How Do You Know You’re Repentant?

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From Jared Wilson for The Gospel Coalition via http://www.churchleaders.com

How do you know when someone is repentant? In his helpful little book Church Discipline, Jonathan Leeman offers some guidance:

“A few verses before Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 18 about church discipline, he provides us with help for determining whether an individual is characteristically repentant: W ould the person be willing to cut off a hand or tear out an eye rather than repeat the sin (Matt. 18:8-9)? That is to say, is he or she willing to do whatever it takes to fight against the sin? Repenting people, typically, are zealous about casting off their sin. That’s what God’s Spirit does inside of them. When this happens, one can expect to see a willingness to accept outside counsel. A willingness to inconvenience their schedules. A willingness to confess embarrassing things. A willingness to make financial sacrifices or lose friends or end relationships.” (p. 72)

These are good indicators, and I believe we can add a few more.

Here are 12 signs we have a genuinely repentant heart:

1. We name our sin as sin and do not spin it or excuse it, and further, we demonstrate “godly sorrow,” which is to say, a grief chiefly about the sin itself, not just a grief about being caught or having to deal with the consequences of sin.

2. We actually confessed before we were caught or the circumstantial consequences of our sin caught up with us.

3. If found out, we confess immediately or very soon after and “come clean,” rather than having to have the full truth coaxed out of us. Real repentance is typically accompanied by transparency.

4. We have a willingness and eagerness to make amends. We will do whatever it takes to make things right and to demonstrate we have changed.

5. We are patient with those we’ve hurt or victimized, spending as much time as is required listening to them without jumping to defend ourselves.

6. We are patient with those we’ve hurt or victimized as they process their hurt, and we don’t pressure them or “guilt” them into forgiving us.

7. We are willing to confess our sin even in the face of serious consequences (including undergoing church discipline, having to go to jail or having a spouse leave us).

8. We may grieve the consequences of our sin but we do not bristle under them or resent them. We understand that sometimes our sin causes great damage to others that is not healed in the short term (or perhaps ever this side of heaven).

9. If our sin involves addiction or a pattern of behavior, we do not neglect to seek help with a counselor, a solid 12-step program or even a rehabilitation center.

10. We don’t resent gracious accountability, pastoral rebuke or church discipline.

11. We seek our comfort in the grace of God in Jesus Christ, not simply in being free of the consequences of our sin.

12. We are humble and teachable.

As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. —2 Corinthians 7:9-11

(I have put my signs in the first person plural not because it is always inappropriate to seek to gauge someone’s repentance, but because we should always be gauging our own first, and because the truly forgiving heart is interested in an offender’s repentance but isn’t inordinately set on holding up measuring sticks but holding out grace.)

Read the entire article here – http://www.churchleaders.com

David Platt – Assurance of Salvation – In light of the danger of spiritual deception, how can someone know they are a Christian?

(Photo via beingisgood.blogspot.com)

Spiritual deception is a very dangerous thing. So, it’s wise to ask: How do I know if I am truly a follower of Christ? Scripture even encourages us in 2 Corinthians 13:5 to test ourselves, examine ourselves to see if we’re in the faith? So we have to ask the question first and foremost- HAVE YOU REPENTED and BELIEVED?

  • Have we repented and believed?
  • Have we turned from our sin and ourselves and trusted in Jesus as Savior and Lord?
  • Have we turned aside  from our every effort to save ourselves and said: Only in Christ, by faith alone in Him, can I be made right before God.
  • Have you leaned completely on Him for Salvation?
  • Have you submitted your life to Him, as the Savior and Lord that He is?

Have you repented and believed? These are questions that the Scripture beckons us to ask. (photo via frontlinedc.com)

And then, Scripture gives us books like 1 John. I would encourage  anybody struggling with assurance of salvation to spend time in 1 John. 1 John is written so that me might have assurance, so that we might know that we are followers of Christ. And that assurance is based on the past work of Christ on the cross for us, and our continually believing in that, and then the effects of that in our lives. There’s no question that the Spirit of God assures us of His presence with us as we walk with him, as we obey him.

That’s part of what 1 John is about. The more we walk with Christ, the more we obey Christ, the more we live out the life of Christ, the more our assurance grows. It’s not that we’re earning salvation by what we’re doing. It’s that we’re assured of the salvation we already have because we see evidence of the Spirit of Christ working in us. I would encourage anybody who is wrestling with this. These are good things to wrestle with.

