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Stirring The Deep

Repentance and Grace

35 Comments

Repentance and Grace

 

With the flooding, earthquakes, fires, and tornados, our hearts should be stirring to repentance. Some think they’ve already repented … back in 1989 when they were “saved” and answered that alter call … but let’s ponder deeper …

Repentance is turning completely in the other direction and walking in it. It’s turning from our self-will, which has dictated our lives since birth, to seek and walk in God’s will and let Him dictate our lives. It’s a very deep soul choice between us and God; our way and His. Luke 13:3 Various sins are simply symptoms of going our own way. Therefore, true repentance is going to the source, our self-will, and choosing not to follow it at all, but choosing to follow God. This requires knowing and trusting God; two things that come from diligently seeking Him. Turning from individual sins is important, but they are only the symptoms to a much deeper repentance, a repentance you come to understand as you seek God with all your heart.

Jesus stood in our place and paid the penalty (death) for our sins (going our way instead of God’s) so we didn’t have to. By paying the penalty, He reconciled us back to God so that now we can live in God’s presence. In removing the barrier of sin, He opened the door so we could dwell in unity with God. NOW it’s our part to walk through that door and the journey entails learning of God and repentance. We can’t walk in God’s way when we are walking in ours. We can’t do what we don’t know, thus the need to seek. As we learn God’s ways, we turn from self and turn to God.

Proof of repentance is abiding in the Bible with the instruction of the Holy Spirit with the motive to know God, because it shows we are seeking God’s will so we can walk in it. We long to know God so we can walk in His ways and be sanctified to become His living temple. Thus, deep repentance is the response to the gift of grace from Christ.

Because of this gift of grace, for some the compelling need for deep repentance is dampened, when it should be heightened. It was for me. I thought because all sins were forgiven that my obedience wasn’t that big of a deal because I was covered. Yes I should obey, but it wasn’t critical. Therefore, abiding in the Bible wasn’t critical. How misled I was. My lack of desire to obey was a sign something was off; I didn’t bear my cross (crucify my self-will) because I was still following self. Therefore, nothing had really changed. My belief was in vain. Not truly turning from self means there is a lack of understanding of what the sacrifice of Jesus was for.

Luke 14:26 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

Coming to understand what Jesus did for us and our falleness is only an acknowledgement of what is. At this point though we may recognize what is, the deep soul choice between following self and following God is still in favor of self. At this infancy of our understanding, we have no idea of the extent in which we follow self verses God.

What should be happening next is an intense journey of individually seeking God to know Him as He is so we can walk in His will. We are to walk through that door that was opened for us by Christ. We are to learn of God from the Holy Spirit given to us by Christ. It’s God’s truth constantly invading our soul that reveals the depths by which we are dominated by self-will. This is the path of sanctification. It’s the natural progression for one who is a child of God. Therefore, if we knowingly continue in habitual sins, we have neglected to understand Christ’s gift.

Repentance isn’t just an acknowledgement that we have sinned against God; it’s the action of turning away from following self and following God. But we can’t follow what we don’t know. This is why God commands that we seek Him and that we abide in His Word, so we can know His ways and walk in them, thus truly repent. This is why abiding in His Word being taught by Him is proof we are on the path of sanctification. John 17:17

Repentance is key and yet sometimes overlooked in the doctrine of grace. God won’t be mocked. What we sow we will reap. Galatians 6:7 Grace and repentance work hand in hand. Repentance is the manifestation of Christ’s gift of grace in our lives. Jesus and the apostles taught repentance and the kingdom of God. Repentance is how we come to abide in the kingdom of God; which is God’s reign in our soul with His will dominating.

If you are truly born of God, you’ll hate sin. You’ll long to walk in truth and love. You will hunger for His Word, so you know His will. You’ll be taught by God. John 6:45 You’ll want to know HIS will not someone’s thoughts on His will. You come to this point of desire through the grace of God showing you the truth. You come to it because you have sought God. Romans 8:29-30

Have you experienced a deep hearted repentance? Not just from various sins but from your self-will? This is true repentance. Are you walking more in truth today than a couple of months ago? Do you have a LOVE for the truth so that your life is moving to living in God’s will? You can only know His will for YOU if YOU personally seek it from Him. It’s a lifetime and daily activity. Seeking His will isn’t doing what your church says or some religious leader; it’s seeking God’s personal instruction in your life.

