By: Scott Shifferd, Jr.
God calls all people everywhere to repent (Ac 17.30). Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3.9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” Furthermore, Jesus said in Luke 24.46-47, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’” This is the Gospel to the Nations that is described, “Then God has also granted to the Nations repentance to life” (Ac 11.18). Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Lk 5.32). Were we called to repent?
Many of us may have a misconception of what repentance is. Sorrow is not repentance (2 Cor. 7:9-10). Changing behavior without changing the mind is not repentance. Changing the mind without changing behavior is not repentance. The Gospel declared throughout the nations is that, “they should repent and convert to God doing works compatible with repentance” (Ac 26.20, cf. He 6.1). In Greek, repent is made of 2 words “change” and “mind”. Repentance is modifying our understanding, reforming our intellect, and altering our thinking, so that our behavior changes. A person repents when one’s mind is changed through conversion unto good works. A true believer will show works of repentance (Mk 1.15, Jn 3.20-21, Ac 8.22).
Jesus said, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place --- unless you repent” (Re 2.5). Jesus also said in Luke 13:3, 5, “Repent or likewise be ruined” like any other person, who dies without God. Otherwise, repent and cause rejoicing in Heaven. Jesus said, “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. […] Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Lk 15.7, 10). “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,” (Ac 3.19). “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins;” (Ac 2.38).