REPENTANCE AND FAITH
WE BELIEVE THAT REPENTANCE AND FAITH ARE SACRED DUTIES, AND ALSO INSEPARABLE GRACES, WROUGHT IN OUR SOULS BY THE REGENERATING SPIRIT OF GOD; WHEREBY BEING DEEPLY CONVICTED OF OUR GUILT, DANGER, AND HELPLESSNESS, AND OF THE WAY OF SALVATION BY CHRIST, WE TURN TO GOD WITH UNFEIGNED CONTRITION, CONFESSION, AND SUPPLICATION FOR MERCY; AT THE SAME TIME HEARTILY RECEIVING THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS OUR PROPHET, PRIEST, AND KING, AND RELYING ON HIM ALONE AS THE ONLY AND ALL SUFFICIENT SAVIOR.
I. "WE BELIEVE THAT REPENTANCE AND FAITH ARE SACRED DUTIES, AND ALSO INSEPARABLE GRACES, WROUGHT IN OUR SOULS BY THE REGENERATING SPIRIT OF GOD."
A. What is repentance? (Preliminary remarks)
1. Today there are very few sermons on repentance. There are many sermons on salvation, but not many on repentance. I can’t remember when I have heard a sermon on repentance. I don’t believe I have ever preached a sermon on repentance. I may have, but it’s been a long time ago. This is to my shame.
2. Actually, whenever we preach about believing in Christ as your personal Saviour, repentance is always implied. Whenever we preach about having faith in Christ so that you can be saved, repentance is implied. You can’t separate faith for salvation and repentance. When a person has true heart repentance, he automatically will have saving faith. Also when you truly believe with your heart the Lord Jesus, you will have repentance.
3. Repentance is as old as the gospel, and actually a vital part of the gospel. Today, the gospel - the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ - is preached and the doctrine of repentance is left out. The result is not salvation.
4. There are many people who "believe" in Jesus, but continue in their lost condition. The reason? They have never repented of being lost, they have never really repented of what they are; therefore, their "believe" is not a true belief. It is a belief of the facts of the gospel, but not a belief in a personal Saviour that has personally forgiven them of what they are. There is a difference between repenting because of what you are and repenting because of what you have done. There is a difference between repenting because of what you have done, and repenting because you got caught.
B. What you have is: "Easy Believism."
1. Many people "believing" the gospel, but not turning from their wicked condition, or having another mind toward their sins.
2. Many people turning from their sins, without turning from their sinfulness. (In other words, people, by the strength of the flesh, try to stop doing things that are considered bad, but they never recognize that they themselves are wicked, notwithstanding the things they do are bad.) There is a lot of "moral, external, fleshly, rehabilitation," (which is called "salvation") without an "internal, spiritual, reconciliation" of the sinner to a most holy God. Much of modern religion is a "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" religion, which will eventually land many professional religionists in an everlasting hell.
3. Many churches are filled with lost people trying to live right. They don’t have the will or ability to study their Bibles, or really get down to business in praying to God or really getting into the worship services and worshipping God. They have a lot of trouble trying to apply the truths of the Word of God to their own lives - they’ve never really been saved, just convinced.
4. The end result is religion that does not mean anything to anybody. It is a "Sunday religion, which is forgotten on Monday". There is no real application of spiritual truths in the lives of the professed believers. Those that are truly saved become discouraged because the lives of those "saved" people around them. Churches and families are constantly in confusion. In short, you have what you now see around you.
C. Repentance has always been preached as an integral part of believing. Repentance is caused by a person seeing (in the spirit) that the judgment of God is upon them.
D. Definition of repentance:
1. Bible - to have another mind. This involves action, which comes from the spirit of man, initiated by the Holy Spirit of God. Understand: the Bible states that repentance is a change of mind. A person who doesn’t have a change of mind about himself, or his actions hasn’t repented, and is therefore lost. A person who continues in sin after stating he is saved, is still lost, regardless of what he says. Repentance involves a change of mind, which produces a change of will, which produces a change of living. Repentance that does not change the mind, does not change the will, will not produce a change of living, and is not true repentance.
