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 A question about repentance and grace

Hi folks,

I have a question that's very serious for me. I can't ever seem to find the answer but maybe someone knows the answer.

The Bible says that we're by grace through faith and not of ourselves. When I read elsewhere in the Bible though, we're told to repent. For example, "...unless you repent, you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3).

How is it that we must repent and yet we're saved by grace through faith and not of ourselves? It seems to me that if we're required to repent, then it isn't much of grace.

Another issue I'm having that is somewhat related is in 1st John.

I don't understand how it can say "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us" (1 john 1:8) and at the same time also go on to say, "No one who is born of God practices sin..." 1 john 3:9.

I also don't understand why Scripture will use the word "practice." How many times can I sin and in how long of a period of time before I'm in the zone of "practicing a sin"?

I really want to take scripture in it's plain meaning but when I do, I run into these walls and I hate it.

If only I could believe I was going to heaven because I'm saved by grace through faith, I'd be so happy.

Thanks

 2009/6/19 1:50
hmmhmm
Member



Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991
Sweden

 Re: A question about repentance and grace

i think one must rightly understand what grace is and is not, i think much of the preaching of grace is and salvation has two sides, one is faith the other repentance, one needs both to be saved, atleast that what Jesus preached and seeing he will judge us i believe him when he says we must repent.

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mar 1:15 KJG)

faith without repentance is availing nothing, repentance without faith likewise.

Quote:
I also don't understand why Scripture will use the word "practice." How many times can I sin and in how long of a period of time before I'm in the zone of "practicing a sin"?



what does your conciense tell you in light of scripture? no one can tell you, only God. It depends on how close we are to the Lord and his light, what he shows us, somethings may be very sinful to me, but to someone just saved it might not be since they have not seen it yet. But it does say no one born of God practice sin.

Practice=poieo {poy-eh'-o}
Meaning: 1) to make 1a) with the names of things made, to produce, construct, form, fashion, etc. 1b) to be the authors of, the cause 1c) to make ready, to prepare 1d) to produce, bear, shoot forth 1e) to acquire, to provide a thing for one's self 1f) to make a thing out of something 1g) to (make i.e.) render one anything 1g1) to (make i.e.) constitute or appoint one anything, to appoint or ordain one that 1g2) to (make i.e.) declare one anything 1h) to put one forth, to lead him out 1i) to make one do something 1i1) cause one to 1j) to be the authors of a thing (to cause, bring about) 2) to do 2a) to act rightly, do well 2a1) to carry out, to execute 2b) to do a thing unto one 2b1) to do to one 2c) with designation of time: to pass, spend 2d) to celebrate, keep 2d1) to make ready, and so at the same time to institute, the celebration of the passover 2e) to perform: to a promise


and remembering that John wrote this letter to a church where some gnostic teachings where trying to overtake it becomes clearer, some gnostics taught that one can believe and after that it does not matter how much you sin because once you are saved you can never lose your salvation no matter how you live, and john i think addressed this in this letter. This is just my personal opinion, so i encourage you to read and pray and ask God show you, he will when the time is right. Have an open heart and prayerfully and humbly come to the scriptures and God will show you great things.


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CHRISTIAN

 2009/6/19 2:14Profile
bible4life
Member



Joined: 2009/1/21
Posts: 1559
Locport, Illinois

 Re:

great reply hhhmmm, i just read first john twice last week and from what i know is this when it says he who is born of god does not sin, it means in the greek language i believe that he who continues in sin as a habit or as a lifestyle. I would say practices could mean he who does as a lifestyle or sins for the enjoyment of it or he who loves to sin, If we lives as a lifestyle sinning on a continued basis without repentance without a desire to turn from it and do it without any godly sorrow then i guess he is saying you our not saved or born again and never have been. I take john not as an example of someone losing salvation but as evidence of a sheep and a goat. Practice sure sounds like sin as a lifestyle, to practice something, like i practice baseball to get better, its like you our trying and wanting to sin, so he might be saying that the born again believer does not practice sin at all, might fall but does not want to fall. If i confused you i am sorry but that is how i take it and how i have heard it defined.


_________________
John Beechy

 2009/6/19 3:19Profile









 Re: A question about repentance and grace


Hi Paul,

(This post turned out to be longer than it felt when I was writing. Thanks for your patience.)

Your questions are all covered from a different angle, in Alan Martin's first Barnsdall Revival conference address, and he does quote from 1 John. But don't stop there! [url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/visit.php?lid=18721]True Salvation: The Righteousness of God in man[/url].

I would say, though, that his masterful presentation is so rich, that it cannot be digested in one session. Listen to it and stop when you hear something you've not understood previously, just as you would when reading your Bible, and let God lead you in further Bible study around that key word or thought.

