“Repent and be converted…” How these words of the apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost have been watered down by mainstream Churchianity today. “Repent” has become “feeling sorry,” and “being converted” now means “coming to church.”
“To repent” is rather the changing of one’s mind, from the Greek word metanoia. “Godly sorrow does work repentance.” Ie, feeling sorry for our past sins to God will bring about a change in our thinking. But for the mind to really be changed, we must go through the “cross experience” whereby our old heart and mind are “crucified with Christ,” buried with Him, and finally raised up in newness with Him. We then receive His Spirit, His heart, and His mind. We then are poised to be “transformed by the renewing of our mind.” Old thoughts of selfishness are “passed away.” “Behold, all things are become new.”
Being Converted–What It Really Means
“Converted” is from the Greek word epistrepho, meaning “to revert, to return, to come again” (1). “To return” inherently means that we were there before. “To return to St. Louis” means that we have been in that city on a previous occasion. Therefore, “being converted” to God means returning back to Him–reverting or going back to a spiritual position we had with Him before.
Truly becoming a child of God means that we have received His Spirit. For “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Romans 8: 9). We become a “new creature” with the Spirit we had with Him in the beginning now residing in our earthly bodies. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels.” And this treasure is a portion of His Spirit, a bit of Him that we shared with Him before the worlds were framed.
If We Can Just Believe…
I know that is “getting out there,” but if we can believe that we are returning to a spiritual state that we already had with God, then it will become easier to believe that we now have the great Eternal Spirit, Yahweh Himself, walking in us now. For things are always easier to do, if we have done them before. Can we with humility say, Been there, done that?
The Returning Prodigal Son
In the parable of the prodigal son, he returned to his Father. He was once with his Father, but went to the swine pens of this world. We, like him, have made a complete mess of our old lives, and are now returning, reverting to our prior position with the Father. We are the prodigal sons and daughters of God, repenting from our old life and being washed from the slop and mire of sin. We now in spirit have returned to our Father to the standing we had with Him before this wearisome walk on earth began.
“The Jews took up stones again to stone Him.” Christ asked them, Which good work from my Father are you stoning me? They said, Because you make yourself out to be God and you are only a man. Christ then quotes from Psalms, “Is it not written in your law, I said, You are gods”?
The word “gods” is translated from the Hebrew word elohim, which is the exact word translated “God” over 2,000 times in the Bible. Christ said that we are elohim. That portion of His Spirit that He has given us was with Him in the beginning. Remember when He said in Genesis, “Let us make man in our own image…so God created man in his own image” (1: 26-27).
But we must not make the mistake in thinking that our old man Adam is God. No. Our old self must die, thereby blotting out our sins. Only after believing in His resurrection can we receive His Spirit. It is His Spirit that is God. We are mere clay vessels that He has chosen to reside in. It is all Him, not us in our natural thinking.
This is difficult to comprehend when we look at this “after the flesh” and not “after the Spirit.” Most still circle that same old mountain of sin in their lives, not believing that God is quite capable of “blotting out” our sins (Acts 3: 19). Most will not believe Him and truly repent of their sins. Sadly, most will not believe that “He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him is no sin” (I John 3: 5). Their preachers don’t teach it, and most will depend on them for their spiritual food.
But a few will believe and repent and follow on in the Way. They will receive Him into a new heart, and they will grow, and He will grow in them, “till we all come in the unity of the faith…unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4: 13). These will be His fully manifested sons and daughters of God in these latter days.
We need to help them fulfill their calling. In so doing, “there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior” (2 Peter 1: 11).
Repentance and being converted to Christ has a deeper meaning than some think. But knowing and doing the truth about them will bear fruit. Kenneth Wayne Hancock
(1) Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for epistrephō (Strong’s 1994)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 17 Aug 2009. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?