Monday, June 08, 2015

The Son of Man has power to forgive sins. And He takes seriously the faith of friends in forgiving specific persons


Anonymous said...

On Repentance:
The Greek word where repentance is used as a noun is “metanoia” which means “a change of mind.” When Jesus started His ministry He said “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17). In this case, Jesus used the verb form of repentance which is “metanoeĊ” which again means “to change one’s mind” or “heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins” so we see that repentance is not just a change of mind but a change of intention or a change of the heart. It is an intentional change or turning away from sin and turning to God; from wanting to sin to not wanting to sin. God is the one Who grants repentance (Acts 11:18; 2 Tim 2:25) and it must take this miracle of God because the unregenerate human loves their sin and we have an ongoing, constant battle with sin all of our lives, even after conversion (Rom 7). Repentance is a heart change.a heart changed from the desire to sin to the desire to not sin and obey God. It is not remorse or guilt because we were caught in sin. That is a worldly sorrow and that only leads to death. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 7:10 that “godly grief (or sorrow) produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” If we break down the word “metanoia” it is “meta” which means to change like the change that occurs in a metamorphosis and “noeo” for “to exercise the mind, think,” or “comprehend.” It is not turning from sin but more “changing one’s mind” and this change of mind is wrought by the Holy Spirit and not of human origin (John 6:44; Matt 16:17).

Loy Mershimer said...

Very good. The key is that repentance is a work of grace in us. It is a holy change of mind and heart concerning sin, and a holy revelation of self as sinner. Not only does a person’s heart change re: sin, it also changes re: viewing the problem as a few “mistakes” here or there – the problem is the heart. I need a new heart, a new condition.

So many people, when confronted with sin, and with the necessity of repentance, say something like this: “Sure, I’m repenting. Sure, I accept the Lord. But you are being too tough. You don’t see all the good in me; all you see is a few mistakes here and there. You’re not being fair. You’re not seeing my real heart. If you could see my heart, you know that I meant well, and simply messed up some stuff. I’m basically a good person and have lots to offer…” That isn’t repentance. Repentance knows that if the heart could be seen, it would be known as corrupted, root and branch. Even tinting “good works.”

Repentance is David, seeing himself for what he really IS; where once he called on the Lord to recompense him according to his personal goodness, now he cries out, “A sinner I am, and have been a sinner from the womb. Please give me a new heart, O God, and place a right spirit within me!” He now knows that unless God gives him a new heart and spirit, he is hopeless. So the penitent heart casts itself continually on the grace of God, every day; and then, in the paradox of faith, is then daily sanctified in grace, being conformed to the image of Christ.

Repentance is a gift of God, and it is beautiful to see in its simplicity and humility working out in a human life. Is anything more beautiful than the fruit of repentance growing in the life of one of God’s fair children? Again, in paradox, it becomes possible to then say, “I love your heart! It is beautiful and princely, etc.” because it is the light of Christ, dawning in human life, in human time. Imperfect, in daily need of grace, in a life-vector of repentance, yet we are temples of the living God, bought with a price, filled with His Spirit. And this is so beautiful.

We become men and woman after God’s own heart, in repentance. This is why, as Kierkegaard says, it can never belong to a former age of the believer’s life; it must be a present reality, until we are glorified – and even then, still bearing fruit in perfect humility, into eternity.

Anonymous said...

