A Voice in the
Wilderness

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Re: Repentance is in the Heart

"..yet when they have returned in their minds in the land where they 
have been carried captive, and have repented in their hearts, and made 
supplication to You in the land of those holding them captive, saying, 
We have sinned and done perversely, we have committed wickedness;  and 
when they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in 
the land of their enemies who have taken them captive, and have prayed 
to You toward their land which You have given to their fathers, the city 
which You have chosen and the house which I have built for Your name:  
then hear in Heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their 
supplication, and attend to their cause,  and forgive Your people who 
have sinned against You, and all their transgressions which they have 
transgressed against You; and grant them compassion before those who 
took them captive, that they may have compassion on them.." (1Ki8:47-50)

This is part of Solomon's dedicatory prayer for the glorious temple for 
which David drew up the designs, and Solomon built it. Unlike typical 
dedications today that glorify 'man' and his own efforts at having built 
the building, and praising all the people who scrimped and saved, and 
ran the fund drives to make the building program "a huge success", where 
the city mayor and other dignitaries of the world are also invited to 
the building's 'christening'...

The glory of the holy God has just entered the building to where the 
priests could no longer stand at their posts where they were ministering 
with the offerings. (vs10-11) Solomon is praising God's greatness, and 
speaking of all peoples of the earth seeking to God towards the temple. 
He continues by acknowledging that God's people are going to sin...

And "When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), 
and You have become angry with them and delivered them to the enemy, and 
they have taken them captive to the land of the enemy, far or near..." 
(vs46)

This is the context. When there is sin, and resultant judgment; what is 
the cure? Reading through the verses, do we not see, essentially, the 
definition of "repentance"?  

We can see the utter despondency in the accounts of Isaiah, Job and the 
man in the temple. (Is6:5, Job42:6, Lk18:13) We can see the emotional 
wailing of "mourning" over our sin (Jac4:9) as we humble ourselves 
before God. But because the anti-christ "church" of Rome has proclaimed 
a doctrine of "penance" for so many centuries, which also conforms to 
heathen paganism's "appeasement" of angry gods, many people are 
confused. Penance becomes a "work", and we know that salvation is "not 
of works". (Eph2:9) And so, the opposite false doctrine came out of the 
Reformation, of "faith only", sans "repentance". They proclaim, 
specifically, that salvation DOES NOT INCLUDE (the work of) "repentance" 
thus illustrating that they, also, do not understand what it is. People 
wonder "how much" they need to repent; or... how will they know when 
they've repented "enough"? You see... that's a form of "penance".

But you see...salvation does not come from outward physical acts. The 
Jews thought that circumcision guaranteed salvation for them. But Paul 
informs us that salvation is not through circumcision, but is from the 
"heart". (Rom2:28-29)

What is it that condemns a person? Surely, a sinful person will be 
judged according to their works. (Rev20:13) But the "condemnation" 
results from what is in the heart. "The heart is deceitful above all 
things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jer17:9)  It is out 
of the 'heart' that evil spews forth out of the mouth. (Mt12:34)

Thus, notice how repentance 'progresses'. Solomon prays, "..when they 
have returned in their minds.." Salvation is not something that "comes 
over us" without our own control. I have heard testimonies similar to 
the nature that a person was musing over their own sins, and then 
suddenly this 'aura' overshadowed them, and they 'knew', inexplicably, 
at that moment they were "forgiven". But no. Repentance involves the 
"mind". Regarding righteous things, Paul says, "-think- on these things" 
(Php4:8) Even regarding spiritual things Paul says that we pray, sing, 
worship, and learn "with the mind". (1Cor14:15) The 'spirit' is not 
without the 'mind'. When the prodigal son was in famine, it says that he 
"came to himself" and starts 'reasoning' (a function of one's mind) 
regarding his hungry state, and the better state of his father's 
servants. (Lk15:17)

And then, "..and have repented in their hearts.." Now, where is the 
heart? That is that innermost part of our beings that we, even, do not 
fully understand. In another study we learned that God made it.
(Pr16:1, Ps100:3)  It is Jesus Christ (the Word) who "pierces" into our 
soul and spirit and "discerns" the thoughts and intents of our hearts. 
He knows, when a person is going forward at an altar call, if the 
person's heart is genuine or not. He knows if that "decision card" was 
filled out because a person had truly repented, or if they were merely 
"shutting up" the person hounding them...just to get rid of them from 
their door, but not wishing to shut the door in their face. Beyond this, 
there is not much more we can say about the heart...because it is that 
secret place that each individual has from God. It is that place where 
only the person and God know about. No other human can truly know what 
is in another's heart, at the VERY CORE of that person's being. It is at 
'that' place where a person either repents, receives Christ and is 
saved; or rejects God. And while you may fool other people, you cannot 
fool God. Like the words of that old song, "You cannot hide from God..."

