2/4/2013 10:32:56 AM
Repentance vs Penance
The Roman Catholic sacrament of penance is rooted in a mistranslation of the Greek word μετάνοια (metanoia). Properly translated, μετάνοια means to repent which is to change one's mind and is demonstrated by a change in one's actions.
μετάνοια can also have the meaning of feeling remorse or being converted. The one thing it however does not mean is that one can make satisfaction for their own sins.
Those who have been born again know full and well that Christ alone has accomplished a perfect satisfaction for believer's sins. It is for this reason we turn in repentance from our former ways and trust in our Savior completely. A truly justified life is marked by a continual lifestyle of turning from sin and turning to Christ (sanctification).
Because repentance is the correct translation and not penance, you will not find any rendering of μετάνοια as penance in any modern literal Bible translations. Rome has however long held onto this bad translation and it has gone on to play a major role in contributing to their misunderstanding and false gospel. Fasts, alms, prayers, and other pious exercises of the spiritual life will make no one right with God. A Catholic's only hope is to repent from trusting in their own works and trust in Christ's finished work on the cross.
"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; REPENT and BELIEVE in the gospel" (Mk 1:15).