Posts tagged ‘repent and believe the Gospel’

Repentance and the Gospel!

I see the world as having essentially two types of people, those who attribute their success and their lives to God and those who love to wallow in their own glory, even if it is by the means of crediting their success or their lives to something else besides God, which appeals as eye-candy to the people around.

Mat 5:45b
… for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Imagine people who perform but in their ignorance of God, fail to see their every effort/talent as being cushioned by the hand of God. So when these are asked as to what is the secret of their success they just arrogantly blurt their ignorant feelings available to them in that moment, not realizing to whom that credit is due. Still, God is not insecure like fallen men who desire payback for every emotion they invest in their neighbour.

Psalm 115:1
Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.

What is Repentance, it is turning away from that fallen desire of taking all the credit and giving glory to God, who matters more than all creation put together. If you find this hard to accept, it reflects only your miniscule perspective on God. Ironically, you will notice that though you haven’t figured the extent to which creation exists, you have no trouble in meditating on your own fallen desires with little care for those around you, leave aside all creation. That glory rightfully belongs to God (who is good and without sin) in all creation (Ps148), not to you or me or any other person for that matter.

Psalm 113:7
He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the needy from the ash heap,

Mat 5
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

The wearing of sackcloth in the Old Testament was synonymous with coarseness of mourning, where looking to God was the only comfort which would satisfy the soul. This repentance too is from God given to His elect (Act11:18) that they may know the truth about God and themselves and be brought to that spiritual prostration, which is every believer’s privilege in knowing God Almighty.

Mark 2:17 (In the context of John 1:10-13 & Rom 3:23-26)
17 And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

It has always been so, that those who feel they don’t need Jesus are only those who are completely at home with their sin. For every other religion, the code of religiosity is an outward code but in Christianity the code is purely moral and so a person’s faith is not measured by the colour of his beard or by the length of their trousers or by the food he eats. By this I do not mean a person should dress immodestly but just that Christian principles are based on moral values and not an outward showcasing of religiosity from the individual. So it is that, what Biblical Law focuses on concerning the individual is: morality (Is1:11-17). For people from their fallen nature are prone to remaining in their immoral and godless state even while performing the Ceremonial aspects of the Law, only because such is the love for sin in every man from the fall of Adam.

Isaiah 1
11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.
12 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.
15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

In repentance, God grants the individual the overwhelming capacity to put to death their nature to sin, a death to the individual’s sinful-self, unto a new life in God (Jn12:24-26), symbolized by sitting in ashes and dust (Job42:6) and being washed in the waters of baptism (Rom6:4). This realization of a person’s spiritual plight before God, is the beginning of the work of God the Holy Spirit in putting sin/immorality to death in the individual (Phil1:6).

Col 3
5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.

Such is the importance of repentance, which is the highlight of Baptism. Without repentance it is impossible to believe in the Gospel because one needs to begin emptying themselves of their love for sin/immorality to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit. This capacity is granted the individual in Christ, who presents the believer a living spirit, which right from its infancy (Jn3:3,16), desires and exercises the righteousness of God (2Cor5:17).

Isaiah 58:5
Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?

Mk 1:14-15
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

So to conclude, just as Christmas marks the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ and Resurrection Sunday marks the redemptive accomplishment of the Lord Jesus Christ for all God’s people. Baptism marks the individual made ready through repentance to believe in the saving Gospel. The Bible puts this across through some beautiful euphemism, where the Church, which is the body of believers, is being prepared by the Holy Spirit to receive her groom: the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rev 22
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

For as creation is given to glorify God, we see that just as a man is given to pour out his strength and labour for the woman he loves, who in turn is given to draw forth righteousness from him by her beauty, so too the Salvation of God’s Church is by the absolute merit of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev5:9), who paid Salvation’s ransom for His Church in His blood (1Tim2:6) and sent the Holy Spirit (John15:26) to sanctify and beautify His Church as a bride into the image of God, which was lost in Adam’s fall (Rom5:17). That just as Salvation is by grace through faith, so too is the beauty of Jesus’ Church that her faith is a gift from God to draw forth the righteousness of her beloved groom to save her from her sins (Lk5:20).

