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May 17, 2010

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  • Repentance a 'process'?

Repentance a 'process'?

READER QUESTION:
I quite enjoyed the posting about repentance [link] & [link], since I am also from the Sola's in my BC (before Christ) days and simply could not understand what all the hype about repentance is all about, that is until the Holy Spirit confronted me with the fact that despite all my faith in salvation etc, I am still a sinner.

This led me to start studying scripture a little more closely and eventually convinced me that the only way to make sure of one's salvation is to repent of one's sin(s) as and when they are brought to one's attention.

Needless to say this experience led to my spiritual rebirth after I went through a period of confession of sin and asking for forgiveness. What actually convinced me of my own sin was the example of David, being a man after God's heart, still having to confess that he was a sinner and being forgiven for those sins.

I believe the most difficult conversion to true biblical believing must be from the Calvinistic environment (...sailing on a lilo into heaven because everything has been done for us, we only need to believe!...) where rebirth of the human spirit and the work of Holy Spirit are the two things that are totally ignored. Man is created in the image of God: Spirit,Soul,Body (Holy Spirit,Father,Son) Through sin man's spirit died and can only be reborn through the Holy Spirit.

Soul is actually the originator of man's sin because that is where the consciousness is and that is also the seat of man's selfesteem and all other related things - a fertile area for influence from the enemy. Body is the habitat for the soul and spirit and is programmed by DNA to perform the functions it was created for. This programming cannot be changed by man in any way, only the Creator of the body can change that. Now when the spirit of man is reborn, he actually inherits the Spirit of Christ as the free gift from God (irrevocably) and the soul and body remains '..of the world..' into which they were born. Salvation is now the process by which one is repenting (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit) in faith (my faith because of the faith of Christ) of the sin(s) that remains in the soul and body and this is likened to the race that we must run and complete ( as per the description of the cloud of witnesses watching the race) leading to works that shows up the fruit(s) of the Holy Spirit to reveal Christ to the world and convict the world of sin.

Thus: the Holy Spirit convict me of my sin, leading me into repentance of that sin, which then leads to the rebirth of my spirit INTO the Spirit of Christ and giving me faith to continue the process until I am done on this earth.

VW ANSWER:
Well... sort of.... BUT NOT REALLY!

I expect, since repentance is the -key- to getting into Heaven, since Jesus said without it, one will "perish" (Lk13:3,5), it is to be expected that there will be confusion. The two sides to the Babylonian 'coin' have confused both sides of the error so much for so long: Rome teaching works through penance, and the Reformation free license and nothing through Sola Fide; and both sides twist the Scriptures so much, it is sometimes hard to scrape all the garbage out to leave the palate clean for "full true knowledge of the truth" (1Ti2:4)

We have addressed this so many times, but as Paul says, "For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe." (Php3:1) And who knows -which- combination of words finally reaches -which- heart. We proclaim, and the Holy Spirit carries the Truth to the heart.

So... here we go again...

There is a difference between "repentance unto life" (Ac11:18) and the "confessing" (1jn1:9) we do -as- we "walk in the light" (vs7) Repentance unto life leads to being "completely clean", and the confession is the "washing" of the feet. (Jn13:10) as we "have...sin" (1Jn1:8)

We did not -become- "dead". Paul says, "And you -BEING- DEAD..." (Eph2:1) The expression "being dead" is like a dangling participle indicating the state one HAS BEEN IN, and has -continued- to be in. In the context, it is the -baseline-... the starting point of the events being discussed...in this case the result... 'salvation'. This is where things have been... DEAD... when God then "made us alive together with Christ" (vs5)

Collectively, ancestrally, the human race -was- 'alive' at one point... at the beginning when God made Adam and Eve. But they sinned... and died... spiritually. ...and then, also physically.

