This word was later translated “repentance” in the 4th century by Jerome when he translated the Bible into Latin.
This is unfortunate because the word, repent, has the connotation of contrition, sorrow and remorse (e.g., re-penance), which metanoeō has never meant.
The Young’s Literal Translation has given us a more faithful rendering of what Jesus said about His Kingdom that had come to earth with Him (bold-type added).
“Fulfilled hath been the time,
and the reign of God hath come nigh,
reform ye, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1:15 YLT)
Two things here. First, Jesus was saying that the time is here…now…for the Kingdom has come to earth. Secondly, we are to be re-formed, which begins by believing this good news.
For the Jews who heard Jesus say this it meant that they were to leave their bull and goat offering sin-conscious relationship with God and give Him their hearts instead. Jesus declares that God and His realm are no longer distant–He is here, present, now–He had come to live with them and will be in them.
For us it means that our Kingdom formation has already begun. To be formed into Who resides in us–Christ–our holy habitation that exists both in heaven and on the earth. We are to now live under this open heaven, this space where heaven and earth meet and where angels ascend and descend on the Son of Man (John 1:50-51).
This formation into what we already are is ongoing, for God likes reformation…all the time.
How are we being reformed at this time?
Much like the first Jewish believers in Jesus’ day, our understanding of “Christianity” is being deconstructed, challenged and turned upside-down in every area of what we once held with fearful rigidity.
Our stoic confidence is being replaced with childlike humility and tenderness. Being able to love with the Father’s heart has become more important to us than being right.
Our whole perspective changes because we are growing up into children who have our Father’s eyes. This changes everything–how we see our relationship with God, how we see ourselves and how we see the world around us.
We find that we can’t sing some of the same orphan worship songs we used to sing with passion, for a new sound has resonated in our hearts from heaven and we will not be satisfied until we can express it.
While the Word of God never changes, the Living Word is changing us. Everything we read is getting a fresh look through this reformation lens.
But this is not about tearing down the old foundations, it’s about pruning back to love and building on them.
We are seeing that what isn’t working in our experience in Christ is pointing to our next upgrade, for the Kingdom is always about upgrade.
Beloved of God, if you feel a strange unsettling and abiding joy that you’ve never experienced before, a hope in your heart that defies description yet is as clear as a warm summer day, then you are being reformed. You are not losing something, you are gaining everything.
Hold fast to the One who will never release His grip on you. Don’t be afraid of what you don’t understand yet. For He who lives in us searches the deep things of God and is revealing them to us once again (1 Cor.2:9-10; John 16:12-14).