THE GIFTS OF REPENTANCE
ITS TRANSFORMATION OF OUR PERSON.
There are some terms we have heard, perhaps haven’t fully understood, but they refer to the PROCESS OF TRANSFORMATION that come via REPENTANCE.
This process of receiving this transformation of mind has had many terms used to refer to it. It can sometimes seem so complicated, yet it is one of the simplest things in the universe. We have developed many misconceptions because of the terminology and jargon used. Let's examine the words, and the Greek words which are the original form of the term.
Let's thereby clear up our misconceptions.
A change of mind toward God and toward sin, is what repentance is. As we are in this transformation time, we speak of various parts of this transformation with many words.
Jesus preached like John the Baptist did, about the entering of the ‘kingdom of God’, and it was a one word ‘entrance’, i.e. REPENTANCE. When we are in that process of transformation, we see these things that follow here as a part of the transformation process:
Grace comes from the Greek word "charis". It means "a freeness, a spontaneous redemptive mercy, liberality, unmerited favor..."
"By whom also we have access by faith into this grace (unmerited favor)..."
II Peter 3:18
"But grow in grace (unmerited favor), and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ."
This grace (unmerited favor) is offered freely to all who want to be saved. We do not deserve salvation. The idea that we have to have certain good works to deserve salvation is strong in some Christian circles. It is a false doctrine. The truth is that the nature of salvation is that it is GRACE. It is totally unmerited, it is freely given, it is spontaneous.
The word atonement comes from the Greek word "kattallage." It means "reconciliation." When we become saved, a reconciliation has taken place between us and God. As sinners, we are estranged from God. As saved beings, we are reconciled and restored to relationship with God.
"...we joy in god through our Lord Jesus Christ by Whom we have now received the atonement (reconciliation)."
The Greek word, "hilaskomai" is sometimes translated "propitiation" and sometimes translated "mercy seat." It means "to cover, to appease." When we are saved, we have our sins covered by the blood of Jesus. His atonement for us is our covering. God does not see us as sinners any longer. He sees us as covered by the blood, and our covering is an appeasement to His justice and punishment against sin.
"Whom God hath set forth to be our propitiation (covering) through faith in His blood..."
"...over it the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy seat (covering)..."
The word "salvation" is from the Greek word "soteria." It means "preservation."
"Neither is there salvation (preservation) in any other, for there is none other name under heaven whereby we must be saved."
"For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (preservation)."
When we become saved, we are preserved from the wrath of God against sin. All the forgiven sins will not be remembered against us ever again.
One of the words for "forgiveness" is from the Greek word - "aphiemi." It means "to send forth." When we are saved, our sins have been "sent forth" from us to be totally forgotten by our God.
"Blessed are they whose iniquity is forgiven (sent forth)."
Another Greek word is translated "forgiveness." It is the word, "charizomai." It means "to bestow a favor unconditionally." When we forgive, we are to unconditionally bestow the favor. This is how God has forgiven us.
"Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving (bestowing favor unconditionally) one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven (unconditionally bestowed favor) you."
When we are forgiven, it is only "for Christ's sake" for we have no goodness for which to expect the forgiveness. Christ deserved favor from God, and not ourselves. God's favor of forgiveness is unconditional on us, for Jesus met all the conditions necessary.
The Greek word "exagorazo" means "to buy out, as to purchase a slave from slavery." When we are saved, we are redeemed from the slavery of the law and sin.
"Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law."
The redemption aspect of salvation is to show us that we were once slaves to sin, but are now bought with the price of the blood of Jesus. This purchase has made us now belong to the Lord.
The Greek word "palingenesia" means "to have birth again." We have taken from this idea the terminology "to be born again."
I Peter 1:23
"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible."
Before salvation, we were mortal beings bound for an eternal separation from God in hell-fire. When we became saved, we were pronounced dead in sin, and became born again into a new life. In this new life, we are immortal beings bound for an eternity of ruling and reigning with our Lord. Regeneration is the life again put into us a born again experience.
The Greek word "dikaiosis" means "pronouncing righteous, acquittal." When we are saved, we are justified (pronounced righteous) by our Lord. We have been acquitted of all charges in the trial for our life.
"Who... was raised again for our justification (acquittal)."
"...by the righteousness of One, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."
If we were on trial for a crime, it would be a joyful time when the attorney would come into our cell to announce that the Judge had pronounced us acquitted of all charges, and said that we would no longer have to answer for the charges against us. We are justified by God, because of the blood of Jesus, when we become saved.
The Greek word "pistis" means "firm persuasion, conviction based on hearing."
"As many as received Him to them gave He power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe (have firm persuasion based on hearing) on His name."
"Whom God hath set forth to be propitiation through faith (firm persuasion) in His blood."
