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Fruits Meet for Repentance

by Dave Everett on December 03, 2019

I believe some people have a misunderstanding of what repentance is. Repentance is a change of mind (metanoia) that results in turning; a change in direction. In Luke 15:11-32 we have the story of two sons (the prodigal and his older brother). In context (Luke 15-17) I believe this story is more about the older son based on the context that begins in Luke 15:1-3, where Jesus was responding to the murmured complaints of the Pharisees and scribes (older brother) because He was ministering to the publicans and sinners (prodigals). 

However, I also believe this story perfectly illustrates a blueprint of what it means for an individual to repent:

In verse 17, the prodigal woke up and RECOGNIZED his need: “And when he came to himself…” The prodigal recognized his foolishness, failure, mistakes, waste, sin, hopelessness, muck, etc. He realized the situation he placed himself in. He recognized the harvest of his own sowing: the low-life consequences of his poor choices. Therefore, I believe repentance begins with an awareness of a need for change which includes a return to his Father. It was his Father Who changed his life. The Father was the Source of his salvation (soteria): wholeness, deliverance, healing, prosperity, welfare, preservation, etc.

In verse 18, he made a DECISION: “I will arise and go to my Father…” He made a decision to turn from what he recognized as destructive and wrong to more importantly return to the One Who forgives, heals and restores. He repented and turned to his Father. Repentance (metanoia) is a change of mind, a change of heart that causes a person to turn around and move in a new direction.

Then in verse 20, he took ACTION: “And he arose and came to his father.” Repentance is only genuine when there is a corresponding action. Good intentions without corresponding action will not complete the recovery process. Repentance is not an attitude of guilt and sin-consciousness (continuing thinking of sin). Feeling bad and continually remembering sin does not please God or constitute repentance.

I believe true repentance is an awareness of the wrongness of living without Christ and a desire to live a vital relationship with God as He has revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ.

In 2 Corinthians 7:10 Paul writes: “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted: but sorrow of the world produces death.” (emphasis mine)

I do not believe repentance by itself saves us.

I believe repentance leads us to salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10).

John the Baptist preached repentance but there was no new birth: Jesus hadn’t yet died and rose again. The new covenant was not yet established. Yet many preach salvation then repentance. I believe repentance comes first. Repentance leads to salvation. Repent from what?

I believe repentance is an awareness of the wrongness of living without Christ and a desire to live a vital relationship with God as He has revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ.

I believe if you change the root you will change the fruit. And once the root is changed (born-again of a New Seed) the mind must be renewed to that changed Seed (new identity) so that the Seed of Christ Who is already sown into us at conversion (conception) can gestate and produce the life-transformational harvest that is already present within the Seed. Everything we need that pertains for life and godliness is already present within this knowledge of Christ. (2 Peter 1:2-4)

“That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” (Philemon 1:6)

Repentance is simply a change of mind accompanied by a decision of turning and corresponding actions.

There is a Godly type of sorrow and an ungodly type of sorrow. Godly sorrow produces repentance that leads to salvation. Ungodly sorrow, or the sorrow of this world, kills and is destructive. Until we acknowledge every good thing that is in us in Christ Jesus, the communication of our faith will remain ineffectual.

Please know, salvation is not limited to forgiveness. Salvation (soteria) also means healing, wholeness, deliverance, prosperity, welfare, preservation, etc. Godly sorrow over our sickness can produce repentance that leads to salvation which includes healing. We can turn from coping with sickness, turn (repent: go a different direction) and receive healing (salvation).

“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just (righteous) shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16-17, KJV, emphasis mine).

The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. We can apply these same principles of Godly sorrow that produces repentance that lead us to salvation to everything that salvation has provided, including: wholeness, healing, deliverance, preservation, prosperity, etc.

When we repent (turn to the Lord and believe) it leads us to salvation.

When sickness gives us godly sorrow over the illness and pain it produces repentance to be healed (salvation). I believe we can apply the same principle to forgiveness, wholeness, deliverance, preservation, prosperity, etc.In our own fellowships, we teach the Gospel that reveals His righteousness and disciple those who become aware of their true identity: in Christ. So that the just (righteous) can live by his faith in the Gospel and what it reveals: the righteousness of God: the power of God unto salvation. And in our fellowships we are seeing on a regular basis lives being transformed (saved) from drugs, homosexuality, pornography, depression, cancer, diseases of various kind, blindness, financial lack, un-forgiveness, broken relationships, and much, much more. In each case, godly sorrow produced repentance when they heard the Word and it lead them to salvation without any regrets. Beautiful!

Our culture has rejected all "negative" emotions. But God gave us the capacity for these negative emotions, and there is a proper use of them. Ecclesiastes 7:3 says, "Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better." People should feel bad about sin. People should feel bad about sickness, lack, etc. There should be sorrow over our failures and inadequacies. However, this sorrow should produce repentance to lead us to salvation. Then, when salvation is received, our sorrow should be cast upon the Lord (Isaiah 53:4; Isaiah 61). There should be no residue of regret.

The sorrow experienced by those who do not turn to God produces only death. They grieve over their situation because they don't turn to God. I believe Christians should only have sorrow until they repent. Once repentance has come, we need to appropriate His salvation that is already ours through Christ. Godly sorrow that produces repentance leaves us with no regrets. The positive change that our sorrows led us to, changes our attitude towards the things that caused us sorrow. Therefore, I believe we are to let the negatives in our lives to become positives through turning to Jesus.

Again, I believe true repentance is an awareness of the wrongness of living without Christ and a desire to live a vital relationship with God as He has revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ.

I also believe that continual repentance from every sin is not taught in Scripture. Instead I believe that is a return to the Old Testament sacrifices without the animals. I believe one who continually repents in this fashion is one who is continually sin-conscience. It is expressing: “I do not believe Jesus cleansed me the first time. I have to keep coming back to get re-cleansed.”

A lot of people will preach repentance, instructing people to repent every time they commit a sin: Imposing a continuous judgment. You don’t give up your salvation and keep going back to repent to receive Christ again and again. I firmly believe, once you are in Christ, you are in Christ. There is only, one, true repentance, which cleanses us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) We do not continue to try and cleanse ourselves through continual repentance.

I believe Jesus’ Blood Alone cleanses us; giving us an eternal redemption and forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:7). Without His Blood there is no remission of sins. (Hebrews 9:22) He is our propitiation, the worthy Lamb, Who took away the sins of the world. The religious philosophy of continual repentance is the same continual act of offering sacrifices continually without the animals. In the Old Testament they had sacrifices until they sinned again. Jesus perfected us forever through one sacrifice of Himself. This religious attitude and mindset that repents continually is a continual sin-consciousness, which I believe Paul describes as an evil conscience. (Hebrews 10:2, 21-22)

Jesus became our sin and crucified it! (2 Corinthians 5:21) He is not continually imputing our sins to us or the sins of the world to them. He reconciled us and the world to Himself. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19; 1 John 2:2; Revelation 5:9-10; Romans 6:1-11) But we (and the world) must reconcile ourselves to Him (repentance). (2 Corinthians 5:20) We need to be reconciled to God in our own hearts and minds that He Who knew no sin became sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21) I believe that reconciliation (changing our minds) is repentance.

