Thoughts and Truth from the Impossible Life

That Ye Might Believe That Jesus Is the Christ

“That Ye Might Believe That Jesus Is the Christ” by Nancy W. Jensen

Isaiah 61:1-3; JST Luke 3:4-11; John 1:1-14; 20:31

THE MISSION OF JESUS CHRIST

Isaiah 61:1-3 is such a beautiful scripture, it begs to be read aloud over and over! These verses, understood, can change one’s understanding of the Atonement, and are a great passage to read and ponder during the sacrament. Elder Bruce C. Hafen wrote a wonderful treatise on it entitled “Beauty for Ashes” which you can read here.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our god; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty [to replace] ashes, the oil of joy [to replace] mourning, the garment of praise [to replace] the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”

Christ read this scripture in the synagogue to proclaim himself the Messiah, “but stopped short so that he could say, ‘Today as you heard it read, this passage of [Scripture] (up to but not including the day of vengeance) was fulfilled,’ for at his first coming he healed and brought Good News of the Kingdom and salvation; it was not his time to take vengeance or judge” (Stern). “And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” (Luke 4:20-21)

Notice each of the things Christ has been anointed to do, each marked by the word “to.” Which of these things do you need in your life?

1. to preach good tidings unto the meek
2. to bind up the broken-hearted
3. to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound
4. to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
5. and [to proclaim] the day of vengeance of our God
6. to comfort all they that mourn
7. to give [or exchange] to [those that mourn in Zion] beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

The next part of the reading assignment is JST Luke 3:4-11, and it also contains a long list of gifts that Christ has brought, each also marked by the word “to:”

1. to take away the sins of the world
2. to bring salvation unto the heathen nations
3. to gather together those who are lost, who are of the sheepfold of Israel
4. to prepare the way, and make possible the preaching of the gospel unto the Gentiles
5. to be a light unto all who sit in darkness, unto the uttermost parts of the earth
6. to bring to pass the resurrection from the dead
7. to ascend up on high, to dwell on the right hand of the Father
8. to administer justice unto all
9. to come down in judgment upon all
10. to convince all the ungodly of their ungodly deeds.

The Atonement is for the washing away of sins, clearly, and for the resurrection of the dead, obviously, but these scriptures show that it is so much more than that, and very applicable and helpful to our everyday problems and challenges.

The third scripture in the reading assignment is John 1:1-14. I always had trouble understanding why Christ was called “The Word” here. The JST makes the meaning of that term clear:

“In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God” (v. 1). In him was the gospel, and the gospel was the life, and the life was the light of men” (v. 4).

(When reading the JST in the LDS Bible Appendix, it is helpful to notice that the changes from the King James Version have been italicized.)

OVERVIEW OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

As we look at the Table of Contents of the New Testament we can see that the book can be easily divided up into four sections:

1. The Gospels (testimonies of Christ)
2. Acts (work of the apostles, especially Peter’s work among the Jews and Paul’s work among the Gentiles)
3. Epistles (letters from Church leaders to the saints)
4. Revelation (revelation received by John on the isle of Patmos)

Why are there four gospels, four different tellings of the life of Christ? Sure, there is the reason that all truth is established by God in the mouth of two or three witnesses, and here we have even more than that, but couldn’t they have collaborated and put together one story that would have been a comprehensive, all-inclusive, chronological biography of Christ, with four witnesses to it? Then there wouldn’t have been any contradictions, and everything would have been covered. Right?

Well, the gospels are not just biographies, but testimonies of Christ (Bible Dictionary, p. 683). Each author came from a different walk of life, and was writing to a specific audience. The study of the authorship, audience, and angle of each of the gospels is fascinating and instructive.

OVERVIEW OF THE FOUR GOSPELS

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are quite similar in phraseology and content, and for that reason they are called “The Synoptic Gospels” (Bible Dictionary, p. 683). The Gospel of John is quite different, and we will discover the reason for that later.