So, examine: What does Scripture teach about what it really means to follow Christ? Repent and believe. Has this become a reality in my life? And then, spend time in 1 John, ask questions: Am I continually believing in Christ, am I continually following Christ? Or, are there areas where I need to repent of sin, that’s creeping back into my life? And, as the Spirit works that conviction back into our heart, the Spirit’s work is actually, in a sense, affirming us, that we’re His child and He’s drawing us into a deeper and a deeper intimacy with Himself. These are good questions to ask. They’re questions we need to ask. Video via ViewRadical on Youtube.

Paul Washer – The Lost doctrine

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  • The evidence of conversion is not a decision card filled out, it’s a life being lived out.
  • God commands every man, everywhere to repent of their sins and believe in the Gospel and to bring forth fruit worthy of repentance
  • I am absolutely not talking about a works salvation here. Ia m talking about a lost doctrine in the church: the doctrine of regeneration.
  • If there is a lost doctrine in the church today that has destroyed evangelism  it’s the doctrine of regeneration.
  • Regeneration is not merely a human decision. You do not get saved simply because you decided to jump out of the line going to hell in order to jump into the line going to heaven.
  • Salvation is a supernatural work of God, where by the power of God is manifest  to such a degree that it parallels or exceeds the very power of God manifested in the creation of the universe. The universe was created ex nihilo, out of nothing, but, when God saves a man He recreates him out of a corrupt mass. When people have truly repented, when people have truly believed, there’s a work of regeneration going on in which that person becomes a new creature. And, as a new creature, with a new nature, they will live a different life.
  • The evidence of regeneration is not that you made a decision once, in an evangelistic campaign. The evidence of regeneration is that your life is being transformed.
  • Do you think that God transforms just some of His children? The doctrine of a Christian living in a continuous state of carnality is absolute heresy. Do Christians sin? Yes. Do Christians fall into carnality? Yes. Can Christians walk in immaturity for a while? Yes. But, can Christians live a godless worldly life all the days of their life? Absolutely not! Why? Because salvation is a supernatural work of God whereby if any man be in Christ he’s a new creature (1 Corinthians 5:17) . And new creatures live a different way. That’s why, when people tell me today that there’s just as much sin in the church as outside of the church, there’s just as much divorce, pornography, and lying, and hating, and bickering in the church as outside the church- that is a lie. The church of Jesus Christ in America today is beautiful. She is broken, she is confessional, she is walking with her God, and when she sins it breaks her heart and she returns to Him. Your problem is what you’re calling the church IS NOT the church. If the church is as most people say, then every new covenant promise in the bible has failed. but God says in the new covenant He will make a people, and He will be their God, and they will be His people. And the law of God will be written on their heart, and they will walk in it. (Ezekiel 36:25-27)
  • A dear friend of mine, called a very important Christian scholar in history, Doctor Dallimore, he said, „Doctor Dallimore,  I have a question: The Puritans didn’t really give invitations and things like we do today. How did they know when someone got saved? Dallimore said this, „Well, that was easy. Their life changed and they kept coming to church.” How do we know they got saved (because) they don’t come to church and their life has not changed. But (we say) they got saved because they raised their hand. Look at what we’ve done. Just look. Look. If you’re here tonight and you’re troubled about your soul, I won’t ask you to raise your hand, I won’t ask you to fill out a card. But, I will stay here til 6 in the morning, when my plane leaves, to counsel you.
  • You see, that’s the problem, isn’t it? People come forward, they sign a card, we talk to them 5 minutes about salvation, we declare them saved, and then we wonder why we have to pour so much discipleship  in them, and they still won’t grow. We’ve made the great assumption, we’ve passed them through an evangelical rite because they said all the right answers. We declare them saved and we never worry about it again. That’s wrong.
  • I’ll tell you this: If you repent  and believe in Christ today, if you have done that, He’s saved you. But, I’ll tell you this: If you’ve made a decision for Christ, you see Christ as Lord tonight and you profess Him in faith, He’s saved you. But, if you walk out of here and your life doesn’t change, and you don’t begin to grow- He who began a good work in you doesn’t complete it. (Then) what happened here tonight was not a genuine conversion. Because the evidence of genuine conversion is an ongoing work of God in the soul of a man. That’s the old way. That’s historical Christianity.
  • (Paul Washer gives an example of how to talk to your child who professed faith in Christ in their childhood and in their teenage years are in the world)- You need to approach them this way: You made a profession of faith in Christ, but every bit of evidence in your life, at this moment, dictates that maybe your profession of faith in Jesus Christ was false, and you are still in your sin, and if you died you would go to hell. Now, make your calling and election sure. Repent. Return to Christ.
  • You see how superficial our Christianity has become? Oh my dear friend, these things should not be so, but they are. Awaken to the Gospel, the real Gospel, not the reduced kind. It’s a Gospel of grace and a Gospel of power- that He who began a good work in you, will finish it. (Phil. 1:6)
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Doug Wilson – The Nature of National Repentance

