Sunday, January 27, 2008

Two kinds of repentance. What kind have you experienced?

True Repentance

Two kinds of repentance are possible in human experience. One is ‘the sorrow of the world,” a feeling induced by the fear of getting caught. Many people recognize the unpleasant consequences of their sin and are persuaded that they are guilty. This results in a superficial sorrow that may lead to a temporary reformation but not to a genuine turning to Christ for forgiveness. (this would be spoken of by Ray Comfort as a horizontal repentance. They have sinned against man)

Godly sorrow, on the other hand, is accompanied by conviction of sin, the work of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:37). This stems from the realization of offending a holy God. It leads to genuine repentance. (Ray Comfort calls this vertical repentance. They have sinned against God and God alone)

An unknown author wrote, “There is a radical distinction between natural regret and God-given repentance. The flesh can feel remorse, acknowledge its evil deeds, and be ashamed of itself.
However, this sort of disgust with past actions can be quickly shrugged off, and the individual can soon go back to his old wicked ways. None of the marks of true repentance described in 2 Corinthians 7:11 are found in his behavior. Out of a list of 10 men in the Bible who said, “I have sinned,” we believe only five actually repented. They were David (2 Sam. 12:13), Nehemiah (Neh. 1:6), Job (Job 42:5,6), Micah (Micah 7:9), and the prodigal son (Luke 15:18).” - H.G.B.

A Definition

To repent means to turn. In the N.T. repentance means to turn from sin. We were called by God to turn from sin. In fact, all men everywhere are commanded by God to repent of their sins (Acts 17:30). God’s longsuffering leads us to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9) as does His kindness (Rom. 2:4).

Just as there are True and False Converts, There is true and false repentance, “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor. 7:10).

Sorrowing over and forsaking sin, a wholehearted turning away from all that is evil. This is more than regret or remorse, attitudes that point to sorrow over sin but no more. Repentance was looked for in Old Testament times (Ezek. 14:6; 18:30). It was the first item in the preaching of John the Baptist (Matt. 3:1-2), Jesus (Matt. 4:17), and the apostles (Mark 6:12; cf. Acts 2:38). Beyond repentance, faith is needed. But repentance is indispensable. Sin must be forsaken decisively.

So you say you have repented of your sins. It is very important to take a good hard look at what kind of repentance you experienced. Did you sin against man and feel sorry for it. Did you regret that you sinned. Did you apologize to the people you sinned against and not do it any more? Is that repentance? True repentance?

Or do you realize how utterly depraved you are in God's sight? Has the Law of God convicted you of your sins and you cry out to God, "against you and you alone have I sinned Oh Lord?" Genuine repentance is a fruit of the spirit.

So maybe you say the right things...
I believe in the Word of God -- good!
I repented of my sins -- which kind of repentance was it?
I trust Jesus for my salvation -- is it the Jesus of the Bible? Do you really know Jesus of the Bible?

So what does it mean to "believe" in Jesus? Because even the devil believes and trembles. There must be a difference between his belief and our belief in Jesus. Do you know what the difference is?

tomorrow's post will talk about believing and our beliefs!


Jessie said...


I had an issue this afternoon with a friend who claimed to be a Christian. She has turned Jewish, sadly. But the funny thing is, she agreed when I said EVERYTHING about sin and repentance and judgment (except now she no longer believes in Hell). I told her that no one is saved without repentance. She said she believes that. And I also said that asking Jesus into your heart was NOT biblical. No where in there does it say to ask Jesus into your heart.

Here were her objections that maybe you can help me out with...

1. She believes that people who don't believe in God will just be non-existant. And everyone else will go to the New Jerusalem. My problem with the first part is that if that were true, most court room judges are more just than God. I mean, even I wouldn't care if I were just going to be non-existant when I die. OOOO I just seize to exist. So what? Burning in hell? Now that gets my attention.

2. She says that Jews are the only ones who actually follow God's laws. She says that the Sabbath is on Friday from sundown to Saturday sundown. I just have no idea in the Bible (or maybe I'm wrong) where it says that Jewish people must meet on FRIDAY. Like I said, maybe I'm wrong on this. No idea. I just don't get it. As long as you are worshipping God, why does it matter?

