The Grammar of Salvation

μετανοεῖτε · ἤγγικεν γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.

Consider the grammar of salvation in Matthew 4:17.

  • Repent – μετανοειτε – present, imperative of μετανοέω
  • Has come near – ηγγικεν – perfect, indicative of ἐγγίζω

The second part of the sentence logically precedes the first part. Something has happened that has ongoing results – or created a new state of being – in the world. Therefore, you should be doing something.

What has happened?

  • The kingdom of heaven (or kingdom from heaven) has drawn near.

What should you be doing?

  • You should be repenting. The active imperative connotes an ongoing action.

Matthew spends the rest of his gospel showing us the kingdom’s drawing near and what it means to repent.