Another great sermon from Doug Wilson-

Sermon: The Nature of National Repentance Text: Deu. 26:6-9 Date: 11.18.2012

  • Secularism is a sin. Secularism got established by knocking off the true God for the sake of our neighbor.

REPENTANCE- We have to decide:

Whether to declare it and endure it. We may embrace what God sends to us because He is sovereign and He is good.

There are 3 stark realities before us:

  1. There is no deliverance without Jesus and Jesus must be named, declared and confessed.
  2. There is no deliverance with the sin. Repentance means dropping the sin, letting go of the sin
  3. There are no alternatives. Choose for yourself this day whom you will serve.

Source Link: canonwired.com

Sermon: The Nature of National Repentance from Canon Wired on Vimeo.

D A Carson at Liberty University Q + A February 2012

You can watch the 66 minute lecture preceding the Q & A here- Biblical Studies Symposium at Liberty University – One Focus of the Gospel: John 3.

The Biblical Studies Symposium hosted Dr. D.A. Carson on February 20th, 2012. Dr. D.A. Carson addressed students and faculty in the Towns Alumni Lecture Hall at 7:30pm with „One Focus of the Gospel: John 3.

Topics addresses: Repentance, being Born Again, Sin, consumerism, built in hedonism is bound up in pleasant places, tolerance, exclusive truth claims, modern day invitational methods, abundant life (i.e. prosperity gospel), the role of law and Gospel, cheap grace, Wesley view of law & grace, Tim Keller & idolatry, regeneration, works based salvation, Scott McKnight,

Questions:

1) Please address the use of repentance when presenting the Gospel. What does the unbeliever understand by that word?

Carson: Nowadays, not much, but it depends a bit on who the unbeliever is. If you are preaching the Gospel in sort of churchified settings, south of the Mason-Dixon line, then people have some sort of notion of what repentance is. But if you use that word in secularized New England or the Pacific Northwest it’s just not a word in every day use.

What you have to see is that very often its not the use of a particular word that is crucial, but by whatever words you choose getting across certain non negotiables that are bound up with what is involved  in conversion and one of the things that’s involved  in conversion is turning away from the direction in which I have been going and turning to Christ and that will have many, many different shapes. If you are a Buddhist in Thailand it will mean turning away from conceptuality of what the spiritual world consists in; it might not even involve belief in a personal God and turning to an entirely different worldview in which trysting Christ is part of the Bible storyline. It means turning away, not only from a lifestyle but from a frame of reference; a looking at something that is just plain wrong to something that puts Christ and His work right at the center of everything. So, it is not so much the word that is critical, but the reality of it.

In some context of the New Testament belief includes repentance. If it is genuine belief it is not just „belief that„; it is belief that is somehow so bound up with how Christ is that it necessarily means turning away from all that He isn’t, which is where you have been in the past.

 2) Specifically about the text in John 3, could you speak as to why the phrase „born again” is not rendered „born from above”?

Carson: The Greek word of course is αναγεγεννημενοι (anothen) and in terms of etymology (that is the parts of the word that go into making the word up) ano-above and then-from there, then anothen looks as if it means from there, from above and so some people want this to be born from above, and if I had time to do a decent exposition before a Greek class I would point that out. But word meanings are not always constrained by the parts that make them up. For example: In the English, in the spring we look for butterflies. Believe it or not, butterflies are not made up of butter and flies and so you have to start asking yourself: How is the word used? Not just the ingredients that have gone into the words, etymology; and you can show that in the broader Greek literature, sometimes anothen really does mean again. So, in this instance you are torn in choosing between born again or born from above. I suspect,  but I can’t prove, is that John meant both. What I tend to do is stick with the translation that I’m using, in which case is born again, but stress the from aboveness thing by pointing out that Christ came from above, and this is by revelation and He was sent from the Father and thus in fact you’ve got this dimension built into the explanation, whether you get the word anothen, to unpack it for you or the entire storyline.

