LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Quote on Repentance

   It is not uncommon to find in some an understanding of the gospel wherein repentance is understood in terms of works. Repentance is understood by these as a halting of wickedness and a commencement of righteousness. While this is a fair description of what repentance looks like, it fails to describe with any precision, the holy nature and origin of repentance.

   A practical description of repentance isn't focused so much on the visible outworking of that repentance, but rather on the internal mechanism that produces the external action. Repentance is therefore more precisely understood as being the very opposite of what it means to resist the Holy Spirit. It is no carnal work that a man does, but a work that is done to the man by God who grants it.

   The Apostle John reminds us in the sixth chapter of his gospel that it is the Spirit who gives eternal life. Yet there remains in some a confused understanding of the nature of repentance - a confusion wherein a person imagines that they may receive life from the same Spirit whom they are actively and unceasingly resisting! This notion of receivingly life while resisting it steadfastly is as preposterous and contrary to reason as it is heretical! Who can receive faith while resisting the Spirit?

   A man cannot receive life from the Spirit unless that man stops resisting the Spirit. One cannot receive faith in one hand while rejecting God in the other, that is wherever God grants that a man yield himself to God's Spirit, that is, wherever a man is found who has stopped resisting the Holy Spirit - in that place, and only in that place, faith is found. The ability to stop resisting the Holy Spirit, which we have named "repentance" and the faith that is received the moment the Spirit is no longer resisted - these are both granted by God, not a work of the flesh that will perish, but a work of the Spirit that will continue.

   Have you come to faith without repenting? You are deceived! Some vaporous doppelganger has been presented to you as the authentic Christian faith, but it is a faith that presumes too much upon the ability of man, having never understood what it means to repent. This faith has never stopped resisting the Holy Spirit, and therefore has never received life. It is a dead faith that is entirely powered by self. It is sufficient for cleansing of the outside of your cup, yet like a sepulcher, inside you are full of dead men's bones.

   Faith happens when the Author of all faith - our Lord Jesus Christ, in response to God's decree, and through the Holy Spirit grants this first grace to us - a grace so entirely contrary to our nature - He strengthens our spirit so that in a moment, in an instant of time, we are able to stop resisting the Holy Spirit! The moment we stop resisting faith is poured in, but not until. Faith comes into us through the Spirit, and cannot come into us so long as we resist Him. When God opens our heart to receive the Spirit, faith is poured into us. Faith is never produced by us, but received into us the moment we stop resisting God. Repentance can be said to precede faith only in this sense (for they surely come in the same, single stroke) unless a man is given grace to stop resisting the Holy Spirit, he will by no means come to saving faith.


Do you agree?

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12 Comments:

Blogger Daniel said...

John 14:15-17, If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

It isn't that the world can receive the Holy Spirit and simply chooses not to, it is that the world cannot receive Him. Who in their own strength can stop themselves from resisting the Holy Spirit? No one. There is no such thing as salvation without repentance. But when I say repentance I am not talking about some man made decision to start doing good in order to generate faith, no what I mean is that no one can come to faith unless God grants them the ability to "stop resisting the Holy Spirit" - that is, unless God gives that man the ability to come to Him - that is the repentance that comes coupled with saving faith - that is the repentance without which a faith is rightly called "dead" faith.

September 23, 2007 7:32 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Yes. I agree. The last paragraph and your comment ties it all together.

September 23, 2007 7:48 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

A man cannot receive life from the Spirit unless that man stops resisting the Spirit.

But the man can't stop resisting the Spirit on his own, n'est-ce-pas?

September 23, 2007 8:59 AM

 
Blogger Daniel said...

n'est-ce-pas?

My understanding is that this is only properly used after an assertion of something that a "thing" is.

This is a comment, isn't it? ... makes sense, but saying: But the man can't stop resisting the Spirit on his own, isn't it? does not make sense...

I am no francophone, so I may be mistaken, but I think this is a pretty common anglophone misuse of the phrase.

Notwithstanding, you are correct in what I believe you are saying - the man can by no means stop resisting the Holy Spirit in his own power.

September 23, 2007 9:36 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Daniel, Great post! It is the Spirit that gives life.

That said, in Acts 2:38 repentance precedes the gift of the Holy Spirit. However, repentance is a gift, Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Tim. 2:25. That said we are saved by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, shall we say, transmits all of the benefits of Christ's cross work to that individual whom He saves, repentance being one of them; again see Acts 5:31.

September 23, 2007 10:28 AM

 
Blogger Baptist Girl said...

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Heb 13.8

September 23, 2007 1:52 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

re: n'est-ce pas?

My understanding is that there is a dropped word here, meaning "is it not 'so'" or "is it not 'true'" (originally "n'est-ce pas vrai?")?

So what I'm writing means: Man cannot on his own stop rebelling against the Spirit, is this not so (true)?

September 23, 2007 2:30 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Btw, I am a francophone, having lived in France several years as a student and then worker, but I am certainly no expert in the English or French languages - nor correct/proper use of international phrases in either.

September 23, 2007 2:32 PM

 
Blogger Daniel said...

Susan, I understood what you meant, but thanks for explaining it anyway. ;-)

September 24, 2007 8:33 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Daniel,

I knew you understood what I meant - but I wanted to explain that I don't think I'm incorrect in usage of the term here. It does demonstrate an interesting point about language - that there can be a dropped (yet understood) word - that eventually could fall out of common understanding.

Also, I have questions for you on two other previous posts - the one on OT Saints and the Holy Spirit where you say OT saints are not "born again". Can you answer my questions there please? I really didn't understand what you were trying to say.

And the first post you made “Will You Rejoice” of one week ago, to which you noted you didn’t want to “put a fence around the discussion just yet,” I was wondering if you were planning on kind of wrapping up your own thoughts on the matter of the judgment seat and our children. Maybe you're planning another post on it?

September 24, 2007 11:19 AM

 
Blogger only1way said...

A practical description of repentance isn't focused so much on the visible outworking of that repentance, but rather on the internal mechanism that produces the external action

thank you Daniel and well put. The Greek for "repentance" is μετάνοια (meta-noia) which is actually two words : "meta" with or after and noeo which meansto think. So the word repentance means to think differently after conversion. It is a change in the way we normally think. It is different than "confession" which means to mentally agree with God (particularly about sin). Both are grounded in the thought process. One is to turn in a different direction (repentance). The other is to turn in agreement (confession).

September 25, 2007 12:23 AM

 
Blogger Daniel said...

Susan - sure I will get on that pronto.

only1way - exactly.

September 25, 2007 10:20 AM

 

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