A Living Faith & A Godly Repentance
‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’ ~ Mark 1:15
Now that we understand that the New Birth is what we are in need of, how can we obtain it? True it is a gift, but what part do we play in receiving this gift and are there any conditions?
1.1 Believe In The Kingdom Of God & Christ The Son Of God
Matthew 13:19 ~ When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
- When the message of the Kingdom and its Christ is brought to someone, the first thing that needs to happen is that they need to understand it.
- Without a clear understanding of the Kingdom and Jesus Christ, one cannot believe and act upon it.
Mark 1:14 ~ Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
- When Jesus preached the Gospel, he taught that people were under obligation to repent and to put their faith in, or believe the message.
John 3:36 ~ He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
- Whoever will truly put their faith and trust in Jesus, the Son of God, as the great savior from sin and death, will inherit the Kingdom and eternal life.
John 8:23-24 ~ I am from above… I am not of this world… for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
- Those who will not believe that Jesus is the Son of God and savior of the world will die lost with no hope of entering the Kingdom.
John 1:12 ~ As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.
- Those who by faith receive Jesus and put their trust in him will be given rights as sons of God.
- In becoming the sons of God, they now have a most wonderful chance to inherit the Kingdom from their God and Father.
Romans 10:9-10 ~ If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
- We must believe that God the Father has raised up Jesus from the dead and made him to be Lord.
- It is this faith and believe that leads one to obtain righteousness and ultimately salvation.
Ephesians 1:7&13 ~ In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.
- Our faith must be solely in the blood of Jesus Christ for redemption from our sins and rebellion.
- The gift of God’s Spirit and holiness is given only to those who believe this message wholeheartedly.
1.2 The Kingdom, Forgiveness, & The New Heart Come By Faith
Romans 4:13 ~ For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
- The promises of God cannot be earned. We cannot do certain works, which will make God obligated to give us salvation.
Titus 3:4-7 ~ But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
- The foundation of why God chooses to save us is simply because he is kind and loving! This salvation is a gift that comes from his mercy.
- We are justified from our past sins by God’s grace and mercy, not because of something we have done. We are required to give God 100% of all we have and are each day. If we fail to do that, we cannot give God 150% the next day to make up for what we did not do the previous da. We can only hope to somehow receive mercy. This is God’s grace!
Galatians 3:2 ~ This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
- It is true that there is a condition of obedience that must be met for one to receive the Holy Spirit [Acts 5:32], but our obedience is not the reason God gives this gift.
- God’s Holy Spirit cannot be earned by doing a certain amount of works or keeping certain laws. The reason a person receives the Holy Spirit is that they have put their faith in the Gospel message.
Galatians 3:26 ~ For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
- Becoming a child of God and heir to the promised Kingdom is a result of faith and belief in Christ.
Acts 15:8-9 ~ God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
- The Holy Spirit is the purifier of our hearts and this purification is a direct result of us putting all our faith in the message.
1.3 We Must Repent From All Sin Before We Can Be Saved
Although we cannot do anything that will earn our salvation or inheritance as sons, repentance from all sin is a condition, which must be fulfilled in a person’s life before salvation is granted.
Acts 3:19 ~ Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
- Repenting and being converted are so that your sins may be blotted out.
- This means a person must first repent, forsake all their sins, and be converted from sin to righteousness, before God will blot out their sins.
Luke 24:46-47 ~ It behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations…
- In preaching the message of Christ, repentance and forgiveness are inseparable. We cannot preach or have one without the other.
- The message of the Gospel was that when men repented they would receive forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus.
Luke 13:5 ~ Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
- Jesus preached everywhere that men must repent and turn from their sins or they could not inherit life and would ultimately perish.
Isaiah 55:7 ~ Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
- This is a beautiful summary of the message of God’s salvation throughout the entire Scriptures and God has never changed it.
- Before obtaining any hope of mercy, we must first forsake our wicked thoughts and sinful ways, and be converted. It is only after this is done that we can receive mercy and have our sins pardoned by God.
Jeremiah 36:3 ~ It may be… that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.
- God says that he is observing our character and ways. When He sees that we have stopped our evil ways he then enters into a legal position where he is now able to forgive us our sins.
Acts 2:37-38 ~ Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
- After the first great Gospel preaching message of Peter, people were convicted of the truth of the message and asked what they needed to do.
- Peter said that they must repent and be baptized. He told them that if they did this, then remission [forgiveness] of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit would then be given to them.
- Notice that Peter tells them that repentance from their sins is required and yet he still calls the Holy Spirit a
Acts 5:32 ~ We are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
- Peter again teaches that the gift of the Holy Spirit is only given to people that obey God.
- This obedience is manifested in repentance when a person stops their sins and turns to God.
The following illustration may help us to understand the principle of salvation conditioned upon repentance:
Imagine a man’s wife is being unfaithful to him. She then pulls up to his home in her boyfriend’s car, gets out and says ‘I am really sorry for what I have done. Can you please forgive me?’ The man says ‘You are driving your boyfriend’s car and are obviously still in a relationship with him. I greatly desire to forgive you and bring about restoration to our relationship but it is not possible for us to be reconciled while you continue your adultery. You must make a choice. Continue with your boyfriend or break off your adulterous relationship with this man and then I can forgive you and we can be reconciled.’
The woman then breaks off the relationship with her boyfriend, returns, and begs forgiveness. Now the man says ‘I forgive you of all your adultery as I longed to do and we can now be reconciled. I want you to know that the adultery did need to stop, but the reason I forgave you is not because you stopped the adultery, I forgave you because I am merciful and I love you and I desire our reconciliation.’
1.4 Godly Repentance Is Stopping Sin & Is Proved By Our Works
Proverbs 28:13 ~ He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
- True repentance is not just acknowledging or confessing that you have sinned but it is also forsaking those sins.
- Only those who completely forsake all their sins will obtain forgiveness.
Acts 26:20 ~ I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed… that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet [axios: befitting] for repentance.
- The message of all God’s true prophets is that men must not only repent but that this repentance must bring forth works in their lives that give evidence that they have truly repented.
2 Corinthians 7:9-10 ~ I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
- True repentance cannot result from a worldly sorrow. Meaning, if a person is simply sorry that they were caught and will soon pay the consequences, then this type of sorrow and repentance is worthless.
- The repentance that brings salvation is a repentance that comes from a godly sorrow of having hurt God and others. It springs from a heartfelt remorse for the wrong one has done.
2 Corinthians 7:11~ For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
- Notice that when these people repented they did everything they could to clear themselves of wrong. In a holy fear, they showed that they were indignant against sin and now zealous for the truth.
- When you have the correct godly sorrow then your repentance will be real and will be very evident. You will be very zealous to clear yourselves of all wrongdoing and live for truth!
Romans 6:17-18 ~ But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
- When someone obeys the true teaching of God to repent, then they stop serving sin and doing wrong.
- Rather, they become servants to God, his Kingdom, and others.
Luke 3:8-9 ~ Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
- John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way of salvation for people. His message was a message of repentance from sin. This repentance was needed before people could accept the gift of the coming Christ.
- We must never rely on some past religious experience to give us confidence that we have repented and are saved. When we truly repent, we will have fruit in our lives that will prove that repentance. This fruit will be a complete forsaking of sin and a love of righteousness.