Where to start, where to start…..well at the beginning of course…..haha…..I need to lay a foundation that is firm and is not going to waver. That foundation of course is Jesus. He is the only firm foundation for any of us. He is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Lover of my soul and yours if you simply believe in Who He is-the Son of God Who took the sin of the entire world when He proclaimed, “It is finished” and arose on the third day. The foundation of our belief system is so important.
What we need to understand is our belief system is built up of words. Words hold the way to communicate what one believes or doesn’t believe.
One of the things I would love to do as a teacher is have a word, that described what we would be looking at for the day in History, and I would write that word on the board. The students then would come to the board and write anything that came to their mind about that particular word. I would then have the students look up the word in the dictionary, yes SIRI was asked on many occasions. Yet, the word being defined could not be used in the definition. It was always fun to see if their idea of the word matched the definition. So, where am I going with all of this??? I want to lay a foundation which changed the way I saw God, saw Jesus, saw myself and saw others. It opened scripture for me where before it didn’t make sense; opened my eyes to the goodness of the Father and the beauty of the Son’s sacrifice; and a true appreciation for the Holy Spirit. Literally my perspective changed! What I found out while writing this blog post was that photographers have to correct perspective distortions or use them to their advantage in photos. I, being an amateur photographer, had no idea about this issue except many times what I saw in real life and what the photo looked like were different. I found when the camera lens was tilted up or down this can cause a totally different perspective in the photo. God wanted to clear up my perspective because the reality of what I saw and what was true were two different things. The lense we see things through is our understanding or perspective of the words we use and how we define those words. Here is an example of a picture that had distortion and was fixed:
God wants to make sure our lense is giving us the right perspective to see Him clearly.
Over the next few blog posts, I will be simply defining some words that for me had gotten somehow redefined because how the words have been taught through church history. I believe it comes down to the fact that through human history we have always had a belief that we need to perform what we in and of ourselves can simply not do. We desire to take care of our sin problem on our own. It just doesn’t work. Our flesh cries out and we somehow feel we have to atone for our sin and the enemy laughs and says yes you do. Jesus cries out-It is finished! We can go back through history and see that the Roman Catholic Church had a great hold on atonement for sin. We can see people flailing themselves when they have sinned. We can see people “repenting” moment by moment hoping not to have forgotten some sinful thought or deed….otherwise you are no longer in “right relationship with God” until you do “repent”. Luther came out with his thesis on October 31st and pretty much said it is not be works but by faith that we have relationship with God. Yet, even now, over the years we have, as a church, gone back to flailing ourselves with a whip (I call it the repent, forgive, repent cycle), hopefully not literally flailing ourselves but figuratively speaking.
This is how the Lord laid my foundation to see Him how He sees me-He corrected my perspective and I repented (see my definition at the end of repent). He started with asking me to define repentance. I went to the board (my journal) and began writing how I see or define repentance:
I would start with confessing my sin (what I did wrong) to God, asking His forgiveness, receiving His forgiveness, believing He and I were once again in right relationship and probably crying a lot while doing so.
The Lord spoke very clearly in this moment to me as I wrote this and said, “No that is not correct; go look up the word repentance.”. This is where I started, although I had many questions that would arise over the next three days and this last year…..This post though will only deal with the word REPENTANCE.
