Repentance is not an experience that the sinful soul can produce out of itself. Repentance is not the attitude from within its self that enables the sinner to approach God with hope. Such repentance may be full of despair, remorse or regret. It is self-centered. It is not the turning of the mind upon itself. It may not feel the sense of sin that attracts the wrath of God. Such is not the basis of pardon and acceptance with God. It is not a substitute for the Atonement. It is not a way whereby we can be reconciled to God. Such actions that are classified as repentance have no value in God’s sight whatsoever. It is not merely our own regret even if it is sincere and deep or accompanied with many tears.
Repentance is not a preliminary to the Atonement. It is not a substitute for it. It is not a way in which we can be reconciled to God without being indebted to it. Repentance is the fruit.
True Repentance is born at the Cross. There we see sin put away. Sin is not put away by our own regret, albeit it is sincere and deep. Sin put away stems from the love of God as disclosed in the sufferings and death of His Son Jesus Christ. Repentance comes from the Spirit-given knowledge of God and the necessity for the atonement of Christ on the cross. It arises out of our understanding given by the Spirit of what the Cross has accomplished for us. Repentance is the fruit of our being drawn to the Saviour on the Cross, “I if I be lifted up, will draw men unto Me”, John 12:3 We will never truly repent except by the action of the Spirit of God upon us, John 16:8,9 “He will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment, concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me”.
Old Testament Repentance
At the fall of man, there was no repentance. After their sin, they covered themselves and hid themselves. Eve blamed, perhaps correctly, the Serpent (Satan). Adam blamed Eve. Neither would admit their guilt. To repent one must admit one’s guilt before God.
In Eden, Satan seduced Eve, thereby causing man (Adam) to fall under the yoke of sin and thereby of death. He separated man from God, through falsehood, devoting him to physical and spiritual ruin. Satan personifies hatred of man and enmity to Truth. Men subject to Satan, also hate and are enemies to Truth.
The serpent threw false light upon the tree, thus deceiving Eve. It looked goo. It reacted upon her. That conceived lust and immediately it brought forth sin. She lost her human dignity to the serpent. The man ext fell into sin deliberately and lost his manly dignity to the woman.
A beast, the serpent, seduced them who were made in God’s image. The lords of the world, Adam and Eve, fell through a tree, their natural environment. Satan brought about their fall by means of a beast and about a tree.
All sin begins by being sensual. Then it becomes bestial, like a beast and finally, if the sinner advances on this source, his sin becomes Satanic. James 1:14,15 “Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire. Then desire conceives and brings forth sin that gives birth to death.”
James 3:14, “If you have bitter jealousy and party spirit or fighting in your hearts … That is not the wisdom that comes down from above: it comes from this world, from your own lower nature, even from the devil” – or “it is earth-bound, sensual (natural), demonic”.
It appears that God from the creation of Adam, had conversed with him in a visible shape, as the Father of His children. We see this in Genesis 2+19,22 when He brought the beasts to Adam, and gave him the woman to be his wife. Its foundation is in the nature of humanity, as man was made in the image of God. God is Spirit and this does not mean that He had a bodily shape as an essential characteristic of God. God gave man a bodily shape and revealed Himself in a manner suited to man’s bodily senses.
There was often this communion between God and man before the Fall. When Adam and Eve fell, in Genesis 3:9-15 he tried to hide from God. Verse 8 does not imply that God came down ever evening. It implies that “In the wind of the day”, they heard His footsteps, as in 2 Samuel 5:24. He came at that time to deal with their sin.
The correct translation of Genesis 3:15 is “I am putting and will put enmity between you and the woman. She has chosen to make the breach, I will widen it.” The position was that when God came to both Adam and Eve after the fall, He questioned both of them. In Genesis 3:12, 13, Adam blamed the woman. He did not acknowledge his sin. God dealt with Adam first and then Eve, because Adam was the sinner.
In her answer to God, Eve covered her husband’s guilt. She did not name him as being the sinner even though he should have made sure that she knew enough of the Word of God not to listen to anything different.
Probably there was already something in the heart of Adam that made him hope to be like God, having dominion and able to act independently in pride, being the “man” mentioned in Isaiah 14:12-16.
