Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Why Any Gospel Presentation Is Incomplete Without The Mention Of Repentance

I found this article in my files and can't remember who wrote it all, but I know that I did some work compiling it into it's present form. In any case, the reason it really struck me today when I found it was because of another gospel tract I came across this past weekend. Inevitably, someone asks me what I think of a particular gospel tract they've found. I guess I've put myself out there lately as the "go to guy" when it comes to these matters--and that's great, I just pray that my answers are wise, truthful, and above all, glorifying to God.

Some tracts are a plain train wreck. Others are just okay. And yet others seem to be lacking in mentioning God's holiness, wrath and of Hell. Many also totally leave out repentance and instead focus on simply "asking for forgiveness." See the article below. I think it gives a pretty good example of why we should never forsake the preaching of repentance to the sinner.

Many times when streetfishing, I run into professing Christians. When I go to hand them the tract they'll say, "Oh, I'm already a Christian." "Great!" I reply. "If someone were to come up to you and ask you what it means to be born again, what would you tell them?" That's were it gets a little complicated. Originally, I asked this question to probe deeper into their profession of faith as there are more and more false gospels being taught. But I quickly found out that even solid believers stumble over this question. For a quick example of this, click here to listen to a recent conversation I had with a Christian bookstore clerk.

Before putting all of my friends and family to the test, I decided to write this article as an encouragement. The purpose of this "experiment" is not to make people doubt their salvation although it might be evidence of just that for some. I realize that catching someone off guard and asking them a question like this really puts them on the spot. Especially if I have a microphone stuck in the their face. My hope is that it serves as a refresher. In a world where the gospel is becoming increasingly watered down, we need to have a solid understanding of what the truth is.

What it boils down to is four basic questions: Who is God? Who are we? What are the consequences? And what is the answer for man?

Who is God?

God is righteous, sovereign, perfect and holy in everything that he does. He is the center of everything and the creator of everything and the very definition of goodness and perfection.

Who are we?

Man was created in God's image and for His glory. Because of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden and the resulting curse, We have a sinful nature. We have offended God by breaking His laws in many ways in thought and deed.

What are the consequences? Because God is righteous and holy, His standard is absolute perfection. God is also eternal, and even the "smallest" of sins are of eternal significance to Him and eternally punishable. That is why Hell is a reasonable and just punishment for mankind. Because sin is such an offense to God, no amount of good works can undo my sinfulness.

What is the answer for man? Because God is so good, and knew that I would sin, for His glory, He provided a plan that was merciful and kind. This was the salvation He made possible by coming to the earth Himself; Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, living a perfect, sinless life so that He could be made the perfect sacrifice for my sins once and for all. Only God Himself could pay such a debt. By doing this, God has accounted or imputed to us His righteousness so that we can stand before Him and go to Heaven. It is the free unmerited gift of God; His grace.We receive this gift through repentance and faith. By repenting, or turning from our sin and placing our trust in the Savior, we are forgiven not because we are now good, but because we are bad people who have been forgiven by God. _________Some of this was adapted from an explanation Todd Friel gave on Way Of The Master Radio


There are three Greek words used in the New Testament to denote repentance. (1.) The verb _metamelomai_ is used of a change of mind, such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word is used with reference to the repentance of Judas (Matt. 27:3).

(2.) Metanoeo, meaning to change one's mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge. This verb, with (3) the cognate noun _metanoia_, is used of true repentance, a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised.

Evangelical repentance consists of (1) a true sense of one's own guilt and sinfulness; (2) an apprehension of God's mercy in Christ; (3) an actual hatred of sin (Ps. 119:128; Job 42:5, 6; 2 Cor. 7:10) and turning from it to God; and (4) a persistent endeavour after a holy life in a walking with God in the way of his commandments.

The true penitent is conscious of guilt (Ps. 51:4, 9), of pollution (51:5, 7, 10), and of helplessness (51:11; 109:21, 22). Thus he apprehends himself to be just what God has always seen him to be and declares him to be. But repentance comprehends not only such a sense of sin, but also an apprehension of mercy, without which there can be no true repentance (Ps. 51:1; 130:4).

Results from a a quick search of the word "repent" in the NT. Biblegateway.com

Matthew 3:2" Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 3:1-3 (in Context) Matthew 3 (Whole Chapter)

Matthew 4:17From that time Jesus began to preach and say, " Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."Matthew 4:16-18 (in Context) Matthew 4 (Whole Chapter)

Matthew 11:20[ The Unrepenting Cities ] Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent.Matthew 11:19-21 (in Context) Matthew 11 (Whole Chapter)

Mark 1:15and saying, " The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."Mark 1:14-16 (in Context) Mark 1 (Whole Chapter)

Mark 6:12They went out and preached that men should repent.Mark 6:11-13 (in Context) Mark 6 (Whole Chapter)

Luke 13:1[ Call to Repent ] Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.Luke 13:1-3 (in Context) Luke 13 (Whole Chapter)

Luke 13:3"I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.Luke 13:2-4 (in Context) Luke 13 (Whole Chapter)

Luke 13:5"I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."Luke 13:4-6 (in Context) Luke 13 (Whole Chapter)

Luke 16:30"But he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!'Luke 16:29-31 (in Context) Luke 16 (Whole Chapter)

Luke 17:4"And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him."Luke 17:3-5 (in Context) Luke 17 (Whole Chapter)

Acts 2:38Peter said to them, " Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.Acts 2:37-39 (in Context) Acts 2 (Whole Chapter)

Acts 3:19"Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;Acts 3:18-20 (in Context) Acts 3 (Whole Chapter)
Acts 8:22"Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.Acts 8:21-23 (in Context) Acts 8 (Whole Chapter)

Acts 17:30"Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,Acts 17:29-31 (in Context) Acts 17 (Whole Chapter)

Acts 26:20but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.Acts 26:19-21 (in Context) Acts 26 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 2:5'Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place--unless you repent.Revelation 2:4-6 (in Context) Revelation 2 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 2:16'Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.Revelation 2:15-17 (in Context) Revelation 2 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 2:21' I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality.Revelation 2:20-22 (in Context) Revelation 2 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 2:22'Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.Revelation 2:21-23 (in Context) Revelation 2 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 3:3'So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.Revelation 3:2-4 (in Context) Revelation 3 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 3:19' Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.Revelation 3:18-20 (in Context) Revelation 3 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 9:20The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk;Revelation 9:19-21 (in Context) Revelation 9 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 9:21and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.Revelation 9:20-21 (in Context) Revelation 9 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 16:9Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory.Revelation 16:8-10 (in Context) Revelation 16 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 16:11and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds.Revelation 16:10-12 (in Context) Revelation 16 (Whole Chapter)
Tomorrow we will look at another short article Reasons To Repent


Wayne Dawg said...

Great job Robert!

Keep up the good work in the Lord.


Robert Tewart said...

Thanks WayneDawg. But just to be clear I didn't do all of the hard work. Just arranged it a little.