The Elementary Teachings about Christ
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment (Hebrews 6:1-2).
Repentance from acts that lead to death
While God created man in His own image, man has departed form God in his human nature.
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, ... So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:26-27).
The Nature of Man (male and female)
The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done (Genesis 8:21).
Do you rulers indeed speak justly? Do you judge uprightly among men? No, in your heart you devise injustice, and your hands mete out violence on the earth. Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies (Psalm 58:1-3).
The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one (Psalm 14:2-3).
There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins (Ecclesiastes 7:20).
…while I was still searching but not finding-- I found one upright man among a thousand, but not one upright woman among them all. This only have I found: God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes (Ecclesiastes 7:28-29).
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away (Isaiah 64:6).
What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit." "The poison of vipers is on their lips." "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know." "There is no fear of God before their eyes." Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (Romans 3:9-24).
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives (1 John 1:8-10).
You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked (Revelation 3:17).
We can easily see from these passages that man’s condition before God is totally lost. In regard to the perfect Holy standard of God, we are completely undone and without hope apart from Christ.
Sin originated with the devil and entered the world through Adam and became universal, “All have sinned” (Romans 5:12). Resulting in physical and spiritual death. Man is born into sin (Psalm 51:5), but not born a slave to sin. He becomes a slave to sin by voluntarily yielding to sin (Romans 6:16).
“A right concept of sin is therefore imperative for if man errs here, he errs everywhere. If he does not have scriptural views of sin’s nature he will not have a scriptural views of sin’s efficacious remedy. Man’s estimation of sin differs considerably. What is sin to one is not sin to another.” Herbert Lockyer
In other words it is critically important that we know the mind of God when it comes to sin. What does the Bible say? Sin is the transgression of a divine command.
Exodus 20 - The Ten Commandments - I am the LORD your God,
(1) You shall have no other gods before me.
(2) You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them.
(3) You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God.
(4) Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
(5) Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
(6) You shall not murder.
(7) You shall not commit adultery.
(8) You shall not steal.
(9) You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
(10) You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."
Sin is the denial of the divine right to sovereignty
Rebellion led to rejection, and the sinner found himself at enmity with God. If we deny God his supremacy, we deny His right to be.
“If He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all” Hudson Taylor
Sin - the failure to attain to the divine standard.
You have heard, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell (Matthew 5:21-22).
You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28).
You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' But I tell you, Do not swear at all: 37 Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one (Matthew 5:33-34).
You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also (Matthew 5:38-39).
You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (Matthew 5:43-44)
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins (James 4:17).
You have heard, "God loves the sinner but hates the sin." The Word says,
You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong (Psalm 4:4-5).
The LORD detests men of perverse heart but he delights in those whose ways are blameless (Proverbs 11:20).
The Bible emphatically declares that repentance is the first step in the soul’s return to God. Thus the summons to repent is the dominant note in God’s call to men in both the Old and New Testaments. Because repentance is required, it is therefore imperative that we understand what it means.
Repent means to turn, to lament, to sorrow, a remorseful regret, to think differently, to change one’s mind leading to a turning. The general scriptural significance of repentance, is to turn completely around, an about face.
Repentance applied, means that man needs to go the opposite way and do the opposite thing, based on deep sorrow and remorse for and abhorrence of sin, and such remorse and abhorrence usually come from encountering God and His holiness.
When Solomon had finished the temple the LORD appeared to him at night and said: "I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices. "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place (2 Chronicles 7:11-15)
Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord's wrath did not come upon them during the days of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32:26).
He makes them listen to correction and commands them to repent of their evil. If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment (Job 36:10-11).
“The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the LORD (Isaiah 59:20).
O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent. I thought, "These are only the poor; they are foolish, for they do not know the way of the LORD, the requirements of their God (Jeremiah 5:3-4).
Therefore this is what the LORD says: "If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman (Jeremiah 15:19).
After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth (Jeremiah 31:19).
Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live! (Ezekiel 18:30-32)
I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them. "Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria rule over them because they refuse to repent? Swords will flash in their cities, will destroy the bars of their gates and put an end to their plans. My people are determined to turn from me. Even if they call to the Most High, he will by no means exalt them (Hosea 11:4-7).
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'" John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:1-8).
From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near" (Matthew 4:17).
I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish (Luke 13:3).
He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:46-47).
Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).
I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus (Acts 20:21).
Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death (2 Corinthians 7:9-10).
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace (Hebrews 6:4-6).
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent (Revelation 3:19).
A genuine transformation follows repentance and works a change in the whole man. Changes in judgment, feelings, actions, attitudes and affections will be evident. We will come to hate what we once loved.
Without repentance there is no salvation.