It involves a change of opinion respecting the nature of sin, and this change of opinion followed by a corresponding change of feeling towards sin. Feeling is the result of thought. And when this change of opinion is such as to produce a corresponding change of feeling, if the opinion is right and the feeling corresponds, this is true repentance. It must be right opinion. The opinion now adopted might be such an opinion as God holds respecting sin. Godly sorrow, such as God requires, must spring from such views of sin as God holds.
To one who truly repents, sin looks like a very different thing from what it does to him who has not repented. Instead of looking like a thing that is desirable or fascinating, it looks the very opposite, most odious and detestable, and he is astonished at himself, that he ever could have desired such a thing. Impenitent sinners may look at sin and see that it will ruin them, because God will punish them for it. But after all, it appears in itself desirable. They love it. They roll it under their tongue. If it could end in happiness, they never would think of abandoning it. But to the other it is different; he looks at his own conduct as perfectly hateful. He looks back upon it and exclaims, "How hateful, how detestable, how worthy of hell, such and such a thing was in me."
Sinners do not see why God threatens sin with such terrible punishment. They love it so well themselves, that they cannot see why God should look at it in such a light as to think it worthy of everlasting punishment. When they are strongly convicted, they see it differently, and so far as opinion is concerned, they see it in the same light as a Christian does, and then they only want a corresponding change of feeling to become Christians. Many a sinner sees its relation to God to be such that it deserves eternal death, but his heart does not go with his opinions. This is the case with the devils and wicked spirits in hell. Mark, then; a change of opinion is indispensable to true repentance, and always precedes it. The heart never goes out to God in true repentance without a previous change of opinion. There may be a change of opinion without repentance, but no genuine repentance without a change of opinion.
The word rendered repentance implies all this. It implies a change in the state of the mind including all this. The careless sinner has almost no right ideas, even so far as this life is concerned, respecting the desert of sin. Suppose he admits in theory that sin deserves eternal death, he does not believe it. If he believed it, it would be impossible for him to remain a careless sinner. He is deceived, if he supposes that he honestly holds such an opinion as that sin deserves the wrath of God for ever. But the truly awakened and convicted sinner has no more doubt of this than he has of the existence of God. He sees clearly that sin must deserve everlasting punishment from God. He knows that this is a simple matter of fact.

Loy Mershimer said...

These are some very good, detailed thoughts. Worthy read!

However, certain aspects might go beyond Scripture. This places opinion about sin (cognition, thoughts) and feelings about sin (emotions, soul desire) in a somewhat neater package in relation to repentance than does Scripture. Scripture places obedience before full cognition, even in long-term repentance. In faithful revelation and conviction, we SEE sin for what it is, and then follow out the gift of repentance: godly sorrow, change of mind, etc. We also enter the positive aspects of penitence: a life-direction of feeding on God's promises and taking His word over our own. This then leads to a mind that is both transformed and being transformed, coming to fuller divine evaluation regarding sin (and all things, even regarding good).

It's somewhat an unforced error to make true repentance hinge on fully accurate thoughts regarding sin. That's placing a post-enlightenment cognitive chain on Scripture and Christian life. In many areas of Christian life, God calls us to obedience, and in that obedience changes our mind to its fuller, higher categories -- even in repentance. The typical cognitive chain is this: Facts/proofs > cognition/thoughts > and potentially actions. The divine cognitive chain is this: revelation of condition and command (holy law and grace) > obedience (actions) > and then ultimately true cognition/existential proof. In Christian life, faith seeks understanding, and enters it in obedience. Even in the higher reaches of repentance.

I really like these thoughts, btw. So not knocking them. Real value in them. Just trying to guard against the impulse in them that could go beyond Scripture.

Many people legitimately repent, and show it in transformed lives, whose FEELINGS or OPINIONS regarding sin are not yet what they are going to be, even in this life, in further growth. For some, their orientation to besetting sin is ever going to exist as a gnawing temptation around the edges of their soul, which must be battled daily, and till death. Yet, in the above explication, I do not see the admission that authentic repentance can exist in the life of someone to whom sin remains falsely attractive: they know it for what it is, and hate it, but it remains attractive insofar as it is a twisting of what God intended: the good seed is there, even in the temptation. And so must be resisted in grace: the truly penitent one acknowledges that he stands, daily, only in grace. ONLY sustained in the Spirit and Word of God, and never founded in his own correct thoughts or feelings.

One must beware of giving too high a place to human thoughts or feelings, in the divine gift of repentance. We bow, and we stand, never because of correct thoughts or emotions! Only because we are held in grace, in holy arms.

On this, I recommend Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ, by Tony Reinke.

Anonymous said...

Good food for thought. TY!!! I will endeavor to find that book.
Our study for today has been on biblical study and approval.

