30
Dec
10

What is repentance?

      Even a cursory reading of the Bible reveals that repentance is important.  Therefore it is also important to define it carefully and accurately. This is not a place to be slipshod or careless.

     The Greek word translated repent literally means to change your mind.  That is also an accurate description of repentance.  In modern terms, it is a change of mindset, a changing of your paradigm.  Biblical repentance is the gigantic shift from trusting in your own works to be right with God to trusting in Jesus’ works to make you right with God.  It is rooted in the recognition of two important facts: 1) how utterly unable I am to do anything to make myself right with God; and 2) how fully and completely Jesus made me right with God.  Repentance is seeing the light – it is nothing less than a new birth.

    There are a number of things that naturally follow repentance.  Once our eyes are open to the ugliness and seriousness of sin, we abhor it.  Even though we abhor it, we see that we are still very weak in the face of it.  Therefore, even though we try not to sin, we know we will sin.  Down through the centuries, millions of repentant people have joined Paul in saying, “For the good that I would I do not, but the evil which I would not, that I do.”  (Romans 7:19) 

    But not only does repentance open our eyes to our sinfulness, it also opens them to the greatness of God’s forgiveness.  “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”  (Psalm 32:1)  A repentant person doesn’t think he has to quit sinning to remain in God’s good graces – he knows he can’t.  Rather he remains trusting 100% in what Jesus has already done for him.   Repentance, through and through, is turning completely away from trust in one’s goodness and works to trust in Jesus’ works.

     That, however, is not the message of Mormonism.  Its Inspired Version (JST) translates Psalm 32:1 this way:  “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and who have no sins to be covered.”  Consistently it describes repentance as a long process – a process that focuses not on a change in thinking but a change of action.

     One part of Mormonism’s process of repentance that startles many Christians is the “abandonment of sin”.  “Maintain an unyielding permanent resolve that you will never repeat the transgression.  When you keep this commandment, you will never experience the pain of that sin again.’  (True to the Faith, p. 135)  Over the years, I have had Mormons expand on this in two different ways.  I have had some echo what this says and say that repentant persons will never repeat the sin again.  If they do, that shows that they weren’t truly repentant.  More often, however, are the Mormons who say that all this means is to try – but they don’t have to actually abandon the sin.  I, however, have never found any official statement that watered it down in that way.

    The second part of Mormonism’s process of repentance that strikes many Christians is the requirement of full obedience.  “President Kimball said: ‘First, one repents.  Having gained that ground he then must live the commandments of the Lord to retain his vantage point.  This is necessary to secure complete forgiveness.”  (Gospel Principles, p. 11-112)  Again many Mormons insert the word “try’ – in “try to live the commandments”.  But that is not what it says.  Consistently it says obey the commandments.  In fact, I have read official statements which say to try is a statement of weakness. 

      I, for one, would despair if I believed that I would have to not only abandon sin but keep all the commandments in order to secure God’s forgiveness.  That is way, way, way, beyond my capability.  That is why I am so glad that this is not what biblical repentance is.  I am so glad that true repentance is abandoning not sin but all thoughts that I can do something like that and instead placing all trust in what Jesus has done.  Because of Jesus, I am truly blessed as a repentant, forgiven man.

Advertisements

79 Responses to “What is repentance?”


  1. 1 Echo
    December 30, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Great post Mark!

  2. 2 Seth R.
    December 31, 2010 at 3:06 am

    So if you fail to abandon the sin, you simply repent again.

    Problem solved Mark.

  3. 3 Echo
    December 31, 2010 at 4:03 am

    “So if you fail to abandon the sin, you simply repent again.”

    Exactly!…

    Mathew 18:21-22 ” Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

    What foolishness hey? By nature we all think exactly that when we hear it!

    1 Corinthians 1:21 “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.”

    1 Corinthians 1:25 “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”

  4. 4 Echo
    December 31, 2010 at 4:07 am

    Read Mathew 18:23-35

  5. 5 markcares
    December 31, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Seth:
    But that’s not what Mormonism teaches. According to it, abandoning the sin is an essential part of repentance. Therefore if you don’t abandon the sin, you can’t be repentance.
    On a different point do you agree with what I wrote about repentance as a change of mind, changing from trust in one self to trust in Jesus?

  6. 6 Seth R.
    December 31, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Sure it’s what Mormonism teaches Mark.

    I’m a Mormon. And I was consistently taught that it’s never too late to repent. I was also taught that I would NEED to constantly repent, because I would CONTINUALLY make mistakes.

  7. 7 Seth R.
    December 31, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Besides, you guys seem to be glossing over a big chunk of Paul’s message in Romans.