Again, I believe true repentance is an awareness of the wrongness of living without Christ and a desire to live a vital relationship with God as He has revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ.

In 1 John 1:5-9 John begins by stating: “This is the Message which we have heard from Him and declared to you…” (1 John 1:5)  I do not know about you, but I have met several non-believers through the years who will not acknowledge that they are sinners and will not acknowledge they need a Savior but will also state they have fellowship with God. These people are deceived and the Truth is not in them. (1 John 1:6-8) Here in 1 John I believe John is stating the Message we have heard. Did John hear a different Message than Paul? If so, Paul addressed that harshly. (Galatians 1:6-9; 3:1-3; 2 Corinthians 11:2-4)

I believe this is the Message we all heard that caused us all to turn to God (in repentance), receive Christ (salvation) and confess Him as Lord (Romans 10:9-10). I do not believe we are born-again, again, again, again, etc. I do not believe this confession is a daily (continuous) thing to receive salvation whereby we are continually re-cleansing ourselves from all unrighteousness, but rather a one-time born-again moment of being totally cleansed from all unrighteousness.

Why do I believe this? I believe there is only One sacrifice for sin. I believe Jesus died once and for all.  

During one's initial recognition and awareness of their sin and need of a Savior, they made a decision to receive Christ and subsequently come (turn) to the Lord. (Romans 10:9-10)

Hebrews 10:1-3 states: “For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipper, once purified (purged), would have no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.” (emphasis mine)

The issue of Old Testament sacrificing was a continual remembrance of sin and is not what God is after. The Old Testament sacrifices never made anyone perfect, they only delayed the judgment until Christ, the True and Qualified Lamb paid the debt in full. They had to come continually, annually, every time they sinned to atone for their sins. Likewise today, many churches and Christians walk in that same kind of environment where believers are instructed to continually feel bad, repent, come to the altar, confess, rededicate their lives over and over again. It is the same Old Testament concept just dressed in New Testament language. Jesus has provided a new and better covenant.

“But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.” (Hebrews 8:6, emphasis mine)

I believe “…the worshippers once purged should have had no more consciousness of sins.” (Hebrews 10:2, KJV, emphasis mine) “For He made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21, emphasis mine) Therefore, I believe once we are born-again not of corruptible seed but of Incorruptible Seed (1 Peter 1:23), once we have received Christ (Romans 10:9-10) we are purged from sin (Hebrews 10:2) and cleansed from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) forever!

“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2)

The instruction is: “Don’t sin!” But if you sin, you have an Advocate: our propitiation: Jesus the righteous. Jesus became sin, was crucified as our propitiation so that we may be purged and justified (declared righteous) (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:23-26; 1 John 4:10) Hence, if we are purged (purified) from our sins that Jesus crucified once and for all, whereby we have become the righteousness of God in Christ, if we are cleansed from all unrighteousness, born-again of Incorruptible Seed why are we still conscience of sins? Did Christ die in vain? Was His Blood not enough?

Again, I believe true repentance is an awareness of the wrongness of living without Christ and a desire to live a vital relationship with God as He has revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ.

Therefore, I firmly believe we do not need to go to Him constantly asking for forgiveness for every sin we commit. We may need to go to our brother or sister to maintain right relationship there. But Christ purged our sins (past, present and future) and therefore we should not have any more consciousness of sins. We are the righteousness of God in Christ.

Would God send His only Son to bear our sin, becoming sin itself (2 Corinthians 5:21), and then judge Him without mercy for that sin if His sacrifice (propitiation) wasn’t enough? No! Yet, many Christians act as though it wasn’t enough. Therefore I believe that anyone who is conscious of sin does not understand the grace of their salvation through Jesus.  I am not saying this to hurt or offend anybody, because I understand; I struggled with the same thing for years and it kept me in bondage to my own addictions (sin) for years.

God is not imputing, or laying to our account, our sin. (2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 John 2:2) Sin consciousness has been so grounded into so many of us. Grace is not the way of the world. Your employer doesn’t hire you by grace and promise to pay no matter what you do; they have expectations of performance. In marriage, spouses don’t always love each other unconditionally. Even in most Christian families, children are either rewarded or punished based on their performance. In this earth almost everything is based on performance, and because it is, it always forces us to focus on our weaknesses. That performance mentality then transfers into religion where we’re taught to focus on our sin. However, where God is concerned, it’s just the opposite. In fact, sin isn’t even an issue with God. Why? Jesus crucified it. Our sin is not being imputed, or charged, to our account every time we sin, it was charged to Jesus’ account, and He already paid the bill. It is finished! (Revelation 5:1-10; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; Romans 6:1-11)

Christ by His Own Blood obtained eternal redemption for us. (Hebrews 9:11-12) Jesus entered in once!  He doesn’t do it over and over again. Every time you sin, the Lord doesn’t have to wait until you repent and then get that sin under the Blood. No! We are under a new covenant written by the Blood of Jesus!

“’This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord; I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,’ then He adds, ‘Their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10:16-18; 8:10-12; Jeremiah 31:33-34)

Most Christians believe that when you’re born again, you get your sins forgiven up to that point. Then, every time you sin after becoming a Christian, you’ve got to run to the Lord with that sin and confess and repent, or you could be lost, on your way to hell, and out of fellowship with God. This is a huge issue! It has left many in bondage. Many say out of one side of their mouths that He loves them unconditionally and sacrificed His Son, Jesus, for their salvation, and then out of the other side, they say that He is still judging them for sin. Those are incompatible!

Praise God, He isn’t giving us what we deserve; He is giving us what Jesus deserves. Jesus paid for sin one time, past, present, and even the sins you will commit in the future. How can that be, you ask? I don’t know exactly, but let me tell you this, Jesus only died one time for our sins two thousand years ago, so we better hope He can forgive our sins before we commit them. Because He paid for all of our sins before we committed any of them.

Hebrews 9:25-28 says: “Not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters into the Most Holy Place every year with the blood of another – He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world: but now once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many…” (emphasis mine).

God knows the end from the beginning and He knew all the sins of the whole world. Jesus paid for all those sins committed before His sacrifice and for all the sins that had not yet been committed. He made the payment once and it will never be made again. The price for sin, all sin of the entire world, has been completely paid forever!

We have received an eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15) that cannot be taken away. Our inheritance is not temporary; it’s eternal. We aren’t disinherited and we don’t lose the benefits of being part of His family because of sin. To understand this, we have to see ourselves as God sees us. In our born-again spirit, we are as clean and holy and pure as Jesus is. Religion has us looking at our flesh. It has us searching the soulish realm of thoughts, attitudes, and feelings. But that is not what God is looking at. He is looking at our born-again spirit, the part of us that has become a new creation.

2 Corinthians 5:14-21 says, “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all then all died… Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh…Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, Who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as through God were pleading through us, we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God [repent]. For He made Him Who knew no sin so be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (emphasis mine)

Again, I believe true repentance is an awareness of the wrongness of living without Christ and a desire to live a vital relationship with God as He has revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ.

