(Part 1 of 3)

By Brother Michel Lankford

A Picture of Repenting

Today’s Question:

“What is Repenting, Why Does it Matter?”

The Question Came from: Anonyms

Neighbor, I thank you for your Question.

Why Repenting Matters

Yahshua/Jesus (ישוע) the Messiah and Son of God is the One who said that unless we repent, we will perish. According to Messiah Himself, if we don’t repent, then our sin will destroy us.

As It Is Written: “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3 NKJV)

Messiah was not teaching anything really new here. The same precept was taught in Isaiah 55:1-9.

The Basic Tools We Need in Order to Repent Successfully

  • ; because unless we understand and respect the judgments of God we will not know and we will not recognize that we have sinned. Also, unless we recognize and respect that God is the judge, then we will not see any need or any urgency to repent.
  • from God’s point of view; because you cannot repent successfully, without understanding what repent means in God’s eyes.
  • ; because you cannot successfully turn away from sin; unless you understand how God defines sin.
  • if we don’t repent; because human nature is that we will not see the urgency to repent and overcome sin, if we do not understand the Biblical Consequences of continuing to live sinful lives.
  • , because all good and lasting changes in life begin with the choice.
  • . In other words, we need to be doing the deeds of repentance.
  • . Repenting is a lifestyle, not an event.

YHWH Almighty God is the Judge Whether We Like it or Not

That’s the one thing that all human beings who would be disciples of YHWH and of Messiah have to get to grips with early on in our walk. ‘God is too the boss of me.’ God is going to judge our every motive, our every word, and all our actions. Here’s another key point. When God judges us, God is NOT going to use OUR measurements of right and wrong to decide our rewards and punishments. When God judges us, God is going to use HIS Standards of good or bad and right or wrong to decide whether or not we have done well.

There are like 20 passages throughout the whole Testament of Scripture that specifically tells us that God is going to judge every person that has ever lived. Nobody is going to escape the judgment of Almighty God, regardless of what they believe. I will try to expound on all 20 passages in any detail, but here is just an overview:

As It Is Written: “For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with His truth. (Psalm 96:13 NKJV)

As It Is Written: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13–14 NKJV)

As It Is Written: “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36–37 NKJV)

As It Is Written: “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. (Matthew 16:27 NKJV)

As It Is Written: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV)

As It Is Written: “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. (Revelation 20:12 NKJV)

Scripture is abundantly clear that we are answerable and accountable to the Almighty creator of the universe. He will Judge our motives, our words, and our actions. When he judges us, YHWH Almighty will be using HIS Standards of Righteousness to measure us by. How do I know that? Well, you don’t have to look any further than Genesis chapter 3. How did the Almighty creator respond to each individual in that biblical account?

Did God look at Eve and say, ‘Well, Eve, you violated My Commandment, but it really wasn’t your fault because the serpent deceived you, and you believed something false, and you acted on incorrect beliefs. Therefore, you are excused from responsibility, and you are exempt from punishment because it’s the serpent’s fault.’ Did God say that? NO, NO, He did NOT.

Did God look at Adam and say, ‘Adam, you know you violated My Commandment, but you were pressured by your wife. What you did was completely understandable. Therefore, you are excused. You are exempt from all responsibility and punishment.’ Did God say that? No, no, God most certainly DID NOT say that. There were three sinners in that scenario: the serpent, Adam and Eve. All three pay the price for their own sin. No one was exempt because they were deceived or tricked into disobeying YHWH’S Instructions. In fact, since Adam and Eve were given dominion over all of creation, every succeeding generation has suffered some consequences because of their sin. In the end all that mattered was that God gave Instructions, and that they disobeyed Him. Likewise, God is going to look at every human being and evaluate us according to how we did in comparison to His Instructions.

What Repent Means

The fact is that we cannot repent successfully until we understand what God’s Word means when He uses the term. In order to repent, we have to understand what repent means from God’s point of view.

To REPENT Literally means to TURN AWAY from what Abba (יהוה YHWH) Almighty God defines to be SIN, and to RETURN to YHWH Almighty and to HIS Ways; (the Ways which HE considers to be Good Righteous and Pleasing in His Sight).  If you do these things, then you are repenting. If you do not do these things, then you are NOT repenting.