    Jesus didn’t just live and die to forgive the world.

    He came to redeem it and raise it up to righteousness.

    Forgiveness and justification before God is only HALF of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The other half is that Christ provided a way for us to BECOME truly better – to break the cycle and become righteous. This is called “sanctification” and it is different from “justification.”

    Sanctification is the ongoing work of the THIRD member of the godhead in our lives. Because of Christ’s Atonement and the covenant relationship we enter into through Christ’s new covenant, the Holy Spirit is invited into our lives and ENABLES us to become better.

    You can read about this in Romans chapter 8. I linked you guys an extensive article I wrote analyzing Romans chapter 8 earlier. Did you read it?

  8. 8 Echo
    December 31, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Seth, I did read your Romans 8 article from the link on the last thread, and we do interpret portions of Romans differently than you. We also believe in Sancification. Where should be begin do you think?

  9. 9 Seth R.
    January 1, 2011 at 3:39 am

    Who is “we” Echo?

    Because I know of at least a few Evangelicals I know who had no problem with the interpretation I gave there.

  10. 10 Echo
    January 1, 2011 at 4:30 am

    Seth, Mark and I are Lutheran not Evangelical in the sense that that term is used today.

    We disagree with some Evangelical teachings.

  11. 11 Seth R.
    January 1, 2011 at 4:42 am

    Enough to say they don’t have valid saving faith in Jesus?

  12. 13 Echo
    January 1, 2011 at 7:09 am

    Sorry, I should say a bit more so I am not misunderstood. We believe that Evangelicals have a valid saving faith.

  13. 14 Seth R.
    January 1, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Then I don’t see what the point was in distinguishing yourself from them for purposes of this discussion.

  14. 15 Echo
    January 1, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Maybe I misunderstood you but you asked who “We” was referring to from my post. “We” is referring to Lutherans.

  15. 16 markcares
    January 1, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Seth:
    Let me try this again. In the chapter on Repentance in Gospel Principles it lists the principles of repentance There it lists 7 parts all with “must” in their sub-titles. My question is: what does “must” mean to you? Does must make something optional? Wouldn’t you agree that “must” describes something indispensable? That, at least, is how my dictionary defines it. Where is the wiggle room in “must”? If that “must” in “we must forsake our sins” means that I really don’t have to forsake them in order to be repentant, does that mean that I don’t really have to acknowledge my sin or feel sorrow for my sin or confess my sin in order to be repentant? Can a person say that they are repentnat is they don’t confess their sins or have sorrow over thier sins? If those aren’t optional in the list, what makes abandoning the sin optional?

  16. 17 Seth R.
    January 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Mark, I don’t recall a single “must” on that list that I denied.

    Do you see one?

  17. 18 Kent
    January 1, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Seth, I would probably be considered a evangelical as even though I have been baptized and confirmed in a Lutheran Church, I now attend a non denominational evangelical church but even though there are some differences in some teachings, in the core teachings of salvation through grace and grace alone we are in complete agreement. So I major on the majors of my shared faith with my Lutheran brothers and sisters and I don’t sweat some of the minors that my church and their church may disagree about. It all boils down to I follow Christ as taught in the Bible and not really any particular church and I believe that my church and the Lutherans follow the true Christ of the Bible and, really no offense intended, that the Mormon Church does not follow the true church of the Bible.

  18. 19 Kent
    January 1, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Seth, I meant in my last post that the Lutherans and my church follow the true Christ of the Bible and that the Mormpons do not follow the true Christ of the Bible.

    Regarding repentance, this is my personal opinion and not any official teaching of my church or any church I have attended in the past.

    Repentance is a hard concept to grasp and it can be even harder to explain but here goes.

    I think an example would be the sin of homosexuality, which we both a agree is not God’s plan for humanity. A person who previously considered himself or herself gay repents and turns away from his or her sin and believes on Jesus Christ as their Savior and he or she is forgiven of all of their sins, not just homosexuality, and now has a place in heaven for eternity.

    The difference now from their old life is their self identity which before they were saved they said that being gay is who they are but now who they are is not being gay as they are now in Christ so being gay is who they were but not who they are now.

    But say for example, the person slips and commits a homosexual act he or she would then again turn away from his or her sin and ask God for forgiveness which God grants him or her because He is long suffering and this person would not lose his or her salvation for committing the before mentioned sin.

    The thing is Jesus died once and for all to take away all of our sins but if that were not the case, then He would have to die over and over again or we would have to continously sacrifice innocent unblemished animals as they did in the Old Testament temple as only blood can take away sins.