What is the love of Christ that compels us? (2 Corinthians 5:14) John says: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) Love is God sending His Son to be our propitiation. This love, Who is God (1 John 4:8, 16), our propitiation compels us to reason (judge this) that Christ died for all. Therefore, we regard no one after the flesh. (1 Corinthians 5:16) The sin nature (flesh) is dead. Christ became sin and was crucified. The Truth that is in Christ (Ephesians 4:20-21) teaches us to put off the old man and in the spirit of our mind to put on the New Man Who is created after God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24) We are to behold (recognize) we are new creations. (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:23) In that God has reconciled us to Himself. (2 Corinthians 5:18) Not only us, but God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself not imputing their sins to them. (2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 John 2:2) God is not charging (imputing) the world’s sins to them. No! He charged them to Jesus! Who became sin so that we can become (be born of) the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21) However, we must repent: reconcile ourselves to God (2 Corinthians 5:20) by accepting His propitiation: Jesus sacrifice: His ministry of reconciliation. This is repentance.

Repentance is turning to Jesus! Repentance is recognizing our sin and deciding to put off the old man (sin nature) and put on the New Man, in the spirit of our minds. Repentance is changing our minds from living our own lives and allowing Him to live His life in us and through us. (Galatians 2:20) Repentance is accepting His reconciliation of accounts: He Who knew no sin became sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2, emphasis mine)

Therefore, by the mercies of God, we are transformed by the renewing (renovation) of our minds. (Romans 12:1-2) This is repentance.

Again, I believe true repentance is an awareness of the wrongness of living without Christ and a desire to live a vital relationship with God as He has revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ.

Transformation is made available when we repent: allowing the preaching of Christ to remove the veil of the old covenant that blinds (deceives) our minds (2 Corinthians 3:14-16). The old covenant was the ministry of condemnation and the ministry of death. The New Covenant is the ministry of righteousness, the ministry of His Spirit; the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 3:7-9, 5:18) The veil of the old covenant blinds our minds; thus the need for repentance to change the mind and receive Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:18-4:4; 5:20-21)

“But we all with an unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18, emphasis mine)

This verse accompanied with 2 Corinthians 5:21 completely changed my life in 2009. Instead of looking into the mirror (His Word) and seeing my own reflection: sin and failure, I began to see His glory: His righteousness. A mirror is a reflective device. As Christ was preached a veil was removed from my eyes. (2 Corinthians 3:14-16) The ministry of condemnation was removed and for the first time in my life I began to see (recognize) His glory in the mirror, not my sin. This revelation of beholding (seeing with the mind) His glory in me (2 Corinthians 5:21) began to transform my life into His image.

For 19 years I was in/out of bondage to my own addiction. At church, it seemed (from my perception) everyone (who was told of my folly) kept exhorting me to control my sin. The more I tried the worse my sin got. I was told I sinned because I wanted to. True. I was told I continued to sin because I didn’t really want to change. False. Yes sin has its initial attraction and enjoyment. Yes I gave in and made the choice(s) to sin willfully, so I am not blaming anyone else. But I was also trapped. I was caught in an addictive snare. I was in bondage. In the flesh, you do not control sin, it controls you. That is what addiction is. It is a snare. Meanwhile it seemed many were pointing fingers at me, condemning me and ostracizing me because “I wouldn’t change, I wouldn’t repent.” The more I strived to control my flesh the more I struggled and the more I felt condemned. It was an endless treadmill of defeat and rejection. I lost hope. Many times I just wanted to give up altogether (seriously).

Then one day, in 2009 I was awakened to His righteousness. For the first time in my life I realized I was righteous because of what Jesus did not what I do. (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 15:34) I realized for the first time righteousness was a noun (who I was) not a verb (what I do). This revelation was the turning point that changed my life forever. I repented from trying to do righteousness and simply accepted the Truth: I was the righteousness of God in Him. That revelation of beholding His glory (His righteousness) in the mirror removed the veil of condemnation from my eyes. Christ (His Gospel that revealed His ministry of righteousness) was preached and I turned (repented) to Jesus, accepted His unmerited gift of righteousness and I became free from an addictive sin for the first time in 19 years! (2 Corinthians 5:14-18)

Millions of times during those 19 years I tried to change (repent) despite what others believed. I was always unsuccessful. I failed every time. Therefore, many Christians continued to accuse me of “not really wanting to change.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The more I tried to tell them “I need help and I want to change” the more I received their harsh rebuke and rejection. I did not know how to challenge their rebukes and so I just gave in to their condemnation, constantly feeling helpless and hopeless because I knew I really wanted to change. I was trapped trying to control an addiction in the flesh. But once I received a pure revelation of who I Truly was in Christ because of what Christ had done, not based on what I had done, that revelation changed my life forever. For the first time in years I was completely free! (2 Corinthians 3:17) And when the temptation tried to return, I now had the antidote to walk in that freedom.

You see, my repentance of changing my mind from striving to become righteous by my own performance (trying to change) and instead received His unmerited gift of righteousness lead me to experience true liberation (salvation: wholeness, deliverance, etc). Instead of turning to myself to control my flesh and change myself by my flesh,  I turned to Jesus, my Savior: my propitiation Who healed me. That is repentance that leads us salvation. Again, I firmly believe true repentance is an awareness of the wrongness of living without Christ and a desire to live a vital relationship with God as He has revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ.

Therefore, I believe Satan’s greatest weapon is not drugs, gangs, prostitution, the mafia, alcohol, pornography, homosexuality, sex trafficking, immorality, divorce, etc. Although these are all evil and gross instruments of darkness that continue to kill, steal and destroy lives. His greatest weapon of mass destruction is killing the very antidote that destroys the power of sin and death in our lives. His greatest deception of attack is against the only antidote that completely destroys the work of darkness and puts him, the enemy, to open shame. That antidote is the knowledge of the pure Gospel of His Grace that reveals His Chaste Righteousness. (Romans 1:16-17) That through the blessed revelation of the finished work of Jesus Christ we have been Promised to be heirs of the world, debunking the influence of the strong man over us and the world once and for all. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

Therefore, I believe Satan’s primary deceptive attack is against the True Gospel that reveals righteousness by faith in His grace. He attempts to assassinate the reputation of those who preach this glorious Message. Satan’s primary tactic is to short circuit and sabotage the very channel of the Incorruptible River of God, the Gospel of His Grace, from releasing the revelation of the Promised Seed. He wants to blind (veil) the minds of those who do not believe lest the Light of the Gospel should shine on them. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) The revelation of His righteousness and mercy changed me, not me trying to control my own sin and addiction. Most people would describe someone who did not change (stop sinning) someone who has not repented. Wrong. And I used to be one of those who wholeheartedly believed this. It was a deceptive veil. My answer was the Gospel of Christ that revealed His righteousness; His Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to those who believe. (Romans 1:16-17)

He changed my life not me.