3. She says the OT prophecies contradict what the NT apostles say. I'm not a prophecy buff... in fact, I'm not an OT buff at all. So, I don't even know how to talk to her about that.

4. She says that to go to the "New Jerusalem" one must keep God's covenant and believe in God. I asked about animal sacrifices and atoning of sins and stuff like that, she said she didn't know and mentioned something about Passover. I am horrible with my OT knowledge because I went to a church who studied pretty much just the NT.

5. She said Martin Luther wrote a book saying all Jews will go to Hell and Adolf Hitler read it. I said, well, anyone who doesn't recognize their sin has offended God, repented of their sins, and trust in Jesus for salvation will go to Hell. She then asked if I believed Jews go to Hell, and I repeated the above. She got offended. (Doesn't make sense because she doesn't believe in Hell anymore - though I know just not believing in something doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.)

I just have no idea what to do. I presented the Law to her and judgment and sin and repentance. Then grace through our Lord, Jesus Christ. She just has objections because her ex-Southern Baptist turned Jewish father must have somehow convinced her of the Jewish faith. She just spent two whole weeks with him.

It's sad and I just have no idea what to do. I witnessed to her, but she has too many questions and objections to Christianity.

Are there any websites or readings that you would recommend? Or do you know how to confront these topics?

pastorbrianculver said...

Hi Jessie,

just a couple of suggestions, maybe someone else can add their two cents worth on here too.

1. She believes that people who don't believe in God will just be non-existant.

ask her where in Scripture she gets this information. Or, is she just making it up as she goes and hopes there is no hell?

2. She says that Jews are the only ones who actually follow God's laws.

really? ask her if she has told a lie? better yet, ask her if she puts God first in EVERYTHING she does. Has she always honored her parents? Has she ever looked with lust? The Bible says that no one has kept the whole law! if she admits that she has broken God's Law then show her again that she is headed for hell. Whether she believes in hell does not matter. It still exists! give the example of saying "I don't believe in gravity, but what happens when you jump off a cliff? the Law of Gravity takes over. against what you believed!" reality does not change because you say you don't believe in hell."

She says that the Sabbath is on Friday from sundown to Saturday sundown.

the day does not matter. Does she worship the God of the Bible? Show her John 1 where it talks about Jesus being God, the creator and redeemer! She has gotten into a very works based belief system. Why bother working if there is no hell? just lay it there to work on her conscience.

3. have her point out exactly which prophecies she is talking about. Ask her to give you some time to look it over and tell her you will get back to her. Let us know which ones she is talking about. We need to get her to stop generalizing Scripture and be more specific.

4. She says that to go to the "New Jerusalem" one must keep God's covenant and believe in God.

again, if she admits she has lied, then tell her she has blown her chance to go to the New Jerusalem. What is she going to do now since she has blown her chance?

5. She then asked if I believed Jews go to Hell, and I repeated the above. She got offended.

doesn't matter if she is offended. Let the guilt work on her. Just remember that it is not you that she hates, it is Jesus.

6. I just have no idea what to do. I presented the Law to her and judgment and sin and repentance. Then grace through our Lord, Jesus Christ.

You have done what needs to be done. Remember this. It is not our job to get people saved. That job belongs to God and Him alone! Are job is to share the gospel message which you have done. Let Scripture work on her. It might take a while, we might never see a change, but you have been biblical and now it is up to God. He does the saving, not us! God'w Word will not return back void.

Good job Jessie - I think what you experienced is why so many people only want to present the love of God. They don't want to get into the bible with someone and fear they cannot answer their objections. Just stay on track and be faithful to presenting His Word daily! Please let us know how it turns out and feel free to ask any more questions you might have! We are here to help

Jessie said...

Hi again!

I asked about everything you mentioned there. OH! I don't know if I actually mentioned this, though. Oh, one of the first things she gave me (just so you know, it was weird because we weren't talking face-to-face. In fact, I've never even met her. We became good LiveJournal friends about 2 1/2 years ago, so we were AIMing each other back and forth) was a link to the Ten Commandments. She then stated, "It says to worship ONE God, not THREE."

