Monday, June 28, 2010


As we saw a few lessons ago, salvation is by faith in Christ alone. That being said, there are other matters related to salvation such as repentance and baptism.

Greek - metanoeo, lit. to perceive afterwards (meta, after, implying change, noeo, to perceive; from nous, the mind)
(from The Expanded Vines, by W.E. Vine)
To change one's mind, to repent.
(from The New Englishman's Greek Concordance and Lexicon, by Wigram - Green)
Although salvation is by faith alone, in order to be saved, there is the need of repentance. We are not saved by repentance; we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. Repentance is a turning, a changing of our mind that brings us to the place, the position, where faith can come.
  • John the baptizer preached repentance (Matt. 3:2).
  • Jesus the Lord preached repentance (Matt. 4:17).
  • Peter the apostle preached repentance (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 8:22).
  • Paul the apostle preached repentance (Acts 17:30; 26:20).
  • John the apostle in his "revelation" wrote of those who in spite of God's last effort and great tribulation, would still not repent (Rev. 9:20-21; 16:8-11).

Repentance is basically turning from something to something for something. To repent is to have a change of mind, a change in your thinking. Hence, our thinking mind needs to be changed and turned from something, to something, and for something.

Repent from sins:

God's word is clear. All have sinned (Rom. 3:23). At its source, sin is any rejection of God and disobedience to His righteousness (Rom. 5:12-19). In fact, Romans 14:23 says "for all that is not out of faith is sin." Therefore, to repent from sin is not only to turn from any outward acts of obvious evil, but to have a change of mind regarding any rejection of God and disobedience to His word. God looks not only at the acts of sin, but knows the wickedness of the intentions of man's heart (Acts 8:21-22). Idolatry is sin. An idol is anything or anyone that takes His place of love in our hearts and trust in our lives. To repent is to turn away from or have a change of mind regarding anyone or anything that replaces our love for God and our trust in Him.

Repent and turn to God:

There are a slew of things from which to repent. But there is only one to whom we are to turn - God! Repentance is not to some philosophy, religion, code of ethics, moral behavior, or any human system. True biblical repentance is uniquely for turning to the living God (Acts 14:15; 26:20) through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21).

Repent for the forgiveness of sins, receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the kingdom of God:

As there are a slew of things from which to repent, there are also an abundance of spiritual blessings that are gained by true repentance. So as not to go beyond the length of an acceptable size blog, I will only cover three specifically mentioned in the Bible: 1) The forgiveness of sins. John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:4). Jesus showed from Scripture that repentance for the forgiveness of sins was to be proclaimed in His name (Luke 24:47). His coming was to call sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32). Sin keeps us from the blessing and enjoyment of fellowship with God and living in His presence. Jesus Christ the Lamb of God has been crucified for the taking away of our sins (John 1:29). Therefore, turning away from sin to God through faith in Jesus Christ is for the forgiveness of sins and returning to the presence of God (Acts 3:19-20). 2) Receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness of sins opens the door and makes the way for the life of God, the Holy Spirit, to be received and continually enjoyed (Acts 2:38, 11:18). An unrepentant mind because of the hardness of the heart prevents both the receiving of the Holy Spirit and the enjoyment of God's life in us (Eph. 4:17-18). 3) The Kingdom of God. Forgiveness of sins opens the way to receive the Spirit of God. Receiving the Holy Spirit is actually to be born of God and to therefore enter into His kingdom (John 3:3-7). Both John the baptizer and Jesus the Lord began their ministry by proclaiming "repentance for the kingdom" (Matt. 3:2; 4:17). The coming of Jesus was the coming of God's kingdom and His sacrificial death initiated for us a new and living way to enter His kingdom and live in His presence (Heb. 10:19-20). Glory be to God!

Through repentance we can be forgiven of our sins, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and enter into and live in the reality of the kingdom of God today! Hallelujah!

What else does the Bible say about repentance?

