Monday, February 24, 2014

Role of Repentance

Thoughts from Luke chapter 3. 

  • John fully embraced God's mission/path for his life
  • John was a man of courage
  • John faithfully delivered God's message (crowds, religious leaders, Herod) - he sought to please God and not people
  • John paid a price for faithfully declaring God's message (Luke 3:20; Mark 6:25)
  • John preached repentance AND forgiveness (Luke 3:3)
  • True repentance produces changed conduct (fruit) in our lives (Luke 3:8, 10-14) - Transformation! 
I expected to go one way in my meditating, study and prayers...but God led me another. 
Via Google Images

Repentance is an old fashioned word. I have heard enough sermons to know it means "to turn 180 degrees" to "go in the opposite direction," but this a.m. I took the time once again  to look it up in some Bible dictionaries. 

Metanoia (3341 - repentance)  in its simplest form means - "change of mind/moral reflection". The verb tense used is imperative - making this a command. WE are expected to change as a result of God's call to repent. WE are expected to respond to His call.   Some verses seems to say God GAVE repentance (Acts 5:32, 11:18)  but scripture seems clear God will not force repentance on a person.  I believe repentance is an act of man in response to God's call - only possible through a move of God's grace. 

Faith is the final step of repentance.  "As eternal life is unattainable without faith, faith is unattainable without repentance."

Repentance brings salvation to us, but it does not necessarily bring deliverance from the consequences of our wrong choices and sin (Esau Heb 12:17; Lot Gen 13:8-13, 2 Peter 2:7; Life of David). This is sobering. Repentance is not a magic eraser taking away all consequences and guaranteeing us only sunshine from this moment forward.  Our choices matter. Choose well. I am compelled to point out, God's mercy walks with us through the consequences of our sins. 

Repentance causes me to change from living a self-centered life; to living a God centered life.

Repentance is expected to create change in my actions. (Acts 26:20).

Why is this important? 

Conviction leads to repentance. It is hard, unpleasant and painful to face our true selves...but if we gloss over this stage we run the risk of short circuiting the acceptance of true faith. In our concern for other's pain (or our own) we can rush past conviction and repentance to get to the good stuff - forgiveness, a clean slate, eternal life.  Without repentance there is no faith. Faith requires a change in our thinking, our conduct, the center of our lives. Faith requires repentance. 

We must not rush the work God is doing in ourselves or in another. We must let conviction lead to repentance, which leads to forgiveness and is HARD to stand by and watch God lead a loved one through these stages....but we dare not interfere unless God is clearly telling us to do so. We "travail" in prayer on their behalf. We let them wrestle with the One who will become their greatest Love. 

 I see many who actually believe they can "meet God," claim the name of Christ, and live unchanged six days of the week.  Repentance makes this is impossible.

Are there counterfeits of repentance? Sure. Can the call for repentance become legalistic? Sure. Should we ignore repentance because of this? We dare not. 

Definitions and  quotes from Vines NT Dictionary, Strongs and Dr. Zodhiates' Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament. 

Choosing Joy!

©2014 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

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