Saturday, February 15, 2020

What Is Repentance? (TDNT)

“…radical conversion, a transformation of nature, a definitive turning from evil, a resolute turning to God in total obedience (Mk.1:15; Mt.4:17; 18:3)….  This conversion is once for all.  There can be no going back, only advance in responsible movement along the way now taken.  It affects the whole man, first and basically the center of personal life, then logically his conduct at all times and in all situations, his thoughts, words and acts (Mt. 12:33ff. par; 23:26; Mk.7:15 par.).

“The whole proclamation of Jesus…is a proclamation of unconditional turning to God, of unconditional turning from all that is against God, not merely that which is downright evil, but that which in a given case makes total turning to God impossible….  [e.g., the rich young ruler]

“It is addressed to all without distinction and presented with unmitigated severity in order to indicate the only way of salvation there is.

“Repentance calls for total surrender, total commitment to the will of God….  It embraces the whole walk of the new man who is claimed by the divine lordship.  It carries with it the founding of a new personal relation of man to God….  It awakens joyous obedience for a life according to God’s will.”

-- "Theological Dictionary of the New Testament" (Kittel)

Proclaiming Good News to 'the Poor'

'The poor in Luke [4:18] are not merely those who are financially deprived. Financial deprivation may be in view, but that is not the fundamental meaning of “poor” for Luke. The poor are those who are deprived of covenant promise-fulfillment.

'They are God’s faithful people who have longed for the kingdom of heaven, for God to arrange everything under the lordship of his Son, to enact his righteousness upon the earth. Since the time of Adam, they have been deprived of this.

'They are those who suffer under the tyranny of sin and Satan, whose rule is embodied in the present world rulers who exalt the wicked and condemn the righteous.

'Jesus hasn’t come to be the equivalent of today’s caricatured Social Justice Warrior who wants to take from the rich and give to the poor in a simple monetary transfer. Jesus has come to bring true social justice that destroys the power behind all tyranny that exalts the wicked and oppresses the righteous.

'The good news is that God’s faithful people who are currently deprived of their rights as God’s faithful ones will be exalted over the wicked.'

-- Bill Smith "Total Salvation"

Is the Lord Jesus Really the Head of Your Church?

As a practical matter, being a Christian means living under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and living under his lordship means living in accordance with his teaching and commands (John 8:31; Matt. 28:20) -- and the only place to find those teachings is the Bible. 

This practical principle is true for individual Christians, but also applies to churches, to congregations as a whole.  It applies to pastors, ministry leaders, board members and members of the congregation.  This means that, in any given decision that a church faces, the most important and relevant question for each leader and lay member to ask is NOT, what do I prefer, or what do most people I know prefer, or even what does a given leader prefer.  The crucial question for all involved is:  "In the decision we now face, what would be most faithful to the teaching of Scripture?"

As J.I. Packer has written,  “The Christian principle of biblical authority means, on the one hand, that God purposes to direct the belief and behavior of his people through the revealed truth set forth in Holy Scripture; on the other hand it means that all our ideas about God should be measured, tested, and where necessary corrected and enlarged, by reference to biblical teaching…..

"Authority in Christianity belongs to God the Creator, who made us to know, love, and serve him, and his way of exercising his authority over us is by means of the truth and wisdom of his written Word….. And since the Father has now given the Son executive authority to rule the cosmos on his behalf (Matt.28:18), Scripture now functions precisely as the instrument of Christ’s lordship over his followers…." [Matt.28:18ff.; 2 Tim.3:16-17]

-- J.I. Packer "Concise Theology" (p.16)

Faithful Gospel Proclamation Includes Repentance

'The glorified Christ placed beyond all doubt that repentance is to be a part of gospel proclamation, when he declared on the evening of his resurrection from the dead: “This is what is written: that the Messiah should suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance for … forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed . . . in his name to all nations” (Luke 24:46-47).

'As did John the Baptist before him (Matt. 3:2, 8, 11; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3, 8; Acts 13:24; 19:4), Jesus himself preached repentance in the imperative mood (Matt. 4:17; Mark 1:15), characterized the very purpose behind his coming to people in terms of calling sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32), warned that unless sinners repented they would perish (Luke 13:3, 5) and unless they were converted . . . and became as little children, they would never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:3), denouncing whole cities that would not repent while commending Ninevah for repenting at the preaching of Jonah (Matt. 11:20-21; 12:41; Luke 10:13; 11:32), and declared that heaven rejoices over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:7, 10).

'The apostles, on their preaching missions throughout Galilee, “Preached that people should repent” (Mark 6:12), and they continued to be true this aspect of their Lord’s commission throughout the book of Acts (Peter in Acts 2:38; 3:19; 8:22; Paul in Acts 17:30; 20:21; 26:20). The author of Hebrews indicates that “repentance from dead works” is a first principle of the doctrine of Christ (Heb. 6:1).'

--  Robert L. Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1998), 723.

(HT: Chris Braun)

Converted People

"...By the baptism of the Spirit Jesus imparts the divine power that creates those who are subject to the divine rule, i.e., converted people....." -- "Theological Dictionary of the New Testament"

Monday, January 6, 2020

How Long Will We Continue to Miss This?

“From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’”   -- Jesus (Matt. 4:17)

“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ …you will be saved.” -- Paul (Rom. 10:9)

“Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you….’” – Jesus (Matt. 28:18-20)

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” – Jesus (Luke 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.” – Jesus (Matt. 7:21)

This is not how most evangelicals today present the gospel, and the way of salvation.

In order to be saved, person must ‘confess Jesus as Lord’, acknowledging him to be the Supreme Authority (“King”) over him or her.  For the Lordship of Jesus is the current expression of the kingdom of God.

Becoming a true disciple (= Christian, Acts 11:26) means committing to obey everything Jesus commands.

Jesus himself defined his Lordship in terms of people doing what He says – doing the will of God.

And Jesus warns that just because someone is in the habit of calling Him ‘Lord’ – that person will not be among the saved if they were not an obeyer of Christ’s word.

Far too often this truth is not clearly explained in our presentations of the Gospel.  In fact, far too many evangleicals don’t even seem to be trying to make this clear and, even more bizarre, some evangelicals deny that this proclamation of Jesus as Supreme Authority is even necessary, or even accurate.

Tragically, instead of urgently and boldly proclaiming this true message concerning the way of salvation, too much of the evangelical church seems committed people-pleasing ‘preaching,’ presentations and programs that do much more entertaining than faithful evangelizing of the lost (or edifying of the saved) – which is just what the apostle Paul warned would happen  (2 Timothy 4:1-5)