Sunday, November 23, 2008

Is Repentence Needed for Salvation?

Many of us pretend to have it all together...we don't want to be needy...we don't want people to know that inside of us it may feel like our wall is crumbling down and overgrown with weeds.

The truth is every single person is needy, whether they admit it or not. Every person has a need to be loved, accepted and to know that he/she matters (that they have purpose to living).

God is the only true, complete solution/ answer to meet every single one of our needs, and to make us know we are fully loved, and accepted. He is the only healer, restorer, able to tear down our old broken walls and make it to be new! He isn't in the fire protection, get out of hell business...what good would this broken down wall be with just protection against fire? It needs to be restored, redeemed. You also need redemption....and redemption begins with repentence.

I knew before I type one word...there were already readers lining up their point of view along strongly and dearly held doctrinal teachings/ beliefs. Want to start a quick argument in a "Christian" group? Ask a question like this one..."Is Repentence Needed for Salvation?" Now I am not into arguing - it does absolutely no good. It tears apart relationships. A discussion is quite different...sharing facts and information...expressing beliefs and point of views. A discussion requires people to have an openness to hearing what someone else has to say, and what God says is of utmost importance.

People firmly hold to their view often because the salvation of loved ones hang in the balance. If a person's relative has died and didn't repent, the person can not bear that this relative might not be in heaven. This dreaded fact or paralysing fear will not even allow many people to even be objective and take an honest look at what God has to say.



And even using the Bible to back up doctrinal beliefs can get sticky. I have known pastors to work a passage of Scripture into a sermon that was totally out of context to the verses meaning but it sounded like it made THEIR point THEY were trying to teach. This way of preaching unnerves me, when a pastor clearly had a message or point to say, so they find verses to back up their point. Yuk!

The Bible is living, and exciting, and constantly teaching. Any passage in Scripture can be taught... a whole sermon could be made from any verse in the Bible...if the preacher is seeking God to know HIS message in the Words God selected for the passage.



Each verse must be taken in context, not only in the paragraph, Chapter or Book, but it also needs to be in context of the entire Bible. A doctrine can not be based off of one verse, anymore than a verse on a point being ignored. The easiest passages help the Bible student understand the more obscure, more difficult concepts. A subject must be studied out in the whole context of Scripture before a definite answer or doctrine be determined.



So What Does the Bible Say about repentance? In Matthew 4:17 Jesus called for repentance..."From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

I don't know anything in this verse that is complicated. From that time...what time? Jesus just finished His 40 days in the wilderness and was beginning His ministry. He had not even called his first disciple.

What was Jesus doing? He was beginning to preach.

What did Jesus say as He preached? He said, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

What did he mean in the word Repent?....is a Greek word - metanoeo, meaning to think differently, to reconsider, turning away from sin and to dependence on God's way. (From Strong's and Vines)



Why or for what reason did Jesus have to ask people to repent? the kingdom of heaven is at hand



The kingdom of heaven....Ask any person where they want to go when the die and most often people will say heaven....attend most any funeral and the person doing the service will often talk about heaven in even vague terms and somehow indicate that the dead person is in a better place.... Could this often be false assurance, giving hope to the mourning that their relative, friends, acquaintance is not suffering anymore?



Clearly, in Scripture the kingdom of heaven is being with God. Jesus literally ushered in the kingdom of heaven with His very presence. This is why He was able to say...'the kingdom of heaven is at hand'....it was literally in present tense as He spoke at hand - in plain view of all whole saw and heard Him. The kingdom of heaven is not a building....a grand mansion in the sky without God....a place to rest without any trouble. Heaven is only an eternal place of peace, joy, and liberation because God is there. And we can walk in His presence even here on earth, experiencing a foretaste of heaven here on earth...not complete, but still sweet intimate presence with God.

Mk 1:4 ...preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

Lu 13: 3,5 ... unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.



Act 3:19-21 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.



Acts 26:20 - ...that they should repent, turn to God and do works befitting repentance.



Rev 2:21-22 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.



