Back To Basics Transcript

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Repentance From Dead Works (13)


Before we move on to discuss dead works next week, we shall recap some very significant aspects of the subject of repentance.
1. We defined repentance as the turning away from a course of action which you were on, but which you now realize was a wrong course; and have now turned to the right course, and are continuing in that right course. Simply put, repentance is turning away from something that is wrong, bad, or evil, in the light of Gods word, and turning to God, and to a life of righteousness. The essence of repentance is not to become wealthy, famous, healthy, etc., but it is to enable you live for God in true righteousness and holiness here on earth, with the assurance of eternal life hereafter in your heart.
2. What some people call repentance is really not repentance.
a) Blaming someone else for the wrong you have done, is not repentanceit is playing the blame game. Repentance is about accepting that you have done something wrong, taking responsibility for the wrong you have done, and turning away from continuing to do that wrong thing. Blaming someone else was what happened in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve sinned. Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the devil. Neither of them accepted responsibility for disobeying God; nor did any of them ask for forgiveness from God. Blaming your woes on your parents, siblings, friend, or colleagues in the office, and labelling them as witches or star stealers is tantamount to playing the blame game, and you refusing to take responsibility for your own wrong decisions and actions, and, sinful behaviour.
b) Trying to justify your wrong actions, rather than simply admitting that you are wrong is equally no repentance; that is self-justification, which is an abominable act before God. Rather than trying to justify your wrong actions, what you should be doing is to seek Gods justification; and this comes when you admit your guilt before God, seek His forgiveness, and make up your mind not to engage in such acts again. So, instead of saying, I am stealing because I have no other means of surviving, what you should be saying is simply, I am sorry Lord for stealing, and I no longer want to steal again. Help me break free from stealing, and on to a life that is acceptable to You. The same prayer can be made for fornication, occultism, witchcraft, prostitution, or any other issue that concerns you.
c) Confessing to a sin, only because you want an unpleasant condition to be removed from your life, or only because you are trying to avoid punishment in hell after you die; and not because you realize that you are a sinner, who needs to repent of his sins, is fake repentance. If you go to church or are asking God for forgiveness of sin so that you can be healed of a sickness or disease which medicine has not been able to cure, or because you want things to change for you; and not because you realize that you are sinner, and that your sins have brought you to where you now are, your repentance is false! If you had gone to church and, as we say, gave your life to Christ, and can testify that Jesus has healed you, but now you no longer go church, and yet claim to have a close relationship with God, you are a liar, and your repentance was fake!
d) Confessing to sin only because you have been caught red-handed and cannot wriggle out, and more importantly, you dont want the punishment that is to be visited on you, to be so visited, your confession as an act of repentance, is equally fake. This is particularly the case, if after your confession, you again return to your life of sin. If, for instance, you confessed to God after you found out that you were pregnant and after your parents threw you out of the house, but after the baby was born, you were back to a life of fornication, your repentance was false and fake, and of no effect whatsoever! If, when you were arrested for armed robbery, and while in police custody, you repented so that you could be released; and upon being released, you stayed for some time, but because of economic hardship you had no choice but to go back to a life of crime, your repentance was not only false and fake, you were never a Christian in the first place! Generally speaking, if in the course of repentance, there really was no intention to turn from your sinful lifestyle, and to turn to God, your repentance was false and fake!
e) Being full of tears as you confessed your sins, only to return again to the sin you had confessed, means that your repentance was not genuine in the first place; your confession was the result of an emotional experience, not a spiritual experience in which the Holy Spirit convicted you of sin. If, when you attended a friends funeral, you heard a message which touched you, and you raised up your hand, when the preacher gave what we call an altar call, but shortly afterwards, you were back to your usual lifestyle of drinking, or you were back with your friends on the prowl for fun which can range from parties, sexual encounters, drugs, booze, etc., you never really repented; you were probably only moved by the emotion of the loss of your friend or the touching words of the preacher.
3. So, what does true or genuine repentance entail?
