Monthly Archives: March 2014
In Part 1, we summed up “Saving Belief” as “a belief of the heart that comes from being born again to new life in Christ, with new things having come and old things having passed away, manifested in a life of repentance, immersion & saturation with the life of Christ, by the Holy Spirit, and an unmistakable visual lifestyle that displays righteousness.”
In Part 2, we will look at the most foundational aspect of this “Christian Journey”: “Saving Repentance”. A term once so commonplace to “Christiandom”, “repentance” has become a lost concept in many “seeker sensitive” congregations, and our culture of easy-believism. However, Repentance is both central, and foundational to the Christian faith. It has been called: “The first word of the Kingdom.” Both John the Baptist, as the forerunner to the Christ, and Jesus Himself, in the first “red letters” of His public ministry, said: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at Hand.”
What is this repentance, and why is it necessary?
All my Christian life, I was told that “repentance” was a “180 degree turning” – and although that is in no way a “wrong” definition, I have found that defining repentance with this simple 3 word phrase does two things. 1) it falls short of giving us an understanding of the truth of repentance, and 2) it seems to suggest an action that is “easily accomplished” in our own efforts. And, though repentance is a turning, and it does require effort on our part, I have found that to have “saving repentance” in our lives, we need more that just a 3 word definition.
My journey in Christ was revolutionized with 2 scripture passages regarding “repentance” – the first was Matthew 4:17: “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ ” I figured that the first recorded words of Jesus’ public ministry in the New Testament had to be of significance, and then even more, the first word: “Repent”.
A quick word study on the Greek word for Repent, and its use in this passage was more than eye-opening. First, the word repent does mean “to turn” but it means more than that, it also means “to change your mind” or, “to change your perception (or your way of thinking)”. This is significant, and will prove to be even more so with the second passage below. But, before I get ahead of myself, let’s look at the “implications” of the use of this word in this statement: “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This passage literally implies that “if there is not a change in perception (your thought process), you will miss the Kingdom of Heaven all together”. Those Jesus was speaking to didn’t need to make a 180 degree turn physically – they were face-to-face with the Kingdom of Heaven in Christ Himself – what they needed to do was make a 180 degree (or complete) change in their way of thinking, or the Kingdom of Heaven – though right in their midst – would pass them by, as they would not even perceive that it had come!
Now, to explore the second passage, found in a strange place, and it doesn’t even include the word repentance as such. Isaiah 55, verses 8 & 9: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” There was a moment in time in which the Spirit of God illuminated this passage to me, and spoke two things to me. 1) This passage is foundational to your (Christian) journey; 2) This is the essence of repentance.
I have discovered that my mind (my thought processing) is one of the largest, if not the largest, obstacle to my ability to “enter the kingdom”. That is to say, if I insist on processing The Word of God using “my mind” (thought process), I will get hung up at every apparent contradiction, every teaching that is contrary to my logic, and every action of Jesus and the Prophets that just doesn’t make sense. Establishing a commitment to “Isaiah 55:8 & 9 Repentance”, as I call it, is the only way that we can progress forward in our Christian Journey without getting hung up or derailed at every turn. And there are many, unexpected twists and turns upon the narrow road.
If you can grasp the revelation of this deeper insight into Repentance, it will revolutionize every aspect of your Christian journey into the Kingdom of God.
Addendum, “The morning after…”
The depth of repentance that I propose, “saving repentance”, is this: “Father I acknowledge and embrace that my thinking, my perceptions and my ways, are not Yours. I repent, that is I turn from my way of thinking, acting & my perceptions, to Your way of thinking, acting and perceiving. Renew my mind to the mind of Christ, that I might see and receive your Kingdom, in all areas of my life.”
Other Scripture to consider:
Romans 8:6, 7 – “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so.”
Romans 12:2 – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
1 Cor 2:14-16 – “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”
Next up in NoSpectators’ “Wake Up!” series? We will dissect “Saving Sanctification” by looking into Spirit, Soul, Body & Heart, and how the understanding of it plays out into our journey from sinner, to saint – kingdom of darkness, to the Kingdom of God!
True Biblical Faith begins in the heart – however, faith of the heart alone is dead faith; while faith of the feet alone, is legalism; neither, by itself, is saving faith. It takes God’s Grace to have ‘The Faith of Son of God’ in the heart; and Grace alone can make that faith manifest in your feet.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” – Gal 2:20“For by grace are you saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” – Eph 2:8“What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” – James 2:14, 17
May our prayer be: “Father, grant by Your Grace, that the faith of my heart, might be the faith of Christ, and allow the Grace of your Holy Spirit to strengthen, empower, compel and cause me to have faith of the feet!”“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” – Ez 36:27“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” – Matt 5:16″So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the [living & active]word of Christ.” – Rom 10:17Lastly, in this story that Jesus told, consider that both heard, it could even be said both had faith of the heart; but only one had faith of the feet:“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” – Matt 7:24-27