Saturday, January 1, 2011

"Repent!"--part 1: turning TO Christ

The Word for today:
Revelation 3:1-6

mark these:

Remember therefore from where you have fallen;  repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent.  (Revelation 2:5)

Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.(Revelation 2:16)

Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent.  (Revelation 3:3)

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. (Revelation 3:19)

If we could choose one word to summarize Jesus' letters to the churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, the choice would be obvious:

That surprises a lot of people, because these are letters to the churches, to the saved.  Most of us associate repentance with some unsaved derelict sinner more than we associate repentance with the church.  But the Bible sees things differently.

The Bible student must understand that repentance means to turn around, to change your mind.

To the unsaved, repentance means to turn from false faith (in self, money, false gods, etc.) to what we refer to as saving faith--faith in the true God:
(The Thessalonians) turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.  (1 Thessalonians 1:9)

The Thessalonians repented, and their repentance had nothing to do with turning from something!  It had everything to do with turning to something--to Christ.

Turning to Christ must always precede turning from sin.  Then, having turned to Christ, the now-saved person turns from sin.  Turning from sin is not required for salvation, but comes as a result of being saved by faith. 

The unsaved man cannot repent from sin, because he has no power over sin.  Until, through faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit empowers us, we are slaves to sin, mastered by it. (Romans 6:17-18)

(To be continued tomorrow.)



  1. Not Saved by Faith Only

    Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. (James 2:24)

    It cannot get any clearer than the verse in James that good works are necessary for Christians to truly have the life that Jesus promises.

    Common objections…
    James is not speaking of salvation. But notice that the verse immediately preceding refers to Abraham’s saving faith…

    And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. (James 2:23)

    The book of James is hard to understand and therefore this verse should be ignored. In fact, Martin Luther wanted to remove this book from the Bible.

    But the verse is actually easy to understand for those who accept Catholic teaching. Shame on those Protestants…interpreting the Bible as their sole authority with preconceived doctrines.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Michael.

    I teach faith as the root of salvation and works as the fruit of salvation. I see no discrepancy between Paul (who also said that faith would eventuate in good works) and James.

    James and Paul stood back to back, defending the citadel of faith. James insisted, rightly so, that real faith would bear fruit. His objection was against mere lip-service faith, which is not true saving faith.

    I also teach faith by works--the complete and finished work of Jesus Christ. When we trust in his perfected work on our behalf, we are saved.

    I think you and I, Michael, can see eye to eye on so many things. Thanks again for your comments. And Happy New Year!

  3. Maybe it's better to consider...

    summarizing the letters to the seven churches in Revelation/Apocalypse with two words-instead of one- "We Repent"

    For "Repent!"-by itself- may have deeper impact to an individual in the Synoptic Gospels or the Book of Acts. Matt.3:2; Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Acts 17:30. And since the letters were to the seven churches, which included the whole body-"the shepherds and the sheep", it may have been less offensive, and certainly closer to the truth- if the words were "We Repent."

    But the answer is justified-by the love and the truth. For there was only one model of perfection - and He was begotten- and all the rest of us - created.

    We are justified before God by faith - and we are justified before men by works. For God can always see our faith, our hearts, but men can only see our works. Rom. 4:2,4. It is mathematically impossible- in a "measured" world and a "measured" life - to exceed an infinite measure. And what is the measure that God uses? Prov. 20:10 He uses just one infinite- or eternal- measure or weight.

    As Christians - no matter what the theological differences may be - what denominations or churches or individuals - works, acts, words or thoughts- could possibly stack up against an infinite measure of love,truth and justice? For that reason alone should be enough for all of us to repent, and be united as one. For that is the dynamic love- that all Christians should seek.

    The Apostle Paul reveals the truth - in his letter to Titus- a leader of the church in Crete. Titus 3:8-9,14,15.

    "This saying is true, and concerning these things I desire thee to insist, that they who believe in God may be careful to excel in good works. These things are good and useful to me. But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and quarrels and disputes about the Law; for they are useless and futile."

    " And let our people also learn to excel in good works, in order to meet cases of necessity, that they may not be unfruitful."

    " All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in faith. The grace of God be with you all. Amen."

  4. Thanks for your comments!

    You have a great reverence for the Word of God, which shines through your comments.