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Greek Word Study on μετανοέω, metanoeo, 'to repent'
Greek Word Study on μετάνοια, metanoia, 'repentance'

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Introduction 4.08

This is a bible study showing that the luke-warm Laodiceans were not righteous, Simon the sorcerer, a new convert in Acts 8 was not righteous, and the apostle Paul did not become righteous when he was converted by Jesus on the road to Damascus. This section is for those people who believe that past sins are automatically forgiven when we become believers in Jesus Christ, or those others who believe that sins are removed from our heart when we are water baptized. If the devil can deceive us into believing either of these errors, then he will be able to prevent us from seeking for the cleansing that is so necessary to enable us to overcome sin in our own lives. He will also be able to keep us from being healed sometimes, deceive us in other areas, and keep us living without the manifestation of the real spiritual power of God in our lives. The fact that forgiveness of all sins is a PROMISE has already been shown (See #2), and all promises can be asked for and received by faith when we believe in Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20; Matthew 7:7-11; Mark 11:23-24). This does not mean that they are immediately manifested.

#4.08 The Luke Warm Laodiceans Were Not Righteous

REVELATION 3:14-18 (Jesus)
14 And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would that you were cold or hot.
16 So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.
17 Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and do not know that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness does not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye-salve, that you may see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Note: Jesus is speaking here to the Laodicean Christians, and telling them that they were lukewarm (v15); but were they righteous? If so, then why would Jesus spew them out of his mouth (v16)? Surely this is showing us that these people were not acceptable to Jesus in their present state, so how could they be righteous? Why would he tell them, "buy of me ... white garments, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness does not appear" (v18) if they were already righteous? White clothing is symbolic of righteousness:

(Job 29:14) "I put on righteousness and it clothed me."
(Psalm 132:9) "Let the priests be clothed with righteousness."
(Isaiah 59:17) "he put on righteousness as a breastplate."
(Revelation 19:8) "fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints."

These Laodiceans didn't have it: they were spiritually naked (v18). Jesus even commanded them to repent (v19), as he did with some of the other churches:

(Revelation 2:5) "Remember therefore from where you are fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come to you quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of his place, except you repent."
(Revelation 2:16) "Repent; or else I will come to you quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth."
(Revelation 2:22) "Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds."
(Revelation 3:3) "Remember therefore how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come upon you."

Here we have many church members being told to repent, and righteous people do not need to repent:

(Luke 5:32) "I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
(Luke 15:7) "I say to you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner who repents, more than over ninety nine righteous persons, who need no repentance."

The fact is that a number of people in these churches were not righteous, including the Laodiceans. They were about to be chastised, and needed to repent (v19; See also #4.14). They needed to seek for righteousness (See #4.26) and learn righteousness from the scriptures (See #4.28).

#4.10 Simon The Sorcerer Was Not Righteous

ACTS 8:9-24
9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, who formerly in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.
11 And to him they had regard, because that for long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
13 Then Simon himself believed1 also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John:
15 Who, when they came down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit:
16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money,
19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit.
20 But Peter said to him, Your money perish with you, because you have thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter: for your heart is not right in the sight of God.
22 Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.
23 For I perceive that you are in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity2.
24 Then Simon answered and said, Pray to the Lord for me, that none of these things which you have spoken come upon me.

Note: The word translated believed1 is from the Greek verb πιστεύω (Gtr. pisteuo). It is used of Simon (v13), and is also used of the other believers (v12), and of the twelve disciples (John 2:11), apart from being used ninety-nine times in the Gospel of John alone; so there is no doubt that Simon was a genuine believer. After being baptized, there is no evidence that he did anything other than follow Philip, listening to his preaching, and beholding the miracles. When he saw the gift of the Holy Spirit being received through the laying on of the apostles' hands, his heart, which could not have yet fully repented of his past sins, if at all, led him to try to buy the gift. This shows that his trust and faith was still in money, rather than in God. Peter told him to repent (v22), and righteous men do not need to repent:

(Luke 5:32) "I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
(Luke 15:7) "I say to you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner who repents, more than over ninety and nine just (righteous) persons, who need no repentance."

Peter also said that his heart was "not right in the sight of God" (v21), and that he was "in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity2" (v23). The word translated iniquity2 (Gr. ἀδικίας, Gtr. adikias) literally means "unrighteousness". Does a man who is "in a bond of unrighteousness" sound like somebody who is righteous? Does it sound like a man who had just received a totally new heart? No? Then this scripture shows that we do not become righteous, nor do we receive completely new hearts when we first believe in Jesus. When Paul said, "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17), he was referring in a manifested sense to those who are fully baptized into Christ. Look at the context; Paul is talking about someone who lives for Jesus, rather than themselves (2 Corinthians 5:15), and so a better translation would be, "if any man abides in Christ, he is a new creation;" (2 Corinthians 5:17 RPT). This scripture does not refer to new born babes like Simon, who are unskillful in the word (Hebrews 5:13), weak in faith (Romans 14:1), and still 'carnal' (1 Corinthians 3:1-3), which means 'sold under sin' (Romans 7:14) - but rather to those who have forsaken sin: "Whoever abides in him does not sin" (1 John 3:6; 3:9).

#4.12 Saul Was Not Righteous

The events which occurred at Saul's conversion on the road to Damascus are described by three separate scriptures. To obtain the whole story, these need to be put together and compared, and this is what we will do here.

Acts 9:1-19; Acts 22:6-16; Acts 26:12-18

(Acts 9:1-2) "And Saul, yet breathing out threatening and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, And asked of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem."

