Repentance:The Missing Response (Part 5)



Repentance:

The Missing Response!

(Part 5)

DO YOU NEED TO REPENT?

You may be one who believes that he or she has already been saved in the past. I would caution you of this: Be absolutely sure you truly have been born of God! Ask God to reveal whether, in fact, you truly repented of all your sins, whether you determined to begin a new life, and whether you had a sincere and true faith in God the Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:14-18; 20:30-31; Acts 20:21; 26:18-20). Search your heart as to whether you demonstrated this faith, repentance, and commitment by submitting to a Scriptural baptism (immersion) in water “for the forgiveness of your sins” and were given “the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-11).

If your faith was defective, your repentance was partial, your confession inadequate, or your baptism false and thus invalid, you need to realize that your entire experience and relationship with God is not what it should be. In truth, you actually were not “born from above” as you assumed you were! You accepted a counterfeit–a defective substitute that was of no avail.

This is why you should heed Paul’s command: “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!” (2 Cor. 13:5a). Paul warned of the danger of assuming that one is presently right with God and refusing to heed God’s further light of truth (Acts 13:46-47; cf. 28:25-28). Take this warning to heart. Choose to give heed to the word of repentance.

If you truly repented in the past, coming to God through Christ, there are times when you too need to repent before God and confess your sins to Him. As you learn of a sinful thought, word, or deed in your life, be willing to humble yourself, repent of the sin, and confess it to God whom you have grieved. Remember that some sins are also committed against other people as well as against God. (Every sin against another person is also a sin against God—1 Cor. 8:12; Psalm 51:4; Luke 15:18; Gen. 39:9). If you do sin against your brother or sister in Christ (cf. Rom. 14:15,20; 1 Cor. 8:11-12) or against anyone else, be willing to confess this with a repentance heart, to both God and the offended party. Then receive full forgiveness for these post-conversion sins (Luke 17:2-3; Matt 18:15; James 5:16; 2 Cor. 2:6-8).

Do not compromise with repentance. Do not explain it away. Do not deceive your own heart about this requirement. Be sensitive to the Spirit, be yielded before His Word, be humble before the Lord. Repent and receive your forgiveness!

HOW CAN YOU PERSONALLY REPENT?

You may have seen enough now to convince yourself that you need to repent. You can see that to fail to repent is to face God in judgment for your sins, thus you are determined to “flee from the wrath to come.” You want to come to a merciful God who will graciously receive you through Christ. But perhaps you find your heart hardened and your conscience insensitive through of years of sin (Acts 28:27;1 Tim. 1:19; 4:2). How can you come to repentance?

(1) Pray to God. It is true that God normally does not hear the prayers of the sinner, especially if one has turned away from known light of the Word (Prov. 28:9; cf. 15:8,29; Psalm 66:18). However, if one is seeking to know God’s will and has an open heart before the Lord, God does at least hear and answer such prayers of seeking (cf. Acts 10:2-4). Paul himself was deeply distraught about his past sinful life, and he manifested this by refusing to eat or drink for three days in Damascus (Acts 9:9). During this time of contrition and repentance, he was praying (v. 11). Therefore, be willing to pray that God will bring you to faith and repentance. Ask that God might open your heart to His truth and His ways that you might believe and obey Him. Pray that you might see yourself as God sees you and that He might help you to turn to Him and His will completely (cf. Psalm 139:23-24; 19:11).

(2) Search Your Bible with Great Earnestness. Think of the humble souls at Berea to whom Paul preached. The record says that “they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). We willing to carefully “examine” and study God’s Word to see the error of your ways and to see what God requires of you. Seek this “great eagerness” in your searching of the Scriptures! Let everything else in your life (your job, your family, your sleep, your recreation, your social life) become secondary during this time of seeking and searching. Just as saving faith comes through the means of God’s revealed Word and the preaching of Jesus (John 17:20; 19:35; 20:30-31; Acts 15:7), so true repentance also comes through the spoken or written Word (cf. 2 Tim. 2:25; Acts 2:38-41; 16:14-15; Mark 1:4-5; Jonah 3:4-9 with Luke 11:32; 2 Sam. 12:1-13). As you respond in faith to the Word of God, you will repent of your sinful and worldly ways.