    That is my take on repentance and I hope I got it right. It makes sense to me but, like I said, it is a hard concept to grasp and even harder to explain.

  19. 20 Seth R.
    January 2, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Kent, unless you are trying to posture for other Protestants who may be reading this, there really is no need to tell me that you think the Mormon church is not following the Jesus of the Bible.

    This is not a news flash to me.

    I was aware of this sentiment a long, loooong time ago.

    I think you are all wrong on that score. But there’s hardly any point in me saying it, is there? Unless we all want to get into some inane “yes I am” – “no you’re not” kind of back-and-forth exchange that gets nobody anywhere.

  20. 21 Seth R.
    January 2, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Well, I appreciate the attempt at explanation. But it doesn’t seem like there is much there to distinguish from what Mormon theology is already providing me.

  21. 22 Kent
    January 2, 2011 at 1:40 am

    “Well, I appreciate the attempt at explanation. But it doesn’t seem like there is much there to distinguish from what Mormon theology is already providing me.”

    I think the difference is that we are already totally forgiven by the blood of Jesus in our place and it can be now, not some time in the future or even in the afterlife.

    By the way, another difference in what we believe is we only have this lifetime to believe on the only name under heaven, Jesus Christ.

    Hebrews 9:27:

    “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”

  22. 23 Seth R.
    January 2, 2011 at 1:48 am

    I’m already forgiven under Mormon theology Kent.

    But I’m not just looking for forgiveness. I’m looking for sanctification as well.

    It seems all you guys have to offer me is forgiveness.

    Not good enough for Paul. Not good enough for me.

  23. 24 Echo
    January 2, 2011 at 3:41 am

    Seth said: “I’m looking for sanctification as well.”

    This is one particularly important place where Lutherans and Evangelicals part ways in doctrine.

    Evangelicals look at sanctification as 5 steps…,self help such as The purpose driven life, self-esteem seminars, 7 different ways…, …encouragement etc.

    For those who believe they are doing well following these programs, the danger is that they become self-righteous, for those who don’t do well following these programs, the danger is that they fall into despair. Both can potentially damage or destroy saving faith. It’s too much focus on YOU and not enough focus on JESUS FOR YOU.

    Evangelicals might say that the gospel is for unbelievers and the law is for believers. The major focus in an Evangelical Church is on you and what you can do(law) and the major focus in a Lutheran Church is what Christ has done for you.

    The Lutheran doctrine on Sanctification is completely different and saving faith is NEVER in danger. In fact, it is sustained and strengthened…

    Romans 8:7 ” the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”

    It is impossible for the sinful man(mind) that is within each of us to be reformed or retrained or made to be better or good. The Bible says the sinful mind does NOT submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. The sinful mind can do nothing but sin ALL the time. It is HOSTILE to God. He cannot be reformed or retrained or made to be good. The Bible says he must be put to DEATH.

    After conversion, the Spirit is within the man also and can never sin. He is perfect all the time and remains in the believer all the time.

    So we have a constant conflict between the sinful mind and the Spirit within us.

    But the sinful man must be put to death. WE need death and resurrection before rehabilitation.

    So how do we put the sinful mind to death? The same way the sinful mind was put to death in conversion, through the law which condemns us to Hell because of our sin and so causes death in us…

    Romans 7:11 ” For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.”

    The law works repentance (remorse for sin) because it shows us the poison and filth of our sin and what our sin justly deserves.

    How are we resurrected in the Spirit?….through hearing the gospel which is the message and certainty that Jesus has taken our punishment in our place and that he has washed all our sins away by his blood…

    NO more guilt! Free from sin!

    Since our sins are all washed away, we have newness of life and walk in the Spirit. The Spirit which cannot sin.

    If you would like more information, I can reccomend some books. Just let me know.

  24. 25 Kent
    January 2, 2011 at 3:49 am

    Seth, I pray that your eyes are opened and that you can see that not only did Jesus gives us who believe in Him forgiveness of sins but we are also sanctified by His blood

    Hebrews 10:5-10:

    “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

    In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
    Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

    Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;

    Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

    By the which will WE ARE SANCTIFIED THROUGH THE OFFERING OF THE BODY OF JESUS CHRIST ONCE FOR ALL.”

    Seth, when Jesus said it is finished he was saying everything is finished and you can have everything He is offering you, not what I or anyone else here is offering you, if you would just believe what He said.

    John 19:28-30:

    “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

    Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

    When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

  25. 26 Echo
    January 2, 2011 at 3:57 am

    Check out this radio commentary on Sanctification. Click on the link and scroll down to Sanctification under Tuesday September 28, 2010

    http://issuesetc.org/2010/09/

  26. 27 Seth R.
    January 2, 2011 at 4:48 am

    Kent, maybe rather than praying for my eyes to be opened, your time would be better spent explaining how your religion offers sanctification.