a) You must realize that you are a sinner, and that all your actions, including church attendance, while still living in sin, is sinful. This realization can come about when God suddenly makes you see yourself as you really are, a sinner; or when the Holy Spirit, through preaching, or incontrovertible evidence, convinces you that you have been living a life of sin, and you are indeed convicted, and admit that you are indeed a sinner.
b) You must make a conscious decision to turn away from sin in any shape or form, and must be willing to forsake sin, henceforth.
c) This decision to turn away from sin and to forsake sin must be promptly followed with actions that are congruent with that decision. Such actions would, for instance, involve:
You going to God in repentance instantly, and doing away with friends who are not going to help you to live for God, even if these friends are church goers, but not living for God;
That you stop seeing that boyfriend or girlfriend, with whom you are fornicating, even if you are both in the choir of your church;
You consciously avoiding all those money-seeking ventures that turned you into a greedy and selfish person; among others.
It is important to note that you cannot for example, say you will repent tomorrow, so that you can commit a sin for one last timeit may indeed be the last thing you do on earth, because such an act is a deliberate sin, and it is impossible to find forgiveness for such! Friend, the truth about repentance is that God regards your prior sins as an involuntary and ignorant act of sin; but once you come to the conviction that you are a sinner, and you choose to continue in sin, then you are deliberately sinning; and it is impossible for people who do such things to find forgiveness. The bible says in Hebrews 6:4-6, For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. Although this scripture addresses those who were once Christians, but who have deliberately backslidden, yet it applies to that individual who knows that he can find forgiveness from God, but wants to go and commit one last act of sin before he asks God for forgivenessthe bible says it will be impossible for such a person to find Gods forgiveness!
d) Genuine repentance must include restitution where necessary. Restitution is about not keeping what does not belong to you, but returning such items back to the owner, plus a compensation amount of 20%, where applicable. By this broad definition, for a woman who is married to a man who was already married before she got married to him, and who is now born again, restitution will be handing the man back to the original ownerhis first wifeapologizing to her, and leaving the home. In reality, that woman was never marriedshe was committing fornication.
4. Finally, the disposition of the sinner is very critical in repentance. There are essentially two dispositions a person can exhibitthe disposition of contrition and the disposition of arrogance. The disposition of contrition is the nature displayed by a man who is crushed in heart because he realizes his utter sinfulness, he realizes how horribly he has hurt God, and he sees his poverty or nothingness in the light of Gods abundance and all-mightiness, and thus, his need for God. The disposition of arrogance on the other hand, displays a nature of self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and self-righteousness; and says, I am good and not a sinner because, I dont smoke, I dont drink, and I dont womanize. A man exhibiting this disposition does not usually repent because he does not believe he is bad or has done anything wrong. And should he repent, he will be doing so on the premise that he is doing God and the preacher a favour. He is therefore an abomination to God, and never gets any spiritual blessing from God. The nature of contrition, however, is to cry to God for help, and admit ones helplessness and hopelessness without God. From a person with the disposition of contrition, God just cannot turn away; in fact, He is always drawn to him, no matter how horrible his sin is. God resists and is opposed to people with a disposition of arrogance; but He gives grace or shows kindness and favour to those with a disposition of contritionsuch people are always blessed with Gods forgiveness, joy, and peace. For some reason, no matter how horrible a mans sin may be, when he turns to God with a disposition of contrition, Gods heart is drawn to him, and that man is blessed with the spiritual blessings of forgiveness, joy, and peace in his heart, which is, the real evidence of true salvation.

True repentance is really what happens when a person who has been made to realize his sinfulness, is truly convinced and thoroughly convicted of sins, displays a disposition of contrition, which then enables him to humbly confess and forsake his sins, thus, enabling God to release the spiritual blessings of forgiveness, joy, and peace. And for wholesome repentance, we must also make restitution where necessary and do all that is necessary not to be drawn back into a life of sin, by eliminating all those things that may lure us back into sin. If you havent really experienced the true blessing of God arising from repentance, then you want to re-access your disposition and conviction, and see if you really realize that you are a sinner, and if there is any restitution you are yet to make.

Let us pray!