Repent & Believe

Repent & Believe

Friday, March 16, 2012

What is True Repentance? Read More ...

  • What Is Repentance? - It’s interesting to note that the Greek word rendered as “repenteth” and “repentance” is metanoeo (G3340), signifying a “change of mind or understanding”. Notice how verse 7 in Luke 15 makes the point that there are those who identify with the “… ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance”. Everyone in this category is merely “self-righteous” and have not been saved. It is the deluded, prideful expression of the Pharisee in Luke 18:11 as well. They do not understand their own sinfulness. Sadly, this is the essence of mankinds fallen nature. Because man is spiritually dead, he will never of his own accord repent in a manner that is biblical. Rom 3:10-18 presents both a penetrating and convicting glimpse into the depths of an unbelievers heart. Luke 5:32 also states this about “self-righteous” people, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”. And Pro 30:12 further adds, “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness”. A good example of the difference between the so-called “righteous” and “sinners” is found in the parable of Luke 18:9-14. In this very revealing passage we see that the publicans estimation of himself was that he was indeed “the sinner”. Wonderfully, Christs mission was to redeem those who are spiritually diseased, as Mark 2:17 so beautifully affirms: “When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”. Proclaiming his own righteousness, the Pharisee did not recognize the truth of Luke 16:15: “And he [that is, Jesus] said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts ...”. Take note that salvation is a matter of the heart, or soul, or mind (all three are used interchangeably in the Bible), and this is what repentance is. It involves a change of mind, or a renewed mind, as Eph 4:23-24 teaches, “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind [or soul]; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness”. This is why God must initiate and complete the entire work of salvation in each one of His chosen sheep. Php 1:6 states, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ

Rom 3:10-12 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

Luke 15:7, 10: “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance… Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

Luke 18:9-14 “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

  • Dont Confuse Remorse with Repentance - 2 Cor 7:10 states, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death”. In this statement, God is differentiating between “godly sorrow” and the “sorrow of the world”. So, we have to ask the question: What is godly sorrow and what is the sorrow of the world? Let’s consider what the sorrow of the world is first by looking at the example of Judas in Mat 27:3-5. We see in the historical context the literal fulfillment of “…the sorrow of the world worketh death” because Judas committed suicide. However, this verse is not speaking about physical death but eternal death – to be damned to Hell. This is what the Lord Jesus was underscoring in Mat 26:24 when referring to Judas, “The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born”. Incidentally, the word “woe” is indicative of judgment. The Bible also furnishes us with another illustration of remorse or regretnot genuine repentance – in Heb 12:16-17, where the Greek word rendered as “repentance” is metanoia (G3341) is a commentary on the life of Esau, Jacob’s twin brother. Remorse is caused by conscience – God’s law written on all of our hearts. Esau demonstrated remorse at what he had done (based on the “sorrow of the world”), but not repentance (based on “godly sorrow”), which is a gift from God and has everything to do with salvation.

Rom 2:14-15 “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)"

Mat 27:3-5 “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented [metamellomai G3338] himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.”

Heb 12:16-17 “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance [metanoia G3341], though he sought it carefully with tears.”

  • Godly Sorrow-Repentance to Salvation - Godly sorrow produces, or causes, genuine repentance because it is the work of God in the hearts of His chosen people. In Jon 3:4 God commanded Jonah to preach a simple message to Ninevites, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown”. Keep in mind that Nineveh was a pagan culture – an enemy of Israel – that knew very little of the Bible, or the God of creation. How could it be that the King of Nineveh would be so remarkably compelled to issue the following proclamation to all of the 120,000 inhabitants of the city, as Jon 3:5-9 acknowledges. Undoubtedly, this has to be one of the most dramatic examples of salvation recorded in the Bible! Such genuine conversion can only be attributed to Gods incomparable mercy, as Acts 5:30-31 proclaims: “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins”. Repentance is the result of Salvation. Notice the sequence of events in Jon 3:5: “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them”. They first believed – everything else followed that. And we know that to believe is to have faith, and the faith related to salvation is a gift from God, according to Eph 2:8-10For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them”. Thus repentance and good works are the result of salvationnot the cause.

2 Cor 7:10 “For godly sorrow [work of God in the hearts of His chosen people] worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”

Jon 3:4-9 “And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. 5So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?”

Luke 23:40-43 "But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

  • God Commands all Men every where to Repent - Though multitudes of people seemingly pray and ask God for salvation (or mercy), we must understand that only those who are Gods elect will do so on Gods terms – that is, according to Gods Word, the Bible. Mat 9:13 declares, “But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”. Wonderfully, Christ came to this world seeking sinners. We are born sinful by birth, by nature, and by inheritance, as we learn from Rom 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”. Furthermore, 1 John 1:8 reminds us: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”. Deception is indeed the core foundation for all sin, and its roots go down very deep into the darkest chambers of our hearts, as Jam 1:14-15 sharply warns, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death”. Sin also enslaves, as Jesus explained to the religious leaders of His day in John 8:34: “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.”

Matt 3:1-2 “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matt 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Mark 6:12 “And they [disciples] went out, and preached that men should repent.”

Acts 17:30 “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:”

Eze 18:30-31 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. 31Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”

  • Repentance is Gift from God - The Bible clearly teaches that salvation is totally by Gods sovereign grace, love and mercy; and those three elements – along with everything else associated with salvation – are unearned gifts from God to His people. Thus, we can say that the nature of Gods mercy is revealed to us through the salvation work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Only God can give a person eternal life. God must draw the elect to Himself and grant them repentance, spiritual understanding, faith to trust Him, and a capacity to love and obey Him. Only God can create a new eternal soul, or “heart”, and make a “new creature” of a person, as we read in Eze 36:26-27: “A new heart also will I [God] give you, and a new spirit will I [God] put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them”. Notice how the word “meekness” in 2 Tim 2:25 can result from God’s granting repentance (or a change of mind) as a result of salvation, “… if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth”. In Rom 2:4 we see that it is the “goodness of God” that leads to repentance, which is synonymous with salvation and is closely associated with Gods mercy. The Greek word translated as “leadeth” (ago:G71) in “… the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance” emphasizes Gods sovereign power and grace to save His elect people, as 2 Pet 3:9 teaches, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”. God is merciful to His elect and saves them because of His goodness; and He works all thingstogether for good” in their lives, as we read in Rom 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”. As I mentioned in an earlier, repentance has to do with a “change of mind”. When a person becomes a child of God he is transformed spiritually, as Rom 12:2 instructs, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”. And Tit 3:5 declares, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”.

Jer 31:18-19 “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God. 19Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth."

Acts 11:16-18 “Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.”

2 Tim 2:24-26 “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."

Heb 13:20-21 “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

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