A Word We’ve Forgotten in our Christian Lexicon: Devotional for March 29, 2022

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When you undertake any vocation, hobby or anything else with particular skills, each has a specific lexicon. With those in occupying those particular areas, you speak using those terms with full comprehension–whereas if you were to talk to someone outside of your areas, you’d adjust your vocabulary to they would have some understanding of what you’re talking about. (For instance, as a musician, I could speak of major, minor, Dorian, and Lydian scales; apogiaturias; diminished and augmented chords, etc., with my fellow musicians–but would need to do some significant explaning to those outside that musician camp.

A word that, even among Christian churches, has left the lexicon is the word, “Repent.” It means to turn–in the context of the Scriptures, and specifically Luke 13:1-5, it means to turn from your sin and self and turn to Christ. This belongs in our vocabulary. Why, oh why, has this disappeared from many churches?

When the goal for churches is affirmation of where you are currently, repentance seems to mean that you need to turn from an unaffirming view of yourself. “God loves you just the way you are!” Repentance in the way Jesus speaks of it is, “God loves you where you are, but He also loves you enough not to leave you there but to take you where you need to be.” The implication is that we have not arrived there naturally.

Thus, when Jesus says, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish,” we as followers of Jesus (and those who aren’t followers) had better define this word in a crystal clear fashion. We are dead in sin but God makes us alive in Christ (see Ephesians 2:1-10).

So if you hear of preachers avoiding this word or redefining it in way that is contrary to Christ’s call to “repent and believe the gospel,” run! Turn off that TV, leave that service, avoid their YouTube channels and podcasts. Jesus was clear about what He meant. We need clarity from our pulpits, not confusion.

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