Faith is a firm persuasion that causes us to reach out in a determined direction for Jesus. Like a drowning man will reach out for a rope with the firm persuasion that it can pull him to shore, a sinner can reach out for Jesus in a firm persuasion that we call "faith."
Righteousness is from the Greek word, "dikaiesune". It means "doing what conforms to the will of God, getting into a place of right standing with God." When we are saved, we become righteous in that we are doing the will of God in accepting Jesus as our Savior. We step into a place of "right standing" with God.
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (bestowment of right standing), and all these things shall be added unto you."
II Corinthians 5:21
"For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."
The Greek word "huiothesia" is translated "adoption." It literally means "giving the position of a son to one who does not naturally belong." When we are saved, we are placed into the family of God, and take the position of "son". We have a big brother named Jesus. We are joint heirs with Jesus in the family of God. What a position to fill!
"...but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we call 'Abba Father'"
"...to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."
The Greek word "sphragis" means "a seal, a signet, an emblem of ownership." When we are saved, we receive an emblem of ownership. We belong to God, and He gives us the Holy Spirit to be our Friend, Guide, and Counselor.
"... in Whom after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise."
The Holy Spirit is present at all salvations. He is the One Who convicted the sinner, and thereby encouraged repentance. He then led us to call upon Jesus for salvation. The Spirit baptized us into the Christ-life at the moment of salvation. He then walks with us in life, as the Lord walked with the disciples when He was on earth.
The Greek word "kleronomeo" means "to possess a birthright." As Christians, we possess a birthright. We have come into the family of God, and that entitles us to certain privileges, rights, and powers. We have many blessings to possess and look forward to.
"Are they (angels) not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation."
I Peter 3:9
"Knowing that ye are thereunto called that ye should inherit a blessing."
From some things we can save ourselves. If we are freezing, we can put on warmer clothes or turn on the furnace. If we are starving, we may go to McDonalds', or raid the refrigerator. If we are dying of thirst, we may dig a well, or turn on the faucet. If we are ignorant, we can attend school. However, we cannot save ourselves from sin. Sin is a problem from which we are hopelessly unable to save ourselves. We need Another to save us. We need Jesus. He is our only Hope. He offers a great salvation that is totally unmerited and wonderful. How foolish if we neglect so great a salvation!
God wants to save us all.
II Peter 3:9
"The Lord is... not willing that any should perish."
There are no restrictions. He wants to save Jew and Gentile. He wants to save the rich and the poor. He wants to save the educated and the uneducated. He will save the sick or the well. He loves all. That is why the prophets often called God the "Lord of Hosts." He is the God of everyone.
All we need to do to receive these gifts of salvation is to confess our sins.
"Repent ye therefore, and be converted that your sins may be blotted out."
All confessed sins are forgiven.
I John 1:9
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
The repented and confessed sins are totally forgotten by our loving God. He does not want to remember our sins. No more than a parent would keep pictures of the rebellion of one's child. No! The parent keeps pictures of graduations, birthdays, good times, etc. so God desires to forget our rebellion, and wants to only remember our righteousness in Him.
"Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
Repented ins are cast into the depths of the sea:
"Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea."
Repented sins are removed as far as the east is from the west. There is a measure-able distance between the north pole and the south pole. Yet, there is no measure of distance of east from west:
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us."
No! We don't deserve this kind of salvation and forgiveness. Yet, Christ left the glories of heaven to become a man for the purpose of dying for our sins. We deserved judgment, but Christ took our judgment on the cross. His blood was shed, so ours would not have to be shed for our own sins. A total forgiveness is offered to all who will simply accept Jesus as the atonement for sin.
Satan will try to keep reminding former sinners of their sins. He will lay guilt upon the saints if they let him. The devil loves to get Christians depressed about sins that Jesus has already forgiven. The old sinful self has been put to death, and the new creation that God has made of you, causes you to be a born-again, blood-bought, forgiven, reconciled child of God, and joint heir with Jesus.
Repentance is the change of mind, that encompasses all these other names we give to the process of salvation that begins in us at the moment of 'repentance'.
Those who fight the idea of 'repentance' are also fighting all these other terms. Without a change of mind toward God and toward sin, how can anyone claim salvation. We are not saved if we continue to love sin, commit horrible crimes, hate, and etc.
Salvation brings a change of nature, a new creation we become, and old things pass away, all has become new, and that is the definition of REPENTANCE.
Repentance is not the 'sinners prayer' for that may or may not indicate a change of mind toward sin and toward God. It is not berating self for minor flaws.
Repentance is changing our mind toward God, and toward His ways. If we have not that, we are not saved. If we have that, we are in His grace, we are inheritors, we are in salvation, we are redeemed, of all the above words.
REPENTANCE IS THE EVENT THAT HAPPENS WHEN GRACE IS BESTOWED UPON US.