Repent (Gk. μετανοέω, metanoeo). (6:12; Matt 3:2; 11:20; Luke 10:13, Acts 2:38; 8:22, 2 Cor 12:21) Strong’s 3340
To repent means to change one’s mind. The term μετανοέωis a compound verb using the preposition μετά (meta), which means after, and the verb νοέω (noeo), which means to think. So, the word literally means to “think again, rethink” The NT use of the word conveys the idea of turning away from sin and turning toward the positive, most importantly, turning toward God. The negative aspect of turning away from something wrong and destructive is predominant with this word, but clearly, one cannot turn away from anything without turning toward something else. The Bible and experience teach that no individual can live successfully in a vacuum, that is, the power of repentance is not just the motivation to turn from sin, but the attraction of turning toward relationship and intimacy with God.
Attempting to fill the God-shaped vacuum (described by Pascal) with something other than God is at the heart of sin. Attempting to turn from sin, leaving that vacuum unfilled, is equally doomed to failure. Repentance is not essentially a show of emotion; it is essentially a change of mind. Yet a substantial change of mind expects a change of emotion and volition, and certainly may be motivated by emotions. This is not to say there may not be great value in the expression of grief over one’s sin. In other words, true biblical repentance involves all of the soul, including feeling and choosing. Is repentance required for salvation? To answer that question properly requires a firm assertion that salvation is by faith alone and in no way by works. Nonetheless, the result of saving faith must in part be repentance on some level. How can someone truly believe that Jesus died for his or her sins and that He rose on the third day (1 Cor 15:1-5) without turning from reliance on something other than Christ (sin) to reliance on Christ, on some level? We should be careful not to define repentance too narrowly.