A Definition

September 26, 2007

I recently listened to a sermon by Matt Chandler, the pastor of The Village church in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. It was part of a series he was preaching on Ecclesiastes. It was a really good message, and one of the better presentations of the gospel that I’ve heard in quite a while. During part of the message he spoke on what “repentance” meant. Until then I had not really given it much thought. It’s been one of those words that I’ve heard all my life, growing up in church. But after I finished the message I really started to spend some time thinking through the word “repentance” and how I would explain it to a not-yet believer.

So, I’m wondering…how would you define “repentance”, especially to a not-yet believer?

If you’re interested in listening to the message, you can subscribe through iTunes here, or from the Village’s website here. It’s message number 5 in the Ecclesiastes series. Oh, and by the way, here’s Matt’s definition of repentance:

Let me try to explain repentance to you, because I think it’s been done really badly. Like, how many of you have heard this, “Repentance is a military term that means to change from walking one way to walking the other way.” Anybody ever hear it spelled out like this? Well, if that’s the definition of salvation, I’m in a lot of trouble. Because Christ kind of enacted in my heart and woke up my heart, and man, for the last thirteen years, I’ve been turning the other way, taking three or four steps and with my long gangly arms, reaching back there and grabbing stuff. Is it just me? No, liars, you too. So, if the definition of what is required for salvation is to go 180° and walk this way and never touch anything back there again, I’m out. So, what is repentance then? Here’s what I think repentance is: repentance is a sorrow over our sin that creates an earnestness and a ferocity to know Jesus deeply. And when that’s the pursuit, you’re running towards Jesus, this stuff starts fading away.


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