 3) What is, in your opinion, the greatest threat within Christianity to a proper understanding of the Gospel and how do we respond?

Carson: I could give a general answer. SIN. The trouble is that sin has many faces and when you say the greatest threat it depends on what part of the world you are in. In some parts of the world there is spectacularly disastrous poverty and in that context it’s not consumerism that is the biggest threat. But, in this country consumerism is one of them. Not the only one, but it’s one of them. I have a daughter who lives in California and a son who lives in Hawaii, suffering for Jesus in those two places and one of the things I observe when I go to visit either of them is, in both cases, how much built in hedonism is bound up with life in pleasant places. As a friend of mine puts it in Hawaii, „What do you need heaven for? We’re already there!”  A pastor friend of mine in Santa Barbara says the most spectacularly difficult problem he’s got is finding young men who will submit to the training to become elders. They’re too busy wanting to surf. You start living in a culture, where the only reason you work is in order to play, and you will undercut the Gospel without a single doctrinal deviation. Now having said that, for other people it’s not that at all.

It’s various kinds of doctrinal deviations; one of them is the widespread view today that tolerance means you can’t say anybody is wrong. That is in fact a new definition of tolerance. An older definition of tolerance said, „I might detest everything that you’re saying and tell you that you’re wrong, but I still insist that you have the right to say it. That was the older view of tolerance. Nowadays to say that somebody is wrong is already intolerant. But that means that you are not allowed to say that anybody is wrong, which means you cannot have discussions, which means you can’t reflect what the Bible says: There is no salvation given to man, by which we can be saved, except in the Name of Jesus and no one comes to the Father except my Me. Those are very intolerant statements by the new definition of intolerance, but they’re not intolerant by the old definition.  You can preach Islam, you can preach radical secular humanism, Hinduism, in this country you can preach a lot of things and tell me I’m wrong as long as I can tell you you’re wrong. That’s still a very tolerant view and the older tolerance. But in the new tolerance, you see, then the new tolerance itself is a terrible threat towards the claims in Scripture of the exclusive  sufficiency of Jesus Christ and I guarantee in this crowd (Carson is speaking at Liberty University) there are many, many, many of you who have bought into the new tolerance without even knowing it and as a result you are made uncomfortable when you hear exclusive truth claims, or that people who don’t trust Jesus as their Savior and Lord are doomed to eternal destruction; you’re just made uncomfortable by that because it sounds intolerant and in our culture that’s one of the biggest things you can do: Be intolerant. We don’t realize how much we’ve absorbed the cultural milieu.

When people say, „What is the biggest threat?” it really depends on where you are in the culture, what age you are, where in the country and then it looks a little different in China, and in China it depends on where you are in China, whether you are in one of the free economic zones where there’s a surprising amount of liberty these days, where one of the biggest dangers is consumerism vs. when you are up country somewhere, where there is still a lot of persecution. What the danger is to us, looks very different than what the danger is in the Middle East. Here, it is widely accepted, in the western world, that if you’re tolerant, you don’t say anybody’s wrong. In Muslim countries, which after all take up about a billion people, nobody thinks that’s the case. Everybody thinks there’s only one way. The argument is which one? That’s a very different frame of reference, a different context in which to do evangelism, than in our context.

At the end of the day (the biggest threat) it’s sin, spiritual blindness. But if you come to specifics, you’ve got to recognize the shape of such unbelief and sin is really quite different form culture to culture.

 4) Do you find modern day invitational methods and decision seeking to be a major hindrance to the Gospel?