During His ministry, the first general public command that Messiah gave was that we should **REPENT**, (Matthew 4:17).

As It Is Written: “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17 NASB95)

What Does it Mean to Repent Biblically?

The Short Answer: According to the original biblical languages, to repent literally means to TURN AWAY from SIN, and then to RETURN to Almighty God and RETURN to His Ways.

In Hebrew: TESHUVAH= Literally to destroy or to forsake your own ways, and to RETURN to Almighty God and to HIS ways);

in Greek: METANOEÔ. From the Biblical literal sense of the word, to repent literally means to change one’s mind, to change one’s purpose and to change one’s actions AWAY from what God defines as being sin, and then TURNING and progressively walking TOWARD what God says is righteous, good and pleasing to Him.

So from God’s point of view we have only successfully repented when we change our mind, when we change our purpose and when we change our way of life AWAY from what He calls sin, and then we walk TOWARD what God says is pleasing to Him.

In the original biblical languages, to REPENT literally means:

To CHANGE one’s MIND away from sin…

To CHANGE one’s PURPOSES and INTENTIONS away from sin…

& to CHANGE one’s DIRECTION and BEHAVIORS AWAY FROM what YHWH considers to be SIN,

and then to RETURN TO YHWH and to the ways that YHWH considers to be RIGHTEOUS.

Unless we progressively do those things, we are NOT repenting. You can’t turn away from sin since repenting means to turn away from sin and you can’t turn away from sin if you,

We Must Define What Sin God’s way

You cannot confess sin, unless you first recognize that you have sinned. You cannot successfully repent, (turn away from sin), unless you know what sin is first, so that you can recognize that you have done something that God considers to be sin. Therefore, understanding God’s definition of sin matters, so that we can turn away from sin.

Sin is ANY Violation of God’s Laws, Commandments, and Instructions. Any Violation of His Commandments, His Words, His Desires, or His Stated Intentions is a Sin, by Biblical definition. (1 John 3:4 KJV; cf. Romans 7:7; Hosea 8:1; Daniel 9:11; Isaiah 5:20-24)

As it is Written: “Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4 KJV; cf. Romans 7:7; Hosea 8:1; Daniel 9:11; Isaiah 5:20-24).

Please, always remember and never forget, that John wrote this epistle circa 95 A.D. that means that even more than 50, (almost 62) years AFTER the death, and the resurrection of the Messiah, transgressing or violating God’s Laws, Commandments, and Instructions is still being used as the definition of what it means to sin. So, even when we were under the so-called “Age of Grace,” for well over half a century, transgressing or breaking God’s Laws Commandments and Instructions, is STILL the definition of what it means to sin.

Sin is violating God’s Laws Commandments and Instructions. That was the definition of sin before Christ; and that is still the definition of sin after Christ died and rose again. Sin is the transgression of God’s Law. Even the New Testament says so. Whosoever seeks to get rid of the Commandments of God, is promoting sin against God, whether they like it or not.

One of the functions of God’s law is to give us a concrete unchanging and reliable definition of sin; so that we can evaluate whether we are doing right, or whether we need to repent. That’s the whole point. The Law doesn’t cause your salvation, (Messiah purchased that), but the Law CAN and DOES reveal to you, whether you are truly doing right or wrong in God’s sight, so that you know whether you need to repent or not. That is part of the Law’s function.

As It Is Written: “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” (Romans 7:7 NKJV)

Even Paul said that he would not have recognized that he was sinning when he was coveting, if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” That is the whole point. The law defines sin, so that he could spot it and have the chance to repent and turn away from it, once he saw and recognize that he was sinning, according to God’s Standards.

As It Is Written: ““Set the trumpet to your mouth! He shall come like an eagle against the house of the LORD, Because they have transgressed My covenant And rebelled against My law. (Hosea 8:1 NKJV)

As It Is Written: “Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him. (Daniel 9:11 NKJV)

As It Is Written: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight! Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink, Who justify the wicked for a bribe, And take away justice from the righteous man! Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble, And the flame consumes the chaff, So their root will be as rottenness, And their blossom will ascend like dust; Because they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 5:20–24 NKJV)

Violating God’s Laws, Commandments, and His Instructions is what it means to sin. That was the definition of sin in the Old Testament, and it is still the definition of sin, even in the New Testament, even decades after Jesus died and rose again:

As it is Written: “Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4 KJV)

Violating God’s Commandments and Instructions has always been sin, since Genesis chapters 2 & 3, and violating God’s Commandments and Instructions will ALWAYS be sin, whether we like it or not. We need to get it through our head that there is never going to be a time when DISOBEYING God is going to be a “GOOD thing.” Please do not deceive yourself.

