Repentance & Reformation

April 8, 2016 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. (Acts 26:20)

 

The passage quoted above is from the Apostle Paul’s message to King Agrippa. Please note that in Paul’s theology of repentance and redemption there is more to repentance than a mere verbal expression. In the case of genuine repentance there will be corresponding deeds that are consistent with repentance. Repentance is a turning from sin and that turning is validated by changed conduct. It is being made new by the indwelling presence of the Holy spirit who enables the believer to put off the old life and put on the new.

 

The quote that follows is from a review of some of Joel Osteen’s writing. He persists in equating repentance with a simple verbal confession.

 

Perhaps with a nuance here and there, this kind of appeal rests right at the center of the standard perceptions of what is involved in repentance and faith. Repentance consists of saying the words “I repent.” Faith consists of an invitation to Jesus to come into one’s heart, and sincerity in the process is sealed by the supplicant making Jesus “my Lord and Savior.” So confident of the saving efficacy of such a decisional transaction is the preacher, that he continued, “Friend, if you prayed that simple prayer, I believe you have been ‘born again.’ I encourage you to attend a good, Bible-based church and keep God in first place in your life.” The new birth constitutes God’s response to our act of repentance and faith.

 

Why do I raise this issue? There are thousands of people that are members in good standing in the churches of America. They have uttered a formulaic response to the gospel. This includes a statement concerning repentance. But, there is not one scintilla of Transformation evident in their life – NONE!

 

The validation of Regeneration is Transformation. No Transformation is sure and certain objective evidence that there has been no work of grace, no new birth, no Holy Spirit initiated and completed work of salvation. Such persons are flat out lost and on their way to a Christ-less eternity.

 

When the message we proclaim harmonizes with what the text says we will see a Reformation and Renewal in the American church. Give due diligence to the preparation and delivery of your message. It must correspond to ‘What the text says’, not what a popular consumer driven distortion has morphed it into.(Selah)

 

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