What is repentance, and why is it important.
Let me first start with a simple explanation.
Little Johnny was the most popular kid at school, and it was something that made his parents pretty proud.
What they did not knew was that Johnny's popularity was achieved by his wonderful gift of giving candy to those that he thought where important to have as a friend.
Then on a night mom asked dad if he would have a five dollar bill for her to pay the milkman the next morning (real early).
Dad opened up his wallet and looked for that five dollar bill on which he wrote that special date for the meeting at work. He didn't have a piece of paper available, so he had scribbled the date on the five dollar bill in his wallet.
But, it was no longer their.
He went to Johnny's room because he just had given him a ten dollar bill as his pocket money.
Johnny was a good kid and he surely deserved it to have 10 dollars of pocket money each week, it would be two dollars a day for school, so that was not that bad.
Johnny, dad asked, can you borrow me that 10 dollar bill, I need 5 for your mom.
Oh not a problem dad, Johnny said, I have a five.
Great thank you son.
But then dad was shocked, the missing five dollar bill with the special date was now in the stretched out hand of his son.
The following exchange, is not something I would repeat on this paper (this is a made up story by the way)
After many words back and forth, Johnny crying and pleading, but dad, I promisse, I will never take money from you again.
Johnny has admitted to taking money frequently from his mom and dad, and, all added up it came down to hundreds of dollars over the last year.
I will never do it again mom and dad, please forgive me?
I will never do it again.
Mom and dad believed him and extended their grace towards Johnny, and made him the receipient of their mercy.
A week later however, both mom and dad noticed that they again where spending money out of their wallets faster then expected.
They checked up on Johnny, and yes, he was stealing from them again.
Johnny had asked for forgiveness and said he would never ever do it again, but still did it.
This was nothing more then lip service, the parents wanted to hear that he would never do it again, so that is what he said. Sooner then later he went back into the old habbit of stealing again.
This my friends happened three more times.
Then the parents said, no more, we cannot trust you, we believe a boarding school, or booth camp might be a better alternative for you.
You are destroying our relationship, but we love you to much for that.
This is however not Johnny, it is us, you and me, and it might not be stealing, but it is sin, in whatever form of shape this is.
The alternative to being denied access to the house (our heavenly home) does not look very good.
What needs to happen is that when we accept the salvation, the grace, the mercy of Christ we truly need to ask for forgiveness of our sins and then never commit them again, instead of just doing it time and time again.
This is what we call repentance, turning away from the sin, completely and totally, turning away for a 180 degrees.
It is like saying to stop with smoking and then picking it up again, you truly never quitted then.
To repent from smoking is to never pick up that cigarette again.
If we fall back into that sin, we have some serious repenting to do, because previously we didn't truly repent.
Dr. J. Rodman Williams writes on repentance
God is One who does not change. The universe is constantly undergoing a transition from one stage to another and human existence is marked by continuing alteration. With God there is no such mutability. "For I the LORD do not change" (Malachi 3:6). Thus does God transcend everything in His creation.
God is the Rock. He does not fluctuate from one event to the next. There is constancy and stability in all that He is and does. Hence, he is not evolving from one stage to another. There is no movement from some "primordial" nature to a "consequent" nature in any aspect of His being. God is not a becoming God, a growing God. God does not change. He is "the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change [literally "with whom…change has no place"] (James 1:17). Likewise, the New Testament declares that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8). God, whether Father or Son or Spirit, is One who changes not.
In God there is dependability and constancy in His being, acts, and purposes. The Old Testament sometimes speaks of God as "repenting" or changing His mind (e.g., Exodus 32:14). From the overall picture, the outward "repentance" does not signify a change in God's activity, but only His dependable response to man's behavior. God invariably acts the same: when man is obedient, God blesses; when man disobeys, God punishes; when man confesses his sin, God forgives. He "repents"; that is, He turns in the other direction.
Hence, God's repentance is not really a change in God, but it is His bringing to bear on the human situation some other aspect of His being and nature. God remains the same throughout.