Repent is found 56 times in the New Testament (NT) and 14 times in the Old Testament (OT)- (NKJV). Interesting, huh?!? I thought wow for sure Lord You had to say it way more times in the New Testament because we really need to do it a lot. Haha! It just wasn’t the way I had defined it. Here is the Greek and Hebrew word for repentance along with the definition from Biblehub:
Greek: metamellomai=change after being with, care be concerned with; metanoeo=after, to think-to think after or to change one’s mind
Hebrew: shub=to turn back, to return; nacham=comfort,to console oneself, to be sorry
Before we go any further I want to make note that in Genesis 6:6, Exodus 32:14, 1 Chronicles 21:15/2 Samuel 24:16, Psalm 106:45, Jeremiah 26:19, and Jonah 3:10 all use the Hebrew verb nacham in regards to God’s action not man’s. God was sorry, consoled and comforted Himself. God Himself was sorry He created man, He rethought the idea of burning up the entire camp of Israelites when they had chosen to perform the law but found they couldn’t-ummm the golden calf, God also choose to be sorry and stop the angel from killing more Israelites when King David choose to have a census, God remembered the covenant in loving kindness (even though the Israelites could not perform their part of the covenant as they said they could at Mt. Sinai) God felt sorry and He made the Israelites objects of compassion to their captors and lastly is how God turned from or felt sorry and choose not to destroy the Ninevites because they had turned from their wicked ways. In these scriptures you can see God, Himself rethought, turned from what He was going to do, turned from what He was doing, changed His mind or felt sorry for what He had created. In Genesis where God felt sorry for what He had created with mankind, God had already created Noah, who is mentioned in Genesis 5:29, saying he would be the one to bring nacham or rest to mankind from their toil because of the curse to the land. This is actually the first time the word nacham is used in the OT. I really want you to understand the true meaning of these Hebrew and Greek words down deep within the context of the language and story. Our perspective of the meaning of the words need to be what God intended. Okay, now back to the New Testament…
When the word repent is used it is important to know the definition; so as to read and understand what was being said. We also need to understand the audience, the history at the time and any “slang” i.e.: He is being a pain in my rear. (What exactly was Paul saying when he said…..a thorn in his side…heehee….I believe that he was saying someone or people were being a pain in his rear.)
What I did from there is when I would read the word repent in scripture I would be able to see and understand it in the way it was really defined not the way I had been taught it to mean. The way God intended us to see and understand it. The first time repent is seen in the New Testament is when John makes a bold statement, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2). When I read this in the past, I saw Jewish people lamenting, crying out for forgiveness, groveling on the ground, and full of sinful deeds that they needed to see as sin. Like they didn’t already know what sin is or isn’t. They had been brought up under the law. Understood the law inside and out. Tried to uphold the law but found themselves like Paul admitting what they don’t want to do they do and what they want to do they don’t do. (Romans 7:19-20) Now because I understand the word repent means to turn, or change one’s mind I see a very different picture.
I see John the Baptist proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, look see turn in this direction this is going to blow your mind, this is going to be different than how you have done things for hundreds of years. Look the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are going to happen in your lifetime. The prophets of old would love to see what you shall set your eyes upon. Things are going to change because heaven has come to earth. Look, change your minds, turn from the way you have seen things done because NOTHING will ever be the same again. The Messiah has come!!!
Wow, such a different view of the Kingdom of Heaven. This started me on a quest of defining words that led me out of being a “law girl” or actually what I believe to be a “lukewarm Christian” which means a little bit of grace and a little bit of law. Jesus would prefer us to be hot or cold…the lukewarm He spits out (Revelation 3:16). Now I consider myself saved by grace. You may ask what do you do now when you “sin”, read Horizontal and Vertical for definitions of sin, when your flesh and the enemy cry out for payment for what you have done. I simply remind my flesh and the enemy that I can never pay that payment, but I have a Savior, the One and only Perfect Sacrifice, the Final Lamb of the Passover, My Beloved, Jesus the Christ Who loves me no matter what Who paid that price. God has fully forgiven me from beginning to end because Jesus paid my payment. I do not negate what was done at the Cross; I simply fully receive what was done for me and believe what was done for me by Jesus the Christ was enough. I proclaim who I am in Christ. I am righteous only in Christ. I see myself wrapped in Him, the work finished at the Cross and my entire drawer of sin cleaned out for my entire life. That is the immensity of what Christ did at the Cross. He took all my sin, all my disease, all my condemnation as the Perfect Sacrifice and gave me His righteousness and wholeness. This right thinking and believing shuts the mouth of the enemy and my flesh no longer cries out for a payment. Trust me I had the same questions you probably do. I encourage you to go look, search, read, and seek the Lord. My deepest desire was to know God like He knows me….
Repentance is seeing God for Who He truly is.