If you said no to these, get to know God by seeking Him in the Bible with the instruction of the Holy Spirit. When you come to know Him, you will want nothing of your self-will and everything of His.

Romans 2:4b that the goodness of God leads you to repentance

Author: Rachel

My passion is cultivating a deep relationship with God and helping others to do the same. I LOVE sharing with others insights that God has taught me and hearing what God has taught them... thus my blog, Stirring the Deep. My focus is on a relationship, not a religion. Life is in the relationship. I believe in a balance and unity of body, mind and spirit. I feel it's important to nurture all three for they all affect each other. I try to live in the present, where the Holy Spirit is. And I try to do all with the motive of love. I've come to believe life is a journey and not a destination. It isn't about perfection, is it about growth.

35 thoughts on “Repentance and Grace

  1. I just read the latest blog on repentance and grace. FANTASTIC! Such foundational truths that so many folks miss. What jumped out at me was this, “Grace and repentance work hand in hand. Repentance is the manifestation of Christ’s gift of grace in our lives.” The connection is truly from God. Thank you for sharing!

    • Hi Steve – I know … for years I missed this foundational truth. There are so many copycat doctrines that mislead people. How important to diligently seek truth from God Himself in the Bible.

  2. True repentance is the handiwork of grace, it’s how you know when the Holy Spirit is truly at work in somebody. There remains a brokenness of spirit before the Lord and humility of mind.

    Repentance is a rocky road best travelled in the day, when there is light, lest darkness comes, and I stumble in the dark…that is to say the Spirit of God will not always strive with man. I will therefore humble myself before the God of heaven and pray, who has called me with a holy calling…to walk this road of repentance that leads to eternal life.

    Judgement comes, it is near…it is even at the door.

    The harvest of souls is near, the day of the Lord is at hand – the day of vengeance and of reckoning, when God shall visit calamity upon the children of men.

    The Jews went into diaspora for nearly 2000 years for rejecting God’s only son, but you oh Adam’s unredeemed race, who is also called Mystery Babylon the Great – that Great Harlot of the ages, He shall over-throw you with the apostate spirits…He shall shall remove you forever, when your dominion is taken away.

    • Hi David – true … repentance is the handiwork of grace … it is the testimony of the spirit at work in us. I agree judgment is very near, it’s critical to be examining our hearts in line with God’s Words and not the messages of men.

  3. It is all so CLEAR when one has truly EMBRACED HIM…but for those who have not…that “veil of flesh” still works overtime to “hide” the truth to them. Have you ever read any of Watchman Nee’s works. He wrote around 1948 or so and has now gone on to Heaven. He was a Chinese Christian man of God who knew Truth and preached it fearlessly. When I was young, I read his works and have now been studying them once again. Interesting how years of yielding areas of one’s “flesh” impact one’s understanding of such beautiful…but deep truth! Check him out…if you haven’t. Though old, his books are classic and can be found online, Amazon, etc. As always, I appreciate your clear, clean writing, Rachel. Keep looking to JESUS and sharing what He reveals~ This world NEED such voices TODAY~ Much love, Sandy

  4. Rachel. I just started the process of abiding in his word and making him Lord of my life. I am excited to have this relationship with God. Your mentoring program came at the right time of my life. I do have one question. After studying his word when I am listening to his spirit, do I meditate silently or have the scriptures open so he can speak to me?

    • Hi Philip – I’m so glad; you don’t know how much that encourages me. There is no right or wrong in listening … I do both. Sometimes I just sit quietly in listening mode and other times God brings scriptures to mind then I read and meditate on them. It is really about taking time to listen. It’s easy to get caught up in our minds and never really listen to what God might have to say to us. Think of it like a conversation and now you are giving God time to talk. You can ask questions and listen. You can focus on certain scriptures that are standing out to you and listen. Make sense?