The Gospel of Mark

Scholars agree that Mark was probably written first, and that the other writers had access to it when writing their gospels. Mark was not one of the apostles. He was younger. He likely was alive when Christ was alive, but he would have been a child. After his conversion, he became the younger missionary companion of Paul, and later of Peter, serving mainly among the Gentiles. Therefore, he wrote his gospel from his missionary perspective: a Jew writing to Gentiles. One can see that hee assumed that the reader would be unfamiliar with Jewish customs and terms and with Palestinian geography, because he explained and described those things. One can also see that he assumed that the reader was familiar with Latin terms and customs.

“[Mark’s] object is to describe our Lord as the incarnate Son of God, living and acting among men. The gospel contains a living picture of a living Man. Energy and humility are the characteristics of his portrait. It is full of descriptive touches that help us to realize the impression made upon the bystanders” (BD, p. 728). It is “fast moving, emphasizing the doings more than the sayings of the Lord” (BD, p. 683). Note how many times Mark uses the words “immediately, “straightway,” “anon”–all translations of the same word. (Fronk) This one word is used eight times in chapter one alone, in verses 10, 12, 18, 20, 21, and 28. Reading Mark leaves one breathless. The intensity of the ministry is emphasized: No time to rest, no time to eat. Mark is full of miracles. An interesting experiment: Camille Fronk recommends reading it all in one sitting, to catch the energy in the telling.

The Gospel of Matthew

Matthew was a Jew. He was a publican, and so he was not popular by profession. He was one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ, and he was alive when these things were happening, although he certainly wasn’t eyewitness to all of them. “Matthew was probably a thorough Jew with a wide knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures, and able to see in every detail of the Lord’s life the fulfillment of prophecy” (BD, p. 729). His book was written to convince the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. For this reason, he highlighted the number 14 in Christ’s genealogy and he noted 14 prophecies from the Jewish scriptures that were fulfilled by Christ. (See “The Importance of the Number 14” in a previous lesson.) He knew that the number 14 was significant to his readers, who were Hebrew. He knew that they knew that 14 meant “salvation.”

Matthew picked and chose who to represent in the genealogy, as there were actually more than 14 generations between each important individual (and this was acceptable to the Jews, because the symbolic number was the most important thing, not the literal number), but in that picking and choosing, he referenced five women. Besides Mary (1:16), he listed Thamar or Tamar (1:3), Rachab or Rahab, Ruth (1:5), and Bathsheba (1:6). Every one of these women had questionable pasts, particularly in relation to their conception and child-bearing, but produced great results for the House of Israel, making themselves ancestral heroines.

1) Tamar conceived while masquerading as a prostitute! The father of her child was her own father-in-law. The reason she committed this grossly immoral deception was that, in opposition to Jewish law, Judah and his sons had cheated her out of progeny, sent her back to her father’s house, and consigned her to life as a childless widow (twice widowed, actually), a state that would undoubtedly lead to devastating poverty in her old age. (See “Opposites” in a previous lesson.)

2) Rahab was an idolatrous prostitute in Jericho. With no gospel training, no missionaries, no “members” living nearby, and in the most wicked environment in the world, she gained a testimony of Jehovah. After her conversion, and after saving the spies of Israel, she raised her son, Boaz, to be a great, kind, wise, and faithful man, the man who married Ruth! (See a previous lesson for more on Rahab.)

3) The next woman mentioned, Ruth, was Rahab’s daughter-in-law, a convert from idolatry as well, a Moabitess. She was married to a Hebrew, and then widowed, which dropped her to the bottom of Jewish society. From this low point, she sought her own marriage, contrary to custom, and was most likely not the first wife. (See OT Lesson #20.)

4) Last mentioned was Bathsheba, who conceived as a result of an extra-marital date-rape, or at least an event beyond her control, since the perpetrator happened to be the all-powerful king David. (See a previous lesson for more on this.)

