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 (Essential Biblical Doctrines)
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I.       The Importance Of Repentance

A.     The Message of Repentance in the Old Testament

1.        At the time of the fall

 a.      From God’s questioning of Adam and Eve, a naive confession of their transgression and repentance was expected (Gen 3:11).

 b.      But Adam laid all the blame upon Eve, likewise, Eve laid blame upon the serpent. Both Adam and Eve pleaded extenuating circumstances for their sins, but they did so without a sincere repentance (Gen 3:12–13).

 c.      In the end, the Bible states that Adam only tried to cover his transgression (Job 31:33).

2.        In the days of Noah

 a.      The earth was full of violence and wickedness (Gen 6:5, 11–12).

 b.      God commanded Noah to build an ark and preach righteousness, warning a wicked generation of a global flood. Noah’s warning was a gracious endeavor manifesting God’s kindness to Noah’s generation, for the Lord hoped they could repent and live (2 Pet 2:5).

 c.      While God’s mercy was given, no one took up God’s grace or repented. As a result, no one survived the deluge except Noah’s household (Gen 6:3; 7:21).

3.        Sodom and Gomorrah

 a.      The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were extremely serious in God’s eyes (Gen 18:20, 19:13).

 b.      God sent two angels to save the God-fearing people (Gen 19:12–14).

 c.      Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because they sinned yet failed to repent (Gen 19:23–25; 2 Pet 2:6–8; Jude 7).

4.        Nineveh

 a.      The wickedness of the city of Nineveh came up before God (Jon 1:1–2).

 b.      God gave warnings and instructions, through Jonah, that in forty days Nineveh would be destroyed. During this interval, God expected the people of Nineveh to repent (Jon 3:1–4).

 c.      Happily, the people of Nineveh sincerely repented and God graciously took away the sentence of destruction he passed upon them (Mt 12:41; Jon 3:5–10, 4:11).

5.        The Faithless Israelites

 a.      When the Israelites transgressed God’s law, God often sent prophets to warn and instruct them. God sent these messengers in the hope that they might repent and return to God’s ways (Jer 8:6, 17:27, 26:12–13; Ezek 14:6, 18:30–32).

 b.      But the Israelites were stiff-necked, and they did not turn away from their iniquity. The unfortunate result of their faithlessness was that most of them were killed or captured (2 Chr 36:11–20).

 c.      The Bible says, “Be not like your fathers, to whom the former prophets cried out, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, Return from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.’ But they did not hear or heed me, says the LORD” (Zech 1:4).

B.     The Message of Repentance in the New Testament

1.        John the baptist urged the people to repent

 a.      John the baptist said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 3:2, 8, 11).

 b.      Many came to John the baptist, confessing their sins (Mt 3:5–6; Mk 1:5).

 c.      John the baptist preached a baptism of repentance (Acts 13:24, 19:4).

2.        The Lord Jesus stressed repentance   

 a.      In Jesus’ ministry on earth, he told people to repent; even after his ascension, Jesus urged the church to repent (Mt 4:17; Rev 2:5, 16, 21, 3:3, 19).

 b.      Jesus said, “There is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Lk 15:7, 10).

 c.      Jesus once said, “Unless you repent you will likewise perish” (Lk 13:1–5).

3.        The apostles emphasized repentance

 a.      On the day of Pentecost, Peter instructed the people, who asked what to do, to first repent (Acts 2:38).

 b.      In his ministry, Paul urged the people to repent (Acts 17:30, 26:20).

 c.      The forbearance and long-suffering of God are the riches of God’s goodness through which he hopes to lead the sinners to repentance (Acts 17:30; Rom 2:4; 2 Pet 3:9).

II.    The Meaning Of Repentance

A.     Consciousness of Sins Committed

1.        To be conscious of your own sins and be determined to correct yourself can be considered the starting point of repentance (1 Kgs 8:47; Lk 10:13).

2.        A self-righteous person can never learn repentance, for he or she will always feel self-satisfied (Jer 2:35; Lk 18:9–12).

3.        We should realize that no one is perfect in the presence of God (Eccl 7:20; Jas 3:2).

B.     Sorrow over Our Sins

1.        In our sorrowing for our sins, we indicate our awareness of our transgressions and weaknesses (Ps 38:18; Joel 2:12–13; Lk 7:36–38).

2.        Godly grief produces a repentance without regret (Lk 22:32, 61–62; 2 Cor 7:9–10).

3.        God will not despise a broken and contrite heart (Ps 51:17; Isa 57:15, 66:2).

C.     Confession of Sins and Asking for Forgiveness

1.        We must acknowledge our sins before God and ask for forgiveness when we repent (Lev 26:40; Num 14:39–40; Ps 32:5).

