REPENTANCE FROM UNBELIEF
By John C. Carpenter
 
Some unbelievers who hear the words repent or repentance think that repentance is applicable only to a repentance [change of heart, changing direction, ceasing] from sin. However, almost all believers who encounter the words repent or repentance also automatically assume that repentance is always and exclusively associated with sin.
 
It is important for us to recognize, though, that repentance in the New Testament, in many instances refers not to repentance which involves a change of heart, mind, and behavior regarding sin, but repentance regarding the rejection of Jesus Christ by unbelievers. This recognition is clearly found many times within the context of the verses being studied.
 
Please do not misunderstand, I am not suggesting that God the Father does not want the unbeliever and believer to repent of his or her sin. He certainly does. Many old and new testament verses reflect this: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14). In proverbs, we see that He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy (Proverbs 28:13).Peter instructs us, But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? (2 Peter 3:10-12).
 
James wrote the twelve scattered tribes, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the [temptations from the] devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded (James 4:7-8). Jesus, Himself, told some Jewish Pharisees and scribes, I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance (Luke 15:7).
 
Paul referred to repentance of sin when he wrote the church in Rome, Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof (Romans 6:11-12).
 
Zacharias prophesied, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness [right character] and righteousness [justification resulting in acceptance from God] before him, all the days of our life (Luke 1:68-75).
 
Paul wrote the Roman believers, God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness (Romans 6:17-19). Peter instructed the strangers scattered throughout,But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy (1 Peter 1:15-16), and Christ told the woman caught in adultery, She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more (John 8:11).
 
There is a repentance that refers to repentance from sin. The holy scriptures make that clear, without a doubt. However, we must realize that there is another type of repentance found within the scripture – a repentance from a rejection of Jesus Christ. Without this repentance, or change of mind, heart, and actions from unbelief to belief in Christ, eternal life is not possible or available.
 
GREEK WORDS REFERRING TO REPENTANCE
 
In the New Testament, there are four Greek words which refer to "repentance." The first Greek word is "metamellomai," which means to "care afterwards, regret one's actions, feel sorrow." Matthew tells us, Then Judas, which had betrayed him [Christ], when he saw that he was condemned, repented [metamellomai; i.e., regretted, sorry for his actions] himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders (Mat 27:3). The second Greek word is "metanoia," which means "anxiety arising from guilt, and distress over the anticipated results of one's actions, with both leading to reversal of one's thinking." Jesus told the Pharisees, But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance [metanoia; i.e., anxiety and distress leading to reversal of one's thinking] (Mat 9:13). The third Greek word "ametameletos" means "cannot be brought or called back, irrevocable." Paul instructed, For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance [ametameletos, irrevocable, not to be repented of] (Rom 11:29). The fourth Greek word is "metanoeo," which means to “think differently, to reconsider”. This is the type of repentance Christ was referring to when He said ...The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent [metanoeo, from metamellomai ; i.e., think differently, reconsider] ye, and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15). Obviously, repentance can by defined in different ways, but this article is more concerned with what the unbeliever is to “repent” of. Look at some of these new testament examples in which repentance refers to the unbeliever's rejection of Christ.
 
REPENT YE, FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND
 
In the first example, In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent [metanoeo] ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he [Christ] that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Matthew 3:1-12). Although those who came to be baptized by John were also confessing their sins, as we see in verse 6, John's emphasis was on instructing those around him, Greek and Jew alike, to repent, not of their sins, but of their rejection of Christ. John was specifically talking about the Lord Jesus Christ when the prophet Isaiah said that John was to prepare the way, or advent, of the Lord Jesus Christ. John then told the Pharisees and Sadducees to flee from the wrath to come, which of course refers to God's wrath for their unbelief and rejection of Christ, and their faulty dependence upon being the sons and daughters of Abraham. In short, the Jews wanted to continue their faith in their culture, lineage, and history as Jews rather than come to faith in Jesus Christ. Again, John references Christ when he warns the Jews around him that Christ is mightier that John the baptist, Christ shall baptize them with the Holy Spirit and with fire, and that Christ will burn them [chaff] up with unquenchable fire. In context, it is clear that the repentance John the Baptist is talking about is, again, the repentance of unbelief in Christ.
 