(3) Pray for Further Light. You should also pray that God will open up areas of your life needing repentance–or fuller repentance. Pray that this present book will so enlighten your mind and heart (through the revealed Word) that you will see what you must repent of and how to repent. Perhaps God will send someone personally your way who will further convict you of sin and righteousness. We know that the Scriptures are sufficient (2 Tim. 3:16-17), yet you may be like the Ethiopian who said that he needed someone to “guide” him in “understanding” the Scriptures he read (Acts 8:30-31). Recall also Apollos and how God sent Priscilla and Aquila to him to explain to him “the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26). Beware, of course, that you are not misled or deluded by anyone, since false teaching and false preaching is so pervasive in our world! Most professing “Christians” compromise in the matter of repentance. Nor will they speak the truth regarding saving faith, true baptism, practical holiness, and a host of other Scriptural essentials.

(4) Take a Serious Look at Yourself. Because of the widespread deception in our world (Col. 2:4,8; Rev. 12:9), it would be good if you could go away by yourself and think through your present condition and your relationship with God. If you can find only several hours in the privacy of your room or in a park, this may be sufficient. You may need to “get away” for several days or longer to some secluded location and there seek God and His ways. Take a long and serious look at yourself. Consider where you are and where you need to be. Ask yourself what sins you have committed–sins of thought, word, attitude, relationship, and deed. It would help to write all of this down since we tend to retain more and understand more keenly what we write and see. In this process of repentance, read portions of Scripture (such as the ones we have cited throughout this booklet). And then pray over these written results–pouring your heart out before the Lord, repenting of your sinfulness, committing yourself to live for the will of God and His ways of holiness in the future. Take as much time with this endeavor as is necessary to deal with your sinful past, your evil heart, and your defiled conscience.

(5) Determine to Forsake Your Sins. Along with this inner repentance, remember that you must also forsake your sins (cf. Prov. 28:13). Although repentance is not the forsaking, it does result in a forsaking of sin. Therefore, at this time of your soul-searching and as part of your repentance, determine to turn away from the sins. If you have been dishonest, purpose to turn from your lying and live a life of complete honesty. If you have had a tendency to shoplift, determine to turn from this sin. If you have been sexually immoral (fornication, homosexuality, adultery, unnatural sex, masturbation, lustful reading or actions, etc.), determine to renounce such practices and henceforth live in absolute purity. If you have compromised with false doctrines, religious charlatans, human denominations, or other religious alliances, choose to forsake all of this. Now is the time to determine to follow through on your inner heart commitment by actually turning from such sins. As you are honest with yourself and God and bring these areas of sin before Him, it would be very helpful for you to write down everything that comes to you mind. Write it all in a notebook or journal. Write down the sins of the flesh and spirit (2 Cor. 7:1) that you commit yourself to forsake so that you will later be able to recall what was in your mind at this decisive time.

(6) Consider Whether Restitution is Needed. Read over what we have said about restitution. Perhaps you should give some thought about how you will make amends for your past wrongdoing. In some cases, you may not know how to carry this out, but the important thing at this point is that you are open to what God will reveal about this important “fruit” of repentance.

(7) Follow Through on Your Commitment. Let us assume that you are willing to truly and fully repent. You refuse to compromise in your repentance. You will hold nothing back from the Lord. You want to go “all the way” for Christ Jesus and are willing to enter an entirely new way of life. You now are at a place of trusting Christ and His sacrificial death for your sins and are not relying upon any good thing that you have done or can do. Now is the time for you to embody your repentance in an act–the very meaningful act faith we know as baptism. You must not only repent; you must also express your repentance (and faith) by being baptized (immersed) in water from which you will rise to walk “in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4). Be very careful here. Make sure that you have rid your mind of all false and perverted ideas about baptism since most churches, denominations, and sects have changed the Biblical meaning of this act by accepting various traditional but false understandings. Make sure that you understand what Scripture says about baptism and the faith and repentance that is expressed in this act.

(8) Monitor Your Commitment to Repent. As we have seen, repentance is an inner choice and decision. It is vital, therefore, that you carry out the commitment of your heart. This is where the notebook or journal that we suggested above will come in handy. From time to time, go back over the commitments you made at the point of your coming to Christ. Notice the sins that you were repenting of and pray that the Lord will continue to give you the strength to live above them and have victory. Sin is no longer to have mastery over our lives so we must maintain the victory over every manifestation of it (Rom. 6:12-14,22).

