No, this is not a trick question. I’m actually very curious about this and I want to know what your opinions are about the word, “Repent.” Is it a 4-letter word? My good friend, Chris, and I have conversations about the word on occasion and it’s healthy. I just want you to chime in, no matter what your opinion is.
I know that it’s in the Bible. Jesus used it, as did many others. What I really want to know is if you think the word “repent” is necessary to use when communicating a clear and compelling Gospel to a non-believer. Personally, I lean towards the fact that it is unnecessary, but I know others who believe it is necessary to use the word “repent” in order to communicate a clear and compelling Gospel.
Here are the random facts I understand about “repent” that have led me to believe what I believe:
- Repent is not used once in the Gospel of John, which is the only book in the New Testament written to non-believers.
- Repent is often explained in correctly to include stop sinning (which is an impossibility even for believers).
- the original Greek word, metanaio, means to change your mind or change the way you think.
- Paul clearly communicates that we are saved by faith or because we believe, and by nothing else – not by repenting.
- I’ve heard it said that the only people ever instructed to repent in the New Testament were Jews, but I’m not positive on that myself.
Please hear me. I’m not scared of the word and I don’t want to avoid using it when and where it’s necessary. However, because of the baggage that it comes with and the fact that I haven’t found where repent is deemed to be necessary in communicating the Gospel I tend not to use it. Not of fear, but out of a desire to not confuse or muddy the Gospel.
What do you think? Am I correct in my leanings of the word, “Repent” or am I letting the baggage weigh me down too?