Perhaps some explanation of both Isaiah 14 regarding Babylon and Ezekiel 28 about Tyre, would be appropriate. These two chapters in both books are tied together. The general view of those chapters that it refers to Satan, was never taught by the early church. It became a doctrine when Jerome of the Roman Catholic Church, in the fourth century, and Tertullian whose doctrines generally tended to error, in the early third century, introduced the idea.
It was carried on right through the Middle Ages until the Protestant Reformation, when both Luther and Calvin rejected it. It is sad that many of those wrong beliefs from the Catholic Church still exist in Pentecostal and Charismatic and Protestant circles.
Adam was given dominion over the earth, Genesis 1:27-30. Satan was never given dominion over the earth. Adam forfeited it to God in the Person of Jesus Christ, Matthew 28:18; Hebrews 4:11, and through Christ, back to man, as in Romans 4:13 and Hebrews 11:18 with Galatians 3:16,18. Satan is Prince of this World, meaning this world’s system of ideology, rule, culture, philosophy, ways and manner of life..
Isaiah 14:8-11 refers to the King of Babylon, Meriodach-Baladan, who in chapter 39 sent messengers to King Hezekiah. A special place was reserved for him in the world of the dead, because of his great evil, tyranny and idolatry. The fall of that king, in verse 10, stirs all the kings already in Hades, in the place reserved for kings. In verse 11, the love of music by the Babylonians is to be noted.
The whole of Isaiah 14 is about this king, who was also a god-king as was normal in those ancient days. Verses 12 onwards concern a myth of the god, Lucifer, Helios Klymene, son of Eos. Also, El-Elyon was a god and the god-king, Hebel, son of Schachar, and a great hero, who tried to make himself like the god. History says he wanted to make himself higher than the clouds, above all the stars of the god. He would raise himself to the very mountain to the farthest north, where the gods gathered. There he would reign over the universe, including the gods.
In a picture of Adam in his sin, in verse 12, “Day Star, Son of the Morn”, we could refer to 2 Peter 1:19 that says about the people of the Last Adam, Jesus Christ, “ until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts”. This is not Satan. It would appear that all the angelic beings were created on the first day in Genesis 1, according to Job 38:7, when they all “sang together”.
In Isaiah 14:16, it refers to “the man who made the earth tremble”. Of course, primarily that is the King of Babylon. Satan is not a man. This King also refers to Adam as he who made the earth tremble – with his sin.
Ezekiel 28:11 is about the King of Tyre. How can any king be a picture of Satan, who is not a man, who does not die and go into the grave or Pit? It would appear that those verses onwards are also a picture of Adam. He was in Eden, a place never controlled by Satan. He was the “anointed cherub” , or LIVING MAN (in Christ). He was driven out of the Garden of Eden, when God placed a Cherub to “ guide (or guard) the way to the Tree of Life. This Cherub could represent “ eternal life”, the very life of God, in the believer, that is the only way to future heaven and “ Eden” on the new earth.
Continuing in Ezekiel 28, Verse 4 shows the vanity in the greatness of the man and the King. In Verse13, there is no mention of music in more recent English translations. For all music lovers, it might be good to remember that music has to be a God-created ability but that the wicked line of Cain produced evil Lamech, whose son, Jubal, “was the ancestor of all those who play the lyre and pipe”, Genesis 4:17-24, noting Verse 21. As a musician with most talented musicians and singers in my family, I have noticed in musicians around the world in the church and out of it that the area of music is one most prone to money-making, vanity, pride, egotism and promotion of self. The god of many Christian musicians is their music and their ability to make music. It is after that, offered to the true God! Jesus is to be Lord and all believers are to walk in the Spirit as they are filled with the Spirit. They are to worship “in Spirit and in Truth”. Talents of music have no part in that kind of music if one observes the words of Jesus and those of Paul.
Lucifer thus is not the author of our music. It is part of God’s fallen creation of man. The reference to music in Isaiah 14:22, “the sound of your harps” refers not to Lucifer or even Adam, but particularly to the king of Babylon, a man of history who received the judgment of God. The Babylonians as stated, loved music.
Back to Ezekiel 28. Remember that Verse 11 shows that the verses after that are part of the prophetic lamentation over the king of Tyre, who cannot be Lucifer. The king is written down in history as having existed. Being a man, he would be a type of Adam and not of Lucifer who is not a man. Verse 14, in speaking of the “anointed cherub” cannot have reference to Satan. It can only refer to “man”, Adam, as in Genesis 3:24, it was not Satan who was placed at the entrance of the Garden to “keep the way to the Tree of Life”. The cherubim can only refer to the “Life of God in man”, as indicated by the cherubim before the throne of God, worshipping the Lamb of God, Revelation 4:6; 5:8,9,11-14. Verse 17 of Ezekiel 28, as well as referring to the King of Tyre, has a reference to Adam. See Proverbs 16:4 for further thought.
