God's Love And Our Repentance.

There are certain concepts or doctrines or ideas or beliefs that when you come to discuss them it's better to provide a definition and also show what it is not so that discussion can proceed with everyone starting from the same page!

Repentance is one of those concepts or doctrines. We are told in Acts that repentance is necessay before we are baptised -
Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." -
So it's important to know what that is.

So what is repentance?

Repentance or 'to repent' is to change ones mind. Specifically in Christianity it's to change from ones own fleshly, human thinking and attitude to instead be guided by God's thoughts and attitude of mind.

It's to put on God's mindset in place of your own. It's to turn your mind around to God's way of thinking.

What it is not, is to turn around from your fleshly, human actions to instead do the things that God would be proud of you doing!

All Christians want to live lives pleasing to God, but you cannot do it of yourself, so to have this as your definition of repentance is to present an impossibility as being necessary before you can be baptised and receive the Holy Spirit!

Repentance is to LOOK God's way for direction instead of man's way.

Romans 8:5-9 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of the sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are not controlled by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.

Here you see repentance and it's fruit. It's changing your mind so that it's set on the things of God, that sets in train the reception of the Love of God so that you will have Life and Peace.

In Strong's dictionary it is defined as meaning 'to think differently'.

If you, of yourself, could turn around and DO the things that God desires then what need do you have for Jesus? If you believe that you could do God's will prior to being baptised and receiving the Holy Spirit, then essentially you are saying that you don't need Jesus. He is superfluous, since you are not one of those God is referring to when he says, "There is none who is righteous, no not one!"

Of course, if you are one of the human race then this DOES apply to you and you need Jesus, and he says turn your eyes upon him and set your mind on the things of God. Then HE can empower you to do the things that are pleasing to God.

Eze 36:27 And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My judgments and do them.

When we take on God's point of view and look at things his way he shows us what his will is and provides us with the will and the power to carry it out.

Tit 2:11-14 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

So having I trust established what I understand as the definition of repentance we can go on to examine - HOW we repent and get God's help to do so, and - WHAT is the result in our lives of living with this new mindset.

As we said 'to repent' is to change our minds; to turn our minds to trust God; put faith in him in other words.

The way we do this is by taking in knowledge of God. It's when we know God that we can make a considered judgement as to whether our life's direction is the best or whether God's is better!

1Co 15:34 Come back to your senses as you should, and stop sinning! For some of you - I say this to your shame - are without a true knowledge of God.

Notice that a lack of true knowledge of God means that you are not 'all there' and this leads to sinning. Paul also mentions in his letter to the Colossians that wisdom and understanding and right living comes through having a true and full knowledge of God.

Col 1:9-10 For this reason, since the day we heard about this, we have not stopped praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the full knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might live in a manner worthy of the Lord and be fully pleasing to him as you bear fruit in every good work and grow in the full knowledge of God.

Or, as Peter put it...

2Pe 1:2 May grace and peace be yours in abundance through the full knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord!

Having learned about God we find then that it's the goodness of God that leads us to repentance; to put our trust in Him.

Rom 2:4 Or do you despise the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

Following on from the HOW, one obvious result of having repented is that we crave the things of God!

1 Peter 2:2-3 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

We will want to know more about God and his goodness which led us to repentance. We will set our minds on the things of God in other words.

Col 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Paul is here just pointing out what would be in our hearts because we are new creatures with a new nature.

2Co 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have disappeared, and-look!-all things have become new!

In the past we may have had our backs turned to God and have set ourselves or other men/women as the arbiter or decider of our thoughts. It may not have been by a conscious decision to disregard God but we may have thoughtlessly let the bright lights surrounding our pride or people we admire, dazzle us and cloud our thinking!

In Acts Chapter 26 verse 20, Paul calls on us to change our minds and turn to God, and following on from this live lives consistent with our new mindset.

Acts 26:20 But (I) kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.

As with having faith in God, repentance leads to a change of lifestyle. James pointed out that faith would be demonstrated by the things that the faithful did and so it is with repentance also! These works or deeds are not merely a reacting to having a new set of laws to follow; they are the result of having a new love. The man who has come to know the love of God in Jesus Christ knows that if he sins he does not just break God's law (the Law of Christ) but he breaks God's heart.

The whole of Ephesians Chapter 4 urges us to live a life worthy of our calling. Our calling brought us knowledge of the Love and Goodness of God and it was this goodness which led us to repentance. We are now to grow up into the character of Jesus and live according to that character.

And it's while telling us this that Paul admonishes us not to continue in our old ways of sin so that we will not grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30).

Sin doesn't just break God's law, it breaks his heart.

That is why having repented we then must allow Jesus to live through us and break the cycle of sin, so that we live lives worthy of having repented.

Eph 4:29 Let no filthy talk come out of your mouths, but only what is good for building up as the need may be. This way you will give grace to those who hear you.

By "SAYING" what is good which will build up, we give grace to those who hear. Our words are important (See The Oracles of God. And, we will also be performing deeds appropriate to repentance; thus not grieving Holy Spirit.

Eph 4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit, by whom you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption.

Peter also put it this way...

2 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Because of our new natures and the power that God has given us through Holy Spirit and through our knowledge of Him, we can live lives that fit with the divine nature He has given us to participate in.

Ephesians 5:8-10 For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.

Repentance puts us on the path to learn about the goodness and mercy and grace of our great and loving God; to put trust in him and get forgiveness; and then to live lives worthy of His love which now flows through us.

Repentance and faith in Jesus can be understood as saying the same thing in two different ways. It is surely impossible to place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior without first changing your mind about who He is and what He has done for you and the whole world. Whether you willfully rejected considering his claims or it was because of ignorance or disinterest, to repent is to change your mind about him. From God's point of view as shown in the scriptures, repentance comes as a starting point to your acceptance of salvation when you change your mind from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ. When you change from looking to man for answers, to looking to God.

When we understand what God has given us and what Love he has bestowed on us, how can we help but love him in return and turn to Him, to learn what pleases him, and to live lives worthy of his calling, empowered by his grace.

Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm,

God has by his goodness led us to see that our nindset was wrong and to change our minds and turn to him. He has granted us repentance thereby. He has then empowered us to live a lifestyle fitting for one who has repented.

He has forgiven us our sins and imputed to us the righteousness of his son Jesus (See Forgive Us Our Sins).

He has delivered us from Satan (See Deliver Us From Evil) and blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm.

That's the wonder and goodness and grace of the GOOD God that we worship!
See also study article - Repentance and Forgiveness.


Being Righteous. Click Here.
Lead us not into temptation. Click Here.
Living By Grace. Click Here.
Grace and Law in Ancient Israel. Click Here.

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