Thursdays With Spurgeon—Understanding Repentance

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.

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Understanding Repentance

     Repentance is an old-fashioned word, not much used by modern revivalists. 

     “Oh!” said a minister to me one day, “it only means a change of mind.” This was thought to be a profound observation. “Only a change of mind”; but what a change! A change of mind with regard to everything! 

     Instead of saying, “It is only a change of mind,” it seems to me more truthful to say it is a great and deep change—even a change of the mind itself. But whatever the literal Greek word may mean, repentance is no trifle. You will not find a better definition of it than the one given in the children’s hymn:

     Repentance is to leave
     The sins we loved before
     And show that we in earnest grieve,
     By doing so no more.

From The Soul Winner

The Greek word Spurgeon references that is rendered as repentance is metanoia. Many have translated this as a “new mind.” But a more literal translation is “with new understanding.” When my carnal mind has been replaced by a spiritual mind, I now see everything differently—I understand everything differently. 

The Amplified Bible elaborates it like this: Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance—let your lives prove your change of heart (Matthew 3:11). 

More than just an about-face away from my old sinful habits, repentance is a more profound understanding of just how grievous my sinful lifestyle was to God. It repulses me to even consider indulging in those sins again because now that I understand how joy-filled my relationship with Jesus is when I walk in righteousness, I never want to even dabble in that slime again! 

I don’t want to see how close I can get to sin, but I want to see how close I can get to Jesus! When I truly have repented of my sins, the Holy Spirit has given me a whole new understanding of both the pain of sin and the joy of righteousness. Let’s become people so quick to repent anytime the Holy Spirit convicts us of even the smallest of sins.

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