Hopefully these pointers will be of help as you personally choose to repent of your sins and turn to God through Christ for salvation. Suggested reading at the end of this booklet should provide further help in this must serious and important of subjects. May the Lord bless you abundantly as you take God at His Word and come to Him in genuine repentance!

EXAMINE YOUR OWN LIFE

Now that we have learned what Scripture teaches about repentance, we need to apply this to our own life. You see, it is one thing to say that we agree with God that we all must repent, but it is another to actually repent and demonstrate this repentance by actually changing our life–our speech, our attitudes, and our behavior. Further, while repentance is an inner decision of the mind and heart, it necessarily results in casting off the bad fruit and manifesting new fruit, the “fruit in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8; cf. Matt. 3:8).

Whether you are repenting for the first time as you come to the Lord Jesus or are continuing to repent as part of your growth in holiness, we wish to be as practical as possible in order to be helpful to you. We shall simply ask you many questions or list many areas of concern, categorized by topics, so you can evaluate your own heart and determine whether God would have you repent in a given matter. Please take this exercise seriously. Give it the time and thoughtfulness that it deserves. Remember also to pray for God’s enlightenment and the guidance of His Word as you consider each point (cf. Psalm 119:2,18,27,105).

(1) Lists of Sins Needing Repentance

First, it would be helpful for you to read and meditate over the basic lists or catalogs of sins mentioned in the New Testament. Choose a reliable and accurate modern translation so that you can understand the language employed by the inspired writers. (Satan may trip you up by using archaic language you cannot understand, thus your conviction may be less than what the Holy Spirit would want.) Use a dictionary if needed. Here are some of the passages you should read, meditate upon, and pray over:

  • Mark 7:21-23
  • Romans 1:24-32
  • Romans 13:12-13
  • 1 Corinthians 5:11
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
  • 2 Corinthians 12:20-21
  • Galatians 5:19-21
  • Ephesians 4:31; 5:3-6
  • Colossians 3:5-9
  • 1 Timothy 1:9-10
  • 2 Timothy 3:1-5
  • Titus 3:3
  • 1 Peter 4:2-3
  • Revelation 21:8

(2) Lists of Virtues You Need to Seek

Along with your reading the passages above that list basic sins, it may also be helpful and convicting in your pursuit of repentance if you would read passages that list the virtues and qualities that should be in your life. These are areas needing repentance also: we must turn from sin to the active seeking of these good qualities.

  • Matthew 5:1-12
  • Romans 12:9-21
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
  • Galatians 5:22-25
  • Ephesians 4:24-32
  • Ephesians 5:8-10
  • Philippians 4:8-9
  • Colossians 3:12-17
  • 1 Timothy 5:9-10
  • 1Timothy 6:11
  • 2 Timothy 2:21-22;
  • 2 Timothy 3:10
  • Titus 3:1-2
  • James 3:17
  • 1 Peter 3:8-12
  • 2 Peter 1:5-8

(3) Basic Questions to Ask Yourself

Let us now simply pose a number of questions that you can ask yourself as you seek to repent before your Holy God. Remember that although you may be alone as you read and ask these questions, in reality a holy, righteous, and merciful God is with you. You must be entirely honest and straightforward with yourself and Him. You should have the prayer of the psalmist: “Examine me, O Lord, and try me; test my mind and my heart” (Psalm 26:2).

  • Have you had a self-righteous spirit that did not need God’s grace?
  • Have you been trying to save yourself by your good deeds?
  • Have you had a religiosity but no true humility?
  • Have you compromised religiously to please religious leaders?
  • Have you failed to have a truly dependent attitude of faith in Christ?
  • Have you been playing religious “games” rather than being serious about God?
  • Have you had a half-hearted attitude in your pursuit of God?
  • Have you failed to seek God and His Kingdom with all of your heart?
  • Have you allowed one or more human beings to have priority over God?
  • Have you failed to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength?
  • Have you been caught up in the “self-esteem” emphasis and forgotten God?
  • Have you feared men and women but lacked a fear of God Himself?
  • Have you grieved or quenched the Spirit’s work in your life?
  • Have you lacked a genuine relationship with Christ Jesus?
  • Have you neglected giving God the amount of time that he deserves?
  • Have you failed to spend time with God in prayer, praise, and thanksgiving?
  • Have you failed to give of your finances to God and His work?