    And just quoting Hebrews doesn’t cut it – because that happens to be MORMON scripture, and not just yours.

    Echo, I suspect here that you are misrepresenting Evangelical doctrine, and equating it with Joel Osteen. Mr. Osteen is only a faction within the broader Evangelical movement.

  27. 28 Seth R.
    January 2, 2011 at 4:50 am

    Echo, my experience is that a Lutheran can get just as prideful and arrogant about being one of those whoop-dee-do “chosen” of Christ, as anyone else in any other religion can get about their quirks.

    So if avoiding human pride is one of your selling-points here, it’s not working.

  28. 29 Kent
    January 2, 2011 at 5:25 am

    Seth, it is what Jesus is offering, sanctification and forgiveness for all by sacrificing Himself 2000 years ago on the cross and I will continue to pray that Mormons see that He did it all for everyone.

    “WE ARE SANCTIFIED THROUGH THE OFFERING OF THE BODY OF JESUS CHRIST ONCE FOR ALL.”

    It seems very clear to me that ‘once for all’ means ‘once for all.’

  29. 30 Echo
    January 2, 2011 at 5:28 am

    Seth said: “Echo, my experience is that a Lutheran can get just as prideful and arrogant about being one of those whoop-dee-do “chosen” of Christ, as anyone else in any other religion can get about their quirks. So if avoiding human pride is one of your selling-points here, it’s not working.”

    Here is what I said: “So we have a constant conflict between the sinful mind and the Spirit within us.” And that conflict will be with us till the day we die. So absolutely Seth, a Lutheran can get prideful and arrogant, but through the preaching of the law he is put to death once again. Again he turns to Christ, is rescued from Hell and death and is forgiven and walks in newness of life. Faith without works is dead.

    Christ takes us in his arms with all our sins and then he carries us into his tomb to die with him. Lets not forget God bore our sins in his body and it KILLED him! GOD DIED! Death is a frightful thing, especially Jesus’ death! But because we have died with Jesus, we also live with him and are united with him in his ressurection.

    Seth said: “Echo, I suspect here that you are misrepresenting Evangelical doctrine, and equating it with Joel Osteen. Mr. Osteen is only a faction within the broader Evangelical movement.”

    I was thinking more along the lines of Rick Warren, Chuck Swindoll etc. And of course, there is a lot of variation in doctrine in evangelicalism itself. My opinion is more for the big wig evangelicals on radio or TV or with best selling books who gain evangelical followers of their teachings. We won’t even discuss Joel Osteen, that is a whole other discussion.

  30. 31 Echo
    January 2, 2011 at 6:14 am

    One more thing…
    Good works can only be done by a man who already has a completely clear conscience and that is the result of God having already freely forgiven all his sins.

  31. 32 Seth R.
    January 2, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Wrong Kent.

    Sanctification is enabled by the Atonement of Christ, but it is the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit – not Jesus Christ.

    You’ve got the wrong member of the Trinity.

    Paul makes this clear enough in Romans.

  32. 33 Echo
    January 2, 2011 at 7:15 am

    Seth said: “Wrong Kent. Sanctification is enabled by the Atonement of Christ, but it is the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit – not Jesus Christ. You’ve got the wrong member of the Trinity.
    Paul makes this clear enough in Romans.”

    1 Corinthians 6:11 “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

  33. 34 Seth R.
    January 2, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Yes Echo, which does not contradict what I said in the least. I already said sanctification was ENABLED by Christ’s work.

  34. 35 Kent
    January 3, 2011 at 1:25 am

    Seth, the point is God has done it all for us if we believe in Him and our own best efforts don’t mean a thing as we can’t possibly top what He already did.

    God, one God who is three persons, the Father, the Son, and The Holy Spirit.

    And Jesus (the Son) is, always has been, and always will be God Almighty who is not a created being but who created everything there is and who is not and has never been the spirit brother of Satan or us.

    Who humbled Himself and came down to earth for a time as a perfect man to be the perfect sacfifice in our place that was foretold by the Old Testament sacrifices and replace those sacrifices once and for all so that we can go to heaven when we leave this earth.

  35. 36 Seth R.
    January 3, 2011 at 2:10 am

    Kent, I’m not sure why you threw in the old “brother of Satan” slogan into the mix here. It really doesn’t have much to do with the subject we are discussing.

    Makes me think you are simply losing the argument and are now trying to change the subject and hope no one will notice.

