20. Repentance

By John Thiel, First Angel’s Message, study 20, mp3

The everlasting gospel under the first angel’s message is the detail of the apprenticeship that we commenced, an apprenticeship to Christ. We have come to know God and the amazing attributes of his holiness and his grace as revealed in the atonement of Jesus. As we studied all that goodness that comes from the atonement, it is revealed to us to become engraven into us through the apprenticeship. Through the study of prayer life and of the Word, it becomes embedded in us. We are to study for ourselves and as we study, it calls for another activity.

Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

We have studied Gods goodness, his patience, forbearance, longsuffering and all that was to create something in us. It’s meant to create repentance. In studying the subject of repentance, the first question that must come to our mind is who is to exercise repentance?

Matthew 9:13 But go ye and learn what [that] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Repentance must come from sinners. Is a sinner naturally repentant? It’s impossible. A sinner enjoys sin. We saw as we studied the old and the new covenant that although God had already ransomed us through Jesus, it’s very hard for us to grasp the fact unless the sinner promises to keep Gods commandments and he miserably fails. Having broken his promise, he begins to feel his true condition of sinfulness. This experience of failure fills the heart with terrible bitterness. You have low esteem when you realise how weak you are. When your heart is filled with this awareness, you can repent in one of two ways. The first one we are going to look at is in Matthew. This is a repentance that I have failed so miserably.

The Example of Judas

Judas was filled with bitterness.

Matthew 27:3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What [is that] to us? see thou [to that]. 5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

He repented. What kind of repentance was this? He realised what he had done and he repented himself.

Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble [you], and thereby many be defiled; 16 Lest there [be] any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

He was very upset and he wanted to repent. He found no place of repentance or way to change his mind. Here is what is meant by repentance. It is to change your mind. Both Judas and Esau although they repented and were sorry for what they had done, they didn’t change their mind. One went and hung himself and the other continued without God in his life. This is a repentance that comes from the bitterness of discovery but it is not a good repentance.

Godly Sorrow

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

This qualifies the sorrow of the world like Judas and Esau that works death but godly sorrow is unto salvation. How can it take place? The sinner doesn’t feel like repenting correctly. This godly sorrow is something that doesn’t come naturally.

Acts 5:31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand [to be] a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

Repentance is something that has to be given us from Jesus. Jesus is the one from whom we receive repentance. It is he that gives us repentance.

John 3:27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

Jesus Came to Give Repentance

Jesus came to give repentance and that is what comes from heaven. Nothing that is given us John says can be received except it be given from heaven. God’s goodness leads us to repentance. It is the goodness of Jesus that will bring forth a repentance that need not be repented of. It is a different kind of repentance to Judas and Esau. It’s a changing of mind so that the sin I once enjoyed I no longer enjoy. Is acceptable repentance something that must be gained from Jesus? Is it indeed an apprenticeship? Notice that the gift of repentance is together with all the other gifts something that comes from heaven.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Who would have thought that the good gift comes from the Father? The good gifts that come to us include repentance.

Romans 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

We can’t produce true repentance, it is a gift that God gives and he gives it to us with Jesus Christ. In the gift of Jesus Christ lies the true gift of repentance. True repentance is that only that which God could provide by giving us Jesus in the new covenant. We are to take hold of Jesus and learn of Him repentance because He is the one who brings it to us.

Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

We are to have repentance unto salvation. If we are going to have repentance unto salvation we need to have the Author of that salvation showing us. Here was Jesus in the days of His flesh praying and supplicating God with strong crying and tears. Here are the elements involved in repentance. He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. We observe that repentance comes when a person has been convicted of something he has done after he has promised not to do it and he feels terrible inside of himself. Repentance takes place when a soul is in such a condition.

