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BELIEF AND REPENTANCE
Two Facets Of The Same “Gem”
Cartoonists have for many years poked fun at Christianity
with depictions of prophet-like characters holding signs reading “Repent for
the end is near!” Most of the time the
prophet is shown standing on a busy city street wearing sandals and a rough
animal skin garment, while passers-by roll their eyes at the spectacle. But the
principle of repentance is no laughing matter because God has commanded all men
everywhere to do it! And as we see from these words the Apostle Paul preached
to a crowd assembled on Mar’s Hill in
“Such [former] ages of ignorance God, it is true, ignored and allowed to pass unnoticed; but now He charges all people everywhere to repent (to change their minds for the better and heartily to amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins), 31 Because He has fixed a day when He will judge the world righteously (justly) by a Man Whom He has destined and appointed for that task, and He has made this credible and given conviction and assurance and evidence to everyone by raising Him from the dead” Acts 17:30-31 (Amplified Bible, emphasis mine).
However, the attitude mirrored on the faces of those passing by the cartoon character shows us what the world thinks of God’s admonition! The great masses of humanity could not possibly care less because they do not believe: “Why should I quit having fun and change my lifestyle just because some “god” says I have to or else?”
Let’s face it—we humans stubbornly resist believing anything that does not appear to make sense and for that reason the threat of eternal punishment in hell is the major tool priestcraft uses to scare people into “repenting” of their sins. But it has rightly been said that a man convinced against his will is unconvinced still. So as a result the unfolding path of the Church Age continues to be littered with acts of feigned repentance and professions of faith. The problem is found in the misunderstood scriptural principle that true repentance is possible only when preceded by genuine belief—a supernatural gift from God that inevitably results in repentance—hence our subtitle of “two facets of the same ‘gem.’”
“But how are people to call upon Him Whom they have not believed [in Whom they have no faith, on Whom they have no reliance]? And how are they to believe in Him [adhere to, trust in, and rely upon Him] of Whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? 15 And how can men [be expected to] preach unless they are sent?” Romans 10:14-15a (Amplified Bible, emphasis mine).
There is an amazing account in
the Old Testament Book of Jonah where
“So the people of
It has been estimated that there were at least one million people in that city and its environs—which appears to have made it the most extensive outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon individuals during Old Testament times. But while some preachers have referred to it as a “great revival,” that is a misnomer because as far as we can tell there was not a single believer in the city to revive! It was a spontaneous act of grace in which God reversed the spiritual death of many thousands of unregenerate people, thereby enabling them to believe. Then from top to bottom they did so and subsequently repented of their sins.
But why do you suppose God chose to save them? I think the reason is found in the following statements the Lord made to the Pharisees of His day:
“The men of
“But in truth I tell you, there were many
widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were closed up for
three years and six months, so that there came a great famine over all the
land; 26 And yet Elijah was not sent to a single one of them, but
only to Zarephath in the country of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And
there were many lepers in
Our sovereign God sent salvation to many thousands in the first instance and only single individuals in the other two. And what should have caught the attention of the Jews was the fact that in each instance all were Gentiles! Yet, as far as we are able to determine, there was no positive reaction on the part of God’s chosen people to those demonstrations of His sovereignty in salvation. They just ignored it, carried on with business as usual and continued to believe they were the sole recipients of God’s grace. In their foolish pride they held Gentiles to be “dogs” and thus totally unworthy of receiving anything from Him.
Then several years later the Apostle Paul had this to say
“So I ask, Have they stumbled so as to fall
[to their utter spiritual ruin, irretrievably]? By no means! But through their
false step and transgression salvation [has come] to the Gentiles,
so as to arouse
So from this we can see that God sent salvation to
Also where the subject of repentance is concerned there is an aspect of what might have been, as we see from these comments by the Lord:
“Then He began to censure and
reproach the cities in which most of His mighty works had been performed,
because they did not repent [and their hearts were not changed]. 21 Woe
to you, Chorazin! Woe to you,
Have you ever wondered why the
Lord did not go to
“Therefore they could not believe [they were unable to believe]. For Isaiah has also said, 40 He has blinded their eyes and hardened and benumbed their [callous, degenerated] hearts [He has made their minds dull], to keep them from seeing with their eyes and understanding with their hearts and minds and repenting and turning to Me to heal them” John 12:39-40 (Amplified Bible).