“Awake to His righteousness; and do not sin…” (1 Corinthians 15:34) I needed to know who I was. If you change the root you will change the fruit. But I kept identifying myself in the mirror as a sinner. But that was not true. I am the righteousness of God in Christ. That is my identity (Seed, root). That is Who I am. That is Who I now see in the mirror. And when I repented and saw His glory, not my failure in the mirror it transformed my life! When I saw my true identity: in Christ, that root transformation changed the fruit. I was saved, but my mind was not renewed. I became transformed as I renewed my mind to His mercies. Instead of being conformed to the pattern (mold) of this world (carnality) which is death (Romans 8:6); I renewed my mind to who I was: a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. (Romans 12:1-2)

This is repentance! This lead me to salvation (wholeness, deliverance)!

“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace...But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” (Romans 8:6, 9-10, emphasis mine)

To be naturally (carnally) minded is (equals) death. We must repent: change our minds from being carnally (naturally) minded. To be carnally minded and spiritually minded simultaneously is double mindedness. One who is double-minded will be unstable in all his ways. (James 1:8) We must repent (change our mind) and become single minded with the mind of Christ.

Therefore, I believe true repentance is an awareness of the wrongness of living without Christ and a desire to live a vital relationship with God as He has revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ.

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:2-4, emphasis mine)

People are perishing, being destroyed by the lack of the knowledge of Christ. (Hosea 4:6; 2 Corinthians 4:3) This knowledge is not intellectual knowledge. It is an intimate experiential knowledge of Christ. Eternal life is (equals) knowing (ginosko: experientially know, intimacy) Jesus. (John 17:3) In this intimate knowledge of Christ, He has filled us with His fullness (sperm; Seed)(Ephesians 3:19), whereby we are born-again of His Incorruptible Seed (1 Peter 1:23), His Divine Nature. “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” (John 1:16, emphasis mine)

In Christ: the Word (the Seed) we have received is His fullness. In this Seed (knowledge of Him) we have received all things that pertain to life and godliness, by which He has already given to us exceedingly great and precious Promises (Seed), that through these Promises (this Seed: Jesus). We may be partakers of His Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in this world through lusts. Eternal Life is knowing Jesus: being reconciled to Him: being one flesh with Him (Ephesians 5:30) and allowing His Nature (Seed) transform/change us (our fruit) from the root of who we are in Him. This is repentance! Anything else is a superficial religion that has a form of godliness but denies its power. (2 Timothy 3:5)

“Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:11, emphasis mine) We are only dead to sin in Christ! Not our religious repentant attempts to master the carnal flesh, without Christ. The fruit must grow from the Seed (root) not our flesh that is dead. That is superficial. A Christmas tree is adorned with superficial decorations that are not its nature. But a fruit tree grows genuine fruit from within its true nature. We must repent and know what New Divine Nature we are. The flesh is crucified. The flesh (carnal man of sin) is dead. We are born-again of a New Nature (Seed). If we do not repent (change our mind) to our true identity in Christ. Instead of being partakers of His Divine Nature from the inside out we will attempt to adorn our tree (life) religiously, superficially from the outside in. That will always produce death with regrets.

True repentance is an awareness of the wrongness of living without Christ and a desire to live a vital relationship with God as He has revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, emphasis mine)

Here is the mirror again. I was crucified with Christ. I died. It is Christ Who lives in me. This is reality. This is my identity: Christ in me. This is who I am. He is the One I see in the mirror, not me. He lives His life in me. Christ in me does not sin. I cannot control sin by divorcing myself from the reality of who I really am. Only Christ in me enables me not to sin. I do not receive Christ and try to repent (refrain from sinning on my own). That is what I used to do for 38 years. Godly sorrow, produced a repentance from trying to do it myself and turn to Christ Who is in me. I repented and put off the old man, in the spirit of my mind, put on the New Man Who is created according to God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24) And Christ in me set me free. I repented and came to terms: my old man (sin) was crucified with Christ. (Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 6:1-11) A dead man cannot sin. My born-again identity is Christ in Me, Who sins not. He set me free, not me. (2 Corinthians 3:17)

“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you do not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1, emphasis mine)

The Message is given so we do not sin. But if we sin, we simply failed to remember who we are in Christ. But if we do sin, Jesus is our Advocate. He is our propitiation:  It was already charged to His account, not ours. He already paid it in full. Likewise, repentance is not getting cleansed all over again. That too would be a failure of remembering who we are in Christ. We must reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord, so that we do not sin.

That is repentance that leads to salvation (wholeness).

Therefore, I am fully committed to preaching this ministry of righteousness. I will preach the mercies of God! And I will make no apology! I hate Christian religion! But I love true Christianity. I want to witness true repentance in people! I want to witness true transformation in people! I want to witness the genuine fruit of repentance! The genuine fruit of righteousness! Not a pious religion that has a form of godliness but denies the power of God. Jesus is enough! His Blood is enough! I will implore people to repent and believe His Gospel (Mark 1:10) and what His Gospel reveals: His righteousness! (Romans 1:16-17; 3:24; 6:11) To lead them to salvation!

“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart…but even if our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled from those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of Christ, should shine on them.” (2 Corinthians 4:1-4, emphasis mine)

Since we have received this ministry, what ministry? I believe it is the ministry of righteousness, the ministry of His Spirit that Paul just spoke of in 2 Corinthians 3:7-9. Paul continues, “…as we have received mercy…” (2 Corinthians 4:1, emphasis mine) This is exact same thing he was saying in Romans 12:1: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God…” (emphasis mine) When instead we preach condemnation, the wrong ministry (the veil) (2 Corinthians 3:7-9, 14-16) we are blinding (deceiving) people who are perishing from the Gospel (the ministry that reveals His righteousness – Romans 1:16-17) that will set them free (2 Corinthians 3:17; 2 Peter 1:2-4). Satan will use this to veil to blind (deceive) those who do not believe. Believe what? The Gospel! (2 Corinthians 4:4) Satan wants us to be conscious of our sins, the ministry of condemnation vs the ministry of righteousness (reconciliation).

John 4:24 says, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

In Christ, what part of us is new? It’s not the flesh and it’s not the soul (mind, will, emotions, etc,); it’s our born-again spirit. When we go to God in prayer and say “O God, I’m so ungodly and so unworthy, please forgive me,” that is not who we are in the spirit but in the flesh. Our spirit is righteous, holy, and pure. Sin does not affect our spirit that is born-again.

Am I saying sin is okay? Absolutely not! When we sin, we give Satan an open door to the soul (our mind, will, emotions), as well as opportunity to destroy our physical body. There are consequences to sin. Nonetheless, some still think, “Well, I know God died once for all men, but His sacrifice still must be applied whenever we sin.”

Hebrews 10:10-12, 14 says, “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified,” (emphasis mine).