(4) Family Relationships Needing Repentance

Of all the relationships in life, those of the family are the closest (except for relationships in the spiritual family of God). Because of this, our true character often is manifested. Ask yourself the following questions regarding family relationships:

  • Have you disobeyed your father or mother (Col. 3:20; 2 Tim. 3:2)?
  • Have you dishonored your father or mother (Eph. 6:1-3)?
  • Have you failed to admonish and discipline your children (Eph. 6:4)?
  • Have you failed to provide for your children (1 Tim. 5:8)?
  • Have you been cruel, uncaring, impatient, harsh with them (Col.3:21; Eph. 4:31)?
  • Have you physically or sexually abused your child (Tit. 2:4).
  • Have you failed to teach your children about God and His Word (Deut. 6:6-7)?
  • Have you failed to have a period of family prayer, “worship” and Bible teaching each day (Eph. 6:4)?
  • Have you had a selfish and unloving attitude toward a brother or sister?
  • Have you failed to love, care for, nourish, spiritually lead, protect, and provide for your wife (Eph. 5:25-33; Col. 3:19; 1 Pet. 3:7)?
  • Have you failed to love, submit to, reverence, and care for your husband (Eph. 5:22-24; 1 Peter 3:1-6; Col. 3:18)?
  • Have you been cruel, uncaring, selfish, bitter, harsh with your life partner?
  • Did you marry an unsaved person though you were a Christian (1 Cor. 7:39)?
  • Did you wrongfully divorce your husband or wife (Matt. 19:9)?
  • Did you adulterously remarry a second spouse (Mark 10:11-12)?
  • Have you failed to treat your partner as you would want to be treated (Luke 6:31)?
  • Have you not been kind, considerate, pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, merciful, tender-hearted, forbearing, forgiving within the family circle (James 3:17; Eph. 4:32)?
  • Have you treated grandparents, grandchildren, and others with love, kindness, and Christ-like care (1 Thess. 5:15; 1 Tim. 5:4)?

(5) Employment Matters Needing Repentance

One of the most important parts of our life is that of our life work. Working forty hours (or more) a week, for about fifty weeks a year, accounts for a vast amount of time and effort. How vital it is that this aspect of life be brought under Christ’s Lordship. Most people have sinned in numerous ways regarding their occupation, thus God calls upon us to repent and turn from this sin.

  • Do you have a sinful profession or occupation (1 Cor. 15:34a)?
  • Do you need to do anything that is dishonest or even questionable on your job (Heb. 13:18; Rom. 14:23)?
  • Have you compromised in any way in order to retain your job or to obtain an advancement?
  • Does your job require you to buy, sell, market, or advertise worldly products (James 1:27b; 4:4)?
  • Do you treat your employees or fellow-workers with kindness and fairness (Eph. 6:9; Col. 4:1; Luke 6:31)?
  • Are you submissive to your supervisors (Eph. 6:5-8; Col. 3:22-25; Tit. 2:9-10; 1 Pet. 2:18-20)?
  • Does your position require lying (Eph. 4:15,25)?
  • Have you joined a labor union or gone on strike against your employer (Eph. 6:5- 8; Col. 3:22-25)?
  • Do you spend too much time on your job, leaving little for your family and the direct work of the Lord (Eph. 5:15-16; John 9:4)?
  • Are you slack on your job (Col. 3:23)?
  • Have you pilfered (stolen little things) on your job (Titus 2:10)?
  • Do you have a job that is harmful to your physical health?
  • If you are a married woman with children, are you working when you should be at home, caring for your family (1 Tim. 5:14; Titus 2:4-5)?
  • Are you seeking to be Christlike in your work day?

(6) Possessions and Material Considerations Needing Repentance

Jesus and the New Testament writers knew that one of the greatest temptations to people would be material things. Again and again they warned of the danger of riches (Mark 10:21-27) and seeking money (1 Tim. 6:9-10) and laying up treasures on earth (Matt. 6:19-21). Money and earthly possessions constitute a chief “god” in all ages–an idol that generally is pursued with more interest and fervency than the true and living God (Matt. 6:24). While money can be greatly used in the work of the Lord (2 Cor. 8:1-5; 1 Cor. 9:14; Gal. 6:6), most people rather use their resources selfishly. Because of such considerations, God calls upon us to repent of our attitude toward money and materialism.