5) By including these particular women, revered by the Jews but with imperfect and even abhorrent family situations, Matthew presented the perfect defense for Mary’s unusual circumstance of conception. (Bokovoy)

A little parable recorded in Matthew is especially applicable to the Jews. “Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old” (Matt. 13:52). The “scribe” would be a man knowledgeable in the Jewish religion. “Things old” would be the Law of Moses, and “things new” the Gospel of Christ. Matthew included a lot of anti-Pharisee comments to show that the Law was not an end in itself, as the Pharisees seemed to think. Chapters 5-7 give the higher law. “The Kingdom of Heaven” would be important to the Jews, and many of the parables in Matthew liken something to the Kingdom of Heaven. The parables describe trees growing or bread rising, showing that the Kingdom of Heaven is a process, not an event. (Fronk)

Matthew’s is the only gospel that includes the story of the wise men. Jews would have been most impressed by wealthy, learned men who had studied the scriptures in far away lands (they might possibly have been displaced Jews) and recognized the signs of the Messiah’s coming.

Matthew included five major discourses given by Jesus Christ. He highlighted these in a way similar to the way he highlighted the 14 prophecies, using a key phrase at the end of each. The phrase is “When Jesus had finished these sayings…” Is there a reason he chose five sermons? Of course! There is a reason for every number used by a Jew in the Bible! In this case, Matthew was adding a sequel to five writings that were very near and dear to every Jew, and were in fact, a foundation of their religion: The five books of Moses, the Torah. By doing this, he was showing the Jews that Christ was the fulfillment of the Law of Moses, and that His counsel superseded or added to that Law. (Bokovoy)

1. 5:1-7:27 The Sermon on the Mount, given to the multitude. The tag is found in 7:28.
2. 10:5-42 The instruction for the ministry of the 12 apostles. The tag is 11:1.
3. 13:1-52 The Sermon from the Ship, given to great multitudes. The tag is 13:53.
4. 18:1-35 “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of God?” spoken to the apostles. The tag is 19:1.
5. 24:3-25:46 The Olivet Discourse, given to the 12 apostles. The tag is 26:1.

The Gospel of Luke

Luke’s gospel is the one with the beautiful Christmas story, told from a woman’s perspective. (Matthew tells it from a man’s.) Luke was a Gentile convert, likely converted through the labors of Paul (see BD, p. 726), writing to Gentiles and to minorities, and to those looked down upon by the Jews: women, lepers, Samaritans, sinners (prostitutes). Luke was a physician, and therefore had close contact with and compassion for all types and both genders of people, a unique position. Most male professions in that day involved dealings with other men only, but a physician dealt with all, even the “unclean.”

As a missionary, Luke ministered to the Gentiles with Paul. Like Matthew, Luke gives a genealogy of Christ, but it differs from Matthew’s. Matthew introduced Christ as “the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1). This is what was important to the Jews: that Christ was one of the chosen people, and was in the kingly and priestly line. It was the first thing Matthew said in his testimony. Luke, on the other hand, gives a genealogy of Christ that identifies him as “the son of Joseph” (Luke 3:23) (even though Luke testifies of the divinity of Christ) and takes Christ’s ancestry all the way back to Adam (Luke 3:38), making everyone, Jew and Gentile, a relative of Christ. (Fronk)

Luke had a special understanding of women as a result of his medical ministry among them. He wa the only one who wrote of the annunciation of Mary, and of her visit to Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother. He knew that “Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). He knew of Simeon’s personal prophecy to Mary that “a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also” (Luke 2:35). How did he know of these things? Very likely he was a close personal acquaintance of Mary’s in the Church, and he heard these stories from her own mouth. Luke gives what little information we have about the childhood of Christ. He was the one who told of Mary’s terror when she realized her 12-year-old was not with the caravan. (See Luke 2:51).