    Either that or your attention is just wandering.

  36. 37 Echo
    January 3, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Don’t judge motives Seth. Your giving false testimony against your neighbor.

  37. 38 Kent
    January 3, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Seth, who Jesus is has everything to do with it because if he is just a created being, the spirit brother of Satan and of us, then he couldn’t have been God Almighty, as the Bible teaches, who humbled Himself to come down to earth for a time to be the perfect blood sacrifice in our place to take away the sins of the world forever and none of what He finished on the cross would be finished.

    Echo, you are right, my motive is to point people to the truth as souls are at stake and no, I am not trying to win any argument as it is isn’t about winning or losing but it is about truth.

    I am not an expert about these things but I try and Seth, you may not be listening to the points we are making but others are listening and to them I say, go to the Bible and decide for yourself if it is true or not away from the LDS teachings and you will see that its teachings, and yes the Bible has been translated correctly, are very different than what your church teaches and you have to choose one or the other as they are not the same.

  38. 39 Seth R.
    January 3, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    I still think you are trying to change the subject by throwing in tangential arguments.

    Our topic is the MORMON view of grace and works. Not the classification of divine beings.

    Any further attempt to change the subject will simply be taken by me as evidence that your first arguments didn’t work and you are now trying something new.

  39. 40 Kent
    January 3, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Mr. Cares, maybe a thread with a comparison with who the God of the Bible is verses who the God of the LDS church is, if you haven’t done one already, is in order.

    For example, has He always been God almighty who created everything there is, ever was, or ever will be, as the Bible teaches, or was he a man first on some other planet who somehow progressed to be god?

    Like I said, people have to choose one belief or the other.

  40. 41 Seth R.
    January 3, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Mark has already done posts like that Kent.

    And I argued with him on those points too.

    I think the Biblical case for creation ex nihilo is pretty weak actually.

    But you are changing the subject again.

    Am I to understand now that you are admitting that LDS notions of justification and sanctification are OK?

  41. 42 Echo
    January 4, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    The LDS “notion” is that sanctification results in or leads to justification. (JST “God justifieth NOT the ungodly)

    We believe that Justification is the mother of sanctification. A mother gives birth to her child, the child doesn’t give birth to her mother.

    “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” (Psalm 32:1)

    “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and who have no sins to be covered.” (Psalm 32:1 Joseph Smith Translation)

    A person cannot do a good work until all his sins are forgiven first. Good works result from forgiveness. Good works do not result for forgiveness.

  42. 43 Seth R.
    January 4, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    The LDS view is that justification is FREE.

    However, to obtain the highest blessings, the process of sanctification – enabled by Christ and through the work of the Holy Spirit – is necessary.

    You stopped at step one Echo. Time to move on to step two.

  43. 44 Echo
    January 4, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    When “Abandonment of sin” is included as a step in the process of repentance, justification isn’t free. Abandonment of sin becomes the cost YOU pay.

  44. 45 Seth R.
    January 4, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Who said that repentance was a pre-requisite for Justification?

  45. 46 Echo
    January 4, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    “The fruit of repentance is forgiveness” (Richard G Scott (LDS)) Meaning repentance produces forgiveness. For you, repentance includes abandonment of sin. Abandonment of sin produces forgiveness.

    Justification is forgiveness. So what Richard Scott is saying here is this: The fruit of repentance is justification.

    You believe the fruit of repentance is forgiveness, we believe the fruit of forgiveness is repentance.

  46. 47 Seth R.
    January 4, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Wait Echo, I’m a bit confused here.

    Are you saying you can be justified without accepting Christ?

    Because isn’t that what repentance essentially is?

  47. 48 Echo
    January 5, 2011 at 12:10 am

    “Because isn’t that what repentance essentially is?”

    What do you mean here?

  48. 49 Seth R.
    January 5, 2011 at 12:56 am

    Well, I don’t know how you handle it, but the Mormon notion of repentance involves invoking Christ for forgiveness.

  49. 50 Echo
    January 5, 2011 at 2:14 am

    Okay thanks, I think I know what you’re saying now. (I hope so) I just wanted to make sure we are on the same page before answering your questions. And because I know you actively speak with evangelicals on other blogs, I will attempt to make the Lutheran view clear to distinguish any pre-conceived thoughts you might have from chatting with them …

    We don’t invoke Christ for forgiveness. We aren’t forgiven **IF** or **BECAUSE** we “accept Jesus into our hearts” or “make our decision for Christ” or “turn our lives over to Christ”… etc, (with the exception of invoking forgiveness (LDS belief) all of these are Evangelical beliefs known as “decision theology”). We aren’t forgiven if we repent. Our forgiveness doesn’t rest within us. It rests with Jesus alone.