I do not believe this is talking about our physical bodies or our souls; I believe it’s talking about our born-again spirit. Our spirit is identical to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is sinless! Our soul and our body can be defiled by sin, but our spirit never can; it’s sealed forever. (Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 2 Corinthians 1:22)

“In Him you trusted, after you heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation in Whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promises, Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14, emphasis mine)

The word sealed (sphragizo), means “to stamp (with a signet or private mark) for security or preservation.” The meaning clearly relates to the Holy Spirit protecting our salvation (2 Corinthians 1:22). I believe this verse requires two actions that must occur before the Spirit’s sealing can take place: First, the Gospel must be heard (Romans 10:14), and second, they must believe and trust (repentance) the Message of the Gospel: Who is Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9-10).

I believe at salvation, we each receive a brand-new spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17). It is free from sin and totally pure. Then we are immediately sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14). That’s like vacuum-sealing or canning food for the purpose of preservation. A barrier is formed to keep sin out and retain the purity of our born-again spirits. When we Christians sin, it is in the soulish and physical realm. The born-again spirit (John 3:3) doesn’t participate. It cannot sin (1 John 3:9).

“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His Seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1 John 3:9, emphasis mine)

“Now He Who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, Who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22, emphasis mine)

 “Sealing” in the Scriptures signifies security and protection (Esther 8:8; Daniel 6:17; Ephesians 4:30), ownership (Jeremiah 32:11-12; 2 Timothy 2:19), authentication of documents or finished transactions (Genesis 38:18; 41:42; Jeremiah 32:9-10), and also is used figuratively and symbolically (Isaiah 8:16; Song Of Solomon 4:12; 8:6; Daniel 9:24; John 6:27; 1 Corinthians 9:2; Revelation 5:1-2, 5, and 9).

F.F. Bruce, in his commentary on Ephesians, gives us a good insight into Paul’s usage here when he states, “An owner seals his property with his signet to mark it as his; if at a later time he comes to claim it and his right to it is questioned, his seal is sufficient evidence and puts an end to such questioning. So, the fact that believers are endowed with the Spirit is the token that they belong in a special sense to God...Other seals, literal or figurative (like circumcision, the seal of the covenant with Abraham), were affixed externally; the seal of the New Covenant is imprinted in the believing heart.”

Not only can we look at this sealing as a proof of ownership, but it is also a means of preservation. In the same way that people seal fruit in jars with airtight seals to make preserves, so our born-again spirits have been sealed with the Holy Spirit to prevent contamination from the flesh (Ephesians 1:13).

In Acts 26:15-18 Paul is before King Agrippa and shares his own testimony of repentance. In doing so he states what Jesus told him in regards to his own ministry’s purpose (calling): “‘I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will reveal to you…to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’” (emphasis mine)

God’s purpose for Paul and his ministry was to open the eyes (recognition) and turn them (decision) from darkness to Light. This repentance would lead them to salvation. Their sanctification was by faith in Jesus. Nowhere in this passage does Jesus tell Paul and those he would minister to, to be aware of their sins. He tells them His purpose is to turn them from darkness to Light and from the power of Satan to God.

I believe if we are only turning from sin, sin is still our conscience. Instead we are to turn from something to something new (a new direction): turning them to Light, to God: Who becomes our salvation. I believe this is repentance. They are turning to Jesus and away from sin simultaneously. In other words, I believe we can preach repentance and never talk about sin. If we preach Jesus, and people turn to Jesus (salvation) they are going in a new direction.

What do their eyes need to be opened to?

“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness…” (Matthew 6:22-23) “Or do you despise the riches of His Goodness, forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the Goodness of God leads you to repentance.” (Romans 2:4, emphasis mine)

I believe their eyes need to be opened, enlightened to His Goodness (Ephesians 1:18-23). The eyes are the lamp of the body. If all we see and focus on is our flesh, our old (dead) man, our lives will be full of darkness (regretful sorrow that leads to death). Instead our eyes need to be enlightened to know: “(He) hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son, in Whom we have redemption through His Blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)

I believe, true repentance is an awareness of the wrongness of living without Christ and a desire to live a vital relationship with God as He has revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ.

Romans 10:9-10 says, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Sin is not mentioned in this infamous passage (or context). Yet repentance and salvation is taking place. How? I believe if you recognize Jesus and are aware of Him, simultaneously you are being aware of your need for Him. If you are being aware of your need for Him and decide to turn to Him, your Savior, repentance took place. I believe in turning to Him (going in a new direction), confessing Jesus you are by default repenting. In believing in your heart (decision) and turning to Him (Action) you do not need to talk about sin. Godly sorrow that produces repentance leads to salvation. (2 Corinthians 7:10) One who recognizes their need for Jesus (salvation), turns to Him, believes in their heart and confesses Jesus (action) is repenting. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes! (Romans 1:16) That is what repentance leads us to. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Therefore, when people come to the Lord, I am not looking for them to recite a prayer. I am looking that they believe in Jesus and they believe His Message (Gospel). I am looking that they believe He died for them and that He rose again. I am asking them if they want to believe and receive His forgiveness, His righteousness. Subsequently, I am going to do my best to get them established in this Truth and their new identity in Christ through discipleship. Based on this conception of Christ and renewing their minds (repentance) and continual discipleship their lives will change, including their lifestyle. Why? I trust the Seed. The Lord never commissioned us to make converts He called us to make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20; Colossians 1:13-14) baptizing (immersing) them into His identity, teaching them to obey (hearken) His commands.

In Acts 11:21 says, “And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.” (emphasis mine)

They believed and turned to the Lord. It does not mention sin.

We do not have to reveal their sinful condition. Yes sometimes that can be beneficial. But often times we over-emphasize the sinfulness (the ministry of condemnation and death) and do not properly emphasize the Gospel that reveals Jesus (the ministry of righteousness, the ministry of reconciliation). The Good News (Gospel) is that Jesus became sin for you that you might become righteous. (2 Corinthians 5:21) The Gospel reveals His righteousness whereby the just (righteous) live by his faith. (Romans 1:16-17)

If we are not turning them to Jesus only away from sin that is not repentance.

If all we do is magnify their sin and not Jesus that is not godly sorrow that produces repentance that leads to salvation. Many times I hear testimonies that spend 45 minutes describing what someone did wrong and 5 minutes of what God did for them. That does not bless me. Tell me about Jesus, what He did. Don’t tell me what you used to do.

In Acts 16:19-20 Paul further tells King Agrippa: “…I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision but declared…that they should repent turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.” (emphasis mine)

Again, true repentance is not just turning from something it is turning to God.

Turning to God will produce corresponding actions befitting repentance. Faith without works is dead.

Fruitful change comes from the roots. Again, if you change the root you will change the fruit. Christianity is not about behavior modification it is about life transformation. The transformation change bears fruit in our thoughts and actions as we renew our minds to who we are in Christ. Our spirit is born-again but our mind (soul) is not. Through the gestation of discipleship we renew our minds (daily) to our new identity and nature. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds. Christ (His Seed) in us will produce change if we water that root. When we fail, we fail because we lose sight of who we are.

“Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.” (Matthew 3:8, KJV)

“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16) So many times people interpret this: “Control your flesh and you will walk in the Spirit.” That is not what Paul said. He says, walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill (finish) the lust of the flesh. The secret is not striving to control the flesh. I believe the secret is to focus on walking (abiding) in the Spirit.

