The modern Church has this idea that "repent" means to:
1 - Tell God that you sinned
2 - Tell God that you are sorry for that sin
3 - Ask God to forgive you of that sin
4 - Promise to never do that sin again
5 - The really difficult part: never do that sin again
And a person can go down to an altar in a church and do all of these things while crying, wailing, and beating their chest, and do it all sincerely, and yet NEVER actually repent.
The English word "re-pent" was/is unfortunately an intentional misrepresentation of the Greek word used in Scripture, which is "metanoia". Metanoia literally means to "re-think" or "to change one's mind." It does not mean the things listed above. One can and may do some or all of the things listed above while re-thinking but they're not one and the same thing.
Unfortunately, the prevailing Church of the time intentionally inserted "re-pent" in place of "re-think" because of their emphasis on penance (doing works of attrition to merit God's favor instead of depending on Jesus' blood and Finished Work). Of course, this also gave the Church control over people as it kept them coming back to the Church b/c it was the Church that functioned as the mediator between God and, once again, instead of Jesus.
Nonetheless, we the modern Church desperately need to repent of this false repentance because it keeps God's people in total bondage. We Protestants like to think that we're above and beyond the Catholic Church's practice of penance. However, practically, we really aren't. The difference is simply that Catholics get works of penance directly from a priest whereas we get our works of penance from a sermon and then work our penance directly towards God. But it amounts to the same thing.
The absolute fact of the matter is that the list above is not and cannot be authentic "metanoia." Now, it is indeed in a very literal sense re-penance because it's absolutely a form of Protestant penance. So, groveling in the dirt and going through this list of Protestant penance isn't something one must do to "get right with God" or to "get back into right standing with God." Authentic metanoia is when we stop believing the lie(s) that are keeping us in bondage and turn to God's truth that sets us free. Authentic metanoia is to rethink, to change one's mind, to believe like God, to agree with His opinion, to turn from error to truth, etc. ~ JO
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