Sunday, July 8, 2018

Salvation, Repentance and Confessing "Jesus is Lord"

New Horizons – Studies in the Book of Acts (Salvation, Conversion, Repentance & Faith)

On repentance as an essential aspect of conversion: (Luke 24:45-47) Acts 2:38; 5:31; 5:31; 11:18; 17:30-31; 20:21; 26:20

The nature of repentance: cp. Jesus’ statement in Matt. 12:41 with Jonah 3.(1-4)5-10

Key Question:  If Jesus is not the Supreme Authority [= 'Lord'] in a person’s life, is that person saved?

Answer: No. 

If you declare/confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  Rom. 10:9  (cp. 1 Cor. 12:3b.)

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Lk. 6:46

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’  Matt. 7:21-23

What is at sake regarding this crucial question:

1.  the eternal damnation of those led into a false assurance of salvation;

2.  the corrupting of the church with unregenerate ‘members’…;

3.  failure, then, to be salt and light in the culture (because we will have lost our saltiness);

4.  lack of compelling purpose and direction for living as individual believers and as a church (for we have no Master/Lord to direct us)

Conversion marks the inception of ‘the obedience of faith’, reversing the characteristic disobedience on the unbeliever.  (Rom. 1:5; 6:17-18; cf. Eph. 2:2; 5:6); proactively following as disciples, serving as ‘slaves’, person to Person.

Our Repentance Will Always Be Incomplete, a Work in Progress, in This Life

“We need to realize that while God’s acceptance of each Christian believer is perfect from the start, our repentance always needs to be extended further as long as we are in this world.

"Repentance means turning from as much as you know of your sin to give as much as you know of yourself to as much as you know of your God, and as our knowledge grows at these three points so our practice of repentance has to be enlarged.”

- J.I. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God, 87

Repentance Is Not Perfection but Taking Sides

“[The truths relating to a genuine conversion do not mean] that a Christian will never sin.

“Repenting of sin doesn’t necessarily mean that you stop sinning – certainly not altogether, and often not in particular areas, either.  Christians are still fallen sinners even after God gives us new spiritual life, and we will continue to struggle with sin until we are glorified with Jesus (see, e.g., Gal. 5:17; 1 John 2:1).

“But even if repentance doesn’t mean an immediate end to our sinning, it does mean that we will no longer live at peace with our sin.  We will declare mortal war against it and dedicate ourselves to resisting it by God’s power on every front in our lives.

“Many Christians struggle hard with this idea of repentance because they somehow expect that if they genuinely repent, sin will go away and temptation will stop.  When that doesn’t happen, they fall into despair, questioning whether their faith in Jesus is real.

“It’s true that when God regenerates us, he gives us power to fight against and overcome sin (1 Cor. 10:13).  But because we will continue to struggle with sin until we are glorified, we have to remember that genuine repentance is more fundamentally a matter of the heart’s attitude toward sin that it is a mere change of behavior.  Do we hate sin and war against it, or do we cherish it and defend it?

“One writer put this beautifully:  ‘The difference between an uncoverted and converted man is not that the one has sins and the other has none; but that the one takes part/[sides] with his cherished sins against a dreaded God, and the other takes part/[sides] with a reconciled God against his hated sin.’”

-- Greg Gilbert, “What Is the Gospel?” pp. 81-82, quoting William Arnot, “Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth” (London: T. Nelson and Sons, 1884), 311.


How can you hope to enter the kingdom of heaven (then) when you're unwilling for Christ to be your king (now)?


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