by Harvey Block

2024/01/13 Sat AM - Woke up this morning after thinking and dreaming about programming details. Then I shifted into thinking about metanoia ("repent"). Metanoia, meta-noia, meta means "with" or "after" and noia means "mind". I have for some years considered "repent" as "with-mind", that is when Peter said on the day of Pentecost "repent and be baptized, every one of you", I understood it to mean "use your mind" you need to "think about what the message (gospel) is and means" and as a result, "you need to be baptized" (dipped all the way under - immersed); you need to be "all in". This dipping all the way into the water is a symbol of being "all the way into the new life of Christ".

Peter continues with; "And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

I have written in my article "All In" about the meaning of baptism. I ask the question, what do you want? Do you want just a little "sprinkling" of God's life, the gospel, the Christian life, or do you want to be "all the way in"? Your water baptism is the symbol of what you actually want. It is your testimony to those around you as to whether you just want a few drops of the kingdom message so you don't have to "change your clothes", or you want to be completely immersed in God's will and purpose on the earth, right here, right now?

Read Acts 2:38,

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

As I woke up this morning, I had some new thoughts. Parts of the picture came together in a new way, or with new clarity.

As I said earlier, the Greek word (or prefix) "meta" means "with" or "after", and I have considered meta-noia (to repent) means "with-mind", you need to use your mind, to think about the message, and what you are going to do about it. But this morning I got a fuller understanding from the "after-mind" meaning.

There is another Greek word with the meta- prefix; it is metamorphosis. Here morph is the Greek root meaning "change." It is the word we use in English to describe the process of a caterpillar changing into a butterfly!

This is how great the change is when you "repent"!

It is not "to do a 180", as I have often heard it described. I have sometimes made the joke, "If to 'repent' means to 'do a 180', then you better not repent twice!"

But seriously "repent" is a complete change, not just turning around, turning away from "evil" and "doing good." Anybody can do that, (at least to some degree.)

But remember that in the Garden of Eden, there were only two trees, among the many trees, that were named and mentioned specifically; "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" and "the tree of life". These two trees symbolize two kinds of existence; "first the natural, and afterward the spiritual":

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.
(1 Cor 15:42-49)

The change involved in "repentance" is even greater than the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly! (Consider that a caterpillar and a butterfly are both physical and temporal; they both return to dust in a short time.) But the Gospel message is the greatest news of all; that you can be changed from being just a physical man, destined to die, and return to dust, into a spiritual man that is no longer confined to the limits of this natural realm.

Now, this change can happen here and now, but for many, it will not; for many it will happen later, after they die, and in the resurrection. Consider the words of Jesus in His conversation with Martha after her brother Lazarus had died:

17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. 19 And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.

20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. 21 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
(John 11:17-27)

I have pondered these verses for months now. They are profound! I do not know of any person who had elaborated these verses and this whole picture which is becoming ever more clear to me these days. I believe the reason that this is becoming clearer now, is that there is a fulfillment that is about to be manifest.

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
(Romans 8:18-25)

Let us examine Jesus' conversation with Martha in more detail:

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Here is what Martha already knew, she understood that we will all rise again in the resurrection. And Jesus confirmed her understanding, while adding some meaning:

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

But now Jesus makes another statement, different from the first.

26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Now I ask "Do you believe this?" Or will you just give the "correct" doctrinal answer, like Martha did? Do you see that her answer was not actually an answer to Jesus question at all. She just said "Yes" that she believed He was the one. But what Jesus asked in the second part, verse 26 was, "whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.
Do you believe this?"
She had already said she knew "that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." That is not what Jesus was asking her about. In verse 25 Jesus is confirming what she already knew. He is not asking if she believed that. The resurrection on the last day is for those who die. That was clear. But in verse 26 He is saying "whoever lives and believes into Me shall never die. Do you believe this?

I am using bold and underline, because I want you to consider this same question, and decide if you believe this.

I believe this reality is exactly what Jesus was talking about when He spoke of the "narrow path" that "few" would find.

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV))

Here are the two ways, the second leads to life, they will never die.

Paul also speaks of this possibility:

For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.
(2 Corinthians 5:4)

Here "clothes" is his metaphor referring to the physical body. He is saying "we do not desire to die (and be raised later) but rather that we could be further clothed with our spiritual body without dying.

Indeed if there are any who have "found" this "way", they are "few" indeed. Do you know any?
Do you believe this?

If you are only interested in a "sprinkling of the greatest news" you certainly will not find this "way". You need to be "all in". Not just in the symbol of water baptism by immersion, but in the reality it represents. If you really are "all in" in the reality of believing this, why would you not want to show it by the physical sign of water baptism by immersion? Does the water baptism save you? No, but the reality does!

There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
(1 Peter 3:21)

There are so many threads woven throughout scripture, it is hard to keep them all going in an article like this.

I want to consider the caterpillar for a bit more detail; A caterpillar is not particularly "beautiful", perhaps they are somewhat ugly, but especially compared to a butterfly! Often when someone wants to think of "beautiful" things, they may come up with pictures of rainbows and butterflies. Isn't it interesting that each of these two represent something "after" something. The rainbow was given "after" the flood, and the butterfly comes "after" the caterpillar.

And the spiritual comes "after" the natural body.

Think of a caterpillar, its kinda fat with really short legs, and many of them. With its many little feet, it is always very attached to other physical things, like twigs and leaves. It moves very slowly. In order to take "one step" it has to go through the process of moving each of its many feet forward in sequence. While moving a few of its feet, most of them remain firmly attached.

Does that sound familiar?

And it is always eating. That reminds me of eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eating and eating of more and more knowledge, the law, good and evil.

Now consider how free a butterfly is from all that!!!

Copyright © 2024 by Harvey Block
(2024/01/13 rev 2024/01/14) on HarveyBlock.Net