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Doctrinal Contents

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Repentance

A Doctrinal Statement About Repentance

Jesus, John the Baptist, and Jesus disciples made it plain that while repenting of our sins does not save us, we must confess and repent of our sins in order to receive Jesusí salvation from our sins through His death and shed blood on the cross. Repentance Involves: 1) Confessing our Sins to God, 2) Making right our wrongs confessed, 3) And then bringing forth fruit, continued changed behavior, in keeping with Repentance. (Matt 3:1-12, Luke 3:1-14)


Jesus, John the Baptist, and Jesusí disciples all started their preaching by saying "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at-hand" (Matt 3:2, 4:17, Mark 6:2). Jesus said He came to call sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32). Jesus further stated that if we do not repent of our sins we cannot be saved (Matt 7:19-23, Luke 13:1-9, John 15:1-6). Jesus further stated that if a person sins that we are to rebuke them, and only if they repent are we to forgive them (Luke 17:3). While repenting of our sins does not save us, Jesus taught that we must repent in order to receive His forgiveness for our sins through His death and shed blood on the cross (Luke 24:47, John 3:19-21). God Himself has declared that all men are to repent of their sins in light of His raising Jesus from the dead because all men will be judged for their deeds (Acts 17:30-31, 2 Pet 3:9, Heb 10:26-27). The Apostle Paul taught the Gospel by telling men to first repent of their sins and then to receive by faith Godís salvation for them through our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21, 26:20).

What does it mean to confess Jesus as Lord? First, it means that Jesus loves you and that He has a present and eternal plan for your life and that He is the only way to that plan. Second, it means to repent of your sins. Finally, third, to confess Jesus as Lord means to obey His will and plan for your life revealed through His Holy Spirit.

Second, confessing Jesus as Lord means to repent of your sins. The Apostle Paul wrote,

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, Nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

Galatians 5:19-21 "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, lewdness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

Ephesians 5:5-6 "For this you know with certainty, that no fornicator or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience."

The writer of Hebrews wrote in Hebrews 10:26-27,

"For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries."

While all these passages can be applied to the lost, they were all written in warning to believers, the Church. For example the writer of Hebrews 10:26-27, a believer, includes Himself: He states "For if we." The Bible is clear, that whether Christian or not that those who refuse to repent of these sins will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the Bible is also clear that just repenting of your sins will not save you or make it possible for you to enter into the Kingdom of God either. Once we have repented of our sins, in order to receive Godís forgiveness of these sins and enter His Kingdom, we must next by faith receive His atonement for our sins through Jesusí death and shed blood on the Cross. Only Jesusí death and shed blood on the cross gains us Godís forgiveness for sins repented of.

If just repenting of our sins could save us, then all people of all religions who have repented of their sins as they understand them would be saved. But if a person does not repent of his sins, he will not be able to receive Jesusí Salvation. This is what we as Christians mean when we say that Jesus is the only way to God: we mean that once we have repented of our sins, the only way we can gain Godís forgiveness of our sins and come back into relationship with Him is through His Sonís work of atonement for our sins through His death and shed blood on the Cross. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 5:18, 21 "Now all things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ. . . . He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

In order for a person to be able to receive Jesusí Salvation, he must first acknowledge his sins, that he is a sinner, and repent of his sins. This was why God first sent John the Baptist to preach to the people to repent of their sins before He sent His Son Jesus Christ. Why did He send John the Baptist to preach repentance of sins before sending His Son Jesus? So the people would be able to receive Jesus when he came and His forgiveness for their sins through His death and shed blood on the Cross.

Matthew in the Gospel of Matthew 3:1-3 tells us about John the Baptist,

"Now in those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, ĎRepent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.í For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet, saying, ĎThe voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight!í" (Matthew 3:1-3, Isaiah 40:3)

God knew that men would not turn to or listen to what He had to say through His Son Jesus Christ as long as man was living in wilful sin. God knew that man would not turn to the light, but rather that he would run from the light. So He first sent John the Baptist to preach to men to repent of their sins and then baptized them in water to let them know that God was forgiving their sins and getting ready to cleans them of their sins. He had John the Baptist do this so they would not be afraid to turn to His Son Jesus Christ when Jesus manifested Himself publicly.