      • Absolutely makes sense. I will take the time to listen to his voice. I am on my fourth day and Satan is already trying to discourage me. One of the hardest things for me is knowing how to study. Not what’s in it for me, but what can God show me about him. I think that is the biggest challenge. Like you said though in one of your blogs, it takes time to develop this relationship and it is not instant. Keep praying for me and my studies. I need to find an accountability person for encouragement.

      • Hi Philip – the last thing the enemy wants is you abiding in the Bible seeking to draw near to God in truth and Spirit because truth shuts him down in your life. Don’t worry about how to study. The Holy Spirit is your teacher 1 John 2:27. All you need to do is simply read and ask God what HE wants to teach you each day. Leave the lesson up to Him. It’s really quite simple, but because of that most don’t think “anything is happening” – yet it’s the most powerful act you can take because you are engaging God and seeking Him as He asks. Trust Him to lead you. You just show up faithfully to that appointment with Him each day. Yes, like all relationships it isn’t instant because it is real and deep and based on truth. But there is no other relationship more important. And if you want accountability, I’d be happy to play that role. It makes a big difference. Please just let me know.

  5. Thank you so much, Rachel, for teaching us about repentance! I love the way you show us the truth. 🙂 God bless you and all the you are doing in Him!

  6. In 25-plus years as a Christian, Rachel, I’ve sat through lots of 40-minute, 4-point, PowerPoint sermons, but rare was the man who could explain in that 40 what you just have in 5. Great Post! Great Truth! Thanks.

    Roger

  7. Great article..always timely. You mentio
    ned in the article that habitual sins are due to not knowing Christ gift. Far diferent from what the church says? But wouldn’t habitual sins just mean you are not saved. I wonder if the church created there own doctrine that frightens believers to the point that they stay in a perpetual fear of God? Not saying that it was intentional, but through certain doctrines of men.

    • Hi Mike — same thing … knowing Christ’s gift and being saved. If you KNOW Him; you are His. I seen in many places where the institutional church creates its own doctrine to keep believers in a point of fear … with fear you can control. May sound intense, but the more I learn of God and seek His truth then hear what the church system is saying … it doesn’t align. They are using fear to keep people where they want them. I agree with you, I don’t know that church leaders is aware of this .. they just see it as their doctrine they have been taught.

  8. Great post Rachel. I think there is a lot to digest with this one–especially with self-will, grace, and repentance; issues that I have never really thought of in terms of connectedness.

    Thanks for the insights and for making me think.

    • Hi Slamdunk … intially I didn’t connect them all either – not really. I thought very superficially on it all. Made a lot of empty assumptions that when I questioned revealed my lack of understanding and thus seeking .. it’s incredible to seek this truth out from the Holy Spirit; it brings much enlightenment – you start to see how everything fits together.

  9. Beautifully put, Rachel. Once we have died in Christ, we are dead to sin. God forbid we should walk anymore in it. Now we live by the life of Another! May His life be lived and revealed in His body. Love you, dear Sister!

    • Hi Cindy – your comment brought up another thought… when we nurture that Spirit in us and just live; it is amazing how the Spirit can use us in the lives of others. It really is all about Him in us and not our own efforts. Often our efforts can get in the way as our self-will starts imposing itself again. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  10. Thank you for your message today. I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit to shine His light on my evil self will. I pray God will take my weakness and lack of self will to draw me to Him so I will fully repent. Only in His power is this possible and I need to faithful in turning to Him.

    • Hi Tom – I am too. I’ve seen over and over how destructive my self-will is. I’m thankful for that understanding as it pushes me to desire God’s will in all things. It also makes me exceedingly grateful for His atonement for us in Christ. What an amazing gift, what an amazing love.