The word “walk” can also be translated “abide.” Jesus said:

You are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:3-5, emphasis mine)

Peter quotes from Proverbs 3, saying: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)

Pride says, “I can change my life, I can control my flesh.” God resists the proud. He gives grace to the humble who says, “Lord, I need help. I need a Savior.” Humility repents and turns to the Lord. Humility depends on the Lord. Humility trusts the Lord. Pride trusts himself (flesh) for his strength. (Jeremiah 17:5-8) Godly sorrow produces repentance that leads to salvation. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

In my own life, as I began walking (abiding) in the ministry of His Spirit (the ministry of righteousness, the ministry of reconciliation – 2 Corinthians 3:7-9; 5:18) that alone enabled me to not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16) It was in the knowledge of Him that I received all things that pertained to life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3) The fruit of the Spirit is temperance (self-control) not my pious effort to control the flesh by the flesh. (Galatians 5:22-23) True freedom came for me when I repented from trying to produce my own fruit of repentance (Matthew 3:8; 2 Corinthians 5:17), and allowed the freedom of His Spirit to produce His everlasting fruit that only abiding in Him can produce.

Apart from Him I cannot produce His Divine Nature. But as I renew my mind to my new Divine Identity, as I abide in His Divine Nature, His Divine Seed of righteousness produces the fruit of His Spirit effortlessly.

I simply repented: refocused and turned to Jesus instead of striving to turn from sin on my own accord and the fruit meet for repentance was effortless, genuine and life-transforming. He was the Source not my efforts. I failed every time I tried, independent of Him. No matter how hard an apple tree tries it cannot produce oranges. However if a branch from an apple tree, was grafted into an orange tree, the sap (life, nature) of the orange seed from its roots would flow through the conduit of the branch and produce fruit according to its kind. (Genesis 1:11, 29)

"And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.” (Romans 11:17-18, emphasis mine)

Trying to bring forth fruit meet for repentance without changing the root system you are abiding in and identifying with is insane.

Godly sorrow produces repentance that leads to salvation. We must walk (abide) in the Spirit, His Nature to bring forth the fruit of repentance, the fruit of His Spirit. If you are abiding in Him, it impossible to fulfill (produce) the lust of the flesh, a different nature that you are not abiding in and Christ crucified. (Galatians 5:16, 22-23) There is no true repentance if we are not bearing the right fruit.

You can only bear the right fruit by abiding in the right Source.

True repentance is an awareness of the wrongness of living without Christ and a desire to live a vital relationship with God as He has revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ.

“That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” (Philemon 1:6)

Our faith (fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23; Romans 12:3; Galatians 2:16; 20) is not effective because we control our flesh. Faith works by love (Galatians 5:6): our propitiation (1 John 4:10). Our faith (noun) becomes effective as we acknowledge every good thing that is in us in Christ Jesus. (Philemon 1:6) The Spirit’s fruit: faith (Galatians 5:22-23) is meet for repentance when it works by love, abiding in Him: His Nature. (John 15:10; 1 John 4:8, 16)

Effective repentance: turning to Jesus is acknowledging Him, our Root, whereby our Source of faith is always effective; for it is the very faith of Christ Jesus (Galatians 2:16, 20).

As I already mentioned, in our own fellowships we have witnessed scores of people set free from homosexuality, drugs, pornography, gossip, depression, condemnation, cancer, etc. Philemon 1:6 and corresponding verses mentioned in this letter point them to turn to Jesus and acknowledging Him. We do not control the flesh by the flesh. Impossible! Insane!

You must walk in the Spirit, acknowledge every good thing that is in you. One must turn to Jesus, abide in Jesus and Jesus, His Nature: which includes the faith of Christ (Galatians 2:16, 20) governs our lives. And the more we renew our minds to this Truth through discipleship we will be transformed, by the mercies of God as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service. (Romans 12:1-2)

Jesus is our Savior, we are born-again of His Seed, His Nature by His Incorruptible, Precious Blood that speaks better things than that of Abel (seed of Adam, sinful man, a different nature). Repentance is renewing our minds to the Truth:I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) The communication of Christ’s faith acknowledges every good thing that is in me: Christ Who bears fruit meet for repentance and He is always effectual.

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: Rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6-7)

Paul says we walk (or abide) in Christ the same exact way we received Him. How did we receive Christ? Did we walk in obedience to receive Christ? Did we walk holy in order to receive Christ? Did we get our life all together in order to receive Christ? No. We received Christ by putting faith in His grace. We received Christ by believing with our heart and confessing with our mouth Jesus is Lord. (Romans 10:9-10)

So many times I hear Christians talk as if the rules changed once we receive Christ. “We receive Christ by faith in His grace, then once we receive Christ it is up to us to maintain your salvation through continual repentance.” Wrong. Another way I often hear Christians talk is: “You receive salvation as a gift, you cannot earn it. But you can un-earn it by your performance.” Wrong again. In the same way we receive Christ we walk in Him.

What does walking in Him look like? Verse 6 in the KJV ends with a colon and so verse 7 gives the answer. We walk in Him by being rooted, built up (edified), established in Him. Christ was conceived in us when we heard the Gospel, believed and received it (repentance). That pattern/example is repeated throughout the Book of Acts: They heard the Word, believed it and were saved. Repentance leads to salvation.

Likewise this Seed of Christ that we received by believing and receiving Him (1 Peter 1:23) begins to gestate, and mature as we continue to abide (walk) in Him (the Word: Seed). Through discipleship (gestation) we become rooted, built up and established in the faith.

A child, an animal, and a plant all mature the same way. The Seed is watered, fertilized, nourished, and cultivated. When it is mature it bears fruit meet for repentance. We were never commissioned to make converts. We were commissioned to make disciples of all nations.

When we are discipled in Who we are in Christ, our lives are transformed from glory to glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18) As a pastor my job is to equip the saints and edify (build up) the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12) I contribute to this gestation period of discipleship. So that the people can

“Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.” (Matthew 3:8)

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, emphasis mine)

We need to be indoctrinated, reproved, corrected and instructed (trained) in righteousness to be complete (perfect) and thoroughly equipped (fully furnished) for every good work.

It will be insanely hard for us to bring forth fruit meet for repentance if we are not identifying that we are righteous. If we are not abiding in the Seed of righteousness it will be very hard to produce the fruit of righteousness. If we are abiding in the thought that we are still a sinner. We cannot bring forth fruit of a different nature we are gestating unless we repent, change our mind and go in a different direction.

Instead many are focused on behavior modification (fruit picking or fruit decorating). I am all for holiness and godliness. But it takes time (seedtime, gestation) to pastor and renew (renovate) a heart and mind to become established (rooted) in who they are in Christ. There is a discipleship process to get people rooted, built up and established in the faith.

A tree cannot bear fruit until the Seed gestates, develops roots and matures. Repentance is turning them to God not themselves. Repentance is turning from self (the lust of the flesh) to be dominated by who they Truly are in the Spirit. By the mercies of God we are transformed by the renewing of our minds to not be conformed to mold of this world but to acknowledge who we are in Christ.