Bible study is very important, but 2 Timothy 2:15 is not <just a command to study the Bible. Being an approved workman involves much more. Paul wanted Timothy to understand that to be a workman that God could approve, he would have to be diligent in his service to God. God is not the kind of Master that accepts shoddy work! By earnestly applying himself in service, Timothy would not need to be ashamed as he stood before God in the day of judgment. To be that diligent, approved workman, he would have to correctly handle the word of truth, what the King James Version renders, rightly dividing the word of truth. Of necessity, correctly handling the Bible, the word of truth will involve much study, contemplation, and prayer. It will involve bringing an open mind, an open heart, and a faithful life to the word of truth. Implied in the correct handling is the proper understanding of the divisions between the Old and the New Covenants, understanding that the New Testament is the rule of faith and practice for Christians today.

The goal of being an approved workman should be the goal of all of God's children. In the verses immediately before 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul stressed the importance of living faithfully before God, even to the point of suffering. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us (2 Timothy 2:12). He then told Timothy, Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers (2 Timothy 2:14). The evangelist Timothy was to remind his hearers of the sacrifice of Christ, the need for serving Him, and the need to work diligently to be approved workmen before God. The diligent application of all our energy to the service of God will allow us to join Timothy standing before God without shame. Nothing will help us more to please God than to handle carefully and correctly God's written word. We should look to the written word of God with the same reverence as the psalmist who wrote, Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105).

Anonymous said...

I am thanking The Most High for leading me to such an apt tutor. I appreciate your time and efforts. I endeavor only to serve Him !!!

Loy Mershimer said...

You're welcome and praise God! SDG (Soli Deo Gloria). "We make it our goal to please Him." And, freely we have received; so we freely give!

Also, thank you for your words -- good stuff. Many blessings and ttyl.

Anonymous said...

That is the next thing about repentance, that it is a turning from our sin to God Himself. No one else can help. “I will get up and go to my father.” His friends had abandoned him. He had run out of his own resources. As long as you have anything in yourself that you think will meet your needs, you will avoid going directly to God. If the young man had thought, “I’m going to turn over a new leaf. I’ll get a better job. I’ll save some money. I dug myself into this pit; I’ll pull myself out by my own bootstraps!” he would not have gone back to his father. If he had clung to his own pride, he would have thought, “I’m not going to let him see me in this condition. I have too much dignity for that! I’ll return to my father after I’ve cleaned up and gotten a new suit of clothes.”

The gospel always brings us to the end of ourselves, our resources, our schemes, and everything else that we rely on, until we must come directly to God Himself. All we can plead for is His mercy. We can’t come and show Him how well we’ve done without Him. We can’t splash the cologne of our good works over the stench of the pigsty and hope that He doesn’t notice how badly we smell. We can’t send a friend or a gift to try to patch things up. We can only come directly to the Father in our wretched condition and appeal to His mercy: “I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” Repentance must be directed personally toward the God whom we have sinned against.

True repentance includes an honest confession of our sins, without any excuses. “I have sinned against heaven and in your sight.” He didn’t say, “I wouldn’t have sinned if you hadn’t been such a demanding and insensitive father.” “I wouldn’t have gotten into trouble if you hadn’t given me all that money when you knew that I wasn’t mature enough to handle it properly.” He didn’t blame the fact that he had to live in the shadow of his high-achieving brother. He said, “I have sinned.” True repentance always involves accepting responsibility for what we have done.

Loy Mershimer said...

This sounds a bit like Kierkegaard!


Excellent thoughts, and thanks for sharing.

And it's such an important point: Repentance "brings us to the end of ourselves... and we come directly to God Himself." "Against you, and you only have I sinned," cried the psalmist. Now, had he sinned against humans? Undoubtedly. But he realizes that all this has been a sin against God, with whom he had to do. And he blamed NO ONE but himself.

Recently, a prominent mega-pastor was caught in an affair, and he stepped down from his position -- while writing a press release which *explained* his infidelity as a direct result of his wife's infidelity. And many people bought it. That may make things easier on him, but it's not repentance. And it's probably a death knell to his wife's love and restoration.

Repentance, if truly at the end of self (NOT self-help or self-improvement!), and dealing with God, becomes radically healing toward humans affected by our sin. And it begins a process of restitution and restoration. Vertical healing has amazing horizontal results.