Baptism… its Godly essence!

Attended mass today at a Roman Catholic Church & must say I was impressed to hear some sound Biblical preaching… which is always welcome among those Catholics/Christians, who are not embarrassed of the Gospel for its incapacity to please people’s love for sin.

The Priest sought to explain why Jesus was baptized though He is/was without sin. If we are to understand the nature of Jesus Christ, we must know that He is fully God & also fully man. Sacraments instituted in the Church are only those, which Christ has established. Now concerning baptism, it is circumcision carried forward from the Old Testament. As Isaac was circumcised when he was 8 days old (Gen 21:4), so too Jesus was circumcised when He was an infant (Luke 2:21)! Knowing John was only a few months older than the man Jesus Christ, the baptism of Jesus as an infant is ruled out.

John 1
32 John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.
33 “I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’

Luke 1
34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.

1 John 5
7 For there are three that testify:
8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.
9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son.
10 The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son.
11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

The Baptism of Christ is therefore seen that is was not about Christ having sin in Himself to required repentance but that the testimony of God be witnessed concerning His Son, that the Lord Jesus Christ is thee Messiah, anointed by the Holy Spirit (Jn 1:32-33 & Lk 34-35).

Genesis 17 (Circumcision was given to MEN ONLY, as being dedicated to the Lord)
12 And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants.

23 Then Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all the servants who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s household, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the very same day, as God had said to him.

Romans 2 (Baptism is given to MEN & WOMEN, as being dedicated to the Lord)
14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,
15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,
16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.
29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

Knowing Baptism replaces Circumcision (Gen 17:12-23 & Rom 2:14-29), infant baptism is hence Biblical. However many disagree with this, even among those who were baptized as infants, as I too once did. It must be understood that parents baptizing their children as infants, are taking the responsibility of bringing their children up to know and serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15). So it is that these children baptized as infants and unfortunately later as adults again (Eph 4:5), are unable to decipher that the poor Godly stewardship their parents exercised over them, is the reason they found interest in God outside their immediate family. Such is the spiritual ignorance (Hos 4:6) most Christian households are dealing with. As it is with any conversation you have, it is very important to see scripture in the context of scripture, to know what God is speaking out, to you, through the 66 books of the Bible. Adult baptisms as adult circumcisions (Gen 17:12-23 & Rom 2:14-29), were only required by new converts to Christianity (Spiritual Israel) and such was not just given them as individuals but to their whole household (Acts 16:27-33) including children.

Hosea 4
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

Acts 16
27 When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.
28 But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!”
29 And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas,
30 and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
The Jailer Converted
31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house.
33 And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.

What is essential in baptism is a heart ready to receive the Lord. If you have a heart filled with love for yourself, you can recite your baptismal promises till Christmas comes and goes without making any difference in your life.

Understanding that the Church is Israel (Eph 2:11-13) since Adam i.e. counted as Abrahams spiritual descendants (Gal 3:29), we learn that Baptism points to being born of God (Jn 3:3) as in born from above, so that our hearts may proclaim Jesus is Lord and believe in His resurrection as victory over death (Rom 10:8-11). Now to steer of the Charismatic definition of Holy Spirit baptism, I need to state (Jn 3:3, 19-21 & 16:8-13)- that being born from above has to do with being convicted as a sinner in the light of God’s majesty unto repentance to believe the Gospel (Mk 1:15)& so receive the righteousness of God over our own (Jn 12:24-26).

John 3
18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
20 “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
21 “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

Luke 23
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”
40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”
43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

To conclude, I must state: one who repents of Himself to receive Christ as Lord is saved though he/she may not be baptized before they fall asleep but this cannot easily excuse those who refuse or delay their baptism out of: the fear of men OR out of the overwhelming love they may have for themselves.

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