Where is the parable of the Good Samaritan found? Only in Luke. What about Christ’s visit to Mary and Martha? Only in Luke. Many of the most treasured parables are found only in Luke: The woman with the lost coin, the shepherd with the lost sheep, the Prodigal Son, the rich man and the beggar Lazarus. The cleansing of the ten lepers is recorded only in Luke. Luke wrote to the underdog, to tell him (and her!) that Christ was come for them as well as for anyone.

The Gospel of John

John is the gospel that is not like the others. Like Matthew and Mark, John was a Jew converted to Christianity. Like Matthew he was one of the apostles. But unlike Matthew, he was not writing to convince the Jews that Jesus was the Christ, and unlike Mark, he was not writing to convince the Gentiles that Jesus was the Christ. He was not writing to convince anyone that Jesus was the Christ: he was writing to those who already knew. He was writing to the Christians. This makes his gospel very different. Near the conclusion of his book, we read, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31). The Harper-Collins Study Bible translates the intention of that passage to be slightly different: “But these are written, that ye might continue to believe that Jesus is the Christ…” “The Gospel of John,” wrote Bruce R. McConkie, “is the account for the saints” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 336).

John was in the Church from the very beginning. A follower of John the Baptist, he then became one of the first disciples of Christ. John was one of the “inner circle of three who were with the Lord at the raising of Jairus’s daughter, at the Transfiguration, and in Gethsemane” (BD, p. 715). So he was like a member of the First Presidency, one of the “three pillars of the Christian Church”. John wrote not only his gospel, but also three of the epistles, and the amazing book of Revelation. He identified himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” the one who wanted to continue to minister upon the earth until the Second Coming. His testament was the last one written, and contains unique contributions, and many more of Christ’s teachings than do the others. He had a deep understanding of the Savior and his gospel by the time he wrote his book. (Ludlow)

Only John tells how Christ raised Lazarus from the dead. Only John records the cleansing of the temple. In John, Christ explains his death to the apostles. Only in John do we read of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, and his commandment to them to be an example of love for each other. In John, the apostles are warned that the world will hate them and try to kill them. In John the gift of the Comforter is explained. The Intercessory prayer for the disciples is found in John. Only in John is Peter told three times, “Feed my sheep.” More of the resurrected Christ’s visit back to his disciples is recorded in John than in the other gospels. (Fronk)

John records seven miraculous signs of the divinity of Christ, five of which are only found in his gospel. (To see this list, see Victor Ludow’s article, “John: The Once and Future Witness”.)

The Gospel of John is a college text, where the other gospels are elementary school primers. The other three gospels are like sacrament meeting, and the Gospel of John is like a temple. In fact, John is better understood in relation to the temple ceremony. It is deep and rich and symbolic, and it builds upon what the other gospels give us and raises our understanding to a higher level. It is for the increased edification of those who are already saints.

Only John records the descriptions Christ gave of himself, many of which hearken back to the term used in the Old Testament to identify Jehovah: “I AM.” (Ludlow) Seven of them are especially noted, possibly symbolic of the meaning of the number seven: godly perfection. These are marked with a tag, similar to Matthew’s tags; they all begin with some form of the phrase “Jesus said unto them.”

1. When the multitude asked Christ to show them a sign, like the manna in the wilderness, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (6:35).
2. After saving the adulterous woman from stoning, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (8:12).
3. Later in that same conversation, “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I Am” (8:58), identical with the term used in Exodus 3:14, and after which they tried to stone him, but he spirited himself away.
4. After telling the parable of the sheepfold to the Pharisees, “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep…by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (10:7, 9).
5. To Martha, before raising Lazarus from the dead, “Jesus saith unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (11:25-26).
6. When Thomas asked how they would know the way, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (14:6).
7. When Judas was betraying him, (I’m removing the King James translators’ additions, which are in italics in the scriptures) “Jesus saith unto them, I am. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am, they went backward and fell to the ground” (18:5-8) and Jesus repeated the statement.

“John’s witness of the Lord is unique. His Gospel and epistles record some of the Savior’s noblest feelings and doctrines, especially His message of love” (Ludlow).

