Questions & Answers
Do I have to be willing to turn from my sins to be saved?
Does repentance mean that I have to be willing to turn from my sins in order to be saved? There are so many sins I enjoy doing. Pepe
Repentance is often demanded as a requirement of salvation, and then depending on one's definition, will cause severe doubt as to whether one has performed it well enough. And this is what I hear in you. For if it means "turning from sins" then you have to admit that you must not have met this so-called requirement. Once again, men have used this "Biblical" word as used in a few "Biblical" verses to turn the free gift of God into an out and out performance of man, hasn't it?
As far as the issue of sins, Christ has done away with it at the cross. How does the preaching of "turn from your sins" as part of the gospel do anything to declare GOOD NEWS? No, instead it suggests that Christ really did NOTHING regarding sin and forgiveness, but that he only came to be a new figurehead to man's continual struggle to reform himself!
Now, the Greek word for "repentance" literally means to "have another mind", but as long as we are viewing the "gospel" from a performance basis we can easily fit it into that perception so that it becomes something WE do. Many have even defined repent in a more accurate way as "change your mind", but this still causes problems to those who keep discovering things they haven't changed their mind about and therefore wonder if they ever "did" it.
If anything, repentance is the demand that all of man's understandings and perceptions are completely useless and void toward God ... and that only ANOTHER MIND will connect one to God. That mind is Christ, for HE is the new mind. And this reality is testified to throughout the written word. It's funny how easily it is overlooked in favor of the "What must I do?" approach.
"Repent and believe the gospel" is the simple declaration regarding the total inability shared by all humanity as made so obvious by Jesus's death on the cross! It says that NOTHING can pass over the barrier between flesh and spirit for the mind of man cannot understand the mind of God but that this passing was brought about by the death of humanity itself in Christ. The demand is that God is understood only by the mind of God, and the good news declares that God has given this understanding - this mind - through Christ.
Is it any surprise that when the message of Christ was preached that a claim to "have another mind" would accompany it? The good news of Christ totally conflicts with all the rationale of man and his different religious views. The apostles preached a message that contradicted everything everyone has learned in this world. To then say, "You must have ANOTHER mind and believe what we're telling you about Christ" would not come across as a requirement needing to be performed but as the demand of the miraculous mind-changing work of Christ himself!!
Consider what Peter wrote to the believers in his first letter:
For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of YOU WHO THROUGH HIM ARE BELIEVERS IN GOD, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, SO THAT YOUR FAITH AND HOPE ARE IN GOD." 1 Peter 1:20-21
Peter knew the miraculousness of the message of Christ that he preached to them!! It could only be THROUGH Christ that one could even be a believer, it is only through Christ that our faith and hope are in God. He never told them to DO something so that they could be "believers", but he preached the miracle by which he had nothing else to say except that they must have another mind so that their faith and hope would be in God.
If "to have another mind" is different from "to have a change of mind" what then is the meaning of repentance?
I used to strive to find technical meanings to important Biblical words, for I assumed that as long as I had the right definition I would surely gain a better understanding. Hahaha! Oh wow, I so often ended up being more confused than ever as I positioned those hard and fast meanings so that it would make sense!! :) It's not that it's not important to know what is meant by what is said, but hard and fast technicalities break so easily against one another.
My actual statement was not "to have a change of mind", but to "change your mind". I would be as hard-pressed as you to see much difference in the two quotes you asked about since they could easily be saying the same thing. :) What I'm suggesting is as simple as the difference between these two ideas:
- "To have a change of mind" or "To have another mind": a sudden or maybe unexpected perspective shift where you were given an insight into something that turned everything around in the way you saw it. In other words, this is that change of thinking or perspective that comes upon a person who up to that point could not even conceive of seeing it any other way.
- "To change your mind": to simply decide or convince yourself to see something differently. In other words, this describes an intellectual exercise where one decides to turn left instead of right. It is simply a choice between two UNDERSTOOD and/or EXPERIENCED directions, and would not include something as whacked out as deciding to make an interdimensional sideways shift! :) Simply stated, such choices remain within our demanded or experienced comprehension.
I had worded somewhat of a meaning for repentance this way in that post:
"If anything, repentance is the demand that all of man's understandings and perceptions are completely useless and void toward God ... and that only ANOTHER MIND will connect one to God."
Let me relate this in another way. If you had been born blind so that you had no concept whatever of what it meant to see, then sight would be totally meaningless to you. You might even learn how to use "seeing" words in such a way to convince others that you somehow understood, but it would add nothing to any true understanding. If I demanded that you see, it would only highlight the fact that you not only could not see but that you didn't even understand what it meant. But if at the demand to see you all of a sudden SAW, then the very miraculousness of the experience would forever be etched upon your understanding, and you could only declare, "I once was blind, but now I see!". The command for a blind man to "See" would always be remembered as the word that spoke the miraculous sight into being.
I believe the same applied with the word "Repent", or "See it with different eyes!", or "Conceive it with a different mind!" or "Have another mind!" To see, to conceive, or to think totally outside the natural mind received in this world had been linked together with a word that suggested the impossible! When the good news of Jesus was declared, they were being told that true life only existed outside everything they had ever known in this world because it was in the realm of the impossible: a life on the other side of the end of this creation!!