It is important not to view God changelessness as that of hard, impersonal immobility. God is not like a statue, fixed and cold, but, quite the contrary, He relates to people. He is not the "unmoved Mover" but constantly moves upon and among men and nations. The flux and flow of life are not far away and far beneath Him. Indeed, He freely involved Himself in the life of a fickle and inconstant people to work out His purpose, and in the Incarnation he plunged totally into the maelstrom of human events. God in His own changelessness has experienced all the vicissitudes of human existence. This is the God-far from immobile and distant-who does not change.
Dr. J. Rodman Williams Renewal Theology, 1: pages 58-59.
As, in the matter of salvation, it has pleased God to treat with man by the method of a covenant, that is, by a stipulation, or a demand and a promise, and as even vocation has regard to a participation in the covenant; it is instituted on both sides and separately, that man may perform the requisition or command of God, by which he may obtain [the fulfillment of] his promise. But this is the mutual relation between these two — the promise is tantamount to an argument, which God employs, that he may obtain from man that which he demands; and the compliance with the demand, on the other hand, is the condition, without which man cannot obtain what has been promised by God, and through [the performance of] which he most assuredly obtains the promise.
But divines generally place three parts in this obedience. The first is repentance, for it is the calling of sinners to righteousness. The second is faith in Christ, and in God through Christ; for vocation is made through the gospel, which is the word of faith. The third is the observance of God’s commands, in which consists holiness of life, to which believers are called, and without which no man shall see God.
John Calvin writes;
REPENTANCE ACCORDING TO 2 CORINTHIANS 7:11 a. It is for a very good reason that the apostle enumerates seven causes, effects, or parts in his description of repentance. They are earnestness or carefulness, excuse, indignation, fear, longing, zeal, and avenging [ 2 Corinthians 7:11]. It should not seem absurd that I dare not determine whether they ought to be accounted causes or effects, for either is debatable. And they can also be called inclinations joined with repentance. But because, leaving out those questions, we can understand what Paul means, we shall be content with a simple exposition.
Therefore, he says that from ‘sorrow…according to God’ [2 Corinthians 7:10] carefulness arises. For he who is touched with a lively feeling of dissatisfaction with self because he has sinned against his God is at the same time aroused to diligence and attention, that he may escape from the devil’s snares, that he may better take precaution against his wiles, and that he may not afterward fall away from the governance of the Holy Spirit, nor be lulled into a sense of security.
Read the whole article here
John Calvin on Repentance Institutes of the Christian Religion Vol 3 pages 76-86
This my beloved friends is why I and Eagle Wings Charismatic Ministries International preach repentance.
When we truly accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we want to come and be close to Him, do away with all that is not to His liking and against His will.
All that is called sin, and to do away with that sin, not just during the church service but permanently is called repentance.
It is just not possible to have darkness (sin) and righteousness (God, Jesus, Holy Spirit) in the same the same room (body).
When there is darkness, and we light a candle, the darkness is driven away.
Where we let the Holy Spirit, by Jesus the Christ in our hearts there cannot be sin.
We MUST repent from our sin, to hold on to our Salvation and build on our righteousness (which comes from God)
This growing in our Holiness (sanctification) is continous and ongoing (progressive)
Repentance is with this a part of progressive sanctification.
What is the meaning of "progressive sanctification"?
Paul writes: "Beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Corinthians 7:1). In one sense every born-again believer has already been sanctified, "You were washed…sanctified…justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:11). It is against the background of this initial sanctification in salvation that we are called upon to devote ourselves to ongoing sanctification. Whatever remains in the carnal self we should find intolerable and seek both cleansing and removal. Paul again speaks elsewhere "by the [indwelling] Spirit put to death the deeds of the body" (Romans 8:13). We cannot put to death the flesh in our own strength, but by the power of the Holy Spirit we can-if we are really serious about it. Day by day there can be progress in sanctification, and living a life more pleasing to our Lord.
More on Sanctification can be found in an earlier article in this series.
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