Sources:
Bible Dictionary entries for Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, p. 114.
Camille Fronk [Olson], “The Four Gospels,” Know Your Religion Lecture, January 1998, Logan, Utah
David Bokovoy, “A Literary Analysis of the Four Gospels,” BYU Education Week Lecture, August 2002
Victor Ludlow, “John: The Once and Future Witness,” Ensign, December 1991, p. 51-52
Thomas Mumford, Horizontal Harmony of the Gospels

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Why Share the Word of God the Holy Bible

Luke 13:19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.”

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

“Hearing” means that the Word of God is entering into your mind either through “reading” the Bible on your own, or “hearing” someone else preach or teach about the Bible. Either way, the Word of God is entering into your mind where you actually receive it.

July 28, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God, Daily Gospel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

REPENTANCE

English: Manasseh's Sin and Repentance; as in ...

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~WHAT IS REPENTANCE~

Repentance (Greek: metanoia) is a change of thought to correct a wrong and gain forgiveness from a person who is wronged. In religious contexts it usually refers to confession to God, ceasing sin against God, and resolving to live according to religious law. It typically includes an admission of guilt, a promise or resolve not to repeat the offense; an attempt to make restitution for the wrong, or in some way to reverse the harmful effects of the wrong where possible.

In Biblical Hebrew, the idea of repentance is represented by two verbs: שוב shuv (to return) and נחם nicham (to feel sorrow). In the New Testament, the word translated as ‘repentance’ is the Greek word μετάνοια (metanoia), “after/behind one’s mind”, which is a compound word of the preposition ‘meta’ (after, with), and the verb ‘noeo’ (to perceive, to think, the result of perceiving or observing). In this compound word the preposition combines the two meanings of time and change, which may be denoted by ‘after’ and ‘different’; so that the whole compound means: ‘to think differently after’. Metanoia is therefore primarily an after-thought, different from the former thought; a change of mind accompanied by regret and change of conduct, “change of mind and heart”, or, “change of consciousness”. A description of repentance in the New Testament can be found in the parable of the prodigal son found in the Gospel of Luke (15 beginning at verse 11).

The doctrine of Repentance in the Scriptures appears to be very prominent. See the description of repentance in the Hebrew Bible above for repentance in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, John the Baptist began his public ministry, as did Jesus, with a call to repentance (Matthew 3:1–2; Matthew 4:17). In the Acts 2 sermon on Pentecost, Peter commands repentance. In the Acts 3 sermon at the Beautiful gate of the Temple, Peter interchanges the phrase “turn again” at a similar place in his presentation. When Jesus sent forth messengers to proclaim his gospel, he commanded them to preach repentance (Luke 24:47; Mark 6:12). Teachings on repentance are found in the New Testament in Peter, (Acts 2:38); Paul, (Acts 20:21). God wants everyone to repent (2 Pet. 3:9; Acts 17:30). Indeed, failure on the part of man to heed God’s call to repentance means that he shall utterly perish (Luke 13:3).

The constant references to repentance in Peter’s preaching to his fellow countrymen in the early part of the book of Acts may indicate an exceptional need for repentance amongst those who had recently been party to the crucifixion of Christ, see Responsibility for the death of Jesus. Paul is emphatic that change take place amongst those whom he taught (see the Bible references to “turning to a true and living God”). This aversion to the Greek or idolatrous lifestyle may have come from the intense patriotism to Jewish ideals held by the well educated former Pharisee. Saint Isaac of Syria said, “This life has been given to you for repentance. Do not waste it on vain pursuits.”

There is a three-fold idea involved in true repentance in the Protestant conception. The Protestant reformer John Calvin said that repentance “may be justly defined to be “a true conversion of our life to God, proceeding from a serious fear of God, and consisting in the mortification of the flesh and of the old man, and in the vivification of the Spirit.” He further said that “it will be useful to amplify and explain the definition we have given; in which there are three points to be particularly considered.” “In the first place, when we call repentance “a conversion of the life to God, we require a transformation, not only in the external actions, but in the soul itself; which, after having put off the old nature, should produce the fruits of actions corresponding to its renovation. . . .In the second place, we represented repentance as proceeding from a serious fear of God. For before the mind of a sinner can be inclined to repentance, it must be excited by the knowledge of the Divine judgment.

