River of God | Day 6
Acts 3, Psalm 51, Matthew 27:3, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, Proverbs 3:34
We discussed before that in our search for revival, we must find repentance. Only when the Body of Christ fully comprehends the process of repentance - and lives accordingly - can the river of God flow through us in its pure state. Let’s dive a little deeper into our understanding of repentance.
Repentance has long been defined as remorse, regret, or turning from sin and going a different direction. However, limiting our definition in this way robs repentance of its power to bring true transformation. We must look at these definitions as aspects of a greater picture. Each piece, or concept, is a journey to the end result of repentance. A more accurate definition of repentance would be the journey from revelation to repentance, to turning and going God’s way.
A great Scripture to support this definition of repentance is in the Book of Acts. “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…” (Acts 3:19, NASB). As we uncover the definitions of each aspect of repentance, we will be able to piece this scripture together in a better framework.
The word “revelation” in the Greek is the word apokalupsis, meaning “unveiling or uncovering”. It refers to God lifting the veil from our minds in order to reveal His divine perspective. The word “repentance” in the Greek is the word metanoia, meaning “knowing after”. It points to the idea of a new knowledge or understanding that comes to us after our previous understanding, or a change of mind. The word “turning” in the Greek is the word epistrepho, meaning “to turn and go a new direction, or to return”.
When we look at Acts 3:19 again in this context, it might better read this way: “Repent, in order that you can return to God’s way,” or “Get God’s knowledge and perspective of the situation - find out what He is saying - so that you can turn and go His way.”
Let’s summarize the three concepts in this way: Man needs an unveiling (revelation) to bring him new understanding from God’s perspective (repentance) so that he can turn and go God’s way (turning). This is why simple remorse, or turning from sin without turning to God, are incomplete definitions of repentance at best. We must understand the full picture in order to see the effectiveness of repentance working in our lives.
We might be more familiar with the Greek term metamellomai, which means simple regret or remorse. This is the beginning of true repentance, but if it doesn’t progress from here, it is a human-centered repentance. It’s a pain of mind, where God-centered repentance is a full change of mind. Human-centered repentance makes humankind and its pain or loss the measuring point. But true repentance is God-centered.
It’s important to realize this because it reminds us that regret without action isn’t enough. When Judas betrayed Jesus, he felt regret and shame, but it never progressed to action. Sadly, this is a perfect example of human-centered repentance.
Repentance became necessary all the way back in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Eating the fruit veiled their minds to God’s truth. And now, until the veil is lifted by way of revelation, the things of God seem ridiculous to humankind.
Consider this: the term “natural man” is the Greek word psuchikos. The root word of this is psuche, defined as the soul (mind, will and emotions). Translated literally, psuchikos is a sourish or soul-motivated and controlled person; one who operates not from the spirit, but the soul, the psuch. And because the soul chose to exalt itself above God and His knowledge, humankind’s ability to see truth from God’s perspective was severely damaged. The veil descended and blindness came.
The repentance process reverses this state of affairs for us. Because of this veiling (kalupsis) and blinding, humankind needed an unveiling (apokalupsis - revelation), to bring them a new knowledge from God (metanoia - repentance), thus enabling them to turn and go God’s way (epistrepho - turn or return) again.
It becomes clear, then, that repentance doesn’t necessarily have to involve sin. Anytime God needs to adjust our way of thinking through Holy Spirit revelation, we have arrived at repentance. Then we can turn and go God’s way. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NASB). If we wait on Him, God’s gentle tug will always pull us in the right direction. Repentance is a process.
The process of revival begins with the process of repentance. And where revival is concerned, it must begin with the Church and spread to the world. Repentance is needed on a corporate level, but it begins with us as individuals. Tune into the Holy Spirit. Ask Him if there’s anything in your life that requires repentance. Let’s walk through this process together, each step closer to releasing the full power of the river of God.