[MINISTERING IN THE AREA OF REPENTANCE]
In Stage 5 Core Teaching we look at various topics but also include some thoughts on how to minister to others and to help them understand and act on that knowledge. What follows is some discussion on the first segment in our circle from the last article.
In this article we look at what does it mean to “repent? ” We also look at how we can help others to understand what repentance really means. However to understand repentance of sin we need to understand the nature of sin.
1]. THE NATURE OF SIN
There are many different words to describe “sin“ in the New Testament. We will look at many of these words. A number of them begin with the letter “A”. This is called an “alpha privative” and changes the meaning of the letters that follow, to the opposite meaning. An example in English is “atheist” where a “theist “is one who believes in God and an “a-theist” is one who does not believe in God.
ADIKIA. [noun] ADIKEO [verb.] [a-dikia and a-dikeo] This means unrighteousness, injustice, or wronging someone].
- Ac 7:24. “But the man who was wronging his neighbour thrust him aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?”
- 1 Co 6:7, “To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?”
- 2 Cor 7:2, “We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one.“
- 2 Cor 7:12, “So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong.”
ANOMIA. Noun.[a-nomia]. Lawlessness, wickedness
- Mat 7:23, Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers (you who work lawlessness).’
- Rom 4:7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins (hamartia) are covered;
ANUPOTAKTOS. Adjective. [an-hypotassō = not subdued].
- Unsubdued, insubordinate, what is not put under, unruly, rebellious
- Titus 1:6, if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.
- Titus 1:10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.
APEITHEIA. Noun. [a-peitheia]. (Lawlessness, wickedness, rebellion, unpersuadable)
- Eph 2:2, ‘in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.“
- Eph 5:6 ” Let no one deceive you with empty words , for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience .
APEITHEO. Verb. [a-peitheo not obeying, disobedient.]
“but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” Rom 2:8.
1Peter 2:8, “and A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense. They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.“
- Rom 1:30, disobedient to parents.
HAMARTIA. [means to err, offend, trespass, fall short].
- Rom 2:12. All who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.
- (Rom 3:23) since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;
PARABASIS. [Para = to the side of and basis= step, walk, transgress, go aside].
- Rom 2:23 You that boast in the law, do you dishonour God by breaking the law?
- Rom 4:15. where there is no law there is no transgression
- Gal 3:19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions
PARAPTOMA. [para to the side of and ptoma from pipto = I fall.] [side slip, lapse, deviation, fall beside, err].
- Mt 6:14 For if you forgive others their trespasses …
- 2 Cor 5:19. … in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them …
SIN. A SUMMARY
- Sin is wrongly using the free will God has given us. That is, we choose to disobey.
- It means we are not receiving His grace to be different. We choose not to receive His grace when God offers it freely in Christ.
- We are all accountable for our sins of commission [the sins we actually commit] and those of omission [those things we should have done but failed to do.]
HOWEVER THE GOOD NEWS OF THE GOSPEL IS THAT GOD’S GRACE OF FORGIVENESS IS AVAILABLE TO THOSE WHO NEED IT
- Forgiveness is available for all our sins in Christ (alone). It was His blood alone that could take away the sin of the world. Heb 9:22 “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”
- Acts 10:43 “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
- Eph 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.”
- Col 1:14 “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
2]. TEACHING ON REPENTANCE. IMPLICATIONS WHEN MINISTERING
- We need to recognise what is the difference between:-
- Repentance or remorse
- Repentance or rationalisation of sin
- Acknowledging guilt or projecting it on to others
i]. WHAT REPENTANCE IS NOT
It is not just sorrow or remorse or regret.
- Eg., Judas Iscariot didn’t repent. He regretted what he had done in betraying innocent blood but he didn’t turn to God to seek His mercy in forgiveness.
It is not rationalisation or projection of sin.
- There is no freedom in rationalisation (giving a reason for the sin).