There is no thought in either Ezekiel 28 or Isaiah 14 of the being of Satan. It is about men. See Ezekiel 30:10,11; 31:12.
The heart of the “man” has never altered. However, male Christians should be changed by the power of the gospel in salvation. They should be delivered from pride and wishing to dominate.
This meant to return to the point of origin. It then means to move out in a new direction. For example, under Moses, the Children of Israel made a renewal of the Covenant and because of that repentance, they were able to finally enter the Promised Land; Covenant made Exodus 19:5-7; 24:8,9, Israel’s sin with the Golden Calf, Exodus 32 and the Covenant renewed, Exodus 33. After that repentance they could then enter the Promised Land. Also, with Elijah, 1 Kings 18:21.
John the Baptist
His message was one of repentance. He called the nation to repentance with baptism in the River Jordan and a return to the Covenant, Matthew 3:8-12. He warns the people of the coming of Jesus who will be the Judge at the End time. John speaks of judgment with people being divided like the chaff and the wheat, some bad and some good. It was in the Jordan Valley that the Covenant had been renewed under Moses. Israel was to repeat the “Red Sea crossing” in type as a purified people, Psalm 114. It is in the wilderness, even as Israel of old wandered there in judgment, Isaiah 1:25, Ezekiel 18:20. John predicts the fire of judgment on the nation of Israel. They were to repent and start again. They did not as a whole and as a nation they finally rejected the Messiah.
The promise for the repentant, is a new start, as in Hosea 2. The last verse is quoted by Paul in Romans 9:24-26. The new start is to be with a new people, including Gentiles as well as a remnant of the Jews. Jesus is there as the representative of Israel and undergoes baptism at the hand of John. Israel was “baptised into the Red Sea” under Moses, 1 Corinthians 10:1,2. The Holy Spirit, Who had been absent from Israel since the end of the prophets (400 years of Silence) came upon Jesus in the form of a dove. As the representative of Israel He goes into the Wilderness, Mark 1:12,13. This also has meaning as a type of Israel of old in the Wilderness. The covenant has been renewed, but in a new form. Israel refuses Jesus as He went to the Cross, Matthew 21:43; 23:37;24:1-3; 26:1,2.
Throughout their History in the Old Testament, Israel or individuals often repented in sackcloth and ashes with fasting, Esther 4:1-3, Jonah 3:5.
Repentance preached by Jesus.
Jesus began his ministry by preaching as in Mark 1:15, “The kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” The kingdom of God had come as a free gift. Repentance responds and accepts the gift. Repentance did not bring God’s grace. It followed God’s grace, and still does. Jesus wanted Israel to come back to God and have a new start. When the kingdom came, Satan was settled in Israel. God did battle against him, commencing with the Wilderness experience of Satan’s attacks on Jesus. The powers of Satan and demons were effectively defeated in the ministry of Jesus with its healings, miracles and casting out of demons. We do not do battle with Satan. Jesus did it for us. On the Cross, Jesus totally defeated Satan, Colossians 2:14,15, on “the Cross, He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them triumphing over them”.
Repentance in the New Testament
Repentance is true acknowledgment of sin, sorrow for it, and turning from it, in response to which God forgives sin, Acts 5:31; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3. “The goodness of God leads you to repentance”, Romans 2:4. For the Jew, Paul was saying, he had experienced God’s forbearance and mercy. He thought it was something he was entitled to. He boasts of the fact that judgment for him has not happened even though the heathen nations had been judged. He should have been thankful and repentant, but he had hardness of heart and was unrepentant. This would end in judgment.
Repentance is the response to the gospel whereby the sinner turns from sin unto God through Christ. Repentance begins at the cross of Christ. If the person keeps on walking in the ways of this present evil age, in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, following darkness, faith is a lie. True repentance goes hand in hand with true faith. Repentance is joined to faith as an activity at the beginning of a believer’s life in Christ.