I explained to her that I do worship ONE God, and that the Son and the Holy Spirit are the same God, not three different people. I didn't even have to explain anymore because she said NOTHING at all in response. I think I actually got her thinking about a lot of stuff.

In response to the Jews being the only one to follow God's laws, I took a BUNCH of stuff from Psalms (I stuck with the OT for a lot of stuff she talked about) and how "no one is good, no not one," and "no one is righteous, not even one."

Then my husband was reading about God's judgment and anger toward wickedness that I knew was in Psalms last night, but just didn't have a chance to look everything up before she left.

I asked her before about what Scriptures she thinks contradicts the NT, and she said there were too many to mention. I'll ask her again, though, and I'll post another comment when she responds. (Thing is, I don't think she really knows right now about anything. She says she is still searching, so there is still some hope.)

I did find it weird when she got offended by me saying Jews who haven't repented from their sins and put their trust in Jesus will, in fact, go to Hell. I think she is confused on what she believes. I think it's hard for her to say anything because of what she believed as a person who believed in Jesus (no actual Christian would switch to Judaism). She believed in Hell before, but now she doesn't, but it's hard for her to imagine Hell (or that she would go there) anyway because of her past beliefs. I also told her that if there is no Hell and those who do evil (murderers, rapists, liars, blasphemers, etc.) just go into non-existance, then a court room judge seems more just than God. And I told her God is JUST and HOLY, even in the OT. By his very nature He MUST punish sin. She said, "Can you imagine not existing?" I said, "Big deal! I wouldn't care anyway! And neither would all the evil doers. That's not justice! Burning in Hell, on the other hand, is justice!"

I asked her how she was going to get to the New Jersalem, too. She said by being faithful to God and asking for forgiveness. That is when I asked about the atonement for sin. Didn't they have to atone for their sins in the OT through burnt offerings to the Lord? Maybe I'm just confused.

I asked her who has the authority to say what day the Sabbath is on. She said God. I then told her that it could be a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday for all we know. She said, "No." It's sundown to sundown. I said, that just tells you the TIMES, it could be any of the seven days in that TIME. She didn't respond because I don't think she knows how Friday got named as Sabbath.

I told her all of my objections to "Christianity", too. Not the Christianity of the Bible of course, but the Christianity churches present today. She told me she agreed with everything I said. I don't know. I think I got her thinking.

I will definitely respond with anything she says. I can combat questions about Christianity from a lot of people, but when they're delving into the OT, I am sad to admit I am not very good at knowing Jewish law. It has caused me to want to study the OT more, though! I'm waiting for my MacArthur Study Bible. I should get it some time this week!

pastorbrianculver said...

I rejected a comment from a man who came here with an attitude. When he wants to speak in a calm rational demeanor, I would be happy to post his comment. Until then, I suggest he find another place to inhabit. I have only rejected one other comment so far out of all my posts and that one was rejected because the person was asked to respond to a specific question and I was not going to post his comments until he did. He eventually did, and his comments have been posted since!

pastorbrianculver said...

I asked her before about what Scriptures she thinks contradicts the NT, and she said there were too many to mention.

When you talk to her again, just ask for ONE contradiction. There are none, it is just her lack of understanding. If she gives you one, just tell her you will get back with her and then do the research on it, or just ask me here.

Her dad might be influencing her quite a bit, so be loving towards her and be patient.

Bring up the parables to her of the stony ground hearer.
I found this on Evidence Bible,

"I was once a born-again Christian. Now I believe it’s all rubbish!"

When a person maintains that he was once a Christian, but came to his senses, he is saying that he once knew the Lord (see John 17:3). Ask him, "Did you know the Lord?" He will then be forced to say, "I thought I did!" This gives you license to gently say, "If you don’t know so, then you probably didn’t." If he didn’t know the Lord, he was therefore never a Christian (1 John 5:11–13,20).

Explain to him that the Bible speaks of false conversion, in which a "stony ground" hearer receives the Word with joy and gladness. Then, in a time of tribulation, temptation, and persecution, falls away. If he is open to reason, take him through the Ten Commandments, into the message of the cross, and the necessity of repentance and faith in the Savior.