Sunday, January 2, 2011

"Repent!"--part 2: turning FROM sin

The Word for today:
Revelation 3:7-13

(Today we conclude a 2-part article on what it means to repent.  The reader who has not seen yesterday's part 1 is encouraged to start there.)

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.

Repentance is not self-reformation; in fact it is the exact opposite of self-reformation.  The repentant sinner knows he can't reform―that he's broken his life and can't fix it.  “Fixing up your life in order to be with God” is man's way, not God's Way. 

Two men went up to the temple to pray.
One approached God with a reformed life―and he was mighty proud of it:
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, "God, I thank You that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 
I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess."  (Luke 18:11-12)

The other brought his sins with him:
And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!'" (Luke 18:13)

Just as I am
Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

The Bible student must understand that repentance means to turn around, to change your mind.  But first things must come first:

The unsaved first turn to Christ from false faith (in self, materialism, false Gods, etc.).
Having turned to Christ, the saved, empowered by the Holy Spirit, turn from sin.

The message to the unsaved world is to believe:
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.  (Acts 16:31)
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  (Romans 10:9)

Then, the message to the church is to Repent!


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