How we tend the soil of our minds will depend on whether that Seed that has the God-given capacity to produce a 100-fold harvest will not be choked out by the cares of this world, the pride of life and the deceitfulness of riches.

We can decorate a Christmas tree faster than we can cultivate a fruit tree to produce genuine, natural fruit from within. But we will reap if we faint not. If we abort the Seed because we are not seeing instant results we are frustrating His grace. Thus John writes, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you do not sin…” (1 John 2:1, emphasis mine)

An apple seed has everything it needs contained within that seed to develop roots, a tree, leaves, blossoms, apples and more apple seeds. But it needs to be planted (conceived), watered, given sunlight, nourished, fertilized, etc. so that it can gestate and mature to bring forth fruit of its kind.

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: Rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6-7)

True repentance is an awareness of the wrongness of living without Christ and a desire to live a vital relationship with God as He has revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ.

Repentance is turning to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, our Savior. Repentance if putting off the old man and in the spirit of our minds putting on the New Man Who is created according to God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

Every seed will produce according to its kind (Genesis 1:11; 1:29) It is a law just like gravity. It will produce if sown, fertilized and cultivated properly as God designed it to. If we are in Christ we are already a new creation. We are born-again of Incorruptible Seed. That is true in our spirits. But our mind is not renewed. As a man thinketh so is he. (Proverbs 23:7) I believe we can be in Christ and give genesis to other thoughts (seeds). I believe we must renew our minds so that our minds (heart) can reproduce according to its kind. But if the seed we are watering (gestating) in our minds is “I am a sinner” then we will reproduce accordingly. But if the thought we are watering in our minds is “I am the righteousness of God in Him” then we will “bring forth fruit meet for repentance.” (Matthew 3:8) We must bring every thought (imagination, stronghold) that exalts itself against the knowledge of God to captivity to the obedience OF CHIRST. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5) That is repentance that leads to salvation.

“For to be carnally (naturally) minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6, emphasis mine)

While in Athens, Paul said in Acts 17:30: “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.”  

Again, in this passage there is no talk of sin. If you read the context while Paul was in Athens there is a city that had been given over to idolatry (Acts 17:16). Paul did not expound on their sin, he described God to them. He wanted them to find the Lord (Acts 17:27) “for in Him we live and move and have our being…we are His offspring” (Acts 17:28) There was no condemnation. No talk of sin. That was not the Message to this super-idolatrous group. Instead He explains the Divine Nature of God (Acts 17:29) In fact he goes on to say that God overlooked their ignorance, but now God commands all men to repent. Then Paul goes on to tell them about Jesus. Not the condemnation that we so often hear in many churches today.

His purpose is to turn them from darkness to Light from the power of Satan to God. (Acts 26:18) The focus is to turn them to God. Plant a Seed.

In Isaiah 55:6-7 says, “Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God for He will abundantly pardon.” (emphasis mine)

In turning to the Lord one is simultaneously forsaking something else. But forsaking wicked ways can never be divorced from turning to the Lord. Among most believers I find it is not so much an issue of knowing what they should forsake but not knowing how to do it. I believe the answer is turning to the Lord and learning through the discipleship of being rooted, built up and established in Him to walk in His Spirit and not fulfill the lust of the flesh (a dead man). (Galatians 5:16; Colossians 2:6-7; Romans 6:1-11; Philemon 1:6)

In Matthew 13:15 Jesus quotes from Isaiah 6:9-10 that says, “’For the hearts of this people have grown dull (waxed gross). Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’” (emphasis mine)

What is going on here? Their hearts had waxed gross (KJV). They lacked recognition. The goal is for them to see, hear and understand with their hearts so they can turn (decision). They need an awakening (awareness) to righteousness. (1 Corinthians 15:34;  Romans 13:11-14; Isaiah 52:1-7)

They first need an awareness (recognition) of their need so they can turn (repent) to the provision for their need: Jesus, their Savior.

In this passage, there is no religious message of fire and brimstone. They are not made continually aware of their sins. “…lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts…” and make the life-changing decision of turning to the Lord.

Acts 3:19-20 says: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you.”

Here Peter is talking to a Jewish audience who crucified Jesus and he tells them to repent that their sins may be blotted out. But this call to repentance is not divorced from the Message of Jesus. They need a Savior. If they need a Savior, they are acknowledging that they are sinners. Confessing Jesus is repenting. Repenting is a change of the heart (mind). These Jews once despised Jesus now they needed Him: His salvation. Believing is changing whereby salvation is the result (new fruit), because repentance leads to salvation.

In Acts 2:36 Peter preaches on the Day of Pentecost and says: “’Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, Whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.’ Now when they heard this they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Then Peter said unto them, ‘repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.’” (emphasis mine)

Again, Peter is talking in context to a Jewish audience that had crucified Jesus. This group had wrong views about Who Jesus was. Throughout the chapter Peter is not talking to them about sin. He is talking to them about Jesus. He is talking to them about how they made this horrible mistake: thinking wrong about Jesus (vs 36). When they heard this they were pricked in (cut to) the heart (Recognition)! Pricked about sin? No!, Jesus! In response they asked, “What shall we do?” (Decision) Peter’s infamous response was “Repent!...be baptized!…” (Action) Repent of what? Sin? Sin was not the topic. Repent of your wrong thinking about Jesus. Repent of how you treated Him (persecuted Him). Repent from how you did not recognize Him as “Lord and Christ.” (v. 36)

Then Peter said unto them, ‘repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.’” (Acts 2:38)

He does go on to say, “…for the remission of sins…” What sins? The context was all about their wrong thinking. What would it profit to repent of sins and not receive Jesus? What would they gain? How would that save them? How would that transform their lives?

Righteousness is a noun used over 500 times in Scripture and it describes who we are in Christ not what we do (a verb) to obtain and maintain Christ. Sin is used in the book of Romans for example 47 times. 45 of those instances it is a noun not a verb. Jesus is our propitiation and Jesus became sin and was crucified. Our sin (nature) was crucified. Jesus rose again because of our justification (righteousness). (Romans 3:21-28; 4:24-25; 6:1-11; 8:10) We are the righteousness of God in Him. Repentance is an awakening to our new nature: righteousness and that is reckoning ourselves dead to sin and alive to God. (1 Corinthians 15:34; Romans 6:11; 1 John 1:9; 2:1-2; 1 Corinthians 11:24-26; Romans 8:9-10) Repentance is putting off the old man (nature) and putting on the New Man (new nature) in the spirit of my mind. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

Transformation change, fruit that is meet for repentance gestates from the inside out (fruitfulness) not from the outside in.

