Friday, February 17, 2023

A Morning Bible Study - What Is Repentance?

Leonard V. Johnson    About

Just what does it mean to repent? Is real repentance just an emotional feeling? Is it just merely feeling sorry for having made some mistakes in life!? What is God's definition of true repentance? Let us here in this Bible Study examine what true repentance is and is not, detailing what God's definition of real repentance truly is.
1) What is sin, defined by the LORD God?
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness – 1 John 3:4.

Has every human being since Adam sinned?

“Therefore, just as through one man [Adam] sin entered the world, and death [the second death; see Revelation 20:14; 21:8] through sin, and thus death [the second death] spread to all men, because all sinned – Romans 5:12.

Lawlessness against the Government of God!

From the very foundation of the world the LORD God’s Law was given to man – summed up in the TEN COMMANDMENTS – cf. Romans 4:15!

The transgression of the LORD God’s Law constitutes sin.

What is the ultimate penalty of sin?

“What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death [eternal death]. … 23) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” – Romans 6:21, 23.

The churches of this world teach as doctrine – you’ve all heard it many times – the immortality of the soul. Oh, do they love to talk about the immortality of the soul! And yet, not one place in the Bible can you find that concept! Not one! Now, you can find where Jesus Christ is the only One who has immortality within Him. And, obviously, God the Father has immortality within Him. But as far as us!? You know, Ezekiel 18 two times says, “The soul who sins SHALL DIE.” And, in the Book of Romans 1:32 – “…that those who practice such things are deserving of DEATH, …” Romans 6:16 – talks about a ‘sin leading to death.’ Nothing about immortality!

Romans 7:5 – talks about the ‘motions of sins, which did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto DEATH.’ And then, Romans 8:6 – “For to be carnally minded is DEATH.” I think you get the idea. The Bible, over and over says, if we don’t walk the correct path and have the correct relationship with God, that we are subject to death.

The ultimate penalty is eternal death─ a complete cessation of life forever.
2) Has the LORD God (the family of God, which consists at this present time of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ), in Their infinite mercy and love, provided the Way by which we can avoid paying this ultimate penalty─ eternal death?
“Jesus said to him, I AM the Way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’ – John 14:6.

“Nor is there [eternal] salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we MUST be saved” – Acts 4:12.

And of course a most cherished passage─ and it’s a beautiful passage!

’ For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life’ – John 3:16.

Again, perish – DEATH!

Our Lord Jesus Christ would become our Atonement – it was prophesied – we often read this during the Passover – or the Lord’s Supper – because it’s such a description of what Jesus endured – Isaiah 53:1-3.

The LORD God’s Master Plan is laid out before us!

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [atonement] for our sins – 1 John 4:10.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9) Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10) For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” – Romans 5:8-10.

The LORD God explains to us in 1st Corinthians –

“For since by man [Adam] came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23) BUT EACH ONE IN HIS OWN ORDER: Christ the firstfruits [Our Lord Jesus Christ HIMSELF], AFTERWARD those who are Christ’s at His second coming [a first resurrection of the dead – in Christ]. 24) Then comes THE END, …” – 1 Corinthians 15:22-24.
3) How can a person─ no matter where they are on this planet─ have their sins blotted out by our Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrifice─ be completely forgiven of their transgressions against the Law of God, and be delivered from the ultimate penalty of eternal death?
First, let’s notice –

“But before faith came [speaking of the faith we have in our Lord Jesus Christ], we were kept under guard by the law [the Mosaic Law; the Law of Moses, in which the Ten Commandments is of a separate covenant], kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed [speaking of the New Covenant under our Lord Jesus]. 24) Therefore the law [the Mosaic Law] was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25) but after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

26) For you are all [children] of God THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS. 27) For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28) There is neither Jew nor [Gentile], there is neither [bond] nor free, there is neither male nor female; for YOU ARE ALL ONE IN CHRIST JESUS” – Galatians 3:23-28.

Jesus Christ would come from the descendants of Abraham – through Abraham. And friends, I have to say, that includes all nations. Not just a certain group, nationality, or race of people – but all nations. The apostle Paul next says, “if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Those Gentile nations – God’s glorious plan all along was to allow for the Gentile nations to also see the light of Christ. Recall, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined” – Isaiah 9:2. God’s revelation – primarily through the apostle Paul – to all of those Gentile nations.