Repentance means the person knows he is a sinner. It comes from the work of the Holy Spirit. True repentance knows there is no hope in the “self”. Repentance is an act of the sinner in response to the conviction and calling of the Spirit. The power to repent is given by God but the act is the person’s own. A person is not compelled to repent. When the Spirit shows him the truth and also his sinfulness, he is convicted, feels sorrow, confesses he is a sinner, turns from sin to Christ, showing fruits of repentance in his life from there on.
Repentance is the gift of God. It has been purchased by Christ and it now is the work of the Holy Spirit, Acts 11:18, “God has granted .. the repentance that leads to life”. It is implanted by the Spirit at regeneration or quickening. It is an abiding principle. Sinning saints must repent and go to the sprinkling of the Blood of Jesus, Revelation 3:19; 1 John 1:7-9. Repentance includes a godly sorrow for sin. It is not sorrow so much because he has been found out in sin but because of his sin against a holy God. 2 Corinthians 7:10, “Sorrow in accordance with the will of God” is contrasted to worldly sorrow.
Repentance is turning from idols, 1 Thessalonians 1:9, such may be images, paganism, a person, place, thing or idea. Repentance is also turning from vain things, Acts 14:15, from darkness, Acts 26:28a and from the power of Satan, Acts 26:18b.. There must be a definite and willing act of turning to Christ and His cross.
The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God, as Romans 8:8,9 says, “The mind of sinful man is death. The sinful mind is hostile to God”. This mind is not capable of repenting, believing or receiving the Word of God with regard to salvation or anything else. “No man can call Jesus ‘Lord’ except by the Holy Ghost”, 1 Corinthians 12:3.
Repentance leads immediately to saving faith as in Romans 10:9. “By grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works”, Ephesians 2:8,9.. That is not the end of the matter. It is the beginning of the Christian walk, as Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are what He has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life”.
In Luke 24:46,47, Jesus said, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations”. Peter followed this injunction, when in Acts 2:37,38 he said, “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins”. Wuest, a converted Jew, and a Greek scholar, translates it, “Have a change of mind, that change of mind being accompanied by abhorrence of and sorrow for your deed (of crucifying Christ), and let each one of you be baptized upon the ground of your confession of belief in the sum total of all that Jesus Christ is in His glorious Person, this baptismal testimony being in relation to the fact that your sins have been put away, and you shall receive the gratuitous gift of the Holy Spirit, for to you is the promise and to your children and to all who are at a distance, as many as the Lord our God shall with a divine summons call to Himself”.
Repentance from dead works, Hebrews 6:1, is one of the first principles of the doctrine of Christ. The new life in Christ gives freedom from the dominion of sin. In the preaching of the gospel, “God commands all men everywhere to repent”, Acts 17:30. The cause of repentance is the goodwill and grace of God. It is immediately worked in the souls of men by Jesus Christ as a fruit of His death. The nature of repentance is “unto life”, Acts 11:18. In repentance God removes the will and desire to sin. The believer has a repentance from dead works, to serve the living God. Repentance is joined with faith. You cannot have one without the other. The doctrine of baptisms (ablutions RSV, or washings) in Hebrews 6:2, is a reference to Old Testament ceremonial washings. It typified the cleansing of the conscience from dead works to serve the living and true God by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, Titus 3:5; Hebrews 9:14.
God gives repentance, Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Corinthians 7:9,10. He changes the heart of the person and turns him round, Titus 3:5. The sin that needs repentance in unbelievers, is that of not believing on Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, John 16:8, and the turning point is when the Holy Spirit convicts with a view to salvation, it is enough for them to turn from this sin of not believing on Christ. Sinners must believe on Christ because of the natural sinfulness within them.
Repentance in the Thessalonians showed itself by their turning from idols to serve the living God, 1 Thessalonians 1:9,10.
Repentance from False Doctrine
In 2 Timothy 2:25, Paul’s concern is that certain persons in the church would be corrected, the false teachers and their teachers, would “repent”. This meant that there would be produced a “change of mind” with regard to their wrong ideas and actions. With that repentance there would be “knowledge of the truth” in turning from the error. The Greek word for “truth” means “the content of Christianity as the absolute truth”. When these false teachers spiritually break out of the numbing effect of the snare that has taken them and come to their senses, the devil’s grasp on them through there error will be broken. Notice that their opposition to truth and their thinking error or receiving error, that basically is from Satan, put them in his power.