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ADVENT AND REPENTANCE

Read­ing Time: 3 minutes

Introduction        

Happy new month and wel­come to the month of Decem­ber, the month of the inaug­ur­a­tion of sal­va­tion! The gen­er­al mes­sage of the First Sunday of Advent was Jesus’ invit­a­tion to his dis­ciples and to all believ­ers to stay awake, to avoid being taken by sur­prise as in the day of Noah. In the reflec­tion of Last Sunday, I did say that “in the Scrip­tur­al under­stand­ing, being watch­ful implies not just mere care­ful­ness and alert­ness, but being just and right­eous. It is equi­val­ent to the Markan call to repent and believe the Good News because the king­dom of God is close at hand (cf. Mark 1:15).” Again, I also insisted that “keep­ing watch means being vigil­ant and not allow­ing your­self to be deceived. And being vigil­ant means truth and justice….” In this Second Sunday, Jesus gives fur­ther con­di­tion for being watch­ful and stay­ing awake – repent­ance. The themes of truth, justice and repent­ance are inter­con­nec­ted. Without true repent­ance, it is prac­tic­ally impossible to be truth­ful and just. Truth and justice are dir­ect mani­fest­a­tions of a repent­ant heart. 

On Repentance

While sin implies desert and wil­der­ness, repent­ance alludes to veget­a­tion and being inhab­ited by the grace of God. The Greek term metanoeō (to repent), implies change of mind. Metanoeō derives from meta (after) and nous (mind, under­stand­ing) for the noun and noeō (to per­ceive, under­stand) for the verb. How­ever, the Chris­ti­an (New) Test­a­ment usage does not neces­sar­ily reflect this ety­mo­logy. That is, in the Chris­ti­an Test­a­ment, metanoeō does not simply mean to per­ceive after or after­wards. Non­ethe­less, its usage is not com­pletely unre­lated to the ety­mo­logy. Prob­ably, it is because a per­son per­ceives or under­stands things bet­ter after­wards that he or she is cap­able of per­ceiv­ing his or her error. It is such per­cep­tion or under­stand­ing that leads to repent­ance. Both the verb (metanoeō) and the noun (metanoia) refer to change of mind, repent­ance, con­ver­sion. The Hebrew word šȗb (shuv) means to turn away from sin and return or turn toward God. This was in fact, a major theme of the Hebrew (Old) Test­a­ment proph­ets. Repent­ance is a change of dir­ec­tion in thought and beha­viour. The pro­clam­a­tion of the arrival of the king­dom of God and the con­di­tions for enter­ing therein is the cent­ral mes­sage of the mis­sion of Jesus.

Conclusion

Repent­ance denotes a rad­ic­al turn­ing from sin to a life ori­ented towards God. In Acts 8:22, Peter admon­ished Simon the sor­cer­er “repent of your evil/wickedness.” True repent­ance is proven by actions and fruit­ful liv­ing (cf. Matt 3:8; Acts 26:20). Paul was wor­ried that he might find some of the Cor­inthi­an Chris­ti­ans who have not repen­ted of their former sins (cf. 2Cor 12:21). Same situ­ation is also present today. There is ser­i­ous unrest con­cern­ing Chris­ti­ans who have refused to repent. Those who were burnt with the scorch­ing heat of the sun accord­ing to the book of Rev­el­a­tion were those who refused to repent and give glory to God (cf. Rev 16:9). Repent­ance is the most appro­pri­ate and only response to the already present king­dom of God. As noted dur­ing the course of this reflec­tion, John the Baptist calls all to repent­ance because the king­dom of God is near. After pro­claim­ing the arrival of the king­dom, Jesus insists “repent and believe the Gos­pel” (Mark 1:15). The apostol­ic pro­clam­a­tion in the Acts of the Apostles exhorts people to repent­ance as a response to the death and resur­rec­tion of Jesus. Such exhorta­tion to repent­ance is also asso­ci­ated with bap­tism (cf. Acts 2:38). Sal­va­tion is not a birth­right (cf. Matt 3:9). Instead, it is the fruit of faith which pre­sup­poses repent­ance and turn­ing back to God.

FOR DETAILS, GET YOUR OWN COPIES OF THE BOOKTHE WORD OF LIFE:
SUNDAY REFLECTIONS” (vols. I‑II-III)!! The reflec­tion for the 2nd Sunday of Advent is found in
The Word of Life, vol. I, pages 10–20. Happy reading!

For details on how to get it, con­tact the author on this link: https://m.me/uchennabiblia?fbclid=IwAR2yeg4a6sDGBp9QGkIvKj6FSADumMokN6lshdE0zuo-JHs6qOmlhA7jyHo
or email me at: postmaster@uchennabiblia.com
or simply send an SMS on 08116100926, and I will get back to you.

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