So, how can a person be completely forgiven of their transgressions against the Law of God, and be delivered from the penalty of death?

Our Lord Jesus Christ’s very first recorded words at the beginning of His ministry state, ’ The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel – Mark 1:15.

The apostle Peter, filled with God’s Spirit, unequivocally says─

“ … ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” – Acts 2:38.

Repent therefore and be converted [be changed through God’s love and graciousness and through His Spirit], that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing [talking about the resurrection and being a part of the Kingdom of God!] may come from the presence of the Lord” – Acts 3:19.

Or, you can continue living under your bubble of a world, with your own belief that if you just live behind an entrance gate you’ll be safe.

“Do not love the world OR THE THINGS IN THE WORLD. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16) For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. 17) And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever – 1 John 2:15-17.

You must admit to yourself the true conditions of this present evil age! STOP living in your own little bubble – believing that “things aren’t really that bad!”

Look into God’s spiritual mirror of His living word – and let His words reflect every rotting and putrefying sore you have – every evil, every deception, every resentment, every rebellion, or hostility of your mind and heart.

Then REPENT unto the LORD God!

Just what is real repentance as defined by the LORD God? What does it involve? What must be done in order to repent?

It’s one thing to say to someone, “you’re a sinner.” But it’s another thing to show that person why they are a sinner.

The Greek word for repent is metanoeō, which means “to change any or all of the elements composing one’s life; attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors concerning the demands of God for right living.” 1

True repentance is exactly that. It is a complete about-face from the disobedience against the LORD God in not keeping the Law of God─ summed up in the TEN COMMANDMENTS. True repentance is far more than just a mere emotional experience or human feeling of remorse. It is “godly sorrow”─ notice –

“’ If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, … 12) I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people’” – Leviticus 26:3, 12.

“Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ 19) So Jesus said to him, … 20) ‘You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ 21) And he said, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth.’ 22) … ‘ … come, follow Me – Luke 18:18-22.

“So they said, ‘Believe on the [name] Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household’” – Acts 16:31.

’ If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16) And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that [it] may abide with you forever─ ’ – John 14:15-16.

“Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10) For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” – 2 Corinthians 7:9-10.

Sadly, multiple millions of our peoples have been taught that Colossians 2:13-17 is teaching that the Ten Commandments were “nailed to the cross.” Well, He did take something out of the way, nailing it to His cross!─ but, what was it?

What are the ‘wiped out the handwriting of ordinances’!? It’s the Old Covenant. Right here Paul just plainly says, ‘Jesus Christ blotted all of the Old Covenant out.’ Not the Ten Commandments. But the Old Covenant – the old Jewish ideas!

“Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. 16) So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbath’s, 17) which are a shadow of things to come, [but let the Body of Christ judge you] – Colossians 2:15. 2

Certainly, no man can prove this to you─ this truth from the LORD God is something you must prove to yourself, beyond any shadow of a doubt. We should all be as those people who lived in the ancient city of Berea in Macedonia─ they were “more fair-minded” who “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”

What are we to repent of!?

The LORD God says –

“’ But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die [speaking of the second death]’” – Ezekiel 18:21.

“’ Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity [sin; wickedness] will not be your ruin’” – Ezekiel 18:30. 

Change your ways, change the way you think, change the way you act, change the way you speak, change the way you interact with other people, and change the way you interact with God. Just because you go to a church doesn’t mean your pleasing God. The only way you’re going to please God is if you’re doing, believing, and teaching, the things which He says. And that’s very difficult to get people to understand. If you truly want to honor God and to respect God and to love God, then it’s incumbent upon you to know what He actually teaches. And what He believes. And what He wants you to believe.

“’ Cast away from you all the transgressions, …’” – all of your mistakes. Be it mistakes in your own personal life, or whether it’s mistakes in your religious life – like false doctrines, or incorrect doctrines. “…’ and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit’” – Ezekiel 18:31.

