Category Archives: Theology

Maranatha!, “Our Lord, come!”

As all other false prophecies reach their inevitable and shameful demise, so to has Harold Camping’s May 21, 2011 Judgment Day prediction failed to deliver on its promise. So the question is, “what happens next?” Will Mr. Camping and his fellow “Campingites” admit they were in error? Will they try to set a new date? What will happen to all of his disappointed and disillusioned followers who gave up everything they had for the belief that today was in fact the “end of the world”?  Can we still trust the Bible? Is Jesus really coming back?

I don’t know what will become of Harold Camping and his followers, but I do pray that God would grant repentance to Mr. Camping, and that all those who were deceived into following his teaching would see the truth of the Scriptures as it is revealed in the Scriptures and not by Mr. Camping. In spite of the ridiculousness of the whole matter, I exhort all fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for all those who were associated with this organization, and to use this as an opportunity to share the Gospel with others.

Can we still trust the Bible? Absolutely! God’s word has stood the test of time; endured intense scrutiny; and remains the most influential and attested book of all antiquity. Actually, Harold Camping’s failed prophetic claims should increase our confidence in the Bible rather than diminish it. And why is that? Because the Bible itself affirms that these type of things will actually happen:  “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction,as they do the other Scriptures (2 Peter 3:15-16).”

So if you have lost confidence in the infallibility and inerrancy of God’s word because of Harold Camping, I highly admonish you to see this as an affirmation of the truthfulness of God’s word as it accurately describes individuals who would take the Bible and distort it to their own destruction.

Jesus will return, and he will return in judgment and glory! He can return at 7:oopm tonight or maybe years from now, but the point is that we should not concern ourselves with trying to speculate when He will return. If the incarnate God did not know when the day or the hour would come neither will Harold Camping nor any one of us know. But the scriptures clearly teach He will in fact return, which gives us more of an incentive to go out into the world and proclaim the Gospel before His glorious return.

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” -Revelation 22:20

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

“Unless you repent, you will…perish” Part 3

A couple of weeks ago I cited several historic confessions from the 16th and 17th centuries that specifically addressed the concept of repentance. This week I want to take a closer look at the doctrine of repentance as it is revealed in Scripture, it’s implications on the Gospel and Christian living, the etymology of the word, and what theologians and scholars have believed throughout the centuries as it pertains to repentance. I will do this in a sort of question and answer format to make it more systematic and comprehensible.

Is repentance necessary for salvation?

Yes, repentance was an essential theme in John the Baptist’s preaching as well as Jesus and the Apostles.

1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 3:1-2)

14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15)

3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3)

46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:46-47)

19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, (Acts 3:19)

30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, (Acts 17:30)

21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21)

9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

Just from these few verses we can clearly see salvation is obtained through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Two great graces graces essential to a saint in this life are faith and repentance. These are the two wings by which he flies to heaven.” (Thomas Watson, The Doctrine of Repentance, p. 7)

“There is no rowing to paradise except upon the stream of repenting tears. Repentance is required as a qualification. It is not so much to endear us to Christ as to endear Christ to us. Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.” (Thomas Watson, The Doctrine of Repentance, p. 7)

“Moreover, true repentance never exists except in conjunction with faith, while, on the other hand, wherever there is true faith , there is also real repentance.” (Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, 4th Edition, p. 487)

“Scripture puts repentance and faith together as different aspects of the one act of coming to Christ for salvation.” (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 713)

“No message that eliminates repentance can properly be called the gospel…” (John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus, p. 182)

“The manner in which faith and repentance are coupled together in Scripture plainly shows that, as faith is implicitly present in repentance, so repentance is implicitly in faith.” (R.L. Dabney, Systematic Theology, p. 606-607)

Tagged ,

“Unless you repent, you will…perish” Part 2

I want to begin by providing several citations from some of the most notable Christian confessions and historic church documents that discuss the concept of repentance. Although Historic creeds and confessions are not the ultimate standard of orthodoxy, they do provide helpful insight as to what the Scriptures teach on a particular doctrine, and they also teach us what the early church fathers, in whose shoulders we stand on today, believed in regards to key aspects of doctrine, theology and Christian living.

The Augsberg Confession (1530)

Article 22:

Now, repentance consists properly of these two parts: One is contrition, that is, terrors smiting the conscience through the knowledge of sin; the other is faith, which is born of the Gospel, or of absolution, and believes that for Christ’s sake, sins are forgiven, comforts the conscience, and delivers it from terrors. Then good works are bound to follow, which are the fruits of repentance.

The Westminster Confession faith (1646) & The Baptist Confession of Faith (1689)

Of Repentance unto life:

I. Repentance unto life is an evangelical grace, the doctrine whereof is to be preached by every minister of the Gospel, as well as that of faith in Christ.

II. By it, a sinner, out of the sight and sense not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, as contrary to the holy nature, and righteous law of God; and upon the apprehension of His mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, so grieves for, and hates his sins, as to turn from them all unto God, purposing and endeavouring to walk with Him in all the ways of His commandments.

III. Although repentance is not to be rested in, as any satisfaction for sin, or any cause of the pardon thereof, which is the act of God’s free grace in Christ, yet it is of such necessity to all sinners, that none may expect pardon without it.

IV. As there is no sin so small, but it deserves damnation; so there is no sin so great, that it can bring damnation upon those who truly repent.

V. Men ought not to content themselves with a general repentance, but it is every man’s duty to endeavor to repent of his particular sins, particularly.

VI. As every man is bound to make private confession of his sins to God, praying for the pardon thereof; upon which, and the forsaking of them, he shall find mercy;  so he that scandelizeth his brother, or the Church of Christ, ought to be willing, by a private or public confession and sorrow for his sin, to declare his repentance to those that are offended; who are thereupon to be reconciled to him, and in love to receive him.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647)

Q. 85. What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse, due to us for sin?
A. To escape the wrath and curse of God, due to us for sin, God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption.

Q. 86. What is faith in Jesus Christ?
A. Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.

Q. 87. What is repentance unto life?
A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.


Tagged , , , , , , , ,

“Unless you repent, you will…perish”

“Unless you repent, you will…perish.” (Luke 13:3) Wait, did Jesus forget that we are saved solely by our faith in Him? What is this notion of repentance? One of the essential doctrines of the Reformation was the concept of salvation by faith alone (sola fide). But why did Luther assert in his 95 Theses, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’, he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance”? This sounds more like faith plus repentance; hence, faith is no longer alone, but it is accompanied with repentance. So is salvation contingent on repentance rather than on faith alone?  What exactly is repentance and what does it mean? What role does repentance play in how a person obtains forgiveness of sins and eternal life? I will be writing several blogs throughout the next upcoming weeks addressing many of these questions and more, as it relates to the doctrine of repentance.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Twelve Doctrines of Christmas

I found this video through the aomin.org blog courtesy of James white. I decided to repost it in order to set the Christmas mood here at 121. 🙂

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,