Two dangerous errors regarding repentance

There are two common errors regarding repentance, both of which I believe are quite dangerous.

  1. That is is a purely intellectual activity. Sometimes people with a little knowledge of Greek misunderstand how language works and pull apart the Greek word for repentance: metanoia and claim it means a change of mind. Well of course that is part of it, but only part. The danger of this teaching is that it puts a lot of emphasis on the feelings
  2. The second error is to make repentance a work that has to be done before coming to Christ.

I believe that a combination of these two ideas delayed my own salvation for years since I found myself unable to work up a strong feeling of guilt for sin, and thought that I could not come to Christ until I had these feelings of repentance.

I have just written an article which describes these errors and does a study on the use of the word in the Old and New Testaments.

I also preached an evangelistic sermon on "What it means to repent" which is based on Acts 17. There is a certain amount of overlap in content, but the sermon is obviously much more popular in presentation. The notes and audio download can be found here:
What it means to repent - Acts 17

Really good. I read the

Really good. I read the article, and it's excellent.

I think another aspect of repentance isn't simply turning from concrete acts of sin, but from our whole way of life in independence from God. There are many people whose lives are very "moral" and even "good" from an outward aspect, but because these works aren't done "in Christ" they are of no value before God.

A third possible error re: repentance

A third possible error re: repentance is that "you have to feel enough sorrow over your sin in order to make repentance valid". This error can lead to one striving to obtain the 'necessary degree of sorrow required'.
This could be a form of penance, in fact. However, repentance is a
function of the will, brought about by conviction by The Holy Spirit and sometimes involves sorrow. It is ideal to have "sorrow to the point of repentance" however the emotions are not always in line with the spirit.

You are absolutely right

In fact, that was the error that personally held me back in my own salvation. For several years I was striving to have enough sorrow, yet I could not work up the feelings.

Class post

These points are so right - for years in my childhood i simply 'said sorry' to God after sinning & thought i was okay. Wasn't unto nearly 19 untill the gospel actually became clear & i experienced true repentance for the 1st time