And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures,
which are able to make thee wise unto salvation
through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,
for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2 Timothy 3:15 & 16
Thy word is true from the beginning:
and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
|Demystifying Biblical Repentance|
The word “repentance” as found in the Holy Bible has been elevated unto a status where this doctrine is enshrined with some mystical and unexplainable concepts. Man-made standards, expectations and works become associated with repentance regardless of whether they have biblical support for such views. Two extremes become evident to those who like to dabble with the Scriptures mixing faith with secular wisdom from the fallen mind of men.
On one extreme, some believe that salvation of the souls of men are based on repentance, meaning one must repent of his sins to be saved apart from the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. The preaching of the cross of Christ is more or less incidental where emphasis is based on repentance, the outward form required from the penitent to work for his own salvation having been enlightened to his true condition as a sinner deserving hell fire for his sins. This is where the system of salvation is based on works as all false teachers teach. Those who embrace this teaching are not saved for his faith is not based on Christ but on his own repentance. The gospel of Christ simply awakes the need to repent for the salvation of his soul. Hence, there is no true assurance of salvation from those who believe such a doctrine as this salvation is man-centred and not Christ-centred. As such, false teachers have been installing man-made systems and standards by which a man must be measured against to determine whether he is truly saved. This is one of the best ways for cult groups to control a man because salvation is determined by the false teachers to keep him in the fold where hell fire is very real to him if he dares to deviate from their teachings. This system indeed keeps a man in bondage where the true gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Christ is cleverly hidden away from the sinner even though it is preached but man-made standards and traditions override the simplicity of the gospel in Christ. The gospel of Christ is just the beginning of salvation but real salvation really depends on the sinner to endure unto the end to be saved. This is where repentance is always put to the forefront to keep and help sinners remain saved.
On the other end, some realize that there is a need for repentance but found no way of repenting because of indwelling sin and hence they expect God to grant them true repentance. While it is true that apart from work of the Holy Spirit to convict the sinner of his sins, there is no way a sinner could repent in the truest sense of the word, but to expect God to grant him true repentance is going off on a tangent as far as the Scriptural term “repentance” is concerned. This is because such a notion to expect God to grant him true repentance implies that God is withholding him from repenting and God owes it to him to grant him this “true repentance” he so desires. It could also imply that God has the obligation to do the repenting for him just like God the Father sending His only Begotten Son to die for his sin, God must also perform the repenting for him. This may be due to guilt from some sins he has sinned willfully and is unable to stop sinning and hence the constant crying out to God to grant him true repentance because all this while his repentance has been found to be faulty. This is the defeatist’s vain attempt in seeking solace in escapism in hopes of finding true repentance that is ever so illusive. As such, there is this constant prayer praying to God to grant him true repentance while he continues to live a life of sin and defeat as a blood bought child of God.
Such unscriptural practice could be the results of some bad teachings, particularly from Calvinism where God is so Sovereign that God will save His elect because sinners cannot respond by faith to God’s call of salvation. This false teaching extends to repentance where God must grant it otherwise there is no true repentance and hence the sinning in the flesh continues until such time God is pleased to grant this deluded believer ”true repentance”. Then why is God delaying granting “true repentance” to a Christian who prays regularly for it? Does it mean that God enjoys seeing His child wallowing in fake repentance? Does it mean that God has been granting men false repentance? The confusion starts when a Christian does not take the simple terms “repent” and “repentance” from the Scriptures according to the context in which they are used. Failing to allow Scriptures to speak for themselves, he starts erecting big words to enshroud “repentance” into some mystical doctrine beyond the reach of fallen men to respond to God’s call of salvation and holiness. Another reason why a Christian is confused with the biblical term “repentance” is because he fails to differentiate between salvation and sanctification. Whenever a Christian cannot tell the difference between the characteristics of the natural man and the new man in a believer, there is this confusion over the biblical term “repentance”.