    "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death SPREAD TO EVERY PERSON, because everyone sinned." (Ro5:12)
And so, the way in which death "spread" to every person is that "IN SIN did my mother CONCEIVE me" (Ps51:5) When we are born, we are born as "flesh and blood"... that's body and soul.... (soul is in the blood. Le17:11) When we are saved what is "renewed" is the "spirit" (Rom7:6) When we are "born from above" (Jn3:3) that birth is a -spiritual- birth. (Jn3:8) Even as Christian Believers we are still in these bodies of "flesh and blood" (death Rom7:24) which cannot "inherit the Kingdom of God" (1Co15:50) These bodies will be "changed" (vs51-53) But our state of being -SAVED- is in the spirit. The Holy Spirit is the "earnest" of the inheritance. (Eph1:13-14) Our Salvation is in the S/spirit. These bodies, our "tents", will be "torn down" (2Co5:1) If we physically die before the Resurrection/Rapture, these bodies decay into the ground, but the spirit lives. These bodies are waiting the "redemption" (Ro8:23)

This also is why the word "again" in Jn3:3 is also in error. The only way we could be "born -again-" is if we had been alive at some point. But we were dead. We were born (flesh and blood) that way. We were born DEAD. We might have been breathing and squalling as babies, and living our lives as our -souls- (blood) dictated, just like the animals. (Ju1:10, 2Pt2:12, Ro1:23) But spiritually we were "still-born". Thus, the conversion birth is a birth "from above" (Jn3:3,7), of the Holy Spirit (Jn3:8)

When we participate in Repentance unto Life, we are not repenting of ALL OUR SIN[S]. I doubt we could possibly even know all the sins we have committed; and like those who object to the doctrine of repentance, they wonder when they would have finished repenting -enough-. That becomes a work. Thus, they confuse repentance with penance. But the one Jesus said went home justified was the one who prayed, "God be merciful to me a sinner!" (Lk18:13) The man did not repent of ALL HIS SINS (committed)... but for -BEING- a 'sinner'. As Job, after seeing God's grandeur, "I despise myself, and have repented in dust and ashes" (Job42:6) He repented of his -essence-. Like we say regularly: Ducks quack, dogs bark, and sinners sin. A person can repent of their -sin[s]- all they want, but if they remain a sin[ner], all that repenting does no good.

Again: "sin" (singular) is the -nature-. "sin[s]" (plural) are the -deeds-. As long as the sin nature exists, the sinful deeds will continue and persist. Can't get rid of the sin[s], if the sin (nature) is still present. That's why John announced...

    "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (Jn1:29)
Thus....repentance unto life is not a long protracted series of confession 'events' and the 'process' of progressive 'learning'. How long is birth? Certainly the labor can run for a period of time. But when the baby, calf, kitten, egg (whatever the species) plops out....OUT IT PLOPS...and THERE IT IS. When it was in the womb it was fully formed...same as when it plopped out. At one moment it was 'inside', the next... 'outside'. When a person meets the Lord and then sees themself (like Job), the light dawns, and Voila! How long is the sunrise?
    "And so we also have a more sure Word of prophecy, which you do well to heed as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;" (2Pt1:19)
Now.... "repenting of one's sins" does not "make -sure-" of one's salvation. That is 'works'. If we cannot -save- ourselves, neither can we -keep- ourselves. In the OT they had the sacrifice for "unintentional" sins (Lev4,etc); but we also read of those OT sacrifices...
    "For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." (Heb10:4)
And the entire book of Hebrews is about how Jesus fulfilled those OT offerings. If Jesus saved us, "who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" (Rom8:35++) Nobody.

Indeed, as we know our sin[s]....well....did you read the second item in the Q/A about the "christian who sins"? [link]

Repentance unto life is not so much about 'studying' and 'learning' and one-by-one confessing -all- our sin[s], as it is the heart 'conscience' as we meet the Lord and realize our 'lost' -state-. The Holy Spirit "convicts" of sin. (Jn16:8) The Father "draws" (Jn6:44) and Jesus provides the "washing" in "His own blood" (Tit3:5, Re1:5) and the Holy Spirit then provides the "birth from above" (Jn3:3) and the "earnest of the inheritance" (Eph1:13-14)

Then, as Believers in this world, when our feet get dirty, -we- are clean (we are no longer sinners, it is no longer our nature 1Jn3:9, 2Co5:17), but our -feet- get dirty walking in this world and need to be washed. (Jn13:10, 1Jn1:9, Rom7)

And thus is the difference between the flesh and the spirit...

    "Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day." (2Co4:16b)

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