2. Dictionary - To amend or resolve to amend one’s life as a result of contrition (broken down with sorrow for sins.)
E. God repents.
1. When God is said to repent, it does not mean God is sorry for any of his actions. When God repents, he has another mind, or he will act differently "in the future" toward men.
2. Numbers 23:19, "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?"
3. I Samuel 15:29, "And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent."
4. The Problem.
a. The above scriptures say God does not repent; yet the scriptures listed below in the section entitled "Scriptures That Seem To Show God Repenting" reveal that God does repent.
b. So the question is, "Does God repent or not?"
5. The Solution.
6. The solution to this dilemma is easily found when the word "repent" is defined. Many people define repentance as sorrow for sin. Thus they believe God has sorrow for some of His actions. This is not the Bible definition. The Bible definition of repentance is "to change ones mind toward a certain action." For the human being, there is sorrow for sin, which accompanies repentance, but for God there is no sorrow for His sin, because He cannot sin. When God repents, He has sorrow for the sins of mankind and changes the way He deals with them.
7. Scriptures That Seem To Show God Repenting
a. Genesis 6:6, "And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart."
1) This scripture does not mean that God is sorry that he created man; but that he is changing the way he deals with man.
2) God had been dealing with man without physically punishing him for wrong.
3) Remember God did not kill Cain when he killed his brother Abel. Lamech, Gen. 4:23, was not punished when he killed a young man.
4) In Genesis 6, God begins to punish those people that sin against Him.
5) This punishment is seen when God sent a worldwide flood on the earth. Today, the earth is waiting for another destruction by fire, II Peter 3:7.
b. I Samuel 15:35, "...and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel."
1) This scripture does not mean God was sorry He made Saul king, but that He is changing His way of establishing kings over Israel.
2) There are two things to consider here.
a) Saul is a physical giant, a king after the heart of the people of Israel. The next king, David, is a spiritual giant, a man after God’s own heart.
b) Deut. 23:2, "A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD."
3) According to Ruth 4:18-22, and Matthew 1:3-6, David is the tenth generation from Pharez, the illegitimate son of Judah and his daughter-in-law, Tamar.
4) When Saul was anointed king, there were only nine generations in the family of Pharez, but when David was born, the ten-generation requirement is fulfilled and the time is right for God to set David on the throne of Israel.
F. It is possible to have sorrow for a particular sin without having another mind toward that sin. True repentance does involve sorrow, but there is a difference between Godly sorrow that there is sin, and sorrow because a person got caught in sin. Proper repentance: Compare Matt. 27:3-5 and Luke 22:62.
Judas – Matt. 27:3-5 - "Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. 5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself."
Judas repenting but found no relief.
He continued to regret his sin.
Judas repents of a sin, but not of being a sinner.
Judas didn’t get an "relief" when he confessed his one sin.
This is shown by the fact that he went out and hung himself.
His guilt drove Him to suicide.
As long as people repent of particular sins, they don’t repent of being a sinner in the first place.
Peter – Luke 22:61, 62 - "And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly."
When Jesus looked at Peter, he repented.
Jesus did not "look" at Judas, therefore Judas did not correctly repent.
Peter repented and wept bitterly. (To think differently.) He repented not only for what he was, but what he had done.
Peter got relief when he realized he had denied Christ because of what he was.
He received forgiveness from Christ, and from then on he was a different person.
He preached on the Day of Pentecost and 3,000 were saved, baptized and added to the church Jesus organized during His personal ministry, which kind of church still remains on the earth until this day.
G. Mark 1:15 – "And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."
1. Matthew 3:2 – John the Baptist’s message as he preached was "repent and believe."
2. Matthew 4:17 – The first recorded message of Jesus is that sinners must "repent and believe."
3. Acts 2:38 – The message on the day of Pentecost was "repent and believe."
4. Repentance and faith go together, you cannot have one without the other.
5. One who believes has repented and one who repents will believe.
H. Acts 11:18 – "When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life."
1. Repentance is not something that a man can work up or out within himself.
2. Repentance is not a work of man, but something man feels in his soul.
3. The Holy Spirit is the One who brings about true repentance within a man.
I. What is Faith?
1. Hebrews 11:1 – "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
2. Faith is believing what Jesus said, and trusting what he said regardless of circumstances.
3. Concerning salvation, having faith means we believe God’s word when it condemns us of being a sinner, and of our sins.
