Therefore Repent

by Mike Ratliff

19 μετανοήσατε οὖν καὶ ἐπιστρέψατε εἰς τὸ ἐξαλειφθῆναι ὑμῶν τὰς ἁμαρτίας (Acts 3:19 NA27)

19 Therefore, repent and turn again in order that your sins will be removed. (Acts 3:19 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1) 

One form of religion that claims to be Christian but isn’t is based in something called “no Lordship” or “easy-believism.” On the other hand, many of the proponents of it will point to what we call “the Gospel” in what follows as the “damnable heresy” of Lordship salvation. I have often shared here using passages such as Acts 3:19 (above) making it clear that the Bible tells us that there is no salvation without repentance and again in Acts 2:38, “Πέτρος δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς· μετανοήσατε, [φησίν,] καὶ βαπτισθήτω ἕκαστος ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ὑμῶν καὶ λήμψεσθε τὴν δωρεὰν τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος.” Or, “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent  [HE SAYS] and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” In any case, to support the Lordship case, all we have to go is go the God’s Word. In the case of the No-Lordship case, it all comes down to philosophical argumentation. 

In this post I want to examine Acts 3:19 more closely, specifically the verb ἐπιστρέψατε,which in the KJV, is translated as “be converted” in Acts 3:19, but literally in this case means “turn” or “turn again.” Before we do this, lets put this verse in context.

Here is Acts 3 from the ESV with all of the contextual apparatus in place.

[The Lame Beggar Healed]

[3:1] Now Peter and John were [o]going up to the temple at [p]the hour of prayer, [q]the ninth hour.[f1] [2] And a man [r]lame from birth was being carried, [s]whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate [t]to ask alms of those entering the temple. [3] Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. [4] And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” [5] And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. [6] But Peter said, [u]“I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. [v]In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” [7] And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. [8] And [w]leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. [9] And [x]all the people saw him walking and praising God, [10] and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

[Peter Speaks in Solomon’s Portico]

[11] [y]While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in [z]the portico called Solomon’s. [12] And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? [13] [a]The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, [b]the God of our fathers, [c]glorified his servant[f2] Jesus, whom [d]you delivered over and [e]denied in the presence of Pilate, [f]when he had decided to release him. [14] But you denied [g]the Holy and [h]Righteous One, and [i]asked for a murderer to be granted to you, [15] and you killed [j]the Author of life, [k]whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. [16] And [l]his name—by [m]faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is [n]through Jesus[f3] has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.

[17] “And now, brothers, I know that [o]you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. [18] But what God [p]foretold [q]by the mouth of all the prophets, that [r]his Christ would [s]suffer, he thus fulfilled. [19] [t]Repent therefore, and [u]turn back, that [v]your sins may be blotted out, [20] that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ [w]appointed for you, Jesus, [21] [x]whom heaven must receive until the time for [y]restoring all the things about which [z]God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. [22] Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you [a]a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen [b]to him in whatever he tells you. [23] And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet [c]shall be destroyed from the people.’ [24] And [d]all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. [25] [e]You are the sons of the prophets and of [f]the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, [g]‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ [26] [h]God, [i]having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, [j]to bless you [k]by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”

(Acts 3 ESV)

[Cross References]


[o] See Luke 18:10

[p] Ps. 55:17

[q] ch. 10:3, 30; Matt. 27:46; [1 Kgs. 18:29]

[r] ch. 14:8

[s] [Luke 16:20]

[t] [John 9:8]

[u] 2 Cor. 6:10

[v] [ch. 9:34]

[w] ch. 14:10; Isa. 35:6

[x] ch. 4:16, 21

[y] ch. 4:14

[z] ch. 5:12; John 10:23

[a] Matt. 22:32

[b] ch. 5:30; 22:14; [ch. 7:32]

[c] Isa. 55:5; [Isa. 52:13]; See John 8:54

[d] See Matt. 20:19

[e] ch. 13:28; John 19:7, 12, 15

[f] Luke 23:14, 16; John 19:12

[g] [ch. 4:27, 30]; See Mark 1:24

[h] ch. 7:52; 22:14; 1 Pet. 3:18; 1 John 2:1; 3:7; [James 5:6]

[i] Luke 23:18, 19, 25

[j] ch. 5:31

[k] See ch. 2:24

[l] [ver. 6]

[m] [John 1:12]

[n] [1 Pet. 1:21]

[o] ch. 13:27; [ch. 26:9; Luke 23:34; John 16:3; 1 Cor. 2:8; 1 Tim. 1:13]

[p] See ch. 2:23

[q] ch. 17:3; 26:22, 23; [Heb. 2:10]; See Luke 24:26, 27

[r] See Luke 9:20

[s] Matt. 17:12; Luke 22:15; 24:46; Heb. 13:12

[t] See ch. 2:38

[u] See Luke 22:32

[v] Ps. 51:1, 9; Isa. 43:25; 44:22; Col. 2:14

[w] ch. 22:14; 26:16

[x] [ch. 1:11; Luke 24:26]

[y] [Matt. 17:11; Rom. 8:21]

[z] Luke 1:70

[a] ch. 7:37, cited from Deut. 18:15, 18, 19

[b] Matt. 17:5

[c] Lev. 23:29

[d] ch. 13:20; 1 Sam. 3:20; Heb. 11:32

[e] See ch. 2:39

[f] See Rom. 9:4, 5

[g] Cited from Gen. 22:18; See Gen. 12:3

[h] Rom. 1:16; 2:9; 15:8; [Mark 7:27]

[i] ver. 22

[j] ver. 25

[k] Rom. 11:26; [Ezek. 3:19]; See Matt. 1:21



[1] 3:2 That is, 3 p.m.