  • Do you “lay up treasures” on earth rather than in heaven (Matt. 6:19-21)?
  • Have you made money into a god in your life (Matt. 6:24)?
  • Do you show interest in earthly wealth rather than the things of God (Lk. 12:21)?
  • Are you spiritually “faithful” in your use of “unrighteous mammon” (money) so that you use it in the work of the Lord (Luke 16:9-13)?
  • If you have more than sufficient money, property, investments, and have become absorbed in these earthly things, would you be willing to sell it all (houses, lands, stocks, bonds, etc.) and give it to the poor, the family of God, and the work of God (Mark 10:21-25)?
  • If you have a tendency to desire money and possessions, do you realize that you are an idolater and cannot inherit the kingdom of God (Eph. 5:5-6; Col. 3:5-6)?
  • Do you realize that desiring riches will plunge you into ruin and destruction and cause you to wander from the faith (1 Tim. 6:9-10)?
  • Instead of piling up money on earth, are you willing to be “rich” in good works, to be generous and ready to share with your brothers and sisters and those in need (1 Tim. 6:17-19)?
  • If you have earthly wealth, are you willing to humble yourself and change your perspective on such things for the sake of the Kingdom of God (James 1:9-11; 2:5; 5:1-5)?
  • Are you willing to be like Christ and lose your riches so that those without the gospel may become “rich” in spiritual blessings (2 Cor. 8:9)?
  • Are you willing to give of your resources for the benefit and blessings of the saints who may be in need (2 Cor. 8:1-5; 9:6-15)?
  • Are you willing to seek a degree of “equality” within the believing community of saints (2 Cor. 8:13-15)?
  • Do you treat others as you would want them to treat you materially (Luke 6:31)?
  • Do you join with other true Christians in giving to known needs (1 Cor. 16:1-2)?
  • Do you use your money in a way that will count for eternity rather than seeking luxury, finery, ease, abundance, and pleasure in this life (Luke 16:9; 1 Tim. 6:19; 2 Cor. 4:16-18)?
  • Is your house filled with luxurious furniture, fine dishes, genuine silverware, an assortment of trinkets of no spiritual value, the finest of furnishings, and other demonstrations of a materialistic perspective (James 5:5, NASB; Luke 16:19)?
  • Do you purchase fine clothes for show and “because you deserve the best” (1 Tim. 2:9; cf. 1 Pet. 3:3; Luke 7:25)?
  • Do you require the best of cars–the luxury cars, “because you deserve the best” (1 John 2:16)?

(7) Amusements, Recreation, Pastimes, and Pleasures Needing Repentance

The world around us definitely is on a course of pleasure-seeking that has dominated the thinking and lives of the vast majority of people. Paul speaks of those who are “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:4). Moses, in contrast, chose to “endure ill treatment with the people of God” rather than to “enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:25). This should be our view. We should see the folly, the carnality, and the earthly perspective of those who would seek worldly pleasures. It can be exceedingly difficult to escape this pleasure-mad society and develop a spiritual view of things since these sins are on every hand, ever beckoning us to view, to hear, to enjoy, to participate, and to join the revelry with nearly everyone else. Old and young, rich and poor, black and white, men and women, are all caught up in this unholy craving for carnal pleasures. God calls us to renounce this deceptive lifestyle of pleasure. He calls us to repent of our past pleasure-seeking and to begin an entirely different way of life that finds true joy in the good, fine, upbuilding, holy things of life (2 Tim. 2:22; Phil. 4:8). He calls us to repent and find our joy in the Lord: “In Thy presence is fullness of joy; in Thy right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11). Many, many things could be mentioned in this section. Let us simply list (without comment) various items for you to meditate on and pray over:

