MorningStar Ranch Ministries

Lesson 12

Repentance

"He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper.  But, he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion"

Prov. 28:13 OT

God desires "truth in the innermost being" (Ps. 51:6 OT) and commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30). The sinner must repent before he can become the recipient of salvation by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8, 9).  The saved must practice repentance if he is to enjoy unbroken fellowship with God (Job 42:1-6 OT).  Someone said, "I repented before I understood the meaning of the word, but since then, as a Christian, I have repented many times."

Repentance is granted by God (Acts 5:31 and Acts 11:18). "The kindness of God leads you to repentance" (Rom. 2:4). The kindness of God is not merited; therefore, the results of His kindness which is repentance is a gift. This gift of repentance is an inward change produced by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit as the Word of God is proclaimed (Acts 2:38,38 and John 16:7,11). The results, "repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21); faith that Christ died for our sins; and that He was buried and that He rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

Repentance qualifies a man for salvation, but it takes a faith in Christ to acquire it.  True repentance is always coupled with faith. It is impossible to have saving faith and not repent. "Repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ" are essential and inseparable in salvation.

Faith without repentance is the ultimate of hypocrisy and repentance without faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is sheer folly.

I

Repentance Defined

Read: 2 Pet. 3:9

First, let us see that repentance is not:

    1. Jesus did not say, do penance and believe the gospel. He said, "repent and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15).
    2. Peter did not say, do penance and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ.  He said, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of you sins" (Acts 2:38).
    3. Paul did not say, God is declaring all men everywhere to do penance. He said, "God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent" (Acts 17:30).  If penance is repentance, then salvation is not the gift of God, and we are not saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8, 9).

Second, let us see what repentance is:

    1. The intellectual element, a change of mind.
    2. The emotional element, a change of heart.
    3. The volitional element, a change of will.

    1. The intellectual element, "He came to his senses."
    2. The emotional element, "I have sinned."
    3. The volitional element, "I will get up and go to my father."

Repentance is a change.  The prodigal had a change of mind; and his change of mind effected a change of heart; and his change of heart effected a change of will.  No one is ever saved until he wills to be (Rev. 22:17). Repentance is change of mind, of heart, and of will.

II

Repentance Preached

Read: Mark 1:1-4

Repentance was preached in the Old Testament before the birth of Christ, and during the life and during the life and ministry of Christ.  It was preached on the day of Pentecost, and in the Book of Acts after Pentecost. It is taught in the Epistles and the Book of Revelation. It is a doctrine to be preached and practiced in all dispensations.

    1. He preached the baptism of repentance (Luke 3:3).
    2. He preached. "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 3:2). He was "THE VOICE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD’" (Matt. 3:3).  John’s preaching of repentance exalted Christ, denounced sin, warned of judgment, and it cost him his head.

    1. He preached, "Repent and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:14, 15). He went about doing mighty works and calling sinners to repent and to have faith in the good news of God.
    2. His preaching of repentance was an ultimatum, repent or perish (Luke 13:1-5). Salvation by grace is for the repentant soul, and judgment, without mercy, for those who resist!

    1. At Pentecost he preached, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins" (Acts 2:38).
    2. In his second Epistle he preached that, the Lord "... is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9).  Every soul that goes to hell goes against the will of God .

    1. He preached that God ".. is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent" (Acts 17:30).  This message was given on Mars’ Hill to the intelligentsia of Athens. The results were three-fold:

 

III

Repentance From Dead Works

Read: Heb. 6:1

What does the writer of Hebrews mean by, "repentance from dead works"? First, we need to see the other two categories of works. They are:

Dead works are performed by the religious, "For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God" (Rom. 10:1-4).

Paul is a good illustration of repentance from dead works. He clearly stated the he had "no confidence in the flesh"; then he lists his dead works of which he had to repent (Phil. 3:1-9). When he compared this righteousness which is by dead works of the law, with the righteousness of Christ which is by faith, he counted the former but rubbish. He knew the meaning of "repentance from dead works".

 

IV

Repentance and God

Read: Heb. 7:21

"God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent" (Num. 23:19 OT). Yet the Bible tells us that He does repent (Gen. 6:5-7 OT). This is not a contradiction. It is paradoxical, but not contradictory.

God makes two convenants with man.

The first is unconditional.  When He makes and unconditional covenant, He never repents (change His mind [Ps. 110:4 OT]).  He made such a covenant with Israel (Rom. 11:25-36).

The second is conditional. The Lord said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever because he also is flesh; nevertheless, his days shall be one hundred and twenty years" (Gen. 6:3 OT). In the days of Noah, God gave the human race a 120 years to repent.  Only Noah and his family repented and "found favor in the eyes of the Lord: (Gen. 6:8 OT). They met God’s condition and were not judged with the rest f the human race who refused to repent. "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9). It is clear that God wills to save all lost souls. He is "not wishing for any to perish". To be saved the lost must meet His condition, "repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21).  Now if a man does not repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, God will repent.  He will change and judge that man.  In love He bestows grace; but, if salvation by grace is rejected, in justice He terminates it. In this way God repents.

V

Repentance, Impossible to Renew

Read: Heb. 6:4-6

The key that unlocks the mystery to this difficult portion of Scripture is the word, "impossible" in verse 6.  The writer is saying, that the person who so sins will find it impossible to repent again.

First, let us see what the writer does not mean. He does not mean a backslidden Christian.  Simon Peter backslid (Matt. 26:69-75), repented (John 21:3-17), and was restored to fellowship with the Lord.  King David sinned (2 Sam. 11:1-27 OT), repented (Ps. 51:1-19 OT), and was restored to fellowship with the Lord (2 Sam. 12:13 OT). Any backslidden Christian can repent and be restored to fellowship with God.

Second, let us see what the writer does mean.  Hebrews 6:4-6 is proof that being religious is not enough to save you. They professed, but did not possess eternal life.  In outward appearance they would be called Christians.  But Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 7:21-23).

Esau so sinned against the Lord when he sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew (Gen. 25:27-34 OT). Later he tried to repent, but found it impossible to do so. The Scripture says, "he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears" (Heb. 12:16, 17).

At the great white throne judgment where only the wicked dead are judged (Rev. 20:11-15), they too, will try to repent but will find it impossible.

VI

The Importance of Repentance

Read: Acts 17:30

Repentance is so important that God commands that "all everywhere should repent" (Acts 17:30).

The Lord called upon these five churches to repent or else He would remove their candlestick and they would cease to be a light in darkness.

VII

The Evidence of Repentance

Read: Acts 26:19, 20

The evidence of repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ is seen in:

Repentance is a change of the mind, the heart, and the will. The proof of repentance is: turning from "transgressions" (Exek. 18:30 OT), turning to God (Acts 26:19, 20), followed by good deeds (Acts 26:19, 20).

 

 

Now Proceed to Lesson 13