“Then the disciples came to Him and said, Why do You speak to them in parables? 11 And He replied to them, To you it has been given to know the secrets and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has [spiritual knowledge], to him will more be given and he will be furnished richly so that he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is the reason that I speak to them in parables: because having the power of seeing, they do not see; and having the power of hearing, they do not hear, nor do they grasp and understand. 14 In them indeed is the process of fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, which says: You shall indeed hear and hear but never grasp and understand; and you shall indeed look and look but never see and perceive. 15 For this nation’s heart has grown gross (fat and dull), and their ears heavy and difficult of hearing, and their eyes they have tightly closed, lest they see and perceive with their eyes, and hear and comprehend the sense with their ears, and grasp and understand with their heart, and turn and I should heal them. 16 But blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are your eyes because they do see, and your ears because they do hear” Matthew 13:10-16 (Amplified Bible, emphasis mine).
“What then [shall we conclude]?
Once again, most of them were not His elect sheep and God did not grant them repentance.
“And the servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome (fighting and contending). Instead, he must be kindly to everyone and mild-tempered [preserving the bond of peace]; he must be a skilled and suitable teacher, patient and forbearing and willing to suffer wrong. 25 He must correct his opponents with courtesy and gentleness, in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and come to know the Truth [that they will perceive and recognize and become accurately acquainted with and acknowledge it]” 2 Timothy 2:24-25 (Amplified Bible, emphasis mine).
Belief (saving faith), like the other “facet of the gem” repentance, is also a gift from God:
“For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; 9 Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.] 10 For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]” Ephesians 2:8-10 (Amplified Bible, emphasis mine).
The gender of the highlighted word “this” (Greek touto) is neuter and thus does not agree with the two feminine nouns (grace—charis and faith—pistis) preceding it and for that reason many argue that faith is not a gift from God. But even if, as the Amplified version indicates, “this” refers to “[salvation]” is not both grace and faith involved (by grace through faith)? And since there is no disagreement about grace (charis) being provided by God (though its gender is also feminine), should the gender agreement argument apply only to faith (pistis)? However, regardless of which position you take on this issue Romans 12:3(b) should settle the debate:
“For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him” Romans 12:3b (Amplified Bible, emphasis mine).
Faith is faith whether it be saving faith or sustaining faith and God has not seen fit to give all of us the same amount!
“The apostles said to the Lord, Increase our faith (that trust and confidence that springs from our belief in God)” Luke 17:5 (Amplified Bible, emphasis mine).
Note that faith is said to be, “that trust and confidence that springs from our belief in God.” It is not innate—we were not born with it. And if one who is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph.2:1) truly believes it can only be because God has reversed spiritual death and supplied faith as a gift. Otherwise, the whole concept of repentance and belief would be nothing but nonsense to them:
“But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated” 1 Corinthians 2:14 (Amplified Bible, emphasis mine).
Have you believed, repented of your sins and received Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? If you cannot honestly answer “yes,” then I beg you to bow your unworthy head in prayer, admit that you are a sinner and ask Him to save you.
The “good news”—the simple Gospel message—is that He died a sacrificial death on the cross so that sinners like us could spend eternity with Him in heaven. God the Father honors that perfect sacrifice and will forgive all who truly believe in His Son and call upon Him for salvation.
Do it today because tomorrow may never come for you!
“For He says, In the time of favor (of an assured welcome) I have listened to and heeded your call, and I have helped you on the day of deliverance (the day of salvation). Behold, now is truly the time for a gracious welcome and acceptance [of you from God]; behold, now is the day of salvation!” 2 Corinthians 6:2 (Amplified Bible, emphasis mine).
If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order—Kingdom of Antichrist—in their daily news.
Finally, we would love to hear from you. You can write us at:
Cutting Edge Ministries, C/O Pastor Ron Riffe
P.O. Box 26
Gordo, AL 35466
You can also E-Mail Pastor Ronald Riffe regarding questions or comments about this article.
God bless you.