Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Repentance

I wrote a while back (here, actually) about a new book that John Piper was working on, in which he wrote about repentance. Well, that book is out now, and it's called "What Jesus Demands from the World." Demand (and chapter) #2 is "Repent." In it, Piper talks about the true meaning of the word repentance, which is much deeper than what I've heard preached from many different pulpits. Here's how the chapter starts:
The first demand of Jesus’ public ministry was, “Repent.” He spoke this command indiscriminately to all who would listen. It was a call for radical inward change toward God and man.

WHAT IS REPENTANCE?

Two things show us that repentance is an internal change of mind and heart rather than mere sorrow for sin or mere improvement of behavior. First, the meaning of the Greek word behind the English "repent” ... points in this direction. It has two parts: meta and noe√ł. The second part ... refers to the mind and its thoughts and perceptions and dispositions and purposes. The first part ... is a prefix that regularly means movement or change. In view of the way this prefix regularly functions, we may infer that the basic meaning of repent is to experience a change of the mind’s perceptions and dispositions and purposes.

The other factor that points to this meaning of repent is the way Luke 3:8 describes the relationship between repentance and new behavior. It says, “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance.” Then it gives examples of the fruits: “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise” (Luke 3:11). This means that repenting is what happens inside of us. Then this change leads to the fruits of new behavior. Repentance is not the new deeds, but the inward change that bears the fruit of new deeds. Jesus is demanding that we experience this inward change.
Want to read more? Piper and Desiring God are offering the text of the book for free, in .pdf format, here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is interesting. I've not read more yet, but I'm anxious to know how he (Piper) says that change will happen. Jesus "demands" us to change on the inside. I assume He's going to tell us that only HE can do that changing? The words that come to mind are..."all my efforts are as filthy rags." ~J in the UK