It is in that place where a person makes "supplication to God". This 
supplication is -NOT- the repeat-after-me so-called "sinners prayer" 
that so many use as a formula. Because it is in that place which God 
made, which only God and the person know; and since it is God who meets 
and "draws" the person (Jn6:44); the conversation and the nature of that 
supplication is something which is unique to that individual. Salvation 
is not like a scene from that TV movie I saw years ago (I don't know 
it's name): The scene depicted America's South just after the slavery 
years, and the white kids and black kids were playing together. They 
were doing as children do...playing/enacting what they see adults do. 
So, they were -playing- "church"; the white kids were "making a 
christian" out of the black kid... and to do this, they were "baptizing" 
the black kid. The kid would get dunked under the water, and back 
up...Are you saved yet? No. Back under the water, and back up. Are you 
saved yet? No. This repeated a few times, until the black kid was having 
enough of his head being dunked under water, and when asked: Are you 
saved yet? says, "I think so!  So... 'one-more' dunk, "just to be sure". 
Are you saved now? Yes! And everybody is now smiling, and the little one 
has just "become a christian".  No. Salvation is not something where the 
"counselor" can ask the person "are you saved now?" after running them 
through the formula they were trained with. I dare say very few 
conversions actually take place around the altar (of the church), or the 
open field (of the crusade arena). If a person got saved at that 
meeting, it happened way back when the person was still in their 
seat/pew, as God's Word was convicting them, God spoke to their 
heart...and IN THEIR HEART they 'responded' to God's Call. I dare say 
that more people who actually got saved in their seats, turned away 
again after being 'confused' by the unsaved counselor, than ever got 
saved 'while' talking to a counselor; as "..the wicked one snatches away 
what was sown in his heart" (Mt13:19) Repentance and supplication 
happens, not to the counselor, but to God...IN THE HEART. The evangelist 
might proclaim God's Word, and the counselor may clarify things on a 
personal level; but the "drawing" happens by the Father. (Jn6:44) The 
repentance is "-toward- God" and the Faith is "-toward- Jesus Christ". 
(Ac20;21)

Now notice that this repentance includes "confession". "We have sinned 
and done perversely, we have committed wickedness." You see why so few 
are really being saved today? They are being told, "God accepts you JUST 
AS YOU ARE"; and they go-forward to the hymn "Just as I am..." And the 
preacher "encourages" them by telling them, "You are all wonderful 
people." And the basic 'sin' in many minds is the 'sin' of not 
recognizing JUST HOW WONDERFUL they are; repenting of not having any 
self-worth and self-esteem. Do you begin, now, to see why we continually 
say that most of today's so-called "[c]hurch" is not part of Christ's 
[C]hurch? True salvation comes after acknowledgement and confession of 
our sin and depravity. Today's [c]hurch is preaching an "other gospel". 
It is "accursed". (Gal1:8-9)

And so, repentance is not a grunting and straining REAL HARD with 
physical emotions. We often quote Isaiah wailing "woe is me", and the 
man in the temple "beating his breast". But what actually goes on in 
each 'individual' heart? Truly, what goes on in the heart manifests 
itself outwardly, because that's how we were designed by God. But each 
person is going to outwardly behave differently, just as each person's 
unique personality will dictate, and as the depths of each unique 
depravity is, out of which the person is saved. Remember, ".. her sins, 
which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is 
forgiven, the same loves little." (Lk7:47) Some may show -no- outward 
emotion, but may go off someplace alone in quiet; some will cry; and 
still others will be exuberantly jumping up and down, screaming and 
crying with joy, grabbing everybody they see and will blurt out their 
new-found Faith.

But whatever the case, repentance is "with -ALL- their heart and with 
-ALL- their soul.." When a young man asks a girl to marry him, if he is 
of a divided heart, he will still think on other friends he has known; 
and often this divided heart causes strain in the marriage. But a 
'total' heart is one where, the young man "loves" his bride, and totally 
"forsakes all others"...even in his heart and soul. Those others no 
longer 'exist' in his heart. 

