Surrender Control – BT6
What repentance is and is NOT
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But doing good deeds doesn’t mean you have actually repented. That’s the very problem of all religious systems, even that of the Jews. All the NT speakers point this out over and over! Paul told Timothy, his evangelist in training, to “avoid such people” as those who “have the appearance/outward form of godliness (a), but they already have been, with ongoing results, denying/contradicting the enabling-power (b) of it” (c). They had the right actions but nothing of the Holy Spirit actually inside them to make true godliness possible. The protestant reformer Martin Luther caught the Catholics mistranslating the Greek word for “repentance” metanoia, which is “a resultant change of mind,” with the Latin poenitentiam agite “doing penance,” which are “voluntary acts of self-punishment as an outward expression of repentance,” to justify their corrupt practices of selling “indulgences” for the forgiveness of sins, especially since “penance” can also mean “the receipt of absolution from sins from a priest by fulfilling some requirement” (d). But for a long time the Catholic Church granted “indulgences” as a “practical satisfaction that was a part of the sacrament of penance.” This involved “the commuting of sin for money as part of the temporal penalty due for sin.” In other words, people could pay a priest for forgiveness of sin or less time in purgatory for themselves or loved ones. How corrupt can you get! But in many ways Protestant churches are repeating the same essential flaw – the focus on outward actions without first cultivating the inward enabling-power of true godliness. It’s like taking cuts in line! <Notes> a) holiness toward God, b) dunamis, c) 2 Timothy 3:5, d) making confessions, saying “Hail Marys” or “Our Fathers” or praying Rosary beads or lighting candles or buying candles for others to light, placing an offering in the plate, etc.
Repentance must start with “submission/subjection that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ” (a), for “Jesus Christ has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to Him” (b). Thus, “the righteousness based on trusting-relying-faith (c) says . . . ‘The directly-spoken/heard prophetic rhema word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the directly-spoken/heard prophetic rhema word of trusting-relying-faith that we proclaim, because if you confess with your mouth that ‘Jesus is Lord’ (d) and/coupled have trusting-relying-faith in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall actually be saved (e)” (f). Now many scholars believe that “Jesus is Lord” was the earliest public confession of trusting-relying-faith at one’s saving water-baptism, where they also received the grace-gifts of the Holy Spirit. <Notes> a) 2 Corinthians 9:13, b) 1 Peter 3:22, cf. 1 Corinthians 15:27-28; Hebrews 2:8; Ephesians 1:22; Romans 10:3, c) pistis: relational conviction of trusting reliance, d) kurios: master who owns you, e) delivered and healed, f) Romans 10:6-9.
The entire Christian walk from beginning to end is a life of repentance by surrendering control of yourself to “Jesus as Lord.” Jesus emphatically declared, “If anyone would come after Me, let him definitively/wholly deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (a), for “whoever does not take his cross and/coupled follow Me he is not worthy of Me. Whoever was/is habitually finding/keeping his life shall actually lose it, but/coupled whoever was/is routinely losing his life for My sake shall actually find it” (b). The apostle Paul declared in Romans 1:17, “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith (c), just as it is written ‘The righteous shall actually live by trusting-relying-faith’ (d).” Regarding this commitment, Jesus said “The one who endures to the end will be saved” (e), and “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (f). Hebrews 3:6, 14 says, “We are God’s house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. . . For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.” And Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:2, “You are being saved, if you hold fast to the logos gospel message I preached to you – unless you believed in vain.” It’s all to the end or nothing at all! <Notes> a) Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23, b) Matthew 10:38-39, c) a common Greek idiom meaning from one step of obedience to the next, from beginning to end, d) Habakkuk 2:4, e) Matthew 10:22, 24:13; Mark 13:13, f) Revelation 2:10, cf. 2:26.
As Christian musicians, we can’t fall prey to the heresy that repentance is penance like the Catholics did. It’s also not “regulations from human-teachings of ‘do not handle, do not taste, do not touch’ that have an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-imposed religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but that have absolutely in fact no actual value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh” as Paul said in Colossians 2:20-23 about the world’s religions, including the Jewish one! Doing outward works really doesn’t change our insides! But if we “turn to” and surrender fully to ‘Jesus as Lord’ on the inside, the enabling-power of the Holy Spirit than can work from the inside to the outside. Repentance is a ‘turn of the heart’ that is indeed going to create results, but don’t make the mistake of putting the ‘cart’ of works before the ‘horses’ of this ‘turn.’