  • Television (Phil. 4:8; Psalm 119:37)
  • Gambling (lottery, casinos, etc.) (Matt. 7:12; Luke 6:31; Eph. 5:5-6)
  • Worldly music (rock, country, rap, jazz, etc.) (Mark 4:24; Prov. 4:23; Phil. 4:8)
  • Mixed swimming (Matt. 5:27-28; 1 Tim. 2:9-10; 2 Tim. 2:22; Job 31:1)
  • Dancing (Gal. 5:21; 1 Peter 4:2-3)
  • Foolish computer games (Phil. 4:8; Psalm 119:37; Rom. 12:9)
  • Movies and video tapes (Psalm 101:3; Phil. 4:8; Matt. 5:8)
  • Worldly board games (Luke 6:31; Matt. 22:39; Rom. 13:8-10)
  • Card games (Matt. 7:12; Luke 6:31; Eph. 5:15-17)
  • Worldly books (romance, murder, mystery, worldly novels, etc.) (Phil. 4:8)
  • Car races, horse races, dog racing, etc. (Rom. 12:1-2; 1:28-32; Luke 6:31)
  • Sports (1 Tim. 4:7b-8; Luke 6:31; Rom. 12:1)

(8) Sexual Relationships, Attitudes, and Activities Needing Repentance

If anything may be considered a “god” in our age, we must see SEX as that god! Of course, sex has been a major problem throughout history. Paul refers to the idolatry of sex in his culture: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Rom. 1:25). In his day, the Gentile pagans would worship their “gods” by participating in sexual immorality! In our day sex is just as much of an idol but it is all more subtle. Sex is displayed, talked about, viewed, and read about on every hand. We live in a sex-dominated society. God calls His people to a life of absolute holiness (1 Thess. 4:3-8) without which no one will see God (Heb. 12:14). Only the pure in heart will be with God in heaven (Matt. 5:8). God requires that we repent of every form of sinful sexual activity and every sexually immoral relationship of whatever kind! Consider the following as you ponder your own need to repent:

  • Have you made sex into a god in your life (Rom. 1:25; Exod. 20:3: 1 Jn. 5:21)?
  • Have you engaged in sexual lust or mental sexual activity (Phil. 4:8)?
  • Have you looked at another person with lustful intentions (Matt. 5:27-28)?
  • Have you stimulated such sexual looks by provocative, sexually-stimulating clothing that you wear (Prov. 6::25 with 7:10; 1 Tim. 2:9)?
  • Have you participated in sexual, lustful touching of another (Matt. 5:29-30; 1 Pet. 2:11; 2 Tim. 2:22)?
  • Have you engaged in full premarital sexual relations (fornication) (1 Cor. 6:9, 15- 20; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Thess. 4:3-8).
  • Are you presently “living with” another in a relationship of fornication (Heb. 13:4; Eph. 5:3,5-6; Col. 3:5-6)?
  • Have you committed adultery (had an “affair”) against your husband or wife (Heb. 13:4; 1 Cor. 6:9-11)?
  • Have you unjustly divorced your spouse (Matt. 5:31-32; 19:4-9; Mark 10:11-12)?
  • Have you been divorced by your spouse (Matt. 5:31-32; Luke 16:18)?
  • Have you adulterously remarried after such a divorce (Matt. 5:32; 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18; Romans 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:10-11; Heb. 13:4)?
  • Are you presently living in such an adulterous remarried relationship (Rom. 7:2-3; Mark 10:11-12)?
  • Have you engaged in unnatural sexual expressions (Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Pet. 2:11)?
  • Have you masturbated (2 Tim. 2:22; 1 Pet. 2:11)?
  • Have you had any homosexual activity or relations (Rom. 1:24-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Tim. 1:9-10)?
  • Have you read immoral novels or looked at pornographic literature or films (Phil. 4:8; Job. 31:1; Prov. 6:24-25)?

(9 Physical Considerations Needing Repentance

The believer recognizes that his physical body is to be given as a “living sacrifice” to God (Rom. 12:1). He is to glorify God in his body for He has redeemed it (1 Cor. 6:20; Eph. 1:14) and the Holy Spirit dwells in it as His “temple” (1 Cor. 6:19). In fact, the physical parts (or “members”) of the Christian’s body belong to the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 6:15) and they are to be used as His “instruments” to carry out His work on earth (Rom. 6:12-13). How important is the Christian’s physical body–and how carefully He should “nourish” and “cherish” it (Eph. 5:29) as a sacred trust from the Lord!