The Israelites and Peter

The Israelites were hearing the preaching of Peter at the time of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The preaching of the word to the people created a broken down condition, a pricking of the heart. It caused them to gasp and say, what shall we do about this? The answer is, repent. When I am pricked in my heart and I’m really broken and I don’t know what to do I have to learn from Jesus what to do. Is there something in Jesus that I can identify? What shall we do? Repent and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. Preaching created a pricking of heart which leads to repentance. Is there something in Jesus that I can identify with in a pricked heart?

Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear.

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

How was sin condemned in the flesh?

Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? [why art thou so] far from helping me, [and from] the words of my roaring? 2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. 3 But thou [art] holy, [O thou] that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

What was He doing? He was crying and pleading as He carried our sins in His body.

Psalm 40:11 Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me. 12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.

The cry for mercy was repentance.

  It is not now the work of the sinner to make peace with God, but to accept Christ as his peace and righteousness. Thus man becomes one with Christ and one with God. There is no way by which the heart may be made holy, save through faith in Christ. Yet many think that repentance is a kind of preparation which men must originate themselves before they can come to Christ. They must take steps themselves in order to find Christ a mediator in their behalf. It is true that there must be repentance before there is pardon, but the sinner must come to Christ before he can find repentance. It is the virtue of Christ that strengthens and enlightens the soul, so that repentance may be godly and acceptable. . . . Repentance is as certainly a gift of Jesus Christ as is forgiveness of sins. Repentance cannot be experienced without Christ, for it is the repentance of which He is the author that is the ground upon which we may apply for pardon. It is through the work of the Holy Spirit that men are led to repentance. It is from Christ that the grace of contrition comes, as well as the gift of pardon, and repentance as well as forgiveness of sins is procured only through the atoning blood of Christ. Those whom God pardons He first makes penitent. {TMK 109.3}

Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

How does God respond when we repent like Jesus did?

Psalm 51:16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give [it]: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart. God does not despise this contrite heart, He gives pardon.

Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, [and] established my goings.  3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, [even] praise unto our God: many shall see [it], and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.   4 Blessed [is] that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

2 Corinthians 7:8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though [it were] but for a season. 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. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, [what] clearing of yourselves, yea, [what] indignation, yea, [what] fear, yea, [what] vehement desire, yea, [what] zeal, yea, [what] revenge! In all [things] ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

We need not only to be sorry for a season, but to sorrow to repentance. Repentance leads to salvation not to be repented of. This is Godly repentance which leads to carefulness, vehement desire, fear and zeal. Let us be clear in this matter. True change of mind is required through Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

We must engage in this type of repentance. This is an apprenticeship which we must continue till we have it down to perfection. It is an ongoing apprenticeship and experience of repentance until Jesus finds us holy.

   The prayer of the publican was heard because it showed dependence reaching forth to lay hold upon Omnipotence. Self to the publican appeared nothing but shame. Thus it must be seen by all who seek God. By faith–faith that renounces all self-trust–the needy suppliant is to lay hold upon infinite power. {COL 159.2}

   No outward observances can take the place of simple faith and entire renunciation of self. But no man can empty himself of self. We can only consent for Christ to accomplish the work. Then the language of the soul will be, Lord, take my heart; for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unchristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul. {COL 159.3}

It is not only at the beginning of the Christian life that this renunciation of self is to be made. At every advance step heavenward it is to be renewed. All our good works are dependent on a power outside of ourselves. Therefore there needs to be a continual reaching out of the heart after God, a continual, earnest, heartbreaking confession of sin and humbling of the soul before Him. Only by constant renunciation of self and dependence on Christ can we walk safely. {COL 159.4}

There is to be a continual reaching of the heart out to God this leads to continual heart-breaking confession of sin. This is why Jesus did not sin in His flesh; this is what He practiced.

1 Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of [his] time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

We should arm ourselves with the same mind – continual confession and repentance of sin.


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Posted on 11/07/2009, in 1st Angel's Message and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Denise Byers

    This was excellent! This is how my husband always believed and preached on repentence. 🙂

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