    Lutherans do not believe in decision theology. We believe God has forgiven us apart from all these things listed above.

    Let me paint a “fictional” scenario….

    Let’s say that you sin against me and I have truthfully forgiven you even though you have not abandoned your sin, and so I then tell you I have forgiven you.

    It doesn’t matter whether you believe me or not. My forgiveness doesn’t depend on your faith in what I said nor on your invoking me nor on your decision. The fact is that “I ALONE” have forgiven you whether you believe it or not, whether you invoke me or not etc. Forgiving you is my work alone. You are not forgiven because of something you do or after you do something to effect that forgiveness.

    1) Evangelicals might say you are forgiven “If” you accept Jesus into your heart. Mormons would say you are forgiven if you invoke forgiveness through repentance.

    2) We might say: “Jesus has forgiven you, accept it”

    Note that Number 1 makes our forgiveness dependant on what we do. Number 2 makes our forgiveness dependant on what Jesus alone did. Number 1 can harm and/or destroy faith if a person looks inward for certainty of forgiveness rather than looking to Jesus.

    That is objective justification. The entire world has been forgiven…

    Romans 5:10 “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son,…”

    2 Corinthians 5:19 “that God was reconciling THE WORLD to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”

    So while we cannot gain God’s forgiveness through something that we do, we most certainly can reject that free forgiveness thus un-reconciling ourselves with God. Those who reject forgiveness, forfeit the forgiveness that is theirs.

    That is subjective justification. Which is believing we are indeed forgiven apart from anything we do.

  50. 51 Seth R.
    January 5, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Sigh….

    Echo, if there is nothing I can do to invoke Jesus Atonement in my life, then why are you even talking to me?

    It always comes down to this with us – you have a theology that is utterly irrelevant to human beings.

  51. 52 Echo
    January 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    If Jesus came up to a penniless poor beggar and placed great Riches in his hand, is that “irrelevant to human beings”? No it’s not. It would only be irrelevant to a beggar who is dead.

    When it comes to invoking Jesus’ forgiveness in your life, you’re a poor beggar without a penny. (As are we all). But Jesus, through his message of forgiveness, has placed the riches of complete forgiveness in your hand. Only a man with a hardened heart would find that irrelevant.

  52. 53 Seth R.
    January 5, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    If there is nothing that beggar can do to let Jesus into his life, then it is a pointless message for that beggar.

    I really do get the feeling that you are simply saying things here that you don’t really believe because you’ve painted yourself into a corner with your own rhetoric.

    If it’s all Jesus, then there is no place for us in the equation.

    Such a theology can be safely ignored.

  53. 54 Echo
    January 5, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Must I do all your thinking for you?

    The point is this…

    The beggar would be thankful for the great Riches and show it, however my point is that the beggar isn’t the one who caused himself to become Rich.

    Then there are those who are dead like you. Too dead to respond.

  54. 55 Seth R.
    January 5, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Echo, what do you want me to DO?

    You obviously want me to DO something.

    What else can I conclude except that you want me to perform some sort of work to invoke justification?

  55. 56 Echo
    January 5, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Let me use the scenario I used earlier…

    “Let me paint a “fictional” scenario….

    Let’s say that you sin against me and I have truthfully forgiven you even though you have not abandoned your sin, and so I then tell you I have forgiven you.

    It doesn’t matter whether you believe me or not. My forgiveness doesn’t depend on your faith in what I said nor on your invoking me nor on your decision. The fact is that “I ALONE” have forgiven you whether you believe it or not, whether you invoke me or not etc. Forgiving you is my work alone. You are not forgiven because of something you do or after you do something to effect that forgiveness.”

    Seth, here are some questions…

    1) What did YOU DO to invoke my forgiveness?

    2) If you BELIEVE I forgave you, did that invoke your forgiveness?

  56. 57 Seth R.
    January 5, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Obviously you want something more from me than simply believing that Jesus offers forgiveness, because I already believe that.

  57. 58 Echo
    January 5, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    You believe Jesus offers forgiveness to those who abandon sin.
    We believe Jesus has forgiven us even in our sin.

  58. 59 Seth R.
    January 5, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Not really accurate Echo.

    We believe that even people who reject Christ will be forgiven in the end. They may not be exalted in the Celestial Kingdom, but they will be saved from death and hell.

