Repentance or Death?

Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

There is considerable significance in the choice of a word. For many years I have used a short hand for the gospel message of, repent and believe-

The time has come he said, the Kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the good news.

Mark 1:15

These two words are stacked with significance. To repent is to change allegiance from my self with all its desires to Christ. To believe is to entrust myself to Christ. I am willing to do all he asks of me.

Then I was studying the gospel message and discovered that, the word repent occurs only eight times in the New Testament letters. So, how do the New Testament writers handle this key concept? The dominant word seems to be die or death (about 100 times in New Testament letters), for example-

if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

Romans 8:13

While repent is a change of heart or direction in my choices in life, putting to death the misdeeds of the body brings to an end my life force of rebellion against Jesus and creates the space in my life for him to occupy by his Spirit. Suddenly it is no longer me controlling the direction of my life, but Jesus.