  • Repentance is foundational in the Christian life (Heb. 6:1).
  • God's kindness leads to repentance (Rom. 2:4).
  • Sorrow according to God can produce repentance (II Cor. 7:9-11).
  • There is joy in heaven in the presence of angels when one sinner repents (Luke 15:7, 10).
  • God is long-suffering as He intends that all would repent (II Pet. 3:9).
  • There is an ongoing need of repentance in the lives of the saints (Rev. 2:5, 16, 21-22; 3:3, 19).
  • There are consequences for unwillingness to repent (Matt. 11:20-24; Luke 13:2-5; Rev. 2:5, 16, 21-22; 3:3).
  • There are oodles of promises and blessings to those who repent (The New Testament).
  • Even with all God has done, is doing, and will do, some refuse to repent (Rev. 9:20-21; 16:8-11).

May we all be as those in the church in Thessalonica who "turned to God from idols for serving the living and true God" (I Thes. 1:9).

God now charges all men everywhere to repent!

(Acts 17:30)

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

His Church

Whenever a church is mentioned in relation to a city, it is always "the church", including all the genuine believers in that city. Revelation chapters two and three are good examples. The only time the plural "churches" is used is in reference to a region such as "the churches of Galatia" (Gal. 1:2), a region with many cities. There are two aspects of the church which is the Body of Christ. One is that which includes every genuine believer in Christ since His death and resurrection; they are all part of the bride of Christ which has been making herself ready for His coming (Rev. 19:7). The other is the practical, visible expression of the Body in cities all over the world. "The church" in each city should include all those redeemed by the blood and born of the Spirit. There is one church in each city, not many churches. When Paul wrote to "the church in Corinth" he exhorted them that there should be NO divisions among them (I Cor. 1:10). No doubt that when there are thousands of saints in the church in a particular city, they will meet in many small groups just as in the early church in Jerusalem (Acts 2:46). Jerusalem was actually the first example of the one church in a city. By chapter 8 of Acts, there would have been thousands of believers there. Yet, it was still referred to as "the church which was in Jerusalem" (Acts 8:1), not "the churches" in Jerusalem. We are told by the Lord Jesus to "love one another even as He loved us" (John 13:34-35). Our attitude toward all believers should be that of love regardless of where or how they meet. At the same time, the Bible warns us and takes a strong stand against those who make divisions (Rom. 16:17-18; Gal. 5:20; Jude 17-19). The word of God says that there should be NO divisions among the saints. I say Amen! I believe there is a big difference between those who just like to criticize and condemn those who do things differently then themselves and those who recognize God's design and arrangement for HIS church and aspire to work, labor, and build accordingly. In the Old Testament when the instructions were given to first Moses for building the tabernacle and then David for building the temple, they were to build exactly and to the smallest detail according to God's instruction (Exo. 25:8-9, 40; 26:30; 27:8; 40:33-35; I Chron. 28:9-13, 19; II Chron. 5:1, 13-14; Acts 7:44). It was then and only then that the house of God was filled with the glory of God. There is also the New Testament warning concerning the material with which we build God's spiritual house today (I Cor. 3:11-17). All of this should be enough evidence that it is not a light thing to involve ourselves with the building up of God's house and that we should be willing to accept God's ways over mans. There is one church in its spiritual nature that has been in existence since it was born on the cross and through Christ's resurrection. There should also be one expression of that church in each city. It is the oneness of the believers that will cause the world to know that the Son of God has been sent by the Father (John 17:21-23). There is only one Body and one Spirit which is the life of the Body (Eph. 4:4). The oneness of the Body is the oneness of the Spirit of which we are to be diligent to keep in all lowliness and meekness with long-suffering, bearing one another in love (Eph. 4:2-3). So yes, amen! Let's not "mock, discredit, or bash" other dear and genuine believers in Christ. But at the same time, may we not compromise the word of God because of the traditions of men (Matt. 15:2-3, 6) and for our own comfort and convenience. The tone of the Lord's speaking in Revelation 2 and 3 was not that of "all is good". Rather, there is a burden in the heart of God to have HIS church that HE died for match HIM and make herself ready for HIM. May we all pursue toward the goal for the prize of this high-calling. May we not cheat ourselves or our Lord Jesus Christ with anything less than the church of which He loves, for which He died, and of which He is waiting for her to make herself ready for His coming. Come Lord Jesus! Amen.

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