Why was it necessary that repentance of sin first be preached before Jesus came along and preached Godís salvation? Jesus gives us the answer to this question in the Gospel of John. Jesus stated in John 3:19-21,

"And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."

What is the light? Jesus said in John 8:12 "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life."

In John 3:19-21, Jesus explains to us that as long as a person is living in sin, that person will not turn to the light, that person will not turn to Him. That is why when we preach the Gospel we must also explain to people what the Bible means by sin and that they need to repent, confess and turn away from their sins first before asking God for His salvation for them through Jesus Christ. Until they confess and repent of their sins, they will not be interested in Jesus or his salvation.

How is this proved? What did men, who did not repent of their sins, do when Jesus manifested Himself publicly? When Jesus came, he loved man, healed man of his sicknesses and diseases, raised the dead and fed man. What did man do in response? Man tried to get rid of God by killing His humanity in the person of Jesus Christ by nailing him on a cross.

Why did they do this? Because in the presence of Jesusí sinless life they could not live with themselves in light of their sin. They did not want to repent of their sins, so the only way they could live with themselves was by getting rid of Jesus by killing His humanity. This is why even today godless men in our society are doing all they can to eradicate Christianity and Christian morals from our society and law.

This is why God sent John the Baptist first with the message to repent of their sins so that when Jesus came they would not flee from Him or try to get rid of him, but would be able then to turn to Him and receive the salvation from their sins that He had for them.

Therefore, in preaching the Gospel, we start by calling men and women to repent of their sins. Repenting of our sins, however, does not save us because Paul tells us in Romans 6:23 that "The wages of sin is death" meaning eternal separation from God. Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 "And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power." Only death will pay sins penalty for us. That was why Jesus came: to die and shed his blood for our sins. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." The writer of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 9:22 "And without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." There is nothing here in these passages about forgiveness of sins coming about through repenting of our sins. Forgiveness of our sins repented of only comes about through the death and shed blood of Jesus Christ. However, in order to receive Godís forgiveness for our sin through Jesusí death and shed blood on the cross, we must first confess and repent of our sins.

What is involved in repenting of our sins? John the Baptist teaches us in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke Chapter 3 that repentance, First, means to confess our known sins to God. Second, making right the sins confessed. A good example of what this means is recorded in Luke 19:8-9. Zaccheus, a tax collector, said to Jesus "Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much." What was Jesusí response to this? Jesus said "Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham." This man was not saved because he repented of his sins, but because he believed on Jesus. What was the evidence of this manís saving faith in Jesus? His making right the wrongs he had confessed. So, second, repenting of our sins means to make right the wrongs we have confessed.

Third, repentance involves bringing forth fruit, continued changed behavior, in keeping with Repentance. We are then to continue doing what is right once our sins are repented of.

However, again, just repenting of our sins will not save us. Once our sins are confessed and repented of, in order to be saved, we must then by faith receive Godís salvation for our sins by receiving His Son Jesus Christ into our hearts as savior from our sins and as Lord or our lives.

If you have never received Godís free gift of eternal life which is Jesus Christ Himself, but would like too, then pray this prayer with me right now:

Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and repent of my known sins. I ask You now to come into my heart as Savior from my sins and as Lord of my life. Heavenly Father, thank You for forgiving my sins through Your Sonís death and shed blood on the cross and that I now have eternal life. Now take control of my life, and through Your Holy Spirit lead me into your will and plan for my life; in Lord Jesus Christ of Nazarethís name, amen.

If you just prayed this prayer for the first time and meant it, know that you are saved, that you have eternal life and that you will go to heaven. The Apostle Paul and John wrote,

2 Corinthians 13:5 "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in youóunless indeed you fail the test?"

Colossians 1:27 "To whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

1 John 5:11-13 "And the witness of God is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son-of-God in order that you may know that you have eternal life."

*For Further Reading See:

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