4. We make no excuses, but fully believe we are under eternal condemnation.
5. We understand we cannot help ourselves, but need help from outside ourselves – and Jesus Christ is the only one that can bridge the gap between us and an most holy, Almighty God.
J. When I was ordained, one question asked was: "Repentance and faith or inseparable graces and we know they both happen at the same time, but if we could separate them, – which comes first?"
1. I had never thought about that before, but I prayed that God would give me the right answer.
2. I answered that it seemed to me that repentance is because of sin.
3. It seemed to me that repentance must come first because it would not be right to repent of faith.
K. Other scriptures that teach this to be true are:
1. Ephesians 2:8 – Faith and grace are given to us by God; we do not earn these, or produce these without Him.
2. I John 5:1 – Believers are born of God, they not born of or by themselves.
II. "WHEREBY BEING DEEPLY CONVICTED OF OUR GUILT, DANGER, AND HELPLESSNESS, AND OF THE WAY OF SALVATION BY CHRIST."
A. John 16:8 – "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:"
1. Jesus gives all the credit for the convicting of sins to the Holy Spirit.
2. The Holy Spirit brings light to the soul of the sinner so they can see things as they really are.
3. Man can only do what he knows to do and that is to sin. He will never repent of his sins until the Holy Spirit convicts him that he is the sinner.
B. Acts 2:37-38 – "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
1. It is the Spirit of God wielding the Sword of God, which is the Word of God at work here in these verses that brings these folks to cry out, "What must we do?"
2. Baptism here is not in order to be saved, but because of their being saved they were to identify with Christ and that is done by baptism.
C. Other scriptures that teach this to be true are:
1. Acts 16:30-31 – The Ephesian jailer was baptized; after he repented and believed.
2. The repentance of the jailer was evident when he trembled and fell down before Paul and Silas.
3. His belief was evident as he took Paul and Silas out of the jail and washed their stripes that very night – even as his life was in danger.
III. "WE TURN TO GOD WITH UNFEIGNED CONTRITION, CONFESSION, AND SUPPLICATION FOR MERCY."
A. Luke 18:13: the Pharisee and the publican.
1. Here is an example of true repentance, and complete haughtiness.
2. Taking your place as a guilty, but sorrowful sinner.
B. Other scriptures that teach this to be true are: (The following scriptures are not necessarily speaking about repentance unto salvation, but repentance in general.)
1. Luke 15:18-21 - The prodigal son decides to return home. This parable is not about a sinner coming to salvation, but is coupled with the other three parables of Luke 15 to teach Israel they should be happy when sinners come to Christ and not upset about it.
2. James 4:7-10 - Submit to God, resist the devil, cleanse your hearts, and humble yourself.
3. II Cor. 7:11 - The Corinthian church repented because of Paul’s first letter.
4. Romans 10:12-13 - Jew and Gentile can turn to God for salvation.
5. Psalms 51 - David repents over the sin with Bathsheba.
IV. "AT THE SAME TIME HEARTILY RECEIVING THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS OUR PROPHET, PRIEST, AND KING, AND RELYING ON HIM ALONE AS THE ONLY AND ALL SUFFICIENT SAVIOR."
A. Romans 10:9-11.
1. Jesus is received as everything the lost sinner needs when they are saved.
2. Salvation is received by faith and confessed with the mouth.
B. When a person is saved they do not mind telling it, in fact they will love to tell it.
C. Other scriptures that teach this to be true are:
1. Acts 3:22-23 - Jesus is that prophet spoken of by Moses in Deut. 18:18,19.
2. Heb. 9:24-28 - Christ was once offered for the sins of many.
3. II Tim. 1:12 - Paul is not ashamed, but knows that Jesus is able to keep him safe in the Day of Judgment.