[2] 3:13 Or child; also verse 26

[3] 3:16 Greek him

As we see, Peter heals a lame beggar by the grace of God. It is such a miracle that a large crowd comes upon them in Solomon’s Portico and he preaches a short sermon from vv12-28.

Here is v19 from the NA27, “μετανοήσατε οὖν καὶ ἐπιστρέψατε εἰς τὸ ἐξαλειφθῆναι ὑμῶν τὰς ἁμαρτίας”

The first word, μετανοήσατε is the Aorist, Imperative, Active case of μετανοέω or metanoeō, which denotes a radical, moral turn of a person from sin and to God. True repentance is proven by actions and fruitful living (Matthew 3:8; Acts 26:20). What about those who do not repent? In Revelation 16:9, those who refuse to repent and give glory to God will experience a plague of fire.

The next word, οὖν or oun is translated here as “Therefore.” Taken together then, Peter is commanding the people listening to “Therefore Repent” based upon what he had just spoken about their guilt in our Jesus’ crucifixion. The next word καὶ or kai is translated as “and” and what follows is what Peter is commanding them to do “In addition to repenting.” It is ἐπιστρέψατε, the Aorist, Imperative, Active case of ἐπιστρέφω or epistrephō.. In this context, it indicates a spiritual and moral turn from sinfulness to the true God. In other words, it indicates spiritual conversion. For instance, in 1 Thessalonians 1:9 Paul used this verb saying to the Thessalonians, “you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God.” Paul and Barnabus declare to the crowd in Lystra, “turn from these worthless things to the living God” (Acts 14:15; cf 3:19; 9:35; 11:21; 15:19; 26:18, 20, 27). In 1 Peter 2:25 the focus is on the one to whom we are to turn: “Now you have turned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” Epistrephō indicates a change in the relationship between God and the sinner because, “when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed” (2 Corinthians 3:16).

What is the result of sinners Repenting then turning to Christ as Lord and Saviour (which is what Peter is describing in v19)? It is “in order that your sins will be removed.” The word translated as “removed” is ἐξαλειφθῆναι the Aorist, Passive, Infinitive case of ἐξαλείφω or exaleiphō, “to blot out or erase.”

Repentance and turning to Christ as Lord are tied together as you can clearly see in passages like this. Those who’s Lord is Jesus Christ are not patterning their lives after the world. Also, notice how the earlier translators of this text into English took this “turning to God” as our conversion. How anyone could seriously study this and come up with these forms of salvation prevalent in our time that have nothing to do with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, but are all about redeeming cultures and “making a difference” are alien to the command our Lord made in Matthew 28:16-20.

[The Great Commission]

[16] Now the eleven disciples [f]went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. [17] And when they saw him they [g]worshiped him, but some doubted. [18] And Jesus came and said to them, [h]“All authority [i]in heaven and on earth has been given to me. [19] [j]Go therefore and [k]make disciples of [l]all nations, [j]baptizing them [m]in[f1] [n]the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [20] teaching them [o]to observe all that [p]I have commanded you. And behold, [q]I am with you always, to [r]the end of the age.”

(Matthew 28:16-20 ESV)

[Cross References]


[f] ver. 7

[g] ver. 9

[h] ch. 11:27; Dan. 7:13, 14; John 3:35; 13:3; 17:2; Acts 2:36; Rom. 14:9; 1 Cor. 15:27; Eph. 1:10, 20-22; Phil. 2:9, 10; Col. 2:10; Heb. 1:2; 2:8; 1 Pet. 3:22; [ch. 9:6; John 5:27]

[i] [ch. 6:10; Luke 2:14]

[j] Mark 16:15, 16

[k] ch. 13:52

[l] Luke 24:47; [ch. 24:14; Mark 11:17; Rom. 1:5]

[j] Mark 16:15, 16

[m] See Acts 8:16

[n] [2 Cor. 13:14]

[o] John 14:15

[p] [Acts 1:2]

[q] [ch. 1:23; 18:20; John 12:26; 14:3; 17:24; Acts 18:10]

[r] See ch. 13:39



[1] 28:19 Or into

Soli Deo Gloria!

11 thoughts on “Therefore Repent

  1. Acts 3: Verse
    [26] [h]God, [i]having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, [j]to bless you [k]by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”

    ‘God (in action by His Spirit and His hand)
    …turning every one of you from your wickedness.’

    God caused the sinner to turn from wickedness.
    Period. Without dispute.


  2. Mike, yes, it’s sad – because so many are deceived. I manage a Christian YahooGroup and have been called lots of names for sending out articles explaining Reformed theology that honors God rather than man. We are told to count it all joy when we are hated for His name’s sake. Let us keep ourselves in check so that is the reason, rather than our ego.


  3. Coming from the NIV- 1 John 2:6 “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” I know we are not perfect; however, when we read 1 John all the way through, there is no room for continuing, habitual sin in our lives. I don’t condone habitual sin but I am sure glad we have a Savior who is perfect and willing to forgive us when we confess our sin (sins) and we make every effort to turn away and flee from whatever is holding us down in slavery.


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