The Greatest Act of Repentance Possible
Mark 1:15, "...REPENT YE, AND BELIEVE the gospel."
The greatest act of repentance possible is not to undergo moral reformation. For many of us who were saved as adults, moral reformation is certainly necessary to live and demonstrate a separated Christian life, but it is not the greatest and most necessary act of repentance possible. The greatest act of repentance possible is for a sinner to place or exercise faith in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In doing so the sinner repents of the root sins that defile and distort mankind. Paul said, "...with the heart, man believeth unto righteousness" and no human philosophy or opinion can change or improve that statement. To believe the gospel of Jesus Christ with the heart is the greatest act of repentance possible. Here's why.
1. By believing the Gospel a person repents of the sin of self-will (John 20:25: John 5:40). God commands man to believe the gospel. The will must yield to God and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Will that is in opposition to God’s will is root sin; it is the root sin of the devil (Isaiah 14:12-15).
2. By believing the Gospel a person repents of the sin of pride (Psalm 10:4; Proverbs 28:25).The gospel strikes the pride of humanity by declaring that man is unable to save, morally clean, or redeem himself. Pride is another root sin. Pride was one of the root sins of Sodom (Ezekiel 16:49).
3. By believing the Gospel a person repents of the sins of rebellion and stubbornness (I Samuel 15:23; John 12:48; Deuteronomy 9:23). Rebellion and stubbornness were at the root of Saul’s rejection of God’s word. Rejection of God’s words is the root of unbelief (see John 12:44,48), so rebellion and stubbornness are the root sins of unbelief. These sins are equated with two of the most satanic sins listed in Scripture: witchcraft and idolatry. By believing the Gospel a person repents of the sins of rebellion and stubbornness.
4. By believing the Gospel a person repents of the sin of disobedience (I John 3:23; II Thessalonians 1:8; Romans 10:16; 16:26). It is a clear command of God for man to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. When man believes on Christ Jesus, he is exercising obedience to this command. Disobedience is THE root sin of mankind (Romans 5:19).
5. By believing the Gospel a person repents of the sin of ignorance of the True God (Acts 17:29, 30; II Thessalonians 1:8; Romans 1:19, 20). In the Scriptures, man is accountable for THIS ignorance and God commands a person to repent of it. When man accepts and believes on Jesus Christ, he is repenting of this ignorance.
6. By believing the Gospel a person repents of the sin of dishonesty (see II Corinthians 4:2; II Timothy 2:25). In the Bible, the acknowledgement of the truth is an act of repentance. Believing the gospel is an act of honesty and it is a repentance from dishonesty. Dishonesty is a root sin of Satan (John 8:44).
7. By believing the Gospel a person repents of the most hideous sin in the universe—the sin of unbelief (Romans 10:10). Belief in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only action that can produce true “righteousness” in an individual’s life (Romans 10:10); conversely, unbelief is the spring, fount, and flood of all sin and wickedness (John 16:9). By believing the Gospel, a person repents of the vilest sin of all, the sin of unbelief.
Note: Acts 20:21; and Mark 1:15 are not step one, step two "programs." Compare Scripture and learn that the conjunction "and" is often used to join phrases that describe different aspects of the same subject (see Mark 1:15; II Samuel 23:1; James 1:27; Titus 2:13; Joshua 7:11, etc.). In other words, "repentance toward God," and "faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" could be two parallel descriptions of the same action. And "believing the gospel" could be the "repentance" called for in Mark 1:15 (see Acts 19:14). From the completed revelation of the New Testament, we know these two possible readings are correct; for New Testament salvation (justification) is contingent upon faith alone (Romans 5:1).
We know from the completed New Testament that salvation is "by grace through faith" (a single action or condition, see Acts 16:30, 31; Romans 4,5, and 10). Thus, we can Scripturally conclude, that in the context of the Gospel, "faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ," is "repentance toward God."
Faith in Christ Jesus, or faith in the Gospel (Romans 1;16) is the greatest act of repentance that man can render.
"...REPENT YE, AND BELIEVE the gospel."
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