A person cannot have "family values" and also be with God... you know, 
where after the wedding, all the inlaws continually intrude into the 
marriage, and the new couple don't have the will-power (or feel the 
need) to invite them to leave, with the exhortation: "don't come over 
unless you call first, and/or are invited". This is what Jesus meant, 
"He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he 
who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me." (Mt10:37)  
"If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, and wife 
and children, and brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he 
cannot be My disciple." (Lk14:26)  As Paul says, "But no, rather,  I 
also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ 
Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and 
count them as refuse, that I may gain Christ.." (Php3:8)

That sort of repudiation of one's sin and past is ONLY POSSIBLE when it 
is repentance of the HEART.

Now, when repentance is of that nature, as we continually proclaim, the 
life will change. If the past is repudiated, what takes it's place? 
"..to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes 
and His judgments.." (1Ki8:58)

When the man gets married, he no longer goes running at the beck and 
call of those other friends. He no longer goes 'running' when mama calls 
with every little thing, because he has "left father and mother" and is 
"cleaving" to his wife. (Gen2:24) In the same way, when we repent of our 
sin, having "confessed and forsaken" it (Pr28:13), when the world comes 
over uninvited, we show it the door. When the world calls to us with its 
little annoyances, we tell it to take care of its own problems... We 
repudiate our former "family values" with the world, because they are no 
longer our family; because we, now, are the "bride" of Christ. (Eph5:) 
We are newly married. We have forsaken "all others" and our heart is 
-TOTALLY- Christ's. Thus, we desire to do what God desires, His 
commandments.

Solomon asks God that, when a person does this, that God would "forgive 
Your people". (vs50) And then in a dream God tells Solomon, "..if My 
people who have been called by My name will humble themselves, and pray 
and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from 
the heavens, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (2Ch7:14)

Now notice that Repentance is the same, whether it is a wayward child 
coming back to God, or a sinner responding to God's call. In both cases, 
it is in the heart. And notice God's Word to "My people". In Solomon's 
day that was Israel. Today, that is the "church". God's people are 
exhorted to call upon God, be humble, seek God's face and what? "..turn 
from their wicked ways.."

Except for Smyrna and Philadelphia who were faithful before the Lord, 
the other five churches were all commanded to "repent...or else..." they 
would receive judgment. (Rev2-3) They are not exhorted to "believe" 
more, or "worship" more, or to heal their self-esteem issues. But to 
"repent". 

The condemnation of those receiving judgments in Revelation is not that 
they didn't Believe enough, that they didn't have 'enough' faith 
(Remember: the demons "believe and shudder" -Jac2:19), but that they 
"did not repent of the works of their hands" of idolatry, sorcery, 
immorality, etc. (Rev9:20-21,etc)  While Jesus does speak of the 
"unbelief" of various ones, notice that His 'condemnation' is leveled at 
those who don't repent. "Unless you repent you will likewise perish" 
(Lk13:3,5)  "Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His 
mighty works had been done, because they did not repent..." (Mt11;20)

When Nineveh repented, "God was moved to pity with regard to the evil 
that He had spoken to do to them, and He did not do it." (Jonah3:10)
Israel, in pretense, rested on circumcision, but refused to humble 
themselves before God with pure hearts, to shun idolatry; and God sent 
them into captivity. The 'heathen' Nineveh repented at Jonah's 
preaching, and was spared God's judgment.

Today's "church" sits smuggly, assuming they are the head. But like the 
religious leaders of Jesus' day, God says to them, "Truly, I say to you 
that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you." 
(Mt21:31)

However, for all the complexity the pretenders attribute to this topic, 
claiming to not understand it, putting different spins to it; for the 
pure of heart it is actually quite simple. Jesus prayed: "I thank You, 
Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from 
the wise and intelligent,  and have revealed them to babes.  Even so, 
Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight." (Mt11:25-26)

Because it is of the -HEART-. If a person complicates the matter, it is 
because they are in rebellion against God. They love their sin too much, 
and so, twist the Scriptures to their own destruction. (2Pt3:16) But for 
the pure in heart, who is ready to hear God's voice in simplicity, and 
respond to Him, the psalmist says...

"For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abounding in mercy 
unto all those who call upon You." (Ps86:5)

Amen!