Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 17 Number 9 September 2015
Page 4

The Five R’s of Repentance!

Mark N. PoseyPaul visited Athens, Greece on his second missionary journey and encountered a city wholly given to idolatry (17:16). He told them about the One True God (v. 22ff.), but he went a step further when he called upon them to change their ways. The principle New Testament word for change is “repent” (Acts 3:19; Luke 13:3, 5; Romans 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). It means, “to change one’s mind or purpose.” In the New Testament, it always signifies a change for the better. It is exemplified in Matthew 21:28-29, Luke 16:17 and Acts 8:22. Notice five parts of repentance.

RECOGNITION—acknowledgement of sin (Psalm 32:5).

How did David respond to Nathan? He said, “I have sinned” (2 Samuel 12:13; cf. 2 Samuel 24:10; Proverbs 28:13; Psalm 51:1-4). David acknowledged the sin in his life, and God blessed him with forgiveness.

REMORSE—regret and grieving over sin (2 Corinthians 7:9-10).

Godly sorrow is a powerful, motivating element. A strong desire to please our earthly father should only be eclipsed by our desire to please our Heavenly Father. Our sin causes God to hurt, and that should make us grieve.

RESOLVE—a change of mind (Romans 12:2).

Repentance must be total and complete. It is a change of mind that leads to a change of heart, which leads to a change of soul, which leads to a change of desire, which leads to a change of life. If repentance is not total, it’s not true repentance.

REFORMATION—a change of lifestyle (Ezekiel 18:21-22, 27-28).

The prodigal son “came to himself” while in the far country. He was hungry, hurting and homesick. His father’s servants were in better shape than he was, so he decided to return home and change his ways. His welcome home was great and joyful (Luke 15:17-32).

RESTITUTION—make amends as far as possible.

Simon was told to change his ways because his heart was not right with God (Acts 8). John said, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Our kindness should be forgiving (Ephesians 4:32). The top priority of amendment must be our relationship with God (1 John 1:7). Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), but Jesus has bridged the gap (Romans 3:24; 5:1ff.).

Conclusion

It is significant that one of the biblical names for Christ is “Wonderful Counselor” (Isaiah 9:6). He is the highest and ultimate One to whom we may turn for counsel, and His Word is the well from which we may draw divine wisdom. What could be more wonderful than that? In fact, one of the most glorious aspects of Christ’s perfect sufficiency is the wonderful counsel and great wisdom He supplies in our times of despair, confusion, fear, anxiety and sorrow. He tells us, “For except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5). This passage illustrates the importance of repentance.


Responding to God’s Love

Robert Johnson

Robert JohnsonGod’s love for humanity is, without question, one of the great themes to be found in the pages of Scripture. Most of the religious world is acquainted with John 3:16 and its emphasis on the love of God for the world as a whole, and by implication, each one of us individually. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” While that love is seen in the physical blessings we are offered, this passage emphasizes the greater blessings found spiritually in Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, Paul can emphatically tell us that all spiritual blessings are in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). What does that say to us about how we should respond to God’s love for us?

There are those who believe God’s love is of such a nature that He would never condemn anyone to eternal punishment, that the salvation procured through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross ensures everyone eternal life. Certainly, the offer of eternal life is available to everyone, as God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11). “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people” (Titus 2:11). No one has to die lost, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t those who will die who do not enjoy salvation. As Jesus said, He came so people “should not perish.” All spiritual blessings are “in Christ,” so it follows one must be in Christ to gain His spiritual blessings.

How should humanity respond to the love of God in Christ to have a relationship with Him that includes the blessings He offers to those who belong to him? Just as Jesus obeyed the Father, so we must obey Him to have eternal life (Hebrews 5:8-9). That means one must be immersed into Christ (Mark 16:16). Paul told the congregations in Galatia, “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith” (Galatians 3:26). However, what kind of faith? He answers in verse 27, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” It is here we contact the cleansing blood of Christ that washes away our sins (Romans 6:3-4; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 3:21). Being immersed is not earning one’s salvation, but it is faith responding to the will of God, as also are repentance and confession.

Once one obeys the Gospel, there is a particular kind of life that God desires those who are His to live. Jesus clearly said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Paul reminds us, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). The purpose of this is that we might reflect the image of God instead of the image of sin, as we must walk in His image today if we are to be in His image in eternity (1 John 3:2-3). “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). The consequences of living otherwise are sobering indeed. “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26). Christ’s sacrifice, meaning His shed blood, does not apply to those who persist in a sinful lifestyle. One must be willing to repent (Acts 8:22), to confess such sins to God (1 John 1:9) and to seek once more to live by the righteousness of God (Acts 26:20).

God’s love for us is undeniable, but so also is His desire for us to live faithfully to His will so that His blessings in Christ can be ours (Romans 12:2). Jesus tells us, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). May our response to God’s love be such that we have the assurance of His blessings today and of life eternal tomorrow.

[Editor’s Note: Some things eternally important apparently escape the notice of many people who are casually acquainted with the Bible or who strain God’s Word through human verbiage instead of examining the Bible personally. Salvation from past sins (Romans 3:25) is available to every person conditionally—upon complying with divine instructions recorded especially upon the pages of the New Testament (Matthew 7:21). Eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9) is available to every person conditionally—upon continual compliance with divine instructions (Matthew 10:22). Precious souls are neither saved by “faith only” (James 2:24) nor by faith only once (Revelation 2:10). ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]


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