Carson: That is another one of those generalized questions that depends so much on what a person means. D.L.Moody when he was criticized for his methods turned to his questioner and said, „What methods do you advocate yourself?” The questioner said, „I don’t really do evangelism, I don’t have methods.”  Moody replied, „I prefer to use the methods I do use and you don’t like, than the methods you do like that yo don’t have.”  So you still want to say, when people start criticizing methods of one sort or another, „I’d rather have people making lots of mistakes in their presentation of the Gospel, pushing people to repent, than not doing it.Moreover, it’s often not just methods per se; it’s the context in which a method occurs. For example: If you have a really shoddy presentation of the Gospel- it doesn’t explain much of what the cross is about, doesn’t explain much about the nature of sin, doesn’t explain what substitution is about, doesn’t explain the wrath of God, it doesn’t explain any of those things; it just uses a whole lot of religious cliches, but it doesn’t explain any of those things and then you start pressing people to come forward and have eternal life, come forward and have the abundant life and maybe you’re dealing with a congregation that is semi literate in any case, biblically speaking, well in that context it really is dangerous to push people that way because, to use the language of the prophets, „They’re in danger of healing My people slightly”; that is, they make some sort of profession of faith, of turning in some way to God without understanding what the real issues are.

For example: Many,many of the evangelistic approaches that are used today, turn on having the abundant life. Would you like to have an abundant life;  step 1. Well, what idiot is going to say no? On the other hand, where does the abundant life language come from in the Bible? It comes from one verse, in John 10: „I have come that they might have life and they might have it more abundantly,”  and this in a context of an extended metaphor on sheep. So, the sheep are supposed to have a more abundant life. What does that mean? It probably means a whole lot more grass. When I first started doing university evangelism 35 years ago, when I was dealing with an atheist on a campus, he or she was a Christian atheist. That is to say that the God they disbelieved in was the Christian God, which is another way of saying that the arguments were still on my turf, my categories. I can’t even assume that today. The people I evangelize in university missions today don’t know the Bible as two Testaments. They’ve never heard of Abraham. If they’ve heard of Moses they confuse him either with Charlton Heston or the more recent cartoon character. They have no idea how the Bible’s put together and all of their religious vocabulary, as slight as it is- faith, God, Jesus, in every case they mean something different than what I mean. So, I come to these people and say, „Would you like to have abundant life?” What do they hear?  „Oh yeah, you bet I’d like. More sex, umm. Better job. Sense of fulfillment. Can you give me that?” So, they’re not hearing at all what the first century hearers heard, when Jesus spoke those words in John 10. So, we’re at a time of life when, if we’re evangelizing to people outside of the churchified, outside of the category of the people who already have a religious vocabulary, if you’re evangelizing in that sort of context, you’ve got a rebuilding job to do: to explain what the categories are, what the Bible stories are, how the Gospel works. That’s part of explaining the Gospel faithfully. If you don’t do that and instead apply immediately to ask people for a decision or to come forward or pray a prayer, where they don’t understand any of the categories, then you’re asking them to leap into an experience without any of the context of the constructs of the Gospel that make believing in the Gospel coherent. In that sense, it is very foolish to push those things. It’s not just whether you are pushing someone to bow to Christ, it’s the context in which you are doing it; how well the Gospel has been genuinely explained. It’s not method in some cheap, narrow sense that is at issue. The much bigger issue is how faithful a presentation is there, of the Gospel itself.

 5) Discuss the role of law and Gospel in your preaching.

Carson: In one sense, the role of law should be pretty substantial. In my view it shouldn’t take top priority and I need to explain both of those. You cannot get agreement on what the Good News is until you get agreement on what the problem is. The reverse is also true. The solution to the problem stand together. So if you think that the biggest human problem is economic injustice, what you need is a new social order. What you need is new economics. That is what you need to fix things.  If you think that the biggest human need is loneliness or social misidentity, not finding yourself; then you need a decent psychologist. So you need to have some awareness as to what the Bible presents as the fundamental need, the need behind every other need, and biblically speaking that is alienation from God. It is in a word, sin. It is transgression. It is degod-ing God.  It is idolatry. It is dishonoring God. Until people can see that that is what the problem is and to present Christ as the One who comes along and delivers us from the death that ensues from our sin, then the Gospel doesn’t make any sense. It’s not coherent. You need to present law – the demand of God, so that people can see what the effect of the law is. We don’t live up to God’s standards. He says we’re supposed to love God with heart, soul and mind and strength. And we don’t. He says we’re supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves. And we don’t. He says we’re not supposed to lust. And we do. He says we’re not supposed to hate and we manage that too, and on and on and on and on… All of these things in the Bible are presented as fundamental offenses against God HImself, against the living God and He stands over us not only as our Creator and our gracious providential provider but He also stands over us as judge, and He has very right to be