  11. Hey Rachel – I’ve been catching up on your blog. So many good thoughts here for us to dwell on about being ready and being a vessel of God’s work in us. I’ve been hearing some comments about an evangelist somewhere who is predicting the end of the world this weekend… some are agreeing with him, most are calling him crazy, but what all God’s people need to be focused on is that we are in the end times, though we don’t/cannot know the day or the hour; we know Jesus and His disciples and even John the Baptist before Him preached repentance because the Kingdom of God is at hand. We know Jesus promised He would come back, and we know that will be the final fulfillment of His Kingdom.

    It’s sobering.

    I was excited and convicted to read your thoughts on repentance. Over the past… year or so… I believe God has been moving me to think about repentance on a larger scale than I often do – the typical repentance from specific, often outward sins. Questions have come to mind like, well if I have truly repented of x, then why are my thoughts, feelings, etc. not completely turned from that as well, why do I not hate what God hates or why am I still tempted by something opposed to His Nature. I’ve realized how big/deep real repentance is – that it takes digging and pondering and listening and asking what is it that these ‘symptoms’ (good metaphor) reflect or why habits are so hard to be broken or why even after walking away from something does it still have a pull on me when I am feeling most vulnerable. I love that God is able and willing to search our hearts and reveal to us what’s there… and what’s in His – that love willing to offer grace, not just to ‘cover’ sin but to deliver us and cleanse us from it!

    Over and over we see in the Word people acting, not by a set of rules, but by seeking, hearing, and obeying what God’s Spirit has specifically led them to do. We see how Jesus Himself spent so much time communing with God to know His Will for every part of His life – that the reason Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life is because in everything He was doing the Will of His Father. And your comment, “We can’t do what we don’t know, thus the need to seek” is so true; we have to keep asking, listening, waiting for His counsel.

    Good post; good insights everyone!

    Love,
    Ruth

    • Hi Ruth — some good thoughts you shared (as always)… I’ve been learning much of the same thing – thus the post … repentance goes very deep– it is a consuming turning away from our self-driven will and to God. When you understand the depth of repentance and experience it, the verses about losing your life, hating your life and desiring to be hid in Christ start to resonate powerfully with your soul. Verses about a new life, new heart, new spirit and a desire to obey God. As in the post I did today – it is that new spirit that gives us the ability to walk in the spirit and not the flesh (our self-driven will). Only by God dwelling us can we walk as He calls us to. We need to cry out for this new life, give up our own, and nourish it in the Word (the good soil) so it will grow and strengthen in us. What God has done for us is tremendous; often overwhelming.

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  13. In this post this statement is made ( If you are truly born of God, you’ll hate sin. You’ll long to walk in truth and love.)

    The Bible just does not backup this statement There are many examples in the Bible where believers are stated as being carnal one example is Ananias and Sapphira 1 Corinthians 3 is addressing the carnal believer
    1 Corinthians 3:1,2,3
    3:1 So, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but instead as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.
    3:2 I fed you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready. In fact, you are still not ready,
    3:3 for you are still influenced by the flesh. For since there is still jealousy and dissension among you, are you not influenced by the flesh and behaving like unregenerate people?

    • Hi d taylor — people love darkness because though they are aware of God, then don’t know Him or sought truth thus still in darkness. But as you grow in fellowship with God (and His spirit growing in you to where you become truly a new creation) – you hate and abhor sin/evil as He does. If you aren’t growing in this renewal then you don’t know Him.

      Romans 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
      Psalm 36:4 He devises wickedness on his bed; He sets himself in a way that is not good; He does not abhor evil.

  14. hello Rachel

    Could you define your statement (If you aren’t growing in this renewal then you don’t know Him.)

    are you saying that person does not know God and that, not knowing, relating to their salvation that keeps that person from hell and allows them into heaven.
    or
    are you saying, you don’t know God, in the discipleship area of a believers life and they are in danger of losing reward in heaven and not their salvation.

    you used two passages of scripture. The first one is from Romans chapter 12 that chapter is written to believers. So i do not see how that could be applied to a believer (Christian) saying that they do not know God in the salvation area. I guess that could be applied in the believers life toward the discipleship area of the believers life, but it is clear from scripture that Paul is addressing believers and no where in this chapter does he say they are not believers.
    The second passage of scripture is Psalm 36 written by David and he was a murder and an adulteress in his life time, surely at those times in his life he did not hate and abhor sin/evil, but yet God said in Acts 13:22
    Acts 13:22 After removing him, God raised up David their king. He testified about him: ‘I have found David the son of Jesse to be a man after my heart, who will accomplish everything I want him to do.’