I'm trying to transcribe that message, and I've realised that because he is quoting from memory, he is transposing the order of some of the words. It is, though, the KJV rather than another translation which he is remembering.

You will find, therefore, that 'practises' sin is not KJV. (You might know that already.)

hmmhmm said

Quote:
i encourage you to read and pray and ask God show you, he will when the time is right. Have an open heart and prayerfully and humbly come to the scriptures and God will show you

I would like to underline the word 'humbly'. For if you look it up in scripture, you will find this is something God does not do for us, unless we are so far out of connecting with Him, that [u]He[/u] decides to 'humble' us, by allowing the full consequences of our sins to weigh down on us for as long as it takes for us to cry out to Him honestly. In this respect, please check out broclint's post [url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=29264&forum=35&7]The High Price of Sin[/url].

On your question about repentance, I know exactly what you mean, however, repentance is the essential response to [u]conviction of[/u] sin. If you are not sensing such conviction, you cannot honestly repent. But, you can [i]ask God for[/i] conviction of sin, and you do need to repent. You [u]need[/u] repentance to [u]work[/u] in you.

Basically, we all do what we want, until we submit ourselves to God's agenda, and this instinctive 'I do what I like' ('Ye are gods' John 10:34) will always be with us, unless we make daily choices to [i][b]desire[/b][/i] [u]His[/u] 'will' (desires) (Luke 22:15) above our own [u]and to do it[/u]. Do we desire to have Christ sitting at our table, supping with us? What could prevent [u]Him[/u] from so doing, except sin?

Repentance is a real spiritual event, through which God makes many other spiritual truths [i][b]work[/i][/b] in our lives in our personal experience, thus giving us a real testimony about Jesus Christ Himself.

Repentance is not a work. It is a response to the working of the Spirit of Truth in our lives. Also, it is God's most gentle way of separating us from our pride and hypocrisy. And, it is the dynamic through which we experience a sense of inclusion in the death which Christ died - His broken heart and His wounded side.

Please read these two short extracts from Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest, and ponder on the distinctions he makes between objective truth, and the apprehension / comprehension (or conscious experience of it) by the believer of that objective truth. (There is a world of difference between [i]seeing[/i] what he is getting at, and actually being one who can say 'this is my experience of God'.

[url=http://www.myutmost.org/10/1028.html]Justification by Faith[/url]

[url=http://www.myutmost.org/12/1228.html]Continuous Conversion[/url]


One of the ways you will know that you are on the right track, is when you find yourself recognising that other believers have been through what you have been through, and have come out of the experience with a knowledge of God like yours. You find yourself saying 'we know'. This is the witness of the Spirit of Truth, to which the scripture also attests.

Coming to terms with what it says about 'us', that we have to accept the sentence of death in ourselves (2 Cor 1:9), to experience Rom 6:4, is a very humbling experience, but, it is also very freeing from all dissimulation, because while we are kidding ourselves that we don't need this or that which Jesus said we did, God is always looking on our hearts, and He is not deceived by one word of protestation that comes out of our mouths (James 3:10, Matt 15:18, 19). It should make us blush to remember that He knows every single detail about us, and every thought we are about to think, were it not that we have found Him just as faithful to forgive us our sins, and to plunge us into His death through Jesus Christ, and deliver us into the kingdom of light. (John 3:21, Col 1:13)

I'm listening now to a messaage by Norman Meeten, which complements Alan Martin's exposition, called [url=http://www.newcovenanttapes.co.uk/_mp3/NL2008/NL0807.mp3]The Outworking of the Holy Spirit[/url]. He covers repentance [i]thoroughly[/i], when he gets to it, just before the middle. (There are a couple of scratchy places in this recording, but they soon pass.)

Blessings, brother. You are on the right track to be grappling with these great truths, and making them yours, early in your Christian life.

 2009/6/20 4:33
bible4life
Member



Joined: 2009/1/21
Posts: 1559
Locport, Illinois

 Re:

amen


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John Beechy

 2009/6/20 14:03Profile
UncleBert
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Joined: 2009/6/10
Posts: 1


 Re: A question about repentance and grace

I'd like to help you ease your burden brother Paul

My brother before you believe or heed my advice please seek it out for the truth yourself.

In answer to your first question the grace and faith is not of ourselves but of our Lord. The Son of God Jesus Christ.

As for repentance it is You turning your back on unbelief and trusting your every hope for the future and your very essence of being unto Christ.

The blessed assurance is all of Grace seeing the measure of your sin fills the cup of wrath due you on judgment day. For all come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:22-24)

By the mercy and love of God he sent Jesus to take your wrath instead. Your sin Paul sent the barb laced whip ripping through the body of the Son of God and your sins are atrociously evident on his affliction of the cross. The word says He even redeems us from our iniquities.(Titus 2:14) The cost of your redemption was agonizingly paid on the cross.

