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Repentance From Dead Works (11)


In our last broadcast, we noted that true repentance is not just saying Im sorry, but must, in addition, involve a decision not to repeat the sin that has been repented of. This is what John the Baptist referred to as, bring[ing] forth fruit meet for repentance; what we will call the physical evidence of true repentance. The bible admonishes those who say that they have repented not to repent of their repentance, neither be like the dog that goes back to eat its vomit, nor be like the swine, which after being washed, returns to wallow again in filth. All these precepts speak to the Christian not to turn again to live in sin, having repented of sin. This is clearly at variance with the strange teachings which state that since we are in the dispensation of grace, we are at liberty to live and act as we like. The bible says in Titus 2:11-12, For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age . Friend, the bible tells us that grace teaches the doing away with ungodliness and worldliness. Grace also teaches that those who say that they are children of God should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present Age. In 2 Timothy 2:19, the bible says, Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. And in Romans 6:1-2, the bible asks, Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? This passage tells us that continuing in sin while laying a claim to grace is incompatible!

In Proverbs 28:13 the bible says, He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy signifying that true repentance is not only to confess ones sin, but also involves forsaking the sin. In the story of Zacchaeus encounter with Jesus in Luke 19:1-10, which we mentioned in our last broadcast, when Zacchaeus said, Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore four-fold, and the Lord responded by saying, Today, salvation has come to this house , it was clear that the Lord Jesus, Who is the Author of eternal salvation, endorsed Zacchaeus statement as one that is true repentance, which even goes beyond just forsaking sin, but extends to giving up anything that can lead a person to commit sin, or that can prevent a person from whole-heartedly pursuing Godthings like wealth, possessions, pleasure, friendships, partnerships, etc. In Mark 10:17-25, we see that when the young wealthy man would not give up his possessions to follow the Lord, the Lord said, how hard it is for those who trust in their riches to enter the kingdom of God! Friend, salvation, which is promised to all who come to Jesus in repentance, cannot be bestowed on those who cannot trust God absolutely; those who are still holding on to something else, apart from Godit could even be holding on to a pastor, instead of God!

Besides his willingness to give up to half of his wealth to the poor, Zacchaeus also said, if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore four-fold. This is restitution, which is significant in true repentance. Restitution is a scriptural precept which God intends of a repentant person, in which the repentant person makes good that which was damaged, destroyed, stolen, lost, etc., when he transgressed against God. From Exodus 22:1-17, we can infer that the essence of restitution is to return to the owner, something which was illegally taken from him; to give a replacement for something which was taken and is no more; and, to deter a repetition of transgression. God states in this passage that when restitution is ordered by a judge for a transgression, the transgressor shall return four sheep for every stolen sheep, and five oxen for every stolen ox. In Proverbs 6:30-31, the bible says, People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving. Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; he may have to give up all the substance of his house. Restitution thus aims at discouraging stealing of any sort, dishonesty, and other similar acts. A person may have to give up everything he has to pay restitution, if he doesnt have enough to cover the repayment.

In Numbers 5:6-8, God said to the children of Israel, When a man or woman commits any sin that men commit in unfaithfulness against the LORD, and that person is guilty, then he shall confess the sin which he has committed. He shall make restitution for his trespass in full, plus one-fifth of it, and give it to the one he has wronged. But if the man has no relative to whom restitution may be made for wrong, the restitution for the wrong must go to the LORD for the priest, in addition to the ram of the atonement with which atonement is made for him. This passage tells us that any transgression against anyone is also a sin against God, and that when the transgressor realizes this, he must repent of the transgression before God, and shall, in addition, make reparation for his sin or transgression in full, and add one-fifth or 20% of the amount, as restitution to the offended Party. If the offended Party is deceased, and has no surviving relatives, then the repentant transgressor shall make the restitution to the Lord through his pastor. The essential difference between the addition of 20% and restoring four-, five-, or, seven-fold is that in the case of the addition of 20%, the transgressor came to the realization himself, whereas in the latter, he is convicted of his guilt by a judge. It is thus better to restitute willingly, than to be convicted by God at the end of the Age!

Some people erroneously believe that restitution is limited to the Old Testament. This is not true! Restitution remains significant for the New Testament saint. Some Christians may have realized that contrary to the joy and peace they should be experiencing after they have confessed and forsaken their sins, they are still sorrowful and in turmoil in their hearts. This is because there is restitution still to be made. Have you taken what does not belong to you, told a lie, and caused damage to someone? You are expected to make good all such things, as much as is within your power.

