Posted by: pastortomvabeach | March 20, 2012

Thought for the Week March 25, 2012

Well, we have looked at one side of Hebrews 6:1, Let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God. In this verse and the next the Hebrews writer lists six separate truths that he defines as “elementary doctrine of Christ” and as the “foundation” that is laid in the beginning.

We began about six weeks ago talking about the first part of that foundation, repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, by first discussing grace which is the means by which everything God has for us is received and applied in our lives. We then discussed “faith towards God” for about three weeks. This week let’s look at “repentance from dead works”, which, I mentioned, goes hand in hand with faith. In fact, I believe the Hebrews writer put them together in the same phrase because you cannot have one without the other. I don’t believe that either comes first in its action in our lives but both must be present and happen at one time. You cannot really have faith unless you repent and you will not repent unless you have faith.

So what does “repent” mean? Let me define it this week and I’ll share what I believe is one of the best illustrations next week. The word “repent” means “to turn” signifying to change one’s mind or purpose. In the New Testament it almost always means to turn from sin or evil and turn to God, which is always a change for the better. The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology states, “repentance can be said to denote that inward change of mind, affections, convictions, and commitment rooted in the fear of God and sorrow for offenses committed against Him, which, when accompanied by faith in Jesus Christ, results in an outward turning from sin to God and His service in all of life.”

That is a mouthful, but if you ponder it, the idea is very simple. To repent means to turn away from sin and towards God in my mind and heart so that my outward actions and lifestyle are changed. I have heard preachers say, “There is no salvation without repentance.” I tend to believe that because, if you recall, James says that faith that does not shoe up in a changed life (works) is dead, and dead faith cannot bring life.

You can probably remember a time in your life when you were going in a direction that was moving you progressively away from God. We were all there before Christ. But there came a point where the Holy Spirit convicted you that your direction was wrong, your lifestyle was destructive, and your basic actions were rebellious towards God (we call that sin). Repentance happened when you agreed with the Holy Spirit, did a 180 degree turn towards Jesus Christ, and began to walk in a completely different direction.

It happened to me. One day I was living a lifestyle of partying, profanity, lustful indulgence, indifference and outright hostility towards God, and self-destructive thinking and, the next day, I was free! My life was night and day when Jesus got hold of my heart. He literally changed my view on sin and how my sin affected me, my family, my acquaintances, my world, and God. He changed my desires so much that I didn’t want to pursue some of the things that were “fun” and were the center of my life. He focused my affections on Himself, His Word, and His people so much that there was no regret that I had to “quit” something I liked because I only did what I liked and what I liked, was what He wanted.

That’s the basic idea. Maybe you can give me some feedback and share your story of turning from sin to God. Or maybe you can’t remember doing that ever. If that is so, you can turn toward Jesus right now. You can begin to see the kingdom of God and, as you trust in Him, to experience His mighty power changing you from the inside out! How about it? Just a thought.

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