A SEASON OF PREPARATION
Last week, liturgical traditions celebrated Ash Wednesday, a day when parishioners are marked with ash made from last year's palm crosses, signifying an attitude of penitence. Repentance is a big deal in the good news of Jesus.
The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘repent’ as “to think with contrition about…; to be regretful about…; to wish one had not done…; or to resolve not to continue wrongdoing in…”
These definitions strike me as rather weak versions of a powerful Biblical truth. Repentance in the Bible is all about our response to a Holy God.
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word translated ‘repent’ comes from a root word meaning ‘to sigh’ and speaks of human sorrow at our failure to measure up to God’s standards. The Old Testament is the story of such a failure.
The New Testament, however, tells a different tale. It tells the good news that Jesus came so man could be forgiven and set free, and that He sent the Holy Spirit to enable people to live different lives. New Testament repentance isn’t just about contrition or resolution, it’s about empowerment.
Interestingly, in the New Testament, the Greek word translated ‘repent’ means ‘to think differently’, or ‘to change one’s way of thinking’. The starting point for repentance is to agree with God, to align ourselves with His thoughts. To behave differently, we have to think differently.
... be transformed by the renewing of your mind, says Paul in Romans 12:2.
THE CROSS, THE POWER OF GOD FOR SALVATION...
We can start that process of transformation, in this, our preparation for Easter, by reflecting on what has been purchased for us through the Cross. Click on the link below for some daily meditations:
REFLECTIONS ON THE CROSS
Choosing to believe and receive what Jesus purchased for us on the cross are the first steps to a changed life—the fruit of a repentant heart.
NEXT WEEK: CHOOSING THE SEARCHLIGHT
The truth will set you free...
GET IN TOUCH!
[Photo credits: Ahna Ziegler (forehead); Marcio Chargas (cross); Brooke Cagle (typewriter) @ Unsplash, with thanks]
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