“It remains for us, in the third place, to explain our position, that repentance consists of two parts—the mortification of the flesh and the vivification of the spirit. . . . Both these branches of repentance effects our participation of Christ. For if we truly partake of his death, our old man is crucified by its power, and the body of sin expires, so that the corruption of our former nature loses all its vigor. . . .If we are partakers of his resurrection, we are raised by it to a newness of life, which corresponds with the righteousness of God.” [Quotes from A Compend of the Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin edited by Hugh T. Kerr, The Westminster Press-Philadelphia 1939.]

Matthew 21:29: “He answered and said: I will not; but afterward he repented, and went”. The word here used for “repent” means to change one’s mind, thought, purpose, views regarding a matter; it is to have another mind about a thing. This change is well illustrated in the action of the Prodigal Son, and of the Publican in the well-known story of the Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 15 and 18). 2 Cor. 7:9–“Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance; for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.” See also Luke 10:13; cf. Gen. 6:6. The Greek word for repentance in this connection means “to be a care to one afterwards,” to cause one great concern. This meaning is exemplified by the repentant person who not only has profound regret for his past but also the fulfilled hope in the potential of God’s grace to continually bear the fruit of healing and true reconciliation in himself, with others, and most especially with God. The Hebrew equivalent is strong as well, and it means to pant, to sigh, or to moan. So the publican “beat upon his breast,” indicating sorrow of heart. See also Psalms 38:18.

The issue of repentance is also discussed in connection with the will and disposition. One of the Hebrew words for repent means “to turn.” The Prodigal Son said, “I will arise… and he arose” (Luke 15:18, 20). The part of the will and disposition in repentance is shown in the Confession of sin to God: Psa. 38:18 — “For I will declare mine iniquity: I will be sorry for my sin.” The publican beat upon his breast, and said, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). The prodigal said, “I have sinned against heaven” (Luke 15:21). There must be confession to man also in so far as man has been wronged in and by our sin (Matthew 5:23–24); James 5:16). Isa. 55:7 Prov. 28:13 (“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”); Matthew 3:8–10 (“Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:… And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”). It is not enough to turn away from sin; we must turn unto God. 1 Thessalonians 1:9; Acts 26:18.

According to Christians, acts of repentance do not earn God’s forgiveness from one’s sin; rather, forgiveness is given as a gift from God to those whom he saves. Acts 11:18–“Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” 2 Tim. 2:25 — “If God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” Acts 5:30, 31. In this view, people are called upon to repent in order that we may feel our own inability to do so, and consequently be thrown upon God and petition Him to perform this work of grace in our hearts. Many church fathers have made reference to it as the “gift of repentance” or as the “gift of tears”. God calls all to repent through the hearing of the Gospel. God grants total repentance as each individual responds to repentance through faith in the expiating sacrifice of Jesus for all sin. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). Repentance is given before anything else by definition. One cannot show true change in his life before he himself has changed [repented] to bring about manifestations of that change/repentance.

Acts 2:37, 38, 41. The very Gospel which calls for repentance produces it. When the people of Nineveh (Jonah 3:5-10) heard the preaching of the word of God by Jonah they believed the message and turned unto God. Not any message, but the Gospel is the instrument that God uses to bring about this desired end. Furthermore, this message must be preached in the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 1:5-10). Rev. 3:19; Heb. 12:6, 10-11. The chastisements of God are sometimes for the purpose of bringing His wandering children back to repentance. 2 Tim. 2:24-25. God often uses the loving, Christian reproof of a brother to be the means of bringing Christians back to God.

February 9, 2012 Posted by | Christianity / God | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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