||2018-03-13 18:47:17, 조회 : 207, 추천 : 46
What is Repentance?
Last week we completed our discussion about the relationship between church and state. We learned about civil disobedience and how God requires us as Christians to be obedient to governing authorities. On the other hand, we also learned that there are circumstances in which a Christian must be disobedient. For example, if the government demands for you to do something that is against God's law, then we must disobey the government (e.g abortion). When it boils down to either obeying the rule of man or God's law, we must always obey God. Today, we will look at another aspect of Christianity, by learning about "what is repentance?"
Have you ever imagined what your life might have looked like if you have done things differently? What would have happened if you didn't do so poorly in school or meet a certain individual? Would your life have been better or worse? We often ask ourselves these questions to reflect on our decisions in life. Ask anyone these questions and they may come up with a list of things they would have done differently. However, you will find another group of people that will say, "No, I wouldn't change a thing, there is nothing I would have done differently." This is surprising, because we live with regrets. If you had the chance to do things differently, I am almost certain you will. Even as Christians, when we look back at our past sins, we are shameful to sin against such a holy God. Our past contains so much cruel actions, sharp words and ill thoughts, sometimes we want to erase it from our memories. Sproul states, "these desires hint at our need for repentance."
So what is repentance? Repentance is defined as, "the action of repenting; sincere regret or remorse." Repentance is a reoccurring theme in the Scriptures. For example, in Mark, John the Baptist comes from the wilderness to inform everyone that the kingdom of God was nearing. He asked the people to "repent." After John, Jesus comes to preach the same message, "Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel'" (Mark 1:14-15). In the New Testament, whenever the apostles were lost and asked Jesus "What should we do?" Jesus would respond by saying "believe in Christ" or "repent and be baptized."
Repentance derives from the Greek word "metanoia." Meta means "with," "beside" or "after." Therefore, when we look at the term "metaphysics" it seeks to understand beyond the physical world and into the "transcendent realm." The root "noia" means "mind" in Greek. Therefore, "metanoia" means "a significant changing of one's mind." While we can understand repentance as a way to change our approach to solving a problem, it can also be understood as the "changing of one's mind with respect to one's behavior." Sproul says that this comes from the idea of "ruing." To "rue" something means that we regret a specific action. "It carries with it not only an intellectual assessment but also an emotional or visceral response." Repentance is more than just feeling bad, but it involved "sorrow for a previous form of behavior."
Not only does the theme of repentance prevalent in the New Testament, but it is also present during the Old Testament Israel. When Biblical scholars examine repentance during the Old Testament, the make a distinction between the two types of repentance: cultic or ritualistic repentance and prophetic repentance. What is cultic or ritualistic repentance. Often times when we look at the term "cultic" we immediately have a negative reaction to it because of the term "cult." When we think of "cult" we think that it is a group of people being led by a false teacher. However, Sproul states, "the term cultic, used in the true theological sense, refer not to aberrant groups but to the behavioral patterns or the religious life of a given community." The "cultus" during the Old Testament was the practice of religious observances. God defined the cultus by clearly stating how the people were intended to behave morally and how they were to carry out prayers, sacrifices and worship. These are considered the "cultic practices of Israel." In addition, whenever the people of Israel would sin against God, He would also instruct them on how to repent or "remove His wrath from them." The ritual for repentance called for the people to fast for a certain period of time. In addition, they were asked to wear a certain type of clothing , like "sackcloth and ashes" to outwardly symbolize their repenting heart. Job does this in John 42:6, "Therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."Along with the clothing, there was a specific song that must be sung. These songs are categorized as "laments" and can be found in the book of Jeremiah and Lamentations. Laments expressed the grief, sorrow and cries from the sinner. Prayers were also a part of the repentance process. We can refer to the book of Psalms as it contains "penitential psalms." These psalms acknowledges the shameful sin and the humble plea to God. In Psalms 51, David offers a penitential prayer after he committed adultery with Bathsheba. The last component to repentance is that there were certain days in which repentance can be offered. These times were set apart from feasts or celebrations.
If this was how repentance was expressed in the Old Testament, how is it expressed toady? What we find today is a half-hearted prayer that we offer to God. We say "sorry" for our actions without expressing it fully. We expect our repentance to be accepted and acknowledged by the minister of the church. Then we go about our day merrily. However, this is a dangerous way to repent. We must find a structured way in order to express our "change of hearts." Without this, true repentance cannot be offered.
1) What would you change if you could start your life over again?
2) What is repentance?
3) Do you think repentance is an important practice? Why or why not?
4) What steps did the people during the Old Testament take to offer repentance?
5) How do you think people repent today? Do you think it is a proper way to repent?