In both Greek and Hebrew, the word “sin” literally means to “miss the mark”. Imagine an arrow being shot from a bow and being off aim of its target. A person breaking God’s commandments is not on the narrow path aiming for Eternal Life.
Let’s now look at the word “repentance”. The Greek literally means to “change one’s mind” or to “turn around”. In reference to the sinner, it would involve the correcting of their aim back towards the straight and narrow path leading to Eternal Life with God.
“For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd…” – 1 Peter 2:25
This verse above refers back to the more ancient verse in Isaiah 53:6 which reads – “All we like sheep have gone astray”. The analogy is that Christ is the shepherd and mankind are the wayward sheep. He never gives up on us and is continually calling after us. In our act of repenting we turn to Christ and return to the fold. The prodigal son was always a sheep even when he was in the pig pen. He heard the voice of God and came back home. To repent, a person must turn from something, to something. This involves both the mind and the heart of an individual.
The story of the children of Israel being afflicted by the bite of the poisonous snakes teaches us a great lesson on faith. All that the people had to do in order to be healed from the venomous bite was to look up to the image lifted on the pole and they would be saved. It takes the overcoming of our worldly pride and fleshly tendencies to take that step and look to Christ. God certainly knows our hearts and can discern those that are making the honest attempt and are exercising faith in Christ.
Why repentance is needed
Nothing unclean can dwell with God. Without the atonement, we would all be subject to death and hell. The fundamental gospel teaching is that Christ died for our sins to make it possible for us to be forgiven through faith in him. Forgiveness comes through the blood of Christ which will cleanse us from our sins. We are raised from our corruption to incorruption. Through the blood of Christ we can become white, meaning pure before God. The blood of Christ keeps on cleansing us – “I have been saved, I am being saved and I will be saved.”
“These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” – Rev 7:14
The work of sanctifying of a person is accomplished through the Holy Spirit which is the power emanating from God the Father to accomplish His work and apply the Atonement in our lives. Once you have left the pig pen, don’t go back.
“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” – Heb 10:26
What are you waiting for? Have you heard His voice calling you home?