May 17, 2010
Repentance a 'process'?
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.
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.
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...
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...