If, as a government official, you stole, embezzled, or misappropriated money while in office, and you are now born again, then all that was stolen, embezzled, or misappropriated, must be returned to the coffers of government, plus 20%. It is only after this has been done that you can know and enjoy joy inexpressible, and the peace which passes knowledge that the bible talks about. If, however, you do not restitute while here on earth, and you stand before the Court of heaven after you die, you will lose everything, including your soul! If, while you were in school, you got people to sit your examinations for you, or you gave money to your lecturers or even slept with them, so that you would obtain good grades, and thereby obtained your certificate fraudulently; your act of repentance must include returning the certificate to the school, resigning from your place of employment, which you got with the fraudulently obtained certificate, and informing the school authorities and your employers about the fraudulent means by which you obtained the certificate. If not, you would lose everything, including your soul in eternity! If you divorced your wife and married another woman, and you are now born again, you must leave this second wife, and return to your first wife; otherwise, you would lose everything, including your soul in eternity! If you are married to a man who is divorced, or you are not a first wife, and you are now born again, you must leave that marriage immediately, otherwise, you will lose everything, including your soul in eternity! If you lied against someone, you will have to go back to those you have told the lie to, and repudiate it. You will also have to ask the forgiveness of the person you lied against, and now tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth! In some instances, you may have to pay for a Newspaper page to make such a confession, particularly, where the lie you told has spread far and wide. If you have been taking bribes and it is difficult to identify the people from whom you have demanded and taken bribes, you must calculate, as much as possible, all that you have taken in bribes, and hand them all over, plus 20%, to the pastor of your local assembly, who sits as Gods representative over you, while confessing before God to the pastor, what you have done. If you have committed abortion in time past, you should restitute by telling your husband or wife about it, as the case may be.

Through restitution, the church of God is purged, and the glory of God is restored in it. Indeed, true revival cannot take place without true repentance and restitution by the people of God! You cannot confess a sin or transgression, and still be eating its fruit! If the seed is bad, the fruit is also bad! If therefore, you throw away the seed (repentance), you must also throw away the fruit (restitution)! You cannot keep another mans goods with you, and claim to be clean. The Lord Jesus said in John 14:30, the ruler of this world [that is, the devil] is coming, and he has nothing in Me. The Lord Jesus said that when the devil comes to inspect, as the devil does all those who claim to be born again, he (the devil) will find nothing of his or of anyone else for that matter in Him, and as a result the devil will not be able to accuse Him of sin. The death of Jesus on the cross was purely an act of obedience to His Father; not the result of sin! So, anything that the devil can lay a claim to in your life must be removed, if you are indeed a child of God!

There was a man who worked in a paint factory. One Friday, the man was hard up for cash, so after work, he stole three gallons of paint, sold them off at the local market, and paid his bills. When he got to work on Monday, his foreman sent for him, and told him that he saw him stealing paint on Friday, but he would not report him to the authorities, if he (the paint thief) would do whatever he (the foreman) asks him to do. From then on, whenever, the foreman needed extra cash, he would put the name of the man who stole paint for overtime; the man would do the work, but the foreman would collect the overtime pay from the man. This continued for three years, until one day, the man who had stolen the paint decided to go to the authorities, and report that he had stolen paints three years before, and was prepared to refund the stolen paint from his wages. So, he went to the Managing Director and told him what he had done three year earlier. The Managing Director told him that he was forgiven, and should not do it again, and that the theft had been taken care of under the broad company accounts heading of stolen goods. The man then went his merry way, and when the foreman put his name for overtime, the man told the foreman that he had reported himself to the authorities, and was no longer under obligation to do a work for which the foreman would benefit financially. And that was how the paint factory worker was finally free from the oppression of the foreman. In much the same way, as long as the devil has something on you, he will keep you in perpetual bondage, until you get rid of that thing, which is, making restitution. Friend, the cost of restitution cannot be compared to the price of losing your soul and spending eternity with the devil in hell! If indeed, you have truly been convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit, you will realize that the promised joy and peace from God will not be experienced until you have fully restituted your ways. This is probably why you are listening to this message now. Restitute your ways! Return what you have stolen! Make good what you have damaged! Put your trust in God, and He will help you to do the right thing. One last word, before you restitute anything, we advise you to talk it over with your pastor, who would counsel you on how best to go about it.

Let us pray!