The person coming to Christ may not know much abut this aspect of repenting. Normally, the unbeliever abuses his body in various ways because he thinks (mistakenly) that he alone is responsible for his body. God says this is not so. Each person must use his body not for his own purposes but for the glory of God. After you become a Christian and grow in Him, exercising your spiritual discernment, you will better understand such things and make your own judgments in other matters (Heb. 5:12-14; Phil. 1:9-10). Think through the following areas you consider the meaning of repentance:

  • Have you wrongly assumed your body belonged to you (1 Cor. 10:26)?
  • Have you abused your body (and mind) with drugs (1 Cor. 6:20)?
  • Have you abused your body by using tobacco (Rom. 12:1)?
  • Have you abused your body (and mind) through drunkenness (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:21)?
  • Have you misused your body by engaging in any lustful, immoral, sexual practice or relationship (1 Cor. 6:9-10,15-20)?
  • Have you sexually withheld your body from your husband or wife (1 Cor. 7:2-5)?
  • Have you forced or pressured your spouse to engage in unnatural sexual practices (Gal. 5:19; 1 Pet. 2:11)?
  • Have you harmed your body by overeating (gluttony) (cf. Prov. 23:20-21; Deut. 21:20)?
  • Have you become overweight through irresponsible eating and behavior and through lack of self-control (1 Cor. 10:31; Gal. 5:23, NASB)?
  • Have you failed to properly exercise your body or engage in some physical activity (providing you are not handicapped) (1 Tim. 4:8)?
  • Have you eaten the ever-present “junk foods” and the wide variety of “foods” lacking nutritional value (1 Cor. 10:31)?
  • Have you become food obsessed (thinking of food too much) as the majority have in our day (Matt. 6:25-33)?
  • Have you failed to seek proper medical attention when this was needed, available, and possible for you (cf. Luke 5:31; cf. Col. 4:14a)?
  • Have you sought or practiced various occultic or “New Age” health practices and remedies (cf. Col. 2:8)?
  • Have you been involved in a physically dangerous occupation (Rom. 12:1)?
  • Have you failed to avail yourself of various physical safety features (e.g., seat belts, etc.)?
  • Have you failed to maintain a clean body for your own physical health and to avoid offending others; “cleanliness is next to godliness” (cf. Rom. 14:19-21)?

(10) Authority Relationships Needing Repentance

We are living in a world in which people in general want to be their own boss. They want to be in control. They do not want others to tell them what to do. However, every person on earth is under authority and God wants each person to recognize this fact and bow to it. The authorities under which we live are of different kinds. In repentance, God wants us to see how we have rebelled against proper authority and then determine to humbly place ourselves under these authorities. Consider these questions:

  • Have you honored the President and others in authority (1 Peter 2:17)?
  • Have you submitted yourself to governmental authorities–or resisted them (Rom. 13:1-2; Titus 3:1)?
  • Have you been honest in the payment of your taxes and fees (income tax, social security tax, dog license, sales tax, etc.) (Rom. 13:6-8)?
  • Have you obeyed governmental requirements and regulations (auto speed limits, driver’s license, inspection requirements, insurance requirements, building codes, hunting license, etc.) (1 Peter 2:13-14)?
  • Have you rendered to the president and his representatives what they are due (Matt. 22:21)?
  • Have you, as a son or daughter, honored and obeyed your parents (Eph. 6:1-3; Col. 3:20; cf. Rom. 1:30)?
  • Have you done things secretly that would disappoint them if they knew (Eph. 6:2)?
  • Have you spoken disrespectfully to them (Matt. 15:4)?
  • Have you, as a wife, failed to have a submissive, yielding, subordinate, and respectful attitude and disposition toward your husband (Eph. 5:22-24,33; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:4-5; 1 Peter 3:1-6)?
  • Have you disobeyed your husband (except when he would require you to be unfaithful to the Lord (1 Peter 3:5-6; cf. Acts 5:29)?
  • Have you manifested an insubmissive or disobedient attitude toward your supervisor on the job (Eph. 6:5-8; Col. 3:22-24; Titus 2:9; 1 Peter 2:18-20)?
  • Have you joined a labor union, gone on a strike, or participated in a job walk-out, or done anything else against your employer (1 Tim. 6:1; 1 Peter 2:18-20)?
  • Have you failed to manifest a submissive attitude toward rightful overseers, evangelists, teachers, and other Christian workers (1 Tim. 2:11-12; 1 Cor. 16:15-16; Heb. 13:7,17; cf. 1 Thess. 5:12-13)?
  • Have you, as a woman, failed to recognize the headship and authority of man (1 Cor. 11:3)?
  • Have you, as a young person, failed to be subject to and have respect for your elders (1 Peter 5:5; cf. Lev. 19:32; Prov. 16:31; 20:29)?

