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52 Weeks Discussion > Week 1, Day 5 thoughts - Genesis 10-12

I want to share a thought with you. Reading through today's insights, the author shows us the similarities that Lot has to one who is a carnal believer (walking in the flesh), and that Abram's model illustrates a surrendered believer (walking in the Spirit). This is certainly true, Lot looked around, saw the great-looking land, and took what he could for himself - basically taking advantage of Abram's kindness and generosity. And as the author pointed out, it didn't work out so well for Lot. That's the law of the sower at work (i.e. you reap what you sow).

One of the things I feel led to comment on is what the author states is the solution to finding oneself in the world's snare, having left our first love. He uses a verse out of Revelation (2:4-5) to introduce the topic of repentance. My concern is in the way it's presented in the material. Yes, in the Revelation passage Jesus tells the church in Ephesus to "repent and return to their first love." But as I see it, the way in which the author uses this verse tends to present a "works-based" solution to a "sin-based" problem. In other words, the author is using Abram and his return from Egypt as a proposal (or example) that one must "do something" before they can seek forgiveness and thus be able to enjoy intimacy with God. I believe this kind of thought emanates from what one's understanding of "repentance" is.

What I want to throw in here is some input on what repentance is. Did you know that in the Greek, the definition for the word, "repent" is simply "a change of mind?" Yup, that's it. All the other meanings that are associated with the word are ones that theologians have attached to it. But in the Greek, a "change of mind" is all it means. So in line with that, we can see that the word "repent" is pretty much synonymous with the word, "confess, because when we confess our sin before God (1 John 1:9), we are basically "agreeing" with God that we've sinned - i.e. we've "changed our mind" about what we've done, and agreed with God that He was right, and we were wrong. Once we've done that, according to that same verse, He forgives our sin and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. If we have "changed our mind" about that sin, then logically, that gives us the desire to correct our wrong and live according to the way God wants us to, which is clearly spelled out in His Word. In fact, I would challenge you to substitute the words, "change your mind" for the word "repent" whenever you see it. You'll see that it fits right in. In the example the author gave (Rev. 2:4-5), try it, "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and "change your mind" (repent), and do the first works." The reason the substitution works is because that's what "repent" means.

Other examples of Jesus using the word, "Repent," is when He is speaking to the multitudes many times. He's speaking to people that have been raised under the Mosaic system of the Law. That's what the people knew; that was their religion; that's what they had always believed. Jesus would then tell them to "repent" and believe the Gospel. A perfect example is in Mark 1:15 where Jesus says, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." What Jesus was doing was saying, "Hey people, change your minds from what you have believed in the past about God to what I'm telling you to believe now - the Gospel." That's very representative of what the meaning of the word, "repent" is. Jesus wasn't telling His hearers to change the way they live ... and then ... believe. He was telling them to believe, and then the natural progression of a changed life would come next ... because ... of what they believe; the works don't come first.

The reason I wanted to bring this up is because our first course of action when realizing we've sinned is to confess that sin before God (1 John 1:9). It's not to "work at it" and commit to try and get better. Not only do works "not" do anything in regards to our salvation (Eph. 2:8-9), they don't do anything as well in regards to receiving forgiveness when we're guilty of committing sin in the Christian life. Hopefully the change in works is the desired outcome, but to do the works first because you feel guilty is not in the correct order of things. Receiving forgiveness is, and that comes through confession of sin! We've been studying 1st John for months now, and the entire letter is focusing on fellowship with God and how to maintain that fellowship in our lives (specifically 1 John 1:1-4). First, it is imperative that we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh (Gal. 5:16, 2:20). In fact, it's impossible to be in fellowship with God when walking in the flesh (1 John 1:6-7). When we've sinned (and we inevitably will as we are fleshly creatures and will revert to the old nature at times), we need to realize we've sinned and "change our minds" about it (confess it) in order to get back right with God (1 John 1:9; 2:1). Obviously, if we continue to sin (walking in the flesh), we won't be in fellowship with God (1 John 1:6). So to reestablish our fellowship and "walk in the Spirit," that change will need to have occurred. Its the repentance, i.e. the "change of mind" about our sin that comes first.

One other thing: no amount of works will ever keep us saved. Why? Because works had nothing to do with our salvation in the first place! (Eph. 2:8-9; Gal. 2:11, 16; 3:24; Rom. 3:28; 4:5; 5:1) Our eternal security is all up to God (John 3:16; 5:24; 6:39-40, 47, 54, 58). He's the One who has promised to keep the believer saved through His power (Eph. 1:13; 4:30) - just like we've been studying in our Sunday school class with the covenants and their culmination (fulfilling) in the millennial kingdom. God is faithful to keep His promises, and once we've placed our faith in His Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16), it's a done deal, as they say. PTL!!!

March 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPastor Ken