- Projection of sin onto others seeks to avoid personal accountability before God. He is not fooled!
Listen to see whether the person you are trying to help has really repented or not.
ii]. WHAT REPENTANCE REALLY IS
The word is “metanoia. ” It means a change of mind AND a change in behaviour
- It involves turning from sin and turning to God for mercy
We see many elements of repentance [underlined] in King Solomon’s prayer. 1 Kings 8:47-50
- 8:47, and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their conquerors and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’ 48 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name;
- 1 Kings 8:50 “And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offences they have committed against you, and cause their conquerors to show them mercy.”
The Gospel message in Acts. It meant that those who heard the gospel message should recognise and confess their sins. Not only that, but they should turn to God to ask for His forgiveness.
- Peter. (Acts 2:38 “Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
- (Acts 5:31 “God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Saviour that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins .”
- Paul speaking to King Agrippa: Acts 26:20 “but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout the countryside of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and do deeds consistent with repentance.”
Questions to keep in mind in trying to help others
- Has the person realised the enormity of sin in the sight of God? [Until they do, they will not appreciate the magnitude of the love of God and the grace of God in forgiving sin.]
- Do they realise that all sin is against God as well as against others? [He is a Person who has been sinned against. It is not just His will that has been rejected.]
- Have they turned from their sin and turned back to God. [Forgiveness is only available to those who repent AND turn back to God to seek His forgiveness or to thank Him for it in Christ.]
- Have they made changes to their lives with God’s help? [As Paul declared to King Agrippa as we saw above, Acts 26:20 “… that they should repent and turn to God and do deeds consistent with repentance.”
iii]. WHO HAS TO REPENT?
- Everyone! That includes you and me and yours and mine
God commands everyone to repent
- 1 Kings 8:46 “When they sin against you for there is no one who does not sin
- Acts 17:30 While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent,
- 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
- Everyone (including those who see themselves as “victims” and perpetrators) needs to repent of their own personal sins.
- Ensure that the person isn’t operating under a “victim mentality” that stops them from seeing their own need for forgiveness for their own sin.
- Having to endure difficult circumstances is not an excuse for any sin we might commit. We are responsible for how we respond to our circumstances in life.
3]. WHY DO ALL PEOPLE HAVE TO REPENT OF SIN?
- Sin is an offence against God. It is a breaking of His revealed will in His law and commandments.
- It is sin to be unwilling to draw upon His grace so as not to sin.
- It is an offence against others and against God Himself. The prodigal son had it right. Lk 15:21 “Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
All sin has an effect
- Our sin always has an effect on others (and through them to other people as well)
- Heb 12:15 “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
- Our sin always has an effect on oneself. Heb 3:12 “Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. “
- Heb 3:13 “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Forgiveness comes only through repenting of sin and trusting in Jesus for salvation.
- (Acts 2:38) ‘Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”‘
- (Acts 3:19) “Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out.”
4]. CAN WE AS HUMANS GET PEOPLE TO REPENT?
- John the Baptist and Jesus both taught that to repent was a command from God to be obeyed.
- John the Baptist. Mat 3:1 ‘In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”’
- Jesus. Mat 4:17,’ From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”’
- Only the Holy Spirit can convict people of sin. Jesus said, Jn 16:8-10, “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
5]. SUMMARY ON REPENTANCE
- All people need to repent of their sin no matter how righteous they might appear to be. Rom 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” No one is perfect. All people are guilty.
- We can encourage people to think of the effects of their sin on others and to express those thoughts. But we need to be praying that the Holy Spirit will do the deep convicting of the sinfulness of sin in their hearts.
- We are not to allow ourselves to be shocked by what those we are trying to help tell us about their lives in the past. If we adopt a “condemning” attitude, it may hinder the conviction of sin in the other person.
- We have to rely on the Spirit of God using the word of God to bring conviction of sin and true repentance in the life of any person.
Blog No.458 posted on Thursday 19 January 2023.