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'Return to Me'

A Biblical Theology of Repentance

Mark Boda

'Return to Me'

A Biblical Theology of Repentance

Mark Boda

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'Return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you ...' (Zech. 1:3 ESV).

Repentance concerns the repair of a relationship with God disrupted by human sin. All the major phases of church history have seen diversity and controversy over the doctrine. The first of Luther's famous 95 theses nailed to the church door in Wittenburg in 1517 stated that 'the entire life of believers should be one of repentance'. In recent times, two divisive debates within evangelicalism - over 'lordship salvation' and 'hypergrace' - have had repentance at their core.

The theme of repentance is evident in almost every Old and New Testament corpus. However, it has received little sustained attention over the past half-century of scholarship, which has been largely restricted to word studies or focused on a particular text or genre.

In response, Mark Boda offers a comprehensive overview of the theological witness of Scripture to the theme of repentance. The key to understanding is not simply to be found in word studies, but also in the broader meaning of texts as these communicate through a variety of words, images and stories. The importance of repentance in redemptive history is emphasized. It is fundamentally a return to intimate fellowship with the triune God, our Creator and Redeemer. This relational return arises from the human heart and impacts attitudes, words and actions.

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