|Volume 17 Number 1 January 2015||
Mark N. Posey
A well-known scientist named Herbert Spencer died in 1903. Spencer said everything that exists, exists in one of these categories: time, force, action, space and matter. Now consider Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning,” that’s time; “God,” that’s force; “created,” that’s action; “the heavens,” that’s space; “and the earth,” that’s matter. All that could be noted about everything that exists is said in the first verse of the Bible.
“In the beginning.” God Himself was before the beginning: “Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting” (Psalm 93:2). Some are troubled by the questions, “Where did God come from?” and “Who created God?” The answer is found in the definition of God – that God is the uncreated Being, eternal and without beginning or end.
“God.” This is the ancient Hebrew word “Elohim.” Grammatically, it is a plural word used as if it were singular. The verbs and pronouns used with Elohim should be in the plural, but when Elohim refers to the Lord God, the verbs and pronouns are in the singular.
“Created.” The word “created” comes from a Hebrew word meaning “to call into existence something that previously had no existence.” That Hebrew word is only used of God. Only God can create. He created something out of nothing. We can make things, but we have to have something we can use before we can make anything. God created out of nothing.
“The heavens.” A typical galaxy contains billions of individual stars; our galaxy alone (the Milky Way) contains 200 billion stars. Our galaxy is shaped like a giant spiral, rotating in space, with arms reaching out like a pinwheel, and our sun is one star on one arm of the pinwheel. It would take 250 million years for the pinwheel to make one full rotation. However, this is only our galaxy; there are many other galaxies with many other shapes, including spirals, spherical clusters and flat pancakes. The average distance between one galaxy and another is about 20 million trillion miles. Our closest galaxy is the Andromeda Galaxy, about 12 million trillion miles away.
“The earth.” Psalm 136 connects the Genesis account of creation with the rest of Israel’s history in a seamless fabric. The creation account is not put in a category of “historical fiction.” The earth is a precious gift given to man by God. It is man’s stewardship; he is the overseer and manager.
Mark N. Posey
The doctrine of repentance is taught throughout the New Testament. No one can be regenerated without repentance. Repentance cannot confer salvation or merit it in any way, but it does bring a person to a place where the forgiving grace of God can meet him. So, what does true repentance involve?
A Change of Mind
Luke 15:17-18; Acts 2:38)
Repent (metanoeo) means, “a change of mind.” Repentance involves a change of mind – waking up to reality, seeing things as they really are, and recognizing the error of one’s ways – resulting in a change of action.
Godly Sorrow for Sin
(Psalm 38:18; Luke
There is another Greek word (metamelomai) that means to have remorse or regret. Repentance is associated with renewing the mind (Romans 12:2). When you know the truth, then, truth makes you free as you act on it (John 8:32; cf., 2 Corinthians 7:9-10).
Confession of Sin
(Luke 15:18-21; 18:13;
James 5:16; 1 John 1:9)
Confession is the acknowledging of sin. It means, “admitting oneself guilty of what one is accused of” (Vine’s 224). A person must humbly admit his or her need for God’s forgiveness and acknowledge one’s sinful actions. If one is not willing to confess sins, the love for this world reigns supreme in that person’s heart (Matthew 13:22). Confession is a command (James 5:16). God promises forgiveness to those who confess their sins (1 John 1:9).
Forsaking of Sin
(Proverbs 28:13; Isaiah 55:7;
Matthew 5:29, 30; John 8:11)
Repentance includes forsaking old patterns, habits, priorities and all things that have controlled you (gods). The Bible stresses both the importance of confessing (James 5:16) and of forsaking sin (Ezekiel 18:31; Luke 14:27; Romans 13:12; Ephesians 4:22).
Turning to God as Savior and Lord
(Acts 26:18; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; Luke 15:7)
We must turn from sins that we confess. Repentance is ceasing from sin. Once one has admitted wrong, he or she must resolve never again to return to it. Repentance involves a change of mind, heart, will, desire, action and intent. It is a total and complete reversal of lifestyle and direction. Repentance demands leaving unrighteousness and embracing righteousness.
In conclusion, the students of an old and beloved teacher asked him when they should repent of their sins. He answered, “You should repent of all your sins one day before you die!” “But we do not know when we will die,” said the students. To which the old teacher replied, “Then repent today!”