Thursday, November 04, 2010

Repentance: The fundamental summons of God

The call to repent was the fundamental summons in the preaching of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2), Jesus (Matthew 4:17), the Twelve (Mark 6:12), Peter at Pentecost (Acts 2:38), Paul to the Gentiles (Acts 17:30;26:20), & the glorified Christ to five of the seven churches in Asia (Revelation 2:5,16,22; 3:3,19). It was part of Jesus' summary of the gospel that was to be taken to all the world (Luke 24:47). It corresponds to the constant summons of the Old Testament prophets to Israel to return to the God from whom they had strayed (eg., Jeremiah 23:22; 25:4,5; Zechariah 1:3-6). Repentance is always set forth as the path to remission of sins and restoation to God's favor, while impenitence is the road to ruin (e.g., Luke 13:1-8).

The Westminster Confession says that in repenting...

a sinner, out of the sight and sense, not only of the danger, but also the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, as contrary to the holy nature and righteous Law of God, and upon the apprehension of His mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, so grieve for and hates his sins as to turn from them all unto God, purposing and endeavoring to walk with Him in all the way of His commandments (Westminster Confession, 15:2).

Feelings of remorse, self-reproach, and sorrow for sin generated by fear of punishment, without any wish or resolve to forsake sinning should not be confused with repentance. David expresses true repentance in Psalm 51, having in his heart the serious purpose of sinning no more, and of living a righteous life (Luke 3:8; Acts 26:20).

~ Excerpted from the note on Repentance from the New Geneva Study Bible

If the command to repent is fundamental to the Christian gospel, why is it that we do not hear of it in most of the modern churches? If the preaching of repentance is essential to sharing the way of salvation, why it is left out of the message of most ministries & missionaries?

Listen to your pastor. For the next 6 weeks mark how many times (if any) he preaches or teaches the necessity of repentance. If you support a missionary or a ministry (including pregnancy centers), go to their newsletters &/or website & do a word search for 'repent'. Do the same for your church's website.

Beware. It is the devil's work to suppress the truth of God's commandments & the warning of punishment. Go to your pastor if you have concerns about his neglect of the gospel call to repent, bring this concern to him privately. Do the same with a missionary or the director of any ministry you are supporting.

Let's hold those who call themselves teachers to the fire of the Word of God. Make them accountable to blow the trumpet of salvation of God with a certain sound. For ...

" if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle?" I Corinthians 14:8

Numbers 10:9 "When you go to war in your land against the adversary who attacks you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the LORD your God, and be saved from your enemies.

Jeremiah 4:19 My soul, my soul! I am in anguish! Oh, my heart! My heart is pounding in me; I cannot be silent, Because you have heard, O my soul, The sound of the trumpet, The alarm of war.

Ezekiel 33:3 and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows on the trumpet and warns the people,

Joel 2:1 Blow a trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, For the day of the LORD is coming; Surely it is near ...

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