(11) General Relationships Needing Repentance

Our association with others goes beyond our immediate family to the wider circle of people we know and meet. Consider the following questions as you think of these relationships of life:

  • Have you loved others as you love yourself (Mark 12:31)?
  • Have you treated others as you would like to be treated by them (Luke 6:31)?
  • Have you been kind, compassionate, humble, gentle, patient, faithful, toward others (Gal. 5:22-23; Col. 3:12)?
  • Have you had bitterness, anger, clamor, slander, malice, envy, disputes, toward others (Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:31; Col. 3:8)?
  • Have you actively sought to share the good news of Jesus with friends, associates, and others (Mark 16:15)?
  • Have you shared gospel and teaching literature with others, according to their need (Acts 8:4)?
  • Have you looked for opportunities to relate to others and speak to them about Jesus and His Word, according to their need (Col. 4:4-5)?
  • Have you responsibly answered letters when people have written to you, and this was in order (Matt. 7:12)?
  • Have you expressed a care, concern, and interest when others shared their problems (marital, family, health, job, etc.) with you (Luke 6:31)?
  • Have you attempted to help the hungry, sick, and poor as you had the opportunity (cf. Luke 16:19-21; Mark 14:7)?
  • Have you had a disagreeable, cold, indifferent, negative, or sour disposition in your relationship with others (Phil. 4:4)?
  • Have you attempted to be a good example before others (1 Tim. 4:12; Tit. 3:7)?
  • Have you sought to be light to the world and salt to the earth (Matt. 5:13-15)?

(12) Your Relationship with Believers Needing Repentance

You may be a Christian working through this exercise with the sincere desire to repent of areas the Lord brings to your attention. (This section is not directly applicable to those out of Christ.) Obviously, this little section is especially for you since your relationship with your brothers and sisters in Christ is to be loving, intimate, and intense. It would be wise to read through the New Testament letters (Romans-Revelation) for there are literally hundreds of commands, examples, and other statements that will show positive ways you are to relate to other children in God’s family and negative statements how you must not relate to them. Consider the following questions as you ask yourself whether you need to repent in this crucial area of your life:

  • Do you love your brothers and sisters with a “fervent” love–the kind of self-giving love that Christ had (1 Peter 1:22; 4:8; John 13:34-35)?
  • Do you seek to do good to your brother or sister (1 Thess. 5:15)?
  • Do you seek to reconcile with those who have sinned against you (Matt. 18:15)?
  • Do you reprove your brother who is guilty of sin (Luke 17:2-3)?
  • Have you admonished and exhorted your fellow-believer (Rom. 15:14)?
  • Have you graciously and humbly received admonishment from your fellow-believer (Matt. 18:15; Prov. 9:8b-9; 2 Cor. 2:6-8; James 3:17, NIV)?
  • Have you been willing to restrict your freedom for the good of a brother with a weak conscience (Rom. 14:21; 1 Cor. 8:13)?
  • Have you been willing to aid a poor brother or sister with your money and possessions (1 John 3:16-18; James 2:15-17)?
  • Have you helped the hungry, thirsty, sick, imprisoned, those without sufficient clothes, and those who are strangers (Matt. 25:34-40)?
  • Have you especially been mindful of the widows, widowers, divorced, fatherless, and motherless among the saints (James 1:27; 1 Tim. 5:3-16)?
  • Have you failed to meet when the saints came together to worship, receive teaching, and have fellowship (Heb. 10:24-25)?
  • Have you sought to maintain regular contact with your brothers and sisters at all times (Heb. 3:13; cf. Acts 2:44-46)?
  • Have you earnestly endeavored to have the “same mind,” the “same judgment,” and the “same love” toward your fellow-saints, and to be of “one spirit,” “one soul,” “one mind,” and of “one purpose” with them (1 Cor. 1:10; Phil. 1:27; 2:2; Acts 2:46)?

    Richard Hollerman

    (Continued)

     

     

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