(Acts 9:3a) "And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus:"
(Acts 22:6a) "And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come near to Damascus about noon,"
(Acts 26:12-13a) "Upon which as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, At midday, O king,"

(Acts 9:3b) "and suddenly there shone round about him a light from heaven:"
(Acts 22:6b) "suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me."
(Acts 26:13b) "I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me, and those who journeyed with me."

(Acts 9:4) "And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
(Acts 22:7) "And I fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to me, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
(Acts 26:14) "And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking to me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? it is hard for you to kick against the pricks."

(Acts 9:5a) "And he said, Who are you, Lord?"
(Acts 22:8a) "And I answered, Who are you, Lord?"
(Acts 26:15a) "And I said, Who are you Lord?"

(Acts 9:5b) "And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you persecute: it is hard for you to kick against the pricks."
(Acts 22:8b) "And he said to me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you persecute."
(Acts 26:15b) "And he said, I am Jesus whom you persecute."

(Acts 22:9) "And those who were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they did not hear the voice of him who spoke to me."

(Acts 9:6a) "And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what will you have me do?"
(Acts 22:10a) "And I said, What shall I do Lord?"

(Acts 9:6b) "And the Lord said to him, Arise,"
(Acts 22:10b) "And the Lord said to me, Arise,"
(Acts 26:16-18) "But rise, and stand upon your feet: for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of these things which you have seen, and of those things in which I will appear to you; Delivering you from the people, and from the Gentiles, to whom now I send you. To open their eyes, and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they might receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith that is in me."

(Acts 9:6c) "and go into the city, and it shall be told you what you must do."
(Acts 22:10c) "and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told you of all things which are appointed for you to do."

(Acts 9:7) "And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man."

(Acts 9:8) "And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man; but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus."
(Acts 22:11) "And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus."
(Acts 26:19) "Upon which, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision:"

(Acts 9:9) "And he was three days without sight, neither did he eat or drink."

(Acts 9:10-16) "And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here Lord. And the Lord said to him, Arise and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he is praying. And has seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem: And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on your name. But the Lord said to him, Go your way: for he is a chosen vessel to me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake."
(Acts 22:12-13a) "And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews who dwelt there, Came to me, and stood, and said to me, Brother Saul receive your sight."
(Acts 9:17) "And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, who appeared to you in the way as you came, has sent me, that you might receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

(Acts 9:18a) "And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight instantly,"
(Acts 22:13b) "And the same hour I looked upon him."

(Acts 22:14-16) "And he said, The God of our fathers has chosen you, that you should know his will, and see that Just One, and should hear the voice of his mouth. For you shall be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. Now why do you delay? arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
(Acts 9:18b) "and arose, and was baptized."

(Acts 9:19) "And when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples who were at Damascus."

Note: The incidents leading to Saul's conversion are related by three separate scriptures, which have been combined here to show the whole story. Truth is difficult to obtain when reading scriptures separately, because some accounts give details not shown in other accounts, but there are sufficient points of similarity in each account here to put the whole story together in the correct order as follows.

1 Saul travelled to Damascus with authority to arrest any Christians that he found (Acts 9:1-2; 26:12-13a).
2 There shone a great light about him (Acts 9:3b; 22:6b; 26:13b) which he referred to as "a heavenly vision" (Acts 26:19).
3 They all fell to the ground, and Jesus spoke to Saul (Acts 9:4; 22:7; 26:14).
4 Saul answered Jesus, asking who he was (Acts 9:5a; 22:8a; 26:15a).
5 The Lord told Saul that he was Jesus (Acts 9:5b; 22:8b; 26:15b).
6 Knowing now that he was talking to Jesus, Saul called him "Lord" (Acts 9:6a; 22:10a), and asked for instructions.

The fact that he acknowledged Jesus as Lord, and his submissive obedience, which is indicative of faith (Romans 1:5; 16:26), makes it clear that this is the point at which he believed in Jesus.

7 Jesus told Saul of the ministry that he had chosen him for (Acts 26:16-18), and instructed him to go to Damascus (Acts 9:6c; 22:10c).
8 When Saul arose he was blind (Acts 9:8; 22:11).
9 Saul fasted three days without food or water (Acts 9:9).

This is an act of sincere repentance, whole-hearted seeking of God, not an act of an unbeliever, as those people who have sought God for three days and nights without food and water will know.

10 Saul had another vision, this time of Ananias laying hands on him to restore his sight (Acts 9:11).
11 Ananias called Saul, "Brother Saul" (Acts 9:17; 22:13).

This is surely evidence that Ananias considered Saul to be a true believer, and a brother in Christ.

12 Ananias laid hands on Saul, who then received his sight (Acts 9:17-18a; 22:13), and was filled with the Holy Spirit (Act 9:17).

To deny that Saul received the Holy Spirit at this point, would be to say that although Jesus sent Ananias specifically for this purpose, among others, it failed to happen. An impossibility!

13 Ananias told Saul that he had been chosen by God, to know his will, to see Jesus, and to be a witness of what he had seen and heard (Acts 22:14-15). Then he told Saul to be baptized, and WASH AWAY HIS SINS, calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16).

Those who profess that the forgiveness of all sins is automatically manifested when we first believe in Jesus, must say that Saul saw two visions, spoke to Jesus, was blinded and healed, fasted three days and nights, received the Holy Spirit, and was still not a believer, even though the scripture shows that the Holy Spirit is only for believers (Mark 16:17; John 7:38-39; 14:17). Either that, or Ananias, chosen by Jesus, didn't know what he was talking about when he said to Saul, "wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). The alternative is that the forgiveness of all sins is not automatically manifested when we first believe in Jesus.

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