By G F Herrin
To understand the concept of “metanoia” we only need to examine the life of the Apostle Paul. Paul, before he came to saving faith in Christ, was known as Saul, a man dedicated to persecuting and tracking down Christians and having them killed and imprisoned (Acts 7:58; 8:1-3). Yes, it is true that he was a devout Jew and even studied under one of the great teachers of the Jewish faith: Gemaliel (Acts 22:3). However, Saul was legalistic and as a Pharissee he believed that he could justify himself before God by how many good works he did and how well he kept the Law. After he had his road to Damascus experience, though, and converted to Christ, his life was COMPLETELY and miraculously changed (Acts 9:1-6). Saul became Paul and for all intents and purposes became a new man. Paul preached, taught, wrote, went on mission trips, was beaten, shipwrecked and was happily arrested for the cause of Christ.
Paul viewed the life that he led before he met Christ as one of a horrible sinner (1 Timothy 1:15). After he met Christ, though, he became a man on fire for the Gospel! He dedicated himself to the things of God in every way.
We as devoted followers of Christ should be able to point to a point in our lives BEFORE and AFTER we met Christ. We should see behaviors that we began when we became children of God. We should have a desire to read His word, to serve others in the Church, to share the Gospel, to pray and to draw closer to God. This desire to draw closer to Him is part of the change that is our behavior after we met Jesus.
Men who follow God should want to be more like Christ. We should serve at the church and desire to be around other believers. We should meet with others and share God’s word and desire to live moral lives. We should meet with other men who help us to be accountable and encourage us. We desire to pray with others and we desire to have a godly wife in our lives that we can love and to serve the Lord with in any way we can. We should desire to give a portion of our income to the church and we should ”seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).
Women should demonstrate a new nature where they want to live a life that is pleasing to God. They do not have to do good works to go to Heaven, but desire to because they love God and have received His grace and forgiveness for their sins. Both men and women are living a life where they are being molded and shaped to become more like Christ. This behavior is the life of a person who has turned away from sin and has determined to live a life pursuing God and godly things. This behavior is the one demonstrated by one filled by God’s Holy Spirit. This is a complete change of heart brought about by the filling of God’s spirit in one’s heart. This is Metanoia.
How does a person convert to Christ? By coming to the realization that you are a sinner and there is nothing you can do to make up for your sins. Only Jesus dying for you on the cross can blot out the sins that you have committed against God. Your sins are an offense to a holy and Righteousness God. You must make a conscious effort to repent (turn away from your sins) and ask Jesus to be Lord of your life. Accept the free gift of forgiveness that Christ has graciously given to you. It is not something you or I deserve. It is His Grace. When one does that, he or she feels God’s spirit come into their lives and brings a supernatural peace.
Is there anything preventing you from making that personal commitment to Christ? Call on Him today, we are not guaranteed a tomorrow.