Just before Christ sent out his twelve disciples, the scriptures instruct us he [Christ] went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them, And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching. And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats. And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. And they [the twelve disciples] went out, and preached that men should repent [metanoeo] (Mark 6:1-12). Christ began to teach some Jews in the synagogue in His own country. Yet, despite the fact that the Jews saw Christ in the flesh, and they were astonished at His preaching, his wisdom, and the mighty works He performed, the scriptures tell us the Jews were still offended at Him. The Jews within the synagogue rejected His teaching, wisdom, and even His power to perform miracles. In short, they rejected the totality of Christ, Himself. Additionally, when Christ called unto His twelve disciples and sent them forth two by two to preach Christ and the gospel of the Kingdom, the Lord warned the twelve disciples that some people would not receive the disciples nor their gospel message about Christ and His Kingdom, and that they were to shake off the dust under their feet as a testimony against them. In verse 12, when Christ told His disciples to preach that men should repent, what repentance was He referring to? Again, the Lord's disciples were to preach that men should repent of their rejection of Christ, as the Lord had encountered in the synagogue in His own country.
 
REPENTANCE TO THE ACKNOWLEDGING OF THE TRUTH
 
Paul gave guidance to Timothy regarding church leaders, saying, ...the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance [metanoia; i.e., anxiety and distress leading to reversal of thinking] to the acknowledging [recognition] of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will (2 Tim 2:24-26). In this statement, Paul said those that "oppose themselves [unbelievers] and are in the snare of the devil" need for God to grant them repentance [anxiety and guilt leading to reversing their thinking] so they can acknowledge the truth. What was this "truth" that Paul said needed to be acknowledged? Speaking to a Jewish crowd, Christ said, Ye sent unto John [the Baptist], and he bare witness [evidence, testimony] unto the truth (John 5:33). Later on, John the Baptist said,And I [John the Baptist] saw, and bare record [witness, evidence, testimony] thatthis [Jesus] is the Son of God (John 1:34). The "truth" is that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. Paul explained that God needed to bring unbelievers to (1) feeling anxiety caused by realizing they are guilty of sin, and (2) feeling distress over the anticipated results or consequences of their sin. When a sinner realizes they are guilty of sin and fears the consequences of that sin [metanoia], the sinner should then be able and eager to change their thinking [metanoeo], and believe the truth, that Jesus is the Son of God.
 
Holy Scriptures also teach us, The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all [Jews and Gentiles alike] should come to repentance [metanoia; i.e., anxiety and distress leading to reversal of thinking] (2 Pet 3:9), and thus believe on him [Christ] whom he [God the Father]hath sent (John 6:29).
 
The repentance referred to here is repentance of unbelief in Jesus Christ, the one who God the Father hath sent. It is not repentance from sin, but the refusal to repent of a rejection of Jesus Christ which causes one to perish. Also, according to the scriptures, Jews and Gentiles alike are to repent of their rejection of Him, their unbelief. The apostle Peter taught,Repent, and be baptized every one [Jew and Gentile alike] of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his [Christ and His gospel] word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls (Acts 2:38-41). This repentance referred to in these verses involves a change of heart and action from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ; and this baptism if symbolic of the individual being baptised [submerged, being included] into the body of Christ.
 
Scriptures also teach, ...the word [message]of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism [ceremonial washing, cleansing] of repentance [anxiety and guilt leading to reversal of thinking] for the remission [pardon, forgiveness] of sins; As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight [true, immediate] (Luke 3:2-4). Again, it is repentance from a rejection of Christ to faith in Christ which results in the remission of sins.
 
TO GIVE REPENTANCE TO ISRAEL
 
Even the apostle Peter associated thinking differently about Christ with the remission of sins. Peter elsewhere said, ...We ought to obey [hearken and submit to] God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give [bestow, minister] repentance[anxiety and distress leading to reversal of thinking] to Israel [the Jews], and forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:29-31). Peter not only explained that unbelievers are to "hearken and submit to" Jesus Christ, but that Christ was specifically raised up to bestow repentance to those who believe in Jesus as the Christ and Son of God. Clearly, repentance for the unbeliever involves coming to faith in Christ, because faith in Christ is essential if one desires eternal life. The Lord clarified to us all the outcome if we did not repent, saying,I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent [metanoeo; i.e., think differently about and believe in Christ], ye shall all likewise perish [be fully destroyed, die] (Luke 13:3). If an unbeliever does not change his or her thinking, and accept Jesus as the Christ, Messiah, and Son of God, death will be the end result.
 
