Repentance is Foundational to the Faith
Key Principle #4: Repentance (part 4)
Repentance is one of the most positive words. God urges us to repent when the path we are taking leads to destruction. Repentance will save us from disastrous results. What a wonderful Word. How comforting that the Creator loves us enough to warn us from impending danger! Our problem is that we think of repentance as something negative.
Repentance Is Foundational to the Christian Faith
You may have heard it said that repentance is a change of mind. Like some whimsical carefree fanciful choice we make, like “Oops I’ve changed my mind.”
Better said that it a change of the mind. A brain transplant, or in Biblical language, it is a "renewing of your mindset" (Romans 12:1-2).
Even better, repentance is a change of heart which results in a change in behavior. The entire basis of the "New Covenant" or the "New Testament" is found in Hebrews 10:16, "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them."
Repentance could be defined in this way: Repentance is a work initiated by God, participated in by us, demonstrated by Christ, explained by the Scriptures, and performed by the Holy Spirit resulting in the ongoing changing of our attitude, affections and actions in all things.
If you have ever received a $100 bill with a Ben Franklin on one side and a totally blank reverse side, you would have to say something was wrong. More than likely, it would be a counterfeit rather than a real $100 bill. Or even if it was a collector’s item, it would have been due to a defect. Worse of all, it could even be a counterfeit for a collector’s item. At any rate, it would be taken out of circulation.
In the same way, some people think of salvation as being like a one-sided currency. They have faith on one side, but never realize that in order to be put into circulation; that is, in order to be legitimate, it needs to have the other side: Repentance. Here are some Biblical reasons we should see that Repentance is just as much a part of our salvation as Independence Hall needs to be on the reverse of Ben Franklin.
John’s message: Mark 1:4 (First Gospel written) 4 And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Jesus’ first recorded message (11 verses into Mark 1) 14bJesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15“The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"
Peter’s first sermon (Acts 2:37-38) 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 38b Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you…
Peter’s second sermon (Acts 3:19-20) 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you --even Jesus.
Proof of Gentiles’ salvation (Acts 11:17-18) 17 So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?" 18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, "So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life."
Paul’s major sermon in Athens (Acts 17:30-31) 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
The only letters we have dictated from the lips of Jesus (Revelation 2 and 3) Repentance is the most often repeated command in the letters written to the seven churches of Revelation.
From the first recorded entrance of the New Testament to the last recorded message from Christ, repentance is at the very essence of the church’s beginning.