by Paul Benson
I love the word repentance! Some folks might view that as a strange statement, (or maybe even indicative of me being somewhat of a religious nut) but I love the word because I know its true meaning, and have personally known the reward it brings. Preaching false concepts of repentance only brings religious bondage upon a person; but in reality God intends for preaching along these lines to bring liberty and joy to a person; a heart full of peace and a life free of condemnation! Is that something we should turn a deaf ear to?
In the midst of all the garbage that is being preached by so many on this matter how can we find the meaning of true repentance? Sometimes the best way to understand the meaning of a word is to actually take a look at the word itself.
To get a better understanding of repentance let’s break down the word ‘repent’: Re + pent.
Re = do over or return.
Pent = high or lofty.
Repent = return to the high or lofty place.
I like to use as an example another word that uses the root ‘pent’; namely the word ‘penthouse’. The penthouse is the uppermost floor of a tall building, and is a symbol of prestige. We would say a person living up there was living large; high above that which would be considered lowly or common.
Think about the walk that Adam and Eve had with God in Eden, before they fell victim to the wiles of the Devil. The Scriptures teach that they were created in the image and likeness of God. The Bible tells us that God is clothed with righteousness and majesty, and also that He wears light as a garment! If Adam and Eve were created in the image of God, then they too were clothed with righteousness, majesty, and light.
Walking each day with God in all the glory with which He had created them. Now I would call that a pretty good example of penthouse-living! But, sadly, Adam and Eve fell; they un-pented. Through sin they fell from that lofty position they had enjoyed, and passed on that sinful state to all of mankind.
Now man needs to re-pent; to return to that higher living, and exalted state of being, that comes with a right relationship with the Lord. When you think of the word repentance, think re-penthouse! Think ‘return to the penthouse.’ It will keep your mind from straying over into all of that religious bondage.
True Repentance Brings Revival!
Another thing I love about repentance is that it brings revival! To humbly acknowledge your wrongdoings as offensive to God, and to turn from them to draw close to Him in faith, will set your heart ablaze with spiritual renewal, and a zeal for the things of God! Is your heart burning with a love and zeal for Jesus? Or have you let things creep into your life that defile your conscience, and separate you from that lofty and sanctified walk with the Lord you should know.
It doesn’t have to be something as serious as adultery, theft, or murder. It is possible to let things that are socially acceptable (like the mind-numbing hypnotism of the television) steal away the zeal and spiritual fulfillment that we would find in seeking daily communion with God. Don’t let the things of this world keep you from having an unhindered fellowship with the Lord.
A great number have mistakenly preached repentance as condemnation or as religious penance; and today so very many refuse to even preach it at all for fear of man’s displeasure. But the Lord Jesus Christ said, “Repent and believe the Gospel!” Let’s make sure we get the foundation taken care of before we try to build the house. That way we can build a house that will stand strong against the storms of life!