Scripture, God in His Holy Word, is so clear. Repentance is needed for a person to enter into salvation and receive the Holy Spirit as their guarantee of the fact that he/she indeed is saved and going to heaven in life after death.



It gets so hard, when Pastors and/or churches try to drum up a high number of salvations by raking in any warm body that will mumble a prayer or say the words..."I accept Jesus".

When I tell a person about Jesus and the fact that He alone is the way to God, I make it clear that salvation comes through conviction of the Holy Spirit, the calling of God and the conversion of God making all their old dead spirit, fully new and alive in God....never to be dead again.

I ask careful questions....not wanting a person to rush into a prayer not understanding the cost of discipleship in Christ Jesus. Salvation is not in the mind, not a mental assent. Salvation certainly includes a person using their mind, but it is the heart...the will of a person crying out for forgiveness and a willful decision to turn from independence, their way of life, to dependence on the Lordship of God, a willful choice to live by God's standards...to learn, seek and transform.



Too many people are given reassurance of salvation and rushed on to baptism in a pick and choose banquet style doctrine of selecting the Bible verses that are deemed acceptable and good to the 'believer'.... a place to confirm their morals and values... a community of acceptance, love and connection.



If salvation is not all about God, His holiness, His righteous, His ability to change a person and give their life purpose, meaning and direction.... it is not true salvation that God explains in the Bible.

Many will balk and say...oh, it just says that a person has to confess Jesus.... confess what about Jesus...



Ask a person, "Do you want to go to hell?" Either they will tell you there is no hell (like their denial of its existence makes it not real) or of course, they don't want to go to hell.....they hope they will get to heaven...somehow have their good enough deeds out way the bad stuff they do or they will be able to say with assurance they know they are going to heaven or will ask how they can keep from not going to hell. Few people that are truly mentally stable will look you in the face and say, "I want to go to hell." I have yet to meet one in my life.

Ask a person, "Do you want Jesus to save you from going to hell?".....50/50 chance they will say yes.

But take the next step, ask a person if "they are willing for Jesus to be Lord of their life"....are they ready to repent (change their mind and ways of living), to accept Jesus' salvation and be able to go to Heaven (be in God's presence...having a relationship with Him). Now most will take a long hard thought at this question. This is the counting the cost part of salvation. It is the willingness to daily carry your cross and follow Jesus. God never promises a rose garden of no suffering, feasting at the world's wealth, living the easy life....if you come to a relationship with Him.

God does promise to take away your sins, to place Holy Spirit inside of you to teach/guide/ and comfort you, and to never leave you or forsake you....and He also promises heaven...presence with Him...beginning at the point of "yes, Lord."



So take a sober time before God, have you repented? Have you made sure that the people you have lead in a sinner's prayer were first ready....convicted by God of their need...understood the cost...willingly accepting to be an obedient follower of Jesus? Do you have to check this salvation thing out? Do you have a family member or friend that comes to mind that needs to have their 'salvation' assured as genuine? Don't wait before it is to late. Jesus himself said, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." What are you waiting for, there is no time like the present?

2 comments:

  1. I haven't commented on your blog before, although I've been reading for awhile. This post is so true. I am saved and have "repented," but I find the need to repent every day!! I love the grace of God. BUt the other side of the coin is that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God. Judgement begins with the household of God. That frightens me, because I lash out in anger at my children sometimes. I am impatient and selfish. The grace of God is a powerful motivator in my life. But there is also the fear of God and I pray I never lose it. In fact, I want more of it. It keeps me on my knees in repentance.

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  2. Thank you for your comment and for reading my blog. It is wonderful to know the reverential awe of an all-powerful, holy and just God, but at the same time the safety of the assurance that you are permanently His loved and accepted child. We, His children, need to keep the balance of being a doer of His Word, but understanding that none of us are ever going to be without sin on this side of heaven. Romans 8:1 There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus... is a comforting as 1John 1:9 If we confess my sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleans us from all unrighteousness. Continual repentance, and living by His power of His spirit through grace and by faith, keeps you in a state of fellowship with Him...you are able to enjoy His presence. Yes, grace is a wonderful motivator. We have been given so much, how great our love to obey Him should be in our soul!

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