  59. 60 Ralph Peterson
    January 5, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    A man robs a bank and steals a million dollars. He spends 100K on himself, and gives 50k away. He finds Jesus. What is he REQUIRED to do to repent? Choose only those that apply.

    a) Confess to God that he robbed the bank.

    b) Confess to his minister that he robbed the bank.

    c) Confess to the police that he robbed the bank and take the punishment meted out by the courts.

    d) Repay the money he has left back to the bank.

    e) Repay the money he gave away to the bank.

    f) Repay the money he spent on himself to the bank.

  60. 61 Seth R.
    January 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Ralph, I would say if he’s really found Jesus, he would do ALL of those things (or attempt to).

    If he doesn’t, I would say he never really believed in Jesus to begin with, wouldn’t you?

  61. 62 Jon R.
    January 5, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Thank you Seth and Ralph for again clarifying that Mormon definition of forgiveness is not what Jesus revealed in the Bible.

    Forgiveness in Mormonism has the robber (presumably the sinner) reimbursing somebody …
    just who is the “bank” …… God?

    Question: “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?”

    Was Jesus’ answer to:

    d) Repay the money he has left back to the bank.

    e) Repay the money he gave away to the bank.

    f) Repay the money he spent on himself to the bank.

    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Jesus revealed ……///////////////

    1 John 1:9
    “If we confess our sins” ….. a) Confess to God that he robbed the bank.

    1 John 1:9
    “he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
    and to cleanse us from “all” unrighteousness.”

    There is no repayment stipulation of forgiveness that Jesus revealed.

    Sorry Seth, your “free” forgiveness isn’t free if it has repayment clauses.

    Seth said:
    “I would say if he’s really found Jesus, he would do ALL of those things (or attempt to).”

  62. 63 Jon R.
    January 5, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Question: “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?”

    Jesus replied what….

    d) Repay the money he has left back to the bank……

    e) Repay the money he gave away to the bank………

    f) Repay the money he spent on himself to the bank.?

    \\\\\\\ Mormonism says that’s ^ what Jesus revealed ///////////////

    ——- Jesus revealed actually revealed [John 6:29 (King James Version) ] ———

    “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”

    Believe what ?

  63. 64 Echo
    January 5, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Okay Seth. Since you’re never going to get past the idea that you have to “do” something, let me try to put in terms of what you need to “do” :

    What you need to do Seth, is accept the full and free gift of forgiveness that is being offered to you – – with the understanding that full means complete, and with the understanding that free means there’s nothing you really have to do or pay to get it. Simply believe that it is full and free.

    I have to say Seth, you for one, certainly don’t deserve to receive that full and free gift of forgiveness being offered to you. But then neither did any of us. Because if any of us did deserve it, it wouldn’t be free now, would it? It would be something earned, like wages. And we know what wages we’ve earned now, don’t we? “For the wages of sin is death…” But no, God’s gifts are free: “… but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    So what do you need to do, Seth? Well you’re already standing there in the shower, in that full, free, undeserved gift of eternal life that God is offering to you. So what do you need to do, Seth? There are no works to be done. No wages to be paid. So what do you need to do, Seth?

    What you need to do, Seth, is simply, don’t run out of the shower. Don’t reach up and turn off the water. Believe that you are in it. Believe that it is a gift. Believe that it is full. Believe that it is free. Believe that it is undeserved. And believe that it is for you.

    But you know something Seth? Possession of this full, free, undeserved gift? It creates a change in you. You become humble. You begin feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude. And that sense of gratitude makes you want to do things – – but not doing in the sense of paying for what you’ve received, but a doing which springs from an appreciation for what you’ve already received.

    So you see Seth, what you need to do, is really what you need to stop doing. Stop resisting the full, free, undeserved gift God is offering you. Stop thinking you have to do something to receive it. Stop trying to pay for it. Once you stop trying to “do” in order to receive something from the Lord, you won’t be able to stop “doing” out of gratitude for what you’ve received from the Lord.

  64. 65 Seth R.
    January 6, 2011 at 1:07 am

    Echo, “deserve” has nothing to do with it.

    On that, we are fully in agreement.

    Mormonism never claimed you “deserve” anything.

    I also agree that accepting the gift is something we have to do.

    But here’s the problem – is it possible, once converted, to fall away from conversion in Jesus Christ? Because if it is, that seems to imply that something of an ongoing nature is needed.

    John, even Lutheran scholars and ministers will tell you that real authentic conversion to Christ will result in good works. They say it springs naturally from the conversion to Christ.

  65. 66 Echo
    January 6, 2011 at 1:36 am

    Seth said: “But here’s the problem – is it possible, once converted, to fall away from conversion in Jesus Christ? Because if it is, that seems to imply that something of an ongoing nature is needed.”