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him.(Isaiah 53:10) Why? Because God loves you Paul and sacrificed his only son that you might not perish in the eternal lake of fire.

Paul I heard David Wilkerson say one time that when you read the word if you don't put yourself in the picture you just won't get it.

Put yourself on the cross with Christ Paul(Galatians 2:20) that you may die with him and be resurrected with him unto a life of righteousness today and forever for glory unto God.

For dead men don't sin Paul, they can't they are dead! Dead men also have no faith Paul, they can't they are dead.

Therefore my brother live by the perfect faith of the Son of God and rely not on the faith of the dead for death and hell itself shall be cast into the lake of fire.

Believe on Jesus Christ. Take your sin to him and let not his death be in vain. Become one with him my brother.(John 17: 21-23)

 2009/6/20 22:54Profile
Eli_Barnabas
Member



Joined: 2005/2/16
Posts: 621
Cache Valley, Utah

 Re:

With all due respect to everyone's posts, I would encourage you, Paul, to only take heed to UncleBert's. I know that might sound strange or harsh, but there is so much Christian talk about repentance that is simply unbiblical, yet widely accepted. Thank you UncleBert for your post. Amen.

I fully reject the common assumption that 1 John 3 says we cannot "practice" sin. There's no basis for that at all in the Greek. Just because it is a presently active phrase doesn't mean John was talking about practicing sin. He was literally saying, as he so clearly says, that whoever is born of God does not sin. Present, active... he does not sin, period. Do we not read John in verse 4? What is sin? And who sins?

"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4)

Whoever commits sin transgresses the law. Does that apply to a Christian, who is redeemed from the law?

"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God." (Romans 7:4)

"But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." (Romans 7:6)

"For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God." (Galatians 2:19)

All Christians (those whose identities are in Christ) are dead to the law through the death of Christ. Therefore they are not subject to the law. To the law, the Christian is dead. They CANNOT break the law, and so therefore they CANNOT sin! At all! There is no way a true Christian can sin because sin is transgression of the law, and "without the law sin is dead." (Romans 7:8)

Am I making this up? No! This is the truth of Scripture!

"Sin is not imputed when there is no law." (Romans 5:13)

"Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression." (Romans 4:15)

John is not saying anything but what he is clearly saying. Whoever is born of God CANNOT sin. Why? John answers the question in a circle: Because he is born of God!

"Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." (Romans 4:6-8)

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1)

"Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth." (Romans 8:33)

This is the most radical truth that any person could ever believe, and yet Christians continually are stuffing it under the rug, telling people they must still be condemned for their sins! Condemned for my sins? WHAT SINS? Christ took them all and I am no longer deemed a sinner! No, now I am a son of God, elect, precious, redeemed, washed, justified, forgiven - SAVED!

Each one of us would be absolutely condemned were we to seek to be right before God by our works, whether before or after conversion. The law finds us to be sinners were it not for Jesus Christ. The law demands perfection. It knows nothing of "practicing" or "habitual" righteousness. You either keep it or you don't: and nobody but Christ ever will, says John:

"And in him is no sin." (1 John 3:5)

IN HIM IS NO SIN! And THAT is why, if you are IN CHRIST, there is no sin that can be imputed to you! You CANNOT sin IN CHRIST! Impossible!

Nor is repentance a synonym for keeping the law, as so many unwittingly affirm. Repentance is, as UncleBert said, the turning to Jesus Christ for salvation and safety. It is conversion. It is when a sinner turns from trying to work his own way to righteousness and SUBMITS to the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS.

"For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." (Romans 10:3)

That submission to the righteousness of God is repentance, and it is THAT which Satan wars against. He has no problem with preaching morality and human righteousness. The Bible tells us he transforms his ministers into ministers of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:15). Satan loves preaching morality, because it appeals to the conscience and sweeps millions into self-righteous religion, condemning them all to hell.

Oh, little do we realize that the only righteousness that is indeed righteousness and acceptable before God is the righteousness of God Himself! What a violent war this is, and how the mighty have fallen! It is the war between the glory of God and the glory of man and all that is right and true. The righteousness of God calls a sinner a sinner indeed, and only by faith in Jesus Christ do we magnify the law of God and satisfy all requirements.

You're either dead in sin or dead to sin. And every true born again Christian is dead to sin by the body of Christ. Sin no longer has any claim upon them. They are crucified with Christ! Convicted, dead, punished, finished! They are freed from the law forever.

So the next time Satan lies to you and condemns you for your "sin", you tell him: "What sin, Satan? What sin? The sin that Jesus Christ suffered for and died for on the cross that God no longer remembers? The sin that God has removed as far as the east is from the west by the blood of the Lamb? Be silent, my accuser! Christ has defeated you once and for all and triumphed over you and your wicked devices! Who are you to condemn me? God has justified me. I am no longer yours!"

Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!!!





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Eli Brayley

 2009/6/21 1:01Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
what does your conciense tell you in light of scripture? no one can tell you, only God. It depends on how close we are to the Lord and his light, what he shows us, somethings may be very sinful to me, but to someone just saved it might not be since they have not seen it yet. But it does say no one born of God practice sin.

Practice=poieo {poy-eh'-o}
Meaning: 1) to make 1a) with the names of things made, to produce, construct, form, fashion, etc. 1b) to be the authors of, the cause 1c) to make ready, to prepare 1d) to produce, bear, shoot forth 1e) to acquire, to provide a thing for one's self 1f) to make a thing out of something 1g) to (make i.e.) render one anything 1g1) to (make i.e.) constitute or appoint one anything, to appoint or ordain one that 1g2) to (make i.e.) declare one anything 1h) to put one forth, to lead him out 1i) to make one do something 1i1) cause one to 1j) to be the authors of a thing (to cause, bring about) 2) to do 2a) to act rightly, do well 2a1) to carry out, to execute 2b) to do a thing unto one 2b1) to do to one 2c) with designation of time: to pass, spend 2d) to celebrate, keep 2d1) to make ready, and so at the same time to institute, the celebration of the passover 2e) to perform: to a promise


and remembering that John wrote this letter to a church where some gnostic teachings where trying to overtake it becomes clearer, some gnostics taught that one can believe and after that it does not matter how much you sin because once you are saved you can never lose your salvation no matter how you live, and john i think addressed this in this letter. This is just my personal opinion, so i encourage you to read and pray and ask God show you, he will when the time is right. Have an open heart and prayerfully and humbly come to the scriptures and God will show you great things.


Christ died and rose again not to just "forgive" our sins or impute to us righteousness that is just positional. Oh brothers and sisters. He rose again to grant us the "the righteousness of God" we can have it by faith! We can overcome sin by Christ and this righteousness.

repentance is needful and biblical.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2009/6/21 16:45Profile
PaulWest
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Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re:

Quote:
How is it that we must repent and yet we're saved by grace through faith and not of ourselves? It seems to me that if we're required to repent, then it isn't much of grace.


Who says that the ability to repent isn't an act of grace in and of itself?
"...if and peradventure God will give them repentance..." (2 Tim. 2:25)

We need to come to the utter realization that in Christ we have absolutely everything, and outside of Christ we have absolutely nothing. And this "being in" Christ is what we call "abiding" and we abide in Him soley by faith and nothing else. We are already fully complete in Him, seated in heavenly places, and God has already blessed us in Him with all spiritual blessings. We are already dead in Christ, because we were crucified in Him when God layed Him on the cross. Do you really believe this? Or is it too fantastic to lay hold of?

A new nature exists within us now that deplores sin, hates the very idea of sinning...and everyone who has been genuinely converted and is reading this knows exactly what I am saying. It doesn't mean that you always please God, or unfailingly follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and the voice of your conscience in areas where God has given you light, but it does mean that you hate sin all the same. When you fail God you are instantly grieved, whereas in your pre-converted state you could do the same action or have the same thoughts and not think twice as to being offended or grieved.

God allows us to fail Him (sometimes repeatedly) to bring us to the point of abandon and futility. How many times will you have to experience failure before you realize you can't live the Christian life in accordance with a perfect conscience and with the light God has given you? To experience victory in this life, we need divine grace, and God only gives this grace to the humble. The problem with many believers is that though they mean well and love God with all their heart, mind and strength, they are still inwardly proud, endeavoring to repent and gather strength from protracted prayer and laborious Bible study and red-hot preaching. This is able to keep them temporarily, but eventually a defeat in some area will overtake them once again...and back to the wheel of pain they go.

God will allow this cycle to go on indefinately, until we learn to say, "I can do nothing but fail, all my supposed repentance is but an act of willpower, I can do nothing, I know nothing, and I am tired of failures and theology that looks good on paper and is preached anointedly from the pulpit...but does not in any way help me gain a victory that lasts."

When we come to this place, and finally surrender to all of our efforts of repentance and struggling against sin, God will at this very moment of profound weakness grant us the insight of what it means to be "in Christ" and how He alone is our Righteousness, our Strength, our Sanctifier. Then we will have the victory, because the victory is not intrinsic to ourselves, but the Living Christ in us, made perfect in our weakness.


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Paul Frederick West

 2009/6/21 18:53Profile
Eli_Barnabas
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Joined: 2005/2/16
Posts: 621
Cache Valley, Utah

 Re:

Amen Paul. Amen. Thank you.


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Eli Brayley

 2009/6/21 22:56Profile





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