Our relationship with Jesus is not a religion: a one night stand with a harlot (the Law) but a martial relationship (a Promise) that is forever. (Hebrews 9-10) “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:6, KJV)

He has cleansed us from an evil, sin conscience. He has perfected us forever in Christ. (Hebrews 10:2, 14, 212-22; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Timothy 4:2) The war between God and man is over! He is our King of Peace and our King of Righteousness. He has redeemed us by His Blood. (Revelation 5:9-10; Luke 2:13-14; Isaiah 52:7; Hebrews 7:2) I do not believe we will answer for our sins, Jesus already did. I believe we will answer for our acceptance or rejection of Jesus our propitiation. If godly sorrow does not produce repentance to lead us to receive Jesus (our salvation) then it is a regretful sorrow that leads to death.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 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 I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who have practice lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-23, emphasis mine)

God is not after a religious performance, what we do. He is after a relationship with us. Eternal life is knowing Jesus (John 17:3) Not a religious performace but a marital relationship. The first relationship that God established at creation was His Own relationship with man. Sin broke that relationship. When man sinned, man was barred from the Tree of Life by two Cherubim and a flaming sword. (Genesis 3:24)

In Leviticus, two Cherubim on His Mercy Seat stood as guardians of God’s Righteousness and Holiness. They never looked at man’s rebellious self-righteousness. Their eyes only saw the Blood of the Lamb that was placed on the Mercy Seat of God: our propitiation. These same Cherubim were also embroidered on the veil that sealed the entrance into the Holy of Holies itself. And these imitations of Cherubim represented the Cherubim that were placed at the east entrance of the Garden when man was expelled from the Garden of His Eternal Kingdom, (Genesis 3:24) such as was Hagar and her son, Ishmael (Galatians 4:30)

And the eyes of the Cherubim on His Mercy Seat represented God’s eyes, but they did not look at man’s rebellion, they only looked at the Blood that was sprinkled onto His Mercy Seat. And as long as the spotless Blood was there, the entire nation was forgiven. God’s judgment passed over them and they were blessed for another year. (Leviticus 16)

In Exodus 12, the first Passover, was instituted. They did not escape because of their performance. They escaped their bondage by the Blood of the Lamb: the firstborn of many brethren. God said, “…when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you.” (Exodus 12:13, emphasis mine) Why? There had already been a death of the firstborn in the house: Jesus, the worthy Lamb, the firstborn of many brethren was slain, since before the foundation of the world. (Revelation 5:9; Revelation 13:8)

Moreover, the Good News of the Gospel of Grace is that we are no longer under the Old Covenant. “Awake O sword, against My Shepherd, against the Man Who is My Companion…Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered…” (Zechariah 13:7) Jesus is our Good Shepherd. (Matthew 26:31) And all of the disciples fled when He was struck and died on the cross. But more importantly, for so many generations the restless sword of judgment, that has barred sinful man from a Holy God, was finally sheathed in the bosom of our Lord Jesus, when the full judgment and vengeance of God, for all our sins, came upon Him on the cross. By sacrificing Himself and absorbing the full brunt of the judgment that was meant for you and me: Jesus stopped the sword of judgment that prevents us from partaking of the Tree of Life.

Today, the Blood sprinkled on His Mercy Seat is not the blood of bulls and goats, but the precious Eternal Blood of Jesus, our Savior. (Hebrews 9:12) When Jesus, the Worthy Lamb of God died for our sins, the Cherubim veil was rent by God (Matthew 27:51), giving man free access into the Holy of Holies by the Blood of the Lamb. Now there is nothing distinguishing the Holy of Holies (God) from the Holy Place (man) as we have become one flesh with Christ (Ephesians 5:30) What is more, we now have free access to the Tree of Life: Jesus!

I believe when man partook of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, in the Garden of Eden; from that point forward, man developed a conscience. Our conscience is what allows us to know good and evil. Our conscience understands justice. It understands that when there is sin, sin must be punished. This has led man to punish himself and others for his/their sins. Therefore, when man sinned, Adam hid himself from God. But God never hid from man.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1, NASB; The Greek NT) When God looks at us He only sees Jesus, Who became for us our sin offering and our burnt offering. (Leviticus 1, 4)

Therefore, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22) Our hearts have been sprinkled from a guilty conscience. An evil conscience is one that is perpetually conscious of sin (1 Timothy 4:2) and therefore expects judgment. It is a conscience that is constantly under condemnation.

However, by the Grace of God, through the finished work of the cross, we now have a good conscience that is sprinkled with the Blood of Jesus, and instead of being sin-conscious, we can be forgiven-conscious. We can be conscious that we are the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, even when we fail. A good conscience feeds on the finished work of Jesus and gives us confidence to draw near to God with a True Heart, in full assurance of faith that God is not angry with us.

The ministry of condemnation on the other hand, robs us from intimacy with God and causes us to run and hide from Him. However, “…for the worshippers, once purified, [should] have had no more consciousness of sins.” (Hebrews 10:2, emphasis mine) Unfortunately, many believers do not embrace the finished work of Jesus to remove condemnation from their lives. Instead they depend on their own religious efforts of self-righteousness to be free from guilt and condemnation.

“So,” you may ask, “if we are not conscious of our sins, even though we do sin; but instead, we are conscious of His Righteousness, then what behooves us to refrain from sinning?” Great question, and Paul answers that question stating: “Awake to righteousness, and sin not.” (1 Corinthians 15:34, KJV) This Message is given to so that we do not sin. (1 John 2:1) I believe only by being awakened to His Righteousness we have the capacity of not sinning. Living sinless is not obtained from our own strife of endeavoring to walk in our own righteousness. Right living is conceived from the awakened revelation of believing His Incorruptible Seed, poured into us by His Spirit, Who lives within us, intimately.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,  that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,  that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish…This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:25-27, 32, emphasis mine)

In this marital allegory between a husband and his wife, God describes how He gave Himself for us, that He (not us) might sanctify and cleanse us, that He (not us) might present us to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that we should be holy and without blemish.

He does the work not us.

And for us to have a pious, prideful thought that we are doing it and maintaining this holiness is wrong. Many preach that Christ originally saved us but we must maintain our salvation based on our own obedient performance. Wrong. Yes we are to submit to God (Ephesians 5:22-24). But that submission does not make us holy. Trying to sanctify ourselves is not submitting to Christ. It is antichrist (anticristo) which means instead or against Christ. Repentance is humbly submitting to our Husband (Kinsman Redeemer) so that He can present us holy, a glorious church. (Ephesians 4:22-24; 5:25-27) In the same way we receive Christ we walk in Him: being rooted, built up and established in the His faith that works by His love. (Colossians 2:6-7: Galatians 5:6) The communication of our faith becomes effectual as we acknowledge every good thing that is in us, not us conceitedly taking the reins and trying to be holy by our obedience (submission). God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:5; Ephesians 5:21)

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32, emphasis mine)

The Truth will not make you free if you do not know it. You must know, relate (be intimate), abide with the Truth. (John 15:10) Not relate to our old man, sin nature who is dead. Submitting to His Truth is humbly submitting to what He says: “For He made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

I believe it was God’s mercy to banish Adam and Eve from His Garden, and placed Cherubim and a flaming sword which turns every way, to barricade the way to the Tree of Life. God did not want man to mix the two trees together; causing man to live forever in a fallen state, alienated from God.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17, emphasis mine)

True repentance is an awareness of the wrongness of living without Christ and a desire to live a vital relationship with God as He has revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ.

 

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