    Yes, it is possible to fall away from faith. If you get out of the shower, you have fallen from faith. If you stay in the shower, you remain in the faith.

    Seth said: “John, even Lutheran scholars and ministers will tell you that real authentic conversion to Christ will result in good works. They say it springs naturally from the conversion to Christ.”

    I agree. So “sing” while you’re in the shower!

  66. 67 Ralph Peterson
    January 6, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    So the bank takes the punishment for the robbers sin.

    Not the robber, not Jesus, but the bank.

    The “orthodox” God is unjust.

  67. 68 Jon R.
    January 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Ralph said:
    _____”So the bank takes the punishment for the robbers sin.
    Not the robber, not Jesus, but the bank.
    The “orthodox” God is unjust._______

    You made the example….

    being that you are the robber, Ralph

    who is the bank …….

  68. 69 Ralph Peterson
    January 7, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    The bank is an association of individuals, comprised of owners and depositors. They are the ones that must suffer the punishment for the robber’s sin.

    Not the robber, not Jesus, but the bank.

  69. 70 Echo
    January 11, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Ralph, your confusing fruit of repentance with repentance itself.

  70. 71 Ralph Peterson
    January 11, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Echo,
    You are trying to ignore the elephant in the room.

    The innocent people associated with the bank suffer the punishment for the robber’s sin.

    Not the robber, not Jesus.

  71. 72 Echo
    January 12, 2011 at 3:08 am

    Your confusing fruit of repentance with repentance itself.

  72. 73 Seth R.
    January 12, 2011 at 3:15 am

    Easy to do seeing as they’re always seen around town together.

  73. 74 Ralph Peterson
    January 12, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Echo,

    You keep saying that, but you aren’t explaining why. Is the “fruit of repentance” the ability to keep ill gotten gain? Is the “fruit of repentance” the continued suffering of the bank?

    The bottom line is that the sin of robbing a bank ends up rewarding the robber with filthy lucre even after he “repented”.

    The bank suffered the punishment for the robbers sin even AFTER he “repented”.

    The robber doesn’t repay the bank. Jesus doesn’t repay the bank. The bank is left to suffer and the robber is left with the carnal reward for sin. Where is the justice of God in this? Is God really OK with this injustice?

  74. 75 Echo
    January 12, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Ralph, this thread is about “repentance” not “the fruit of repentance”

  75. 76 Seth R.
    January 13, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Actually, it is about the fruit of repentance. The discussion has so far been way to broadly framed to rule it out.

  76. 77 Echo
    January 13, 2011 at 12:13 am

    I guess I based my answer on the name of the thread: “What is repentance?”

  77. January 13, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    I would say that (a) is the correct answer to Ralph’s question (#60), but (a) should definitely lead to (c). (d) through (f) should also flow from the man’s conversion in as much as the man is able (it’s probably going to be hard to save up 150k from a prison cell). (b) strikes me as a good idea but ultimately optional. It reminds me of the scene in O Brother, Where Art Thou? where prison escapees Pete and Delmar get baptized at a revival meeting by a river. Later, they’re baffled as to why the police are still after them when their sins have been forgiven:

    Pete: The Preacher said [baptism] absolved us.
    Ulysses: For him, not for the law. I’m surprised at you, Pete, I gave you credit for more brains than Delmar.
    Delmar: But they was witnesses that seen us redeemed.
    Ulysses: That’s not the issue Delmar. Even if that did put you square with the Lord, the State of Mississippi’s a little more hard-nosed.
    [laughs]
    Ulysses: Baptism! You two are just dumber than a bag of hammers!

    I’m not sure I understand Ralph’s subsequent objections. The forgiveness of sins that Jesus promises is a spiritual forgiveness; we’re square with God, and as far as eternity is concerned, it never happened. Jesus does not promise that our past sins will no longer have temporal consequences, either for ourselves or the people we hurt.

    Or in other words, yes, it’s possible (and in fact, quite common) to suffer on account of the sins of others.

  78. 79 Ralph Peterson
    January 14, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    You said, “. . . but (a) should definitely lead to (c). (d) through (f) should also flow from the man’s conversion in as much as the man is able . . . ”

    You used the word “should” twice. That begs the question, ‘Why “should” those things lead to/flow from?’

    I would say that “should” is good but it leaves more wiggle room than God would like.

    Ezek 33:14 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;
    15 If the wicked restore the pledge, GIVE AGAIN THAT HE HAD ROBBED, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.
    16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.


Comments are currently closed.

December 2010
M T W T F S S
« Nov   Jan »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Blog Stats

  • 182,152 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 998 other followers


%d bloggers like this: