ones.
Note: Repentance and Revival
Every revival, large or small, that I have ever heard of or read about has this one thing in common. It always began with repentance -a deep and abiding change of heart, mind, perception relationship, and attitude towards God and his purposes.