2.        Confessing our sins to one another and prayer for one another play an important role in repentance (Mt 5:23–24; Acts 19:18; Jas 5:16).

3.        Those who cover their sins shall not prosper (Prov 28:13; Acts 5:1–10).

D.     Returning to God

1.        In repentance we must cast away all our idols and evil doings. We must return to God with all our heart and serve him alone (1 Sam 7:3; Acts 26:20; 1 Thess 1:9).

2.        Humble yourself and submit to God’s commandments (2 Chr 32:26, 33:10–13; Acts 2:38, 41).

3.        If we confess our sins with our lips but our heart does not return to God, we have not truly repented (Ex 9:27; 1 Sam 15:24).

E.     Hate Evil and Keep Yourself from Wickedness

1.        When we repent, we hate evil (Job 42:6; Ps 97:10; Amos 5:15).

2.        Forsake evil doings in repentance (2 Chr 7:14; Isa 55:7; Jon 3:8–10).

3.        Abstain from every form of evil (Ps 19:13, 34:13–14; 1 Thess 5:22).

F.      Yield Fruits of Goodness

1.        Perform deeds worthy of repentance (Mt 3:18; Acts 26:20).

2.        Compensate those you have trespassed against (Num 5:5–7; Lk 19:8).

3.        Bring forth the good fruit of “fearing God and loving man” (Lk 3:11, 7:37–38, 19:8).

III. The Effects Of Repentance

A.     Sins Are Forgiven

1.        In the New Testament the remission of sins is worked out in this way: believe, repent, be baptized in the name of Jesus, and pray for the infilling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 1 Cor 6:11; 1 Pet 3:20–21).

2.        ‑Sins (not including mortal sins) that we have committed after putting on Christ can only be pardoned by sincere repentance (Jas 5:15–16; 1 Jn 1:9, 5:16–17).

3.        Repentance is a necessary step for the remission of our sins (2 Chr 7:14; Ps 32:5; Lk 7:37–38, 47).

B.     God’s Wrath Is Removed

1.        God will withdraw his punishments if we only repent and turn to him (Joel 2:12–13).

2.        King Hezekiah and the people humbled themselves in order that the wrath of God would not come upon them (2 Chr 32:26).

3.        The destruction of the city Nineveh was averted because the people repented (Jon 3:8–10; Mt 12:41).

C.     God’s Providential Care Follows Repentance

1.        If we return to God with all our heart, put away our evil ways, and serve him alone, God will deliver us out of the hand of our enemy (1 Sam 7:3).

2.        Salvation came to Zacchaeus because he truly repented (Lk 19:8–9).

3.        Any church will not progress if she does not truly repent (Rev 2:5, 3:19).

IV.  Causes Of Repentance

A.     Enlightenment by the Truth

1.        In the time of Nehemiah, the Israelites repented upon hearing God’s word. Consequently, the Israelites revived their faith (Neh 8:8–10, 9:1–4).

2.        Nineveh repented upon hearing Jonah preach God’s word (Jon 3:1–5).

3.        The word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword, “piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Thus, God’s word allows us to be more conscious of our sins (Acts 2:37; 1 Cor 14:24–25; Heb 4:12).

B.     Repentance Caused by Witnessing Miracles

1.        People repented upon seeing God’s mighty work through Elijah, when he was on Mount Carmel (1 Kgs 18:21–23, 37–39).

2.        Jesus once remarked that the people should have repented when they saw his miracles (Mt 11:20–24).

3.        It was through miraculous events that Jesus Christ called Paul to repentance (Acts 9:1–9; 1 Tim 1:13–16).

C.     Repentance Caused by the Lord’s Chastisement

1.        Plague or calamity is one way in which God’s chastisement is manifested to invoke repentance (1 Kgs 8:46–50; Rev 9:20–21, 16:9).

2.        At the time of the Judges, Israel called upon the Lord for help in their oppression from surrounding enemies (Judg 3:7–9, 12–15, 4:1–3, 6:1–6, 10:6–10).

3.        We should always consider in the day of our adversity (Eccl 7:14; Rev 2:5).

D.     Repentance Urged On by the Grace of God

1.        A contrite heart of repentance is given by God (Acts 5:31, 11:18).

2.        The Holy Spirit will “convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (Jn 16:8).

3.        We should pray to God to let us understand our faults and to return to him constantly when we stray (1 Kgs 18:37; Ps 19:12; Jer 31:18; 2 Tim 2:25).

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