    • Hi – there is a difference between saying you believe that Christ is Lord and you being on the path of Him truly being your Lord. Faith without works is dead. If you truly believe God is Your God, you will seek His truth, long to know Him, and through that intimate relationship turn from all that isn’t of Him. People are along that path in different areas … but there is a movement forward in knowing and walking more in God’s will if you are of God. As for Paul – he did say to be careful least they believed in vain 1 Corinthians 15:2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. … there are many professing and living out a religion and yet few truly believing and living as GOD desires and calls …

      Matthew 7:22-23 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!

      And as you come to know God, you are turning from your ways to His. It doesn’t mean you don’t mess up as David did … He desired God but he had lessons to learn like all of us.

    • hi D,
      just a few of my thoughts on king David,..he was the example of what we all must do,..he was a adulterer and sent her husband to his death,..but he repented bitterly,and brought down to a contrite heart, were he begged forgiveness,..for a new heart and a new spirit,..and that is what we must do,..and yes king David found favour with His King ,to the point he will be made prince David,forever over the tribes of Israelites when he is raised from the dead in the future world Kingdom, under The King O’Israel Everlasting Holy Reign of This Earth.

      remember and consider and discern,to enter The Kingdom that will be here on earth, you must become like a ‘little child’ and crave spiritual milk,..eat ‘bread’..drink ‘wine’…and chew on some very hard to swallow meat!

      so yes you will grow,..and if your not growing your maybe eating the dainty meat of the evil eyed one,..we are told not to eat!

      also consider the very very warning telling parable of the ten virgins,..and the level of oil that grows inside their lamps,..or not ,as the story goes!

      the story of the fig tree is all about sprouting and growing,..and branches that dont grow, get cut off and burned in the ‘fire’

      and

      Our Saviour King,.has sowed seeds in His Fathers Field,and has waited a long time for the harvest to ‘grow’,…Hes portrayed among other things, as Coming with His Winnowing stick to His Threshing Floor,bought long ago,..to thresh His ‘grain’

      so yes,..if growing isnt taking place, you need to get the seed to good soil,..the signs that summer is all but here,..and you know at the end of summer,Harvest begins!

  15. good afternoon
    you say (there is a difference between saying you believe that Christ is Lord and you being on the path of Him truly being your Lord) there is difference but that is not a salvation issue but a discipleship issue. You use text from James 2:14-17 look again at verse 14 Paul address them as brothers (another word for believer) so Paul is addressing believers why would anyone try to make his commits, about salvation they are believers already what he (Paul) is addressing in these verses is the area of discipleship not salvation, he is already speaking to believers. when you trust in Christ, that is believe the gospel message about the person and work of Christ as God’s Son and His death, resurrection, and ascension as the solution to your sin problem, you are immediately born into the kingdom of God by the Holy Spirit and become a child of God through faith in Christ. This is the very clear message of both John’s gospel and the teaching of Paul in all his epistles.
    The book of James does not contradict this when properly understood. James is writing to believers about the need to manifest the reality of their faith in good works, not in order to get saved or stay saved, but (1) to avoid discipline from God and (2) to prove their salvation to the world who cannot see one’s heart. Paul talks about justification by faith before God by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. This gives one judicial position of justification before God who alone can truly see the heart or the reality of a person’s faith. James is talking about proving our justification in the sight of men. There is clearly no contradiction. Remember that James was present and presiding over the church at Jerusalem when Paul came to help settle the issue of salvation by faith alone in Christ alone (see Acts 15). What is in view is physical life and death and not a soteriological salvation.

