Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Repentance is more than just "turning".

As one reads through Hosea, particularly chapter 7, it is amazing the number of metaphors God uses to show Israel's perfidy. They were separated from their God and Protector through their own actions. God hadn't gone anywhere, Israel had. They needed to repent and turn to Him.

However there is turning and there is turning. God was angry that Israel turned to idols. They turned to Egypt. They turned to Assyria. They turned to themselves, in their own beds crying and wailing. ("They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds"; Hosea 7:14) They turned a lot. They didn't turn the right way.

They turn, but not upward,  (Hosea 7:16a)

Turn upward!

Judas turned. In the KJV of Matthew 27:3 it says, "Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,"

Did Judas repent? No. He turned, he felt grief, he refused to look at his sin... but he didn't turn upward.

Easton's Bible Dictionary says there are several words for repent used in the bible. In the case of Judas the verb is "metamelomai is used of a change of mind, such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word is used with reference to the repentance of Judas (Matt. 27:3).

The other word for repentance according to Easton's is "Metanoeo, meaning to change one's mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge. This verb, with (3) the cognate noun metanoia, is used of true repentance, a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised."

In Judas' case, his turning was not upward.

In your grief over sin, in your restlessness in finding peace, in your agitation, turn, not from one worldly thing to another, but upward!

The lessons of Hosea 7 are many. One is, that God is looking down upon His elect. He is looking. Look upward! See Him! Our holy Savior as High Priest is looking at us, loving us, calling to us to repent. Repentance is a matter of turning, but turning in the right direction, and it is having a right heart condition. Judas' heart wasn't right. Ephraim's heart wasn't right. They cried but it wasn't from the heart. Judas cried, but it wasn't from the heart. If you cry over your sins, is it from the heart? If you turn from your sin, is it in the right direction? We have learned that a horizontal turning is not the right direction because the only thing in our horizontal field of vision is the world. The world doesn't forgive. God in heaven forgives. Upward is the right direction and having the right heart attitude is important too.

"because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved." (Romans 10:9).


5 comments :

  1. Elizabeth,
    I think this might be my problem, but I don't understand how I would get the "right heart" - just when I think I'm looking to Christ and leaving the world and my sin behind, I go back - I keep falling for the same things. I don't even know if this short reach out to you will even come close to conveying what's going on in my heart and head. I've prayed for a heart change, for godly sorrow and true repentance, but nothing ever changes... I'm so frustrated. I think I've been a believer for about 5 years and have floated around in so-called Christian circles that whole time, but NO ONE can help me - they don't even want to talk about it... I'm so disappointed in the church. I've lost any assurance of salvation I thought I had and I feel like I don't belong anywhere - recently found a good, bible-believing, Gospel-preaching church (FINALLY), but I feel like the ugly whore who slipped in the door unnoticed and now is tainting their perfect, sanitized Christian bubble... is this my sin and regret about the past coming out? Thank you for this post and for your blog, I'm always blessed by your devotion to Jesus and your observations about the world.

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    1. Hi Jem,

      Thank you for reading and also for the nice compliment and encouragement. I have some thoughts. So you have an email? You can email it to me at the address way down on the right hand menu below the statement of faith, if you care to. :)

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  2. This has been a topic of discussion lately in my family. My step-mother LOVES Joseph Prince, but I have many problems with his preaching. He gets justification right, but his teaching on grace and repentance are just wrong. He falls into the "hyper-grace" camp. This is one area where I can agree with Michael Brown, although he comes from an Arminian view of salvation. Joseph Prince teaches that repentance is simply a change of mind, without the turning (at least he never mentions turning in his sermons). Todd Friel has a really good rebuttal to Joseph Prince's teaching on repentance. Have you ever listened to or read any of Joseph Prince's material Elizabeth? It will drive you nuts, because he is so slippery! He does a great job of mixing truth and error, making it more difficult to correct.

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    1. Hi Brother Brad,
      I agree, Joseph Prince is problematic. I have heard some of his stuff. He exemplifies to a great extent what Spurgeon said about discernment not only being knowing the difference between right and wring but knowing the difference between right and almost right. Joseph Prince is almost right on grace abut unfortunately almost right is still eternally wrong.

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  3. You have done a great job explaining something that is quite elusive. Most do not ever give a thought as to how they have offended the Lord with their sin.
    jeff

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