Christ personally gave us a succinct definition of repentance when He told some Jews that wanted to kill Him, ye will not come [believe in and submit] to me, that ye might have life (John 5:40). As He walked on earth, Christ consistently exclaimed in various ways, through His words and His actions, that He was and is the Christ, the Messiah, and the Son of the living God. When Jesus began His ministry in Galilee, the scriptures instruct us, Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel [the good news about the Kingdom of Christ and God] (Mark 1:14-15). When repentance of the rejection of Christ is present, the apostle John explained the reward: But as many as [repented from rejecting Christ and] received him, to them gave he power [privilege, authority] to become the sons of God, even [specifically] to them that believe on his name [as the Christ and Son of God] (John 1:12).
 
In the book of Acts, we find the following example: And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering. And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things [concerning Christ whom you deny], which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent [Greek, metanoia; i.e., anxiety and distress leading to reversal of one's thinking] ye [of your rejection of Christ] therefore, and be converted [Greek, epistrepho, to revert, convert, return to God], that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:11-19). Obviously, the men of Israel, or the Jews, had denied Jesus Christ. Peter exhorted them to change their thinking [about their denial and rejection of Christ], and come to faith in Christ. It is a belief in Christ [faith], as Peter explained, which blots out our sins, and not our repentance from sin [works], which leads to times of refreshing. Again, the context of these verses clearly teach that the repentance referred to here is repentance of rejection of Christ.
 
COMMANDETH ALL MEN EVERYWHERE TO REPENT
 
The aposle Paul was preaching on Mars hill, and said, ye men of Athens, God hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think [as idolators] that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance [regarding our idolatry and rejction of Christ] God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent [of their rejection of Christ]: Because he [God the Father] hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man [Christ] whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead (Acts 17:26-31).
 
The men of Athens not only committed idolatry by worshiping gods of gold, silver, and stone graven by man, but, more importantly, they had rejected Christ. Paul instructed them that not only should they seek the Lord so that they might find Him, but also because in Him we live [have temporal and eternal life], and move, and have our being. As Paul further explained, God the Father temporarily winked at this ignorance of the idolatry among the men of Athens, but added that God the Father was now commanding all men everywhere to repent of their worshipping of idols and their rejection of Christ, because God hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by His Son Jesus Christ. Again, in these verses, it is apparent that the repentance spoken of is a repentance from a rejection of Christ.
 
Referring to the church at Laodicea, the Lord said, I know thy works, thatthou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent [metanoia; i.e., anxiety and distress leading to reversal of one's thinking]. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me (Revelation 3:15-20). Regarding their faith, the church at Laodicea was neither cold nor hot towards Christ, but lukewarm. Christ commanded them to buy of Christ gold tried in the fire, so that they may be spiritually rich in heaven, wear white raiment reflective of purity and righteousness, and so that their guilt and shame would be unapparent. The Lord also instructed them to anoint their eyes with salve, so that they might see Christ more clearly. Christ wanted them to repent of their lukewarm faith toward Him, exclaiming that He was standing at their door and knocking because He was desirous of a full relationship with them. Christ added, if they would hear His voice, and fully open their door to Him, he would come in and sup with them. The repentance Christ refers to here is a repentance from their lukewarm faith in Christ, a repentance that would result in a full and complete relationship with their Lord.
 
In another example, the scriptures instruct us, as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance [metanoia; i.e., anxiety and distress leading to reversal of one's thinking] (Matthew 9:9-13). Christ was making the point that it is not the well, but the sick, who need a physician, or, more pointedly, the Physician. Christ was instructing the sick, that is, the Pharisees, repent of their rejection of Jesus Christ and come to Christ, the Physician who could be whole in every way.
 
REPENTANCE AND REMISSION OF SINS SHOULD BE PREACHED IN HIS NAME
 
After His resurrection, Christ appeared to His disciples. He told them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:46-47).
 