Recognizing Sin in the Biblical Languages

In Hebrew: HATA (Hebrew Strong’s #2398) Literally to MISS God’s Standards (eg. Hosea 8:1; Daniel 9:11; Isaiah 5:20-24).

In Greek: Sin is missing the mark of YHWH’S Highest Standards (e.g. Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23). The key Greek words: HARMATIA (Greek Strong’s #266) – which is an archery tern that means “To miss the bull’s-eye or to miss the mark” of YHWH’S best Standards. (E.g. Romans 6:23).

Sin Is Living Outside of God’s Law

In Greek: Another word for SIN is ANOMIA**, or Lawlessness Greek Strong’s # 458-459 –(ANOMIA Lawlessness IS SIN)

  • · The condition of being without Law
  • · Being ignorant of the Law
  • · Violating/ Breaking the Law
  • · Having contempt for the Law
  • · “To be destitute or in violation of the Mosaic or Jewish Law“ A.KA. Illegality;
  • iniquity; to break, transgress or walk in violation of the Law- (see also 1 John 3:4)
  • (See both Thayer’s and Strong’s Original Language Lexicons)

You can’t successfully repent and turn away from sin, if you don’t respect and understand how God defines sin in the first place. That’s why this stuff matters.

Practical Living: You Can Know if You Have Sinned

Something is sin when God calls it sin: In other words, when Scripture overtly says, “…Is SIN.” Or Sin is…” then we MUST Include those ideas in our definition and understanding of sin.

Example: “Sin IS the Transgression of God’s Law.’ (1 John 3:4; cf. Romans 7:7; Hosea 8:1; Daniel 9:11; Isaiah 5:20-24; Matthew 7:21-23; Matthew 13:41-42; Matthew 24:12-13).

Example: Loving God first, and Loving others is the Highest Commandment (Matthew 22:34-40). Therefore, anything that is not done in Love, VIOLATES God’s Commandment, and is therefore sin.

Example: Anything that is not done in faith toward YHWH Almighty, and in faith toward Messiah is sin, (Romans 14:23b).

Example: Anything disobeying YHWH and Messiah is sin ****(1 John 3:4; cf. Romans 7:7; Hosea 8:1; Daniel 9:11; Isaiah 5:20-24; Deuteronomy 18:18-19; John 3:36; Hebrews 5:9).

Example: Anything that does not intentionally honor and glorify God is sin (e.g. 1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Peter 1:15).

Example: Any time that I know of a Good and Right thing that should do, but choose not to do it, or if I refuse to do the good things that I know to do, then I have sinned, (James 4:17).

  • Love is the greatest Commandment. So, did I say what I said, and did I do what I did according to God’s definition of love?
  • Whatever does not come from faith is sin. Did I say what I said, and did I do what I did in Faith, toward YHWH Almighty God, and Messiah?
  • Sin is any violation of God’s Laws and Commandments. Did I say what I said, and did I do what I did in OBEDIENCE to the Heavenly Father and Messiah’s Commandments?
  • Whatever I do, I must do to glorify God. Did I say what I said, and did I do what I did on purpose to glorify and honor God?
  • If I know the good, I should do and don’t do it, then  I have sinned. Did I do the good that I know to do and that God has taught me to do in His Word?
  • Did I speak to this person, and did I act toward this person in the same way that I would want to be treated myself?

This is how we judge ourselves according to the bull’s-eye of God’s standards that he has established in His Word. If I can honestly and truthfully answer yes to these questions, then I am doing right. I would be on the right track.

However, if the true answer is no to any of those six basic questions, at any given point, then I have sinned and I need to repent, and get back on track. RETURN to YHWH and to His Ways, as quickly as possible. We can easily tell if we have sinned by remembering what God’s Standards… And if you missed His Standards, then you have sinned and need to repent.