Jesus tells us in John 6:47: “Verily verily I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” The original Greek word “pisteuo” that is used in the New Testament, which is translated to “believe,” in the English Bible translations means to totally rely upon; to commit one’s trust to something; to truly have faith in something. I like to think of it like this: I am up on the edge of a balcony of the fourth or fifth floor of a building that is very much on fire, so much so that I cannot go back inside of it. I am obviously too far up to jump to safety either. I am alone, and I am trying to figure out a way to get myself out of the mess that I am in that is going to most certainly result in my death, if I do not find a way to get myself out of it. Obviously there is no way that I am going to be able to get myself out of it. While I am pondering my dire situation, the first response team shows up with their truck with the big extension ladder. It is extended up to me, along with a first responder, who tells me to take his hand and step over to him. At that point I have to repent. In most of the New Testament, the English word “repent” is translated from the Greek words “metanoia” or “metanoeo.” Both of these words mean to change (“meta”) your mind (“noia is a noun, noeo is a verb). In other words, I have to change my mind about relying on any of my own feeble and useless efforts to get myself out of this deadly predicament of fire and a long drop to the ground; I must make the decision instead to simply take the hand of the first responder, step on to the ladder and allow (FULLY trust) the first responder and his team to save me from my otherwise fatal predicament. In the same way, I must repent of; as in change my mind about relying on any of my feeble and useless works at all, including promises to somehow change my life, as well as religious rites and rituals, etc., to somehow help to make me good enough or “eligible” to be saved from the fate that I deserved, and thus be able to come into God’s presence. None of these useless efforts that I make contribute even a little bit to making me eligible for the free gift of salvation. Instead, I must simply trust and fully/completely rely upon Jesus, and Jesus alone, to save me. My example with the first responders is, however, somewhat flawed. In the example, I had to actually do a few small things in order to help the first responders save me. In terms of Jesus saving me, I simply trust him, PERIOD. In terms of salvation: Jesus plus something is NOTHING, Jesus plus nothing is EVERYTHING!
Please click on the button below labled "Repentance Word Study Video" for an excellent discussion on this topic by the late Dr. Hank Lindstron.