What Does Repent Mean?
Let's Examine The Words.
When the Lord spoke, "unless ye repent you shall likewise perish", the message was clear. He used the present tense, with the subjunctive mood, for a good reason.
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent (Tense: Present, Voice: Active, Mood: Subjunctive), ye shall all likewise perish.
— Luke 13:3, KJV
By using both the present and subjective together it shows us how. We repent continually. It's not a one and done occurrence at the end of the week. It's an action we partake in daily.
Many teach it's to ask for forgiveness. Once prayers complete, carry on our merry way. But like Hebrew, the words have a deeper meaning.
The word μετανοέω (metanoeoo) means to have a change of mind. A true change of heart for the offense we committed. When we contemplate on how we missed the mark, we feel regret; we experience a change in heart, for we know we've done wrong in God's eye.
One could now read the first part of Luke 13:3 as, "I tell you, Nay: but unless you have a change of mind, a change in your heart, right now, ye shall all likewise perish."
Rather than perish and walk in darkness, we as ask for help to allow us to walk in the light. We draw closer to God as our thoughts become clear. We awaken and seek the true path of righteousness.
If we don't, as the verse states, we perish. But what does perish imply? Perish (ἀπόλλυμι - apollumi) also has a figurative definition. In carries the interpretation of one with no wisdom, as quoted in Isaiah 29:14.
Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.
— Isaiah 29:14, KJV
When people walk in their own will, they perish for lack of knowledge.
For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
— 1 Corinthians 1:19, KJV
Without wisdom, only darkness shows its face. None can discern between the two — life and death. Unless, of course, they undergo a transformation, a change of heart.
Now when we read Luke, we can translate it as,
"I tell you, Nay: but unless you have a change of mind, a change in your heart, right now, ye shall all likewise walk in darkness with no wisdom, no ability to discern between good and evil."
So yes, let us pray at all times. Let us seek God for wisdom, to see the narrow path. For only then can walk in His ways.
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