    The second verse you use 1 Corinthians 15:2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. The question here lies with the word saved, when people see this word used in the Bible they usually think of first that word relating to a persons salvation (go to heaven when you die). It may come come as a surprise to many that this usage of salvation (Gk. soteria) would have been the least likely meaning to come to mind of a reader of the Bible in the first century. In 812 usages of the various Hebrew words translated “to save” or “salvation” in the Old Testament, only 58 (7.1 percent) refer to eternal salvation. So save and salvation frequently relate to physical deliverance (not spiritual).

    The verses you posted with Matthew 7:22-23 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!‘
    You left out the first part of (Matthew 7:22-23) which is Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven – only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. This is part of Matthew 7:15-23 A Tree and Its fruit, this is Jesus teaching about false teachers. In Jesus famous warning By their fruits you shall know them (Mt 7:16) The assumption is made that Christ means by this that one can discern whether or not another person is truly a Christian by examining the evidence of good works in his life. This initial impression is reinforced by Christ stinging rebuke to these false teachers i never knew you. Such an interpretation obviously contradicts the clear teaching elsewhere that entrance into the kingdom of heaven is based upon faith alone.
    The idea that a false prophet can be discerned by comparing what he says with scripture is widespread in the Bible and it is surprising that the lord’s comments about fruit in Matthew are not always read in this light. The fruit by which we may discern these false prophets is their doctrine. Their works were good They looked and acted like sheep and even performed miracles. An examination of works would have led to the wrong conclusion.
    It should be noted that Jesus says, By their fruit you shall know them. It is not professing Christians in general who are the subject of discussion but men who openly announce themselves as prophets and who claim to do miraculous works in Jesus’ name. The passage has nothing to do with the notion that we can test the reality of the faith of a professing Christian by examining his good works.
    They call Him Lord, even though they never confessed Him as God during their life. They thought were performing works in behalf of the one true God, but they did not acknowledge Christ as that God. Now confronted with Him at the judgment they do confess Him as Lord, but it is to late.
    what does it mean to do the the will of My Father (Matthew 7:21) who is in heaven John 6:40 answers that. John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father – for everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him to have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
    Just take the
    Look at Luke 8 : 11-15 the meaning of the parable of the four soils. The first one is the unbeliever. the other three are believers but not all produce fruit in their life time only the last one does, but all three are said to be believers

    One of the curious phenomena of recent times is how Christians have been using the Bible. Rather than recognize that it is a book made up of 66 books, each written to a specific people for a specific reason, we tend to wrench verses right out of their contexts because the words agree with what we already believe. Sometimes believers say silly things like, “God gave me a verse today.” What’s wrong with that? Two things: First, this approach to Scripture does not honor the divine authorship of Scripture. God gave the verse at least 1900 years ago. You may have discovered it today, but it’s been there all along. To say that God gave a verse today is really an existential statement, as though the Bible didn’t become alive until we read it a certain way. But revelation has ceased. It’s all there in the Book. This manner of speaking almost sounds as if revelation continues. But the work of the Spirit today is decidedly not on the cognitive level: he is not bringing us new revelation. His work in relation to the Bible is primarily in the realm of conviction: he helps to drive home the message of the Bible, once it is properly understood. Second, this approach (i.e., the “God gave me a verse today” approach) to Scripture does not honor the human authorship of the Bible. When Paul wrote to the Galatians, he wrote a coherent, holistic message. He never intended for someone a couple millennia later to rip verses out of their context and wield them any way they so chose! Certainly we have a right to quote verses of Scripture; but we do not have a right to ignore the context, or to make them say what the language cannot say. Otherwise, someone could come along and say “Judas hanged himself”; “Go and do likewise”! Hence, one reason for the abuse of Scripture is due to a lack of respect for the Bible as a divine and human work. In this approach it becomes a magical incantation book–almost a book of unconnected fortune cookie sayings!

  16. in my part about James 2:14-17 that should be James and not Paul in the text there in several sentences

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