With these words, Christ explained to His disciples that because He had suffered, died, and rose from the dead on the third day, He had made repentance [metanoia; i.e., anxiety and distress leading to reversal of one's thinking; and acceptance of Christ and His saving ministry] and remission [Greek, phesis, freedom, pardon, deliverance, forgiveness] of sin possible and now available. Christ's point is that His sacrificial and saving ministry gave the sinner not only the opportunity to repent of their rejection of Christ, but that repentance resulting in acceptance of and coming to faith in Christ made the remission, or forgiveness, of sin possible. In this context, it is not repentance of sin [works] which results in remission of sin [forgiveness of God], but repentance from the rejection of Christ [faith].
 
Referring to David, the son of Jesse, Paul was preaching to some men of Israel. Paul said, Of this man's [David's] seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus: When John had first preached before his [Christ's] coming the baptism [ceremonial ablution] of repentance [metanoia; i.e., anxiety and distress leading to reversal of one's thinking]to all the people of Israel. And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he [Christ]. But, behold, there cometh one [Christ] after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose. Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word [message of Christ and the gospel or good news] of this salvation sent (Acts 13:23-26). Paul instructed all the people of Israel, men and brethren, Jewish children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever feareth God, that he was sending this word or message of the good news of this salvation available only through their repentance of their rejection of Christ. The ceremony of the baptism of repentance is a human action which symbolizes a spiritual reality, that is, the repentance of the rejection of Jesus Christ and a coming to faith in Him, and not a repentance from acts of sin.
 
Similarly, in the book of acts of the apostles, we read, And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples. He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance [metanoia; i.e., anxiety and distress leading to reversal of one's thinking], saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 19:1-5). Once again, the baptism of repentance that Paul refers to here is a repentance from unbelief, resulting in believing on Him, that is, on Christ Jesus, and not a repentance from sin.
 
The apostle Paul wrote Timothy, Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance [metanoia; i.e., anxiety and distress leading to reversal of one's thinking] to the acknowledging of the truth (2 Timothy 2:22-25). Paul referred to repentance that results in the acknowleding of the truth. So what is this truth to be acknowledged? The answer is found in Paul's letter to the believers in Ephesus: ...we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:12-13). When the unbeliever repents of their unbelief and rejection of Christ, they are then able to hear and believe the word [utterance, message] of truth, the gospel, or good news, of the Kingdom and their own salvation. Clearly, in context, this repentance refers to a repentance from unbelief in Christ, resulting in an acknowleding of the truth of the gospel. It is not a reference to repentance from sin.
 
In our last example found in the book of Hebrews, the author wrote, For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened [had come to faith in Christ; therefore, a believer], and have tasted of the heavenly gift [of salvation], and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word [Greek, rhema, the utterance, speaking, movement, and supernatural working of the Holy Spirit] of God, and the powers [Greek, dunamis, explosive power, force, and might] of the world to come, If they shall fall away [Greek, arapipto, to fall aside, turn away, to apostatize; i.e., to lose faith], to renew them again unto repentance [Greek, metanoia; i.e., anxiety and distress leading to reversal of one's thinking resulting in faith in Christ]; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh [a second time, to recrucify], and put him to an open shame (Hebrews 6:4-6). When the unbeliever initially repents of his or her rejection of Christ, and becomes enlightened about Christ and the good news of the gospel of salvation, experiences the operation of the Holy Ghost within their life, and has tasted the miraculous power of the world to come, yet apostatizes and rejects Christ, it is impossible to renew them again to a second repentance [of coming to faith in Christ] from their unbelief. As is clear here in context, the repentance referred to is a repentance from unbelief to belief in Christ, and not a reference to repenting of acts of sin.
 
As we can see, it is essential to study the concept of repentance within the verse and chapter context in which it appears. There are other new testament examples of repentance referring to a repentance from rejection of Christ, and not sin, but the previous examples are sufficient to clearly indicate this meaning and teaching. AMEN.


 
 
THE CHRISTIAN HERALD
                                                           A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
 
"And the servant
of the Lord must
not strive; but be gentle unto all
men, apt to teach, patient, In
meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if
God peradventure will give them repentance to
the acknowledging
of the truth"
(2 Timothy 2:24-25)

 
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