Repentance: What Does It Really Mean?

Posted on 24. Sep, 2018 by in Random Stuff

As I penned the original draft of this blog, I was on a Boeing 777 cruising somewhere over Canada, about to cross Alaska as I was on my way to Tokyo. It was a 12.5-hour flight on my journey to Manila Philippines to minister. Since I was hurling through the atmosphere in a metal tube, there is not much to do and a lot of time to think. Think have so I (weak imitation of Yoda).

The trigger for this rumination was a Facebook post about repentance that I saw prior to my flight.

Depending upon your back ground, there are probably a few different ideas that have been taught regarding repentance. The one that was common to me during my spiritual upbringing was this: repentance was to do a 180 from sin and start living for God. In most instances there was expected to be some emotional catharsis during the initial repentance, but it was focused on a change of behavior.

I can see some of you nodding your head as you read this: “yep, that’s what I was taught.” The problem I see with the traditional definition of repentance is that it is usually preached and used as behavioral modification in the context of sinful actions. In essence, make someone feel bad enough to change their actions.

While this does touch some of the idea of repentance, I believe, it falls short of the depth of what it truly means to repent. Let me try to break it down.

When Jesus stepped on the pages of history, his first message was “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Mt 4:17).” Since this was his inaugural message, it seems to me there must have been something significant for him to make this the foundation of His ministry.

Examining the text, we find the Greek for repentance is metaneo and it means to “think different (Strong’s).” Almost sounds too simple. Jesus was saying, “Think different, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” What was he saying to think different about? I see it as how we view the kingdom.

In the original again, kingdom is basileia and according to Thayer’s means: “royal power, kingship, dominion, rule. Not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom (emphasis added)” So, we see Jesus was saying to think different because the dominion or rule of heaven was near!

Repentance, thinking different, is the key to discovering the Kingdom!

With Jesus’ first message, he had come to a very religious, traditional, establishment. The Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes had taken the Law and developed a very intricate system of works and religious activity. Now, Jesus step on the scene with an earth shaking, stronghold breaking revelation of the Kingdom.

Jesus was speaking to a stronghold, a mindset that was stuck in its religious routine. He was telling them if you want to experience the dominion, authority rule or reign of God (kingdom) you have to change how you think.

He was saying, If you want to experience something different, you must first think different.

It is the same for us today both in the Kingdom and life in general. If we want a different result or to be different, it first begins with thinking different – or repenting. When we begin to think different, it follows we will act different.

There are many who desire to see a greater manifestation of God’s power, yet they attempt to see it happen within the confines of their normal routine (tradition). Many years ago, I heard a unique definition of insanity: It is doing the same thing over and over, hoping for a different result! Unfortunately, this is common behavior in the church world. We continue with the same routines, programs and mindsets, hoping something will be different this time.

To see the demonstration of the Kingdom in our lives and churches, there has to be a change of thinking, which leads to different behaviors. It requires an open-minded study of the Word regarding the kingdom and God’s purpose.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Study the original meaning and usage of the word for kingdom.
  2. Study how Jesus both taught and demonstrated the power of the kingdom
  3. Study the scriptures that speaks of our sending as his representative
  4. Study what it means to be a Son of God

Kingdom Discipleship Ministry is about helping believers realize their position in Jesus Christ and their empowerment to demonstrate His Kingdom.

Our desire is to bring resources and come along side ministries to transform the mindset of believers, increasing their faith for the miraculous. We minister Biblical principles of demonstrating the power of His Kingdom. We work in both the local church in the U.S. and across the globe. Contact Dr. Martin at

Leave a Reply