“I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.” – Acts 26:20b
It is amazing what Paul is telling us here. There is a two-fold message to his purpose, first is to repent and turn to God. The second, is to demonstrate that repentance through deeds. Faith is always accompanied by deeds. James tells us that without works our faith is dead. A friend of mine told me one time something to the same effect and that is faith is belief in action. Every time we see faith or repentance we see action, just like in Acts 2:38.
So, repentance comes first. What is repentance? To repent means to turn away from, at least this is what I was told since I was a child, but upon doing some further research what it really means is the changing of one’s entire way of life. The Greek word for repent is μετανοέω, or translated to English, metanoeō. The definition is: to change any or all the elements composing one’s life: attitude, thoughts and behaviors concerning the demands of God for right living. You mean to repent I have to change my attitude, my lifestyle to confirm to what God wants me to? Yes. Because of this, the Scriptures will stand in direct contrast to the World, which will tell you to be whatever you want and to do whatever feels good. God says, to live the good life you have to follow my ways.
Second, now that we are repenting, people should see that in our actions. If we are changing our lifestyle and our attitude people should be witness to the change. This means that we might change the way we dress, being more modest. Or might see our attitude change to become more positive in nature. Or perhaps they notice that we don’t run around with filth spewing from our mouths anymore or that we don’t know what’s the latest with Game of Thrones. But that we have had a change of our entire selves to reflect Jesus image and not our own.
If we claim to be Christian, then we must repent and become more like Jesus each day. We should never be the same. The Word of God is too powerful to be letting us stay in the dead condition in which we were found. No, we are transformed each and every day by the renewing of our minds and our faith in Jesus Christ.