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  Alan Jones, Editor

  (734) 942-7956

 

 

 

"Brightly beams our Father's mercy

From the lighthouse evermore;

But to us He gives the keeping

Of the light along the shore."

       Published monthly by the church of Christ, 35900 Palmer Road, P.O. Box 86-233, Westland, MI  48186     

Volume 5                                                                   November 2005                                                                                 No5 

 

HAVE YOU REPENTED?

 

A study of the Bible reveals that “repentance” is key to our obedience to God and to our salvation.  To “repent” simply means to “change one’s mind”.  Jesus told a parable of two sons whose father told them to work in the vineyard.  The first flatly refused, but afterward “repented” (KJV), and went to work.  He changed his mind and obeyed his father, as we must change our minds and obey our heavenly Father. (see Mt 21:28-29).

                As in Jesus’ parable, there is a battle going on for the control of our mind.  Will we insist on doing what we want to do or will we submit our will to the Father’s?  If we are to please the Father, our self- will must be “crucified”- put to death as Jesus was put to death on the cross.  Then we no longer live, but Christ lives in us. (Gal 2:20).  Repentance is the decision to let Christ control our will and therefore control our lives.

                 But why would we make this decision?  Surely we should not let anyone control our life without good reason.  Paul said that he surrendered his will to Jesus with good reason.  He said that his decision to let Jesus be the King of his life was based on faith and love (Gal 2:20).  Paul believed that Jesus is the King because He fulfilled all of the prophets’ numerous predictions (Acts 17:1-4).  Paul saw Jesus alive after His resurrection and spent his life giving his eyewitness testimony, urging people throughout the world to submit their will to Jesus as King (Acts 26:12-20).  Paul felt that the love Jesus had shown him by His death on his behalf left him no choice, but to submit to His will- “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and he died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” (2 Cor 5:14-15).  Do you have faith that Jesus is the Christ (King)?  Do you fully appreciate the love He showed for you when He shed His blood to pay the penalty for your sins so that you could escape the wrath of God in hell?  Then surely you will find it easy to repent- to decide to let Jesus control your life instead of yourself.

 

 

Our intellect prompts us to repent- to surrender our will to Jesus.  Our intellect that tells us that faith in Jesus is reasonable and that the love of Jesus is the greatest love the world has ever known.  But, repentance is also prompted by our emotions.  Once we believe that Jesus is the King and that our sins crucified Him, our con-science can’t help but be smitten.  As the Jews on Pentecost, we are pierced to the heart (Acts 2:37).  We agonize over our disobedience to God and the One He has crowned King.  How we have hurt Them!  What anger They have toward us!  What punishment They will send on us and how deserving we are of it!  We are overcome with a mixture of guilt, shame, and fear!  So we cry out in grief as the Jews did, “What must we do?” (Acts 2:37)    Our godly sorrow makes it easy for us to obey the command that Peter gave the  guilt-ridden Jews- “repent” (Acts 2:38; see 2 Cor 7:9-10).  Do you see the folly and the tragedy of sin- of living your life for yourself, contrary to the will of God?   May the pain of your pricked con-science move you to resolve to live for Jesus from now on!

Repentance in the mind, like the sap inside a tree, cannot be seen except by its fruit (Lk 3:8).  If we have changed our mind, if we have surrendered our will, then it will be evident to God and to everyone we meet.  When people asked John the Baptist how to show the fruit of repentance, he told the selfish to share, the dishonest to be honest, and those who abused their authority to be fair (Lk 3:10-14).  Concerning the fruit of repentance, Paul told the church at Colossae, “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and greed, which amounts to idolatry.  For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them, but now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.” (Col 3:5-10)  Renewed minds are to result in renewed lives- lives transformed to think, speak, and act like Christ - lives not conformed to the

HAVE YOU REPENTED?

thinking, speech, and attitudes of the world, but transformed to demonstrate the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God (Rom 12:2). Are you willing to undergo this transformation?

                God will not force you to repent, but He makes clear the consequences if you do not.  You can choose to save your life for yourself, to live it however you may please.  But, Jesus says if you do so, you will lose your life- you will lose your soul, you will “perish” (Lk 13:3,5), you will be punished eternally in hell.   Only if you choose to lose your life for Jesus’ sake and for the gospel’s will you save it- will you be able to enjoy eternity in heaven (Mk 8:35-37).  God does not wish that you or anyone else should perish, but He desires that you come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9).  

If you have not repented, won’t you make the words of the songwriter Mrs. C.H. Morris your own?:

 

“My stubborn will at last hath yielded;

I would be Thine and Thine alone;

And this the pray’r my lips are bringing,

Lord, let in me Thy will be done. 

Sweet will of God, still fold me closer,

Till I am wholly lost in Thee;

Sweet will of God, still fold me closer,

Till I am wholly lost in Thee.

                 After you repent, obey Peter’s other instruction to the Jews on Pentecost- be baptized for the remission of you sins (Acts 2:38).  In baptism, you will bury your dead old self and you will rise from the water to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4)- a life that will show to God and everyone you meet that you have repented- a life controlled by the will of Christ- a life that is being trans-formed into His image.  



 

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