Referring to the New Covenant! The New Covenant emphasizes Jesus Christ and the promise of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ being the Head of that Church, the ministry, the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ. And it talks about having the Ten Commandments written on your heart and on your mind. And having the Spirit of God within you. And looking forward to the promises of God, the promise of forgiveness, and the promise of eternal life.

The LORD God’s holy commandments show us the Way to peace, prosperity, happiness, and true joy. And they are very much relevant in this 21st-century world! The ever-increasing and worsening evils that humanity is suffering from today are not caused by the Law, but because of the breaking of it!
4) Should true repentance be heartfelt, deep, and moving!?
“’ Now, therefore,’ says the LORD, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning’” – Joel 2:12.

However, sadly, a great many of our peoples believe that they should practice self-flagellation! The disciplinary and devotional practice of flogging oneself with whips or other instruments that inflict pain.

Our heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will not accept those whose “repentance” is merely an outward show. The LORD God continues, “’ So rend your heart, and not your garments.’” Also, there are some who believe that repentance is merely a matter of understanding God’s truth intellectually. None of this is repentance at all. It is self-righteousness.

Every time that you start to think of yourself as doing something really well, you need to remember these words –

“But we are all like an unclean thing, [and at our best; I’m adding editorially] And all our righteousness are like filthy rags; …” – when compared to the might, the grandeur, the power, the righteousness of God the Father and Jesus Christ!

Truly by studying God’s living word─ and allowing our Lord Jesus Christ to lead us in all right understanding─ we begin to see and hear that we fall short of the glory of God! – Romans 3:23. And that we NEED His loving and merciful forgiveness and help.

Yet, how is it possible for a human to come to the kind of repentance that can begin to change one’s life!?

In truth, this repentance must come from the LORD God.

Notice here the living words of the LORD─

… “who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, …”

People that conduct themselves this way – in the back of their minds somewhere know that this conduct will not go unpunished. They know about the judgment of Almighty God and Jesus Christ! Now, they may not understand the truth about the judgment of God – but they do know about it.

“ … that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” – Romans 1:18-32.

“But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3) And do you think this, O man [or woman], you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?

Or do you despise the riches of His [the Lord God’s] goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” – Romans 2:2-4.

And, by the very inspiration of God’s living Spirit, the apostle Paul continues with a promise of the Eternal our God, “Eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality.” – Romans 2:7.

Now, did you catch that!? A man must seek God’s free gift of immortality!


Because it is only God Who has immortality to give. “Which He will manifest in His own time, He Who is the blessed and ONLY POTENTATE, the King of kings and Lord of lords [referring to our Lord Jesus Christ], 16) who ALONE has immortality.” – 1 Timothy 6:15-16.


The LORD God is patient, merciful, and loving in leading one to repentance.
5) So, does true repentance come from the LORD God!?
“in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26) and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” – 2 Timothy 2:25-26.

True repentance involves a complete and unconditional surrender to the LORD God─ placing the family of God above all else! Notice –

’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38) And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me’ – Matthew 10:37-38.

In other passages, He talks about father and mother, children, lands, country, homes, your job, and your career. If you put anything BEFORE God you are committing a form of idolatry. And all of us – whatever spiritual “works” we’ve been asked to do that’s what we’re supposed to do. And do it to the best of our ability.

The apostle Luke adds – ’ If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple’ – Luke 14:26.

The Greek word hate is miseō, which means “to hate.” The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament helps us better understand the word “hate” and its root meaning. In Hebrew it’s śānē’, which means “hate, to be hateful.”
“The verb śānē’ and its derivatives have the root meaning “to hate.” It expresses an emotional attitude toward persons and things …

There is also a hating on the part of man which is acceptable to God. Man must have an aversion to and depart from evil, hence the Psalmist [King David] says, ‘I have hated the assembly of evildoers’ (Ps 21:5). This hatred is also in diametric opposition to a believer’s trust in the Lord, for the man of God says, ‘I hate them who regard vain idols but I trust in the Lord’ (Ps 31:6).” 3
In essence, if a person does not “hate” the way his unconverted father, mother, wife, children, brothers or sisters, and yes, even the way he himself is living, that person cannot be His disciple. Our Lord Jesus Christ is truly talking about giving one’s life entirely to the LORD God!
6) Did our Lord Jesus clearly say to us that no one can come to Him unless the Father draws him?
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day’ – John 6:44.

I can preach until I’m blue in the face and beg people to open their eyes and put aside their fluffy religious garbage, but UNLESS God the Father has called them, then they will NEVER know the REAL JESUS!

And then to make it even clearer─

You did not choose Me, but I chose you and [ordained] you that you should go and bear fruit, …’ – John 15:16.

No, you didn’t pick the LORD God. You didn’t set out on your quest for God! If you ever did sort of, “I’m gonna look into the Bible!” It was God that put the motivation in you! Somewhere on that trip, He put you into contact with human beings or literature that had been produced by His people, by His Church, and that kept the process going and gave you the fuel to continue to learn.
7) How can YOU know that YOU truly repented before the LORD God?
“’ Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance – Matthew 3:8.

God provides all true Christians with the WILLPOWER, the FAITH OF CHRIST, and MOTIVATION to do His good pleasure. God the Father and Jesus Christ have gone to great lengths to provide the grace – the unmerited favor of Their divine mercy – to help Their begotten children to succeed in their calling. But They expect results!

At John the Baptist’s preaching, the people began to ask him, “What shall we do then.” In other words, “What is this─ bearing fruits worthy of repentance?” And he answered them, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.” He also told the tax collectors who came to be baptized, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.” He also told the soldiers, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely and be content with your wages.” Such actions were fruits worthy of repentance.

Spiritually what are these fruits!? The fruit of the Spirit.

“But the fruit of the Spirit [the attributes] is love [godly love], joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23) gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. … 25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” – Galatians 5:22-23, 25.

“but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance – Acts 26:20.

Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us that a person who truly repented bears the fruits of the Spirit of God─

You will know them by their fruits. 17) Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18) A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19) Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire’ – Matthew 7:16, 17-19.

Verse 20 translated from the NLT – ’ Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.’

That is the kind of repentance the LORD God will accept – that is the Way you must repent.

I pray that the LORD God will grant YOU repentance. □

1) Strong, J., LL.D., S.T.D., #3340 metanoeōThe Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Zondervan, © 2001, pp. 1626.
2) Verses 16-18 do not abolish the dietary laws of clean and unclean meats, the festivals or the weekly Sabbath of God. Rather, Paul is clearly affirming that the Gentiles in Colosse were to continue to observe these commandments as they had been taught. Paul was instructing the Colossians to disregard the criticisms and harsh judgments of those outside the Church, because the observance of these days are a continuing foreshadow of the things that are yet to come in God’s Plan. By being faithful and keeping these commandments of God, they would always be worshiping the true God, be built up in Jesus Christ and never lose the understanding of God’s Plan. By true repentance to God the Father and Jesus Christ, they would not be deceived by vain philosophies of men, nor would they be seduced into the worship of fallen angels ─ Satan and his demons. The Holy Bible In Its Original Order A New English Translation by Fred R. Coulter. York Publishing Co., 2007, 2009, pg. 1199.
3) Harris L. R., Archer, L. Gleason, Jr., and Waltke K. Bruce. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 1980, #2272, pgs. 879, 880.

Scriptural Index:

Old Testament - Leviticus 26:3, 12; Psalm 2:5; 31:6; Isaiah 9:2; 53:1-3; 64:6; Ezekiel 18; 18:21, 30, 31; Joel 2:12, 13.
New Testament - Matthew 3:8; 7:16, 17-19, 20; 10:37-38; Mark 1:15; Luke 14:26; 18:18-22; John 3:16; 6:44; 14:6, 15-16; 15:16; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 4:12; 16:31; 26:20; Romans 1:18-32; 2:2-4, 7; 3:23; 4:15; 5:8-10, 12; 6:21, 23; 7:5; 8:6; 1 Corinthians 15:22-24; 2 Corinthians 7:9-10; Galatians 3:23-28, 29; 5:22-23, 25; Colossians 2:13-17; 1 Timothy 6:15-16; 2 Timothy 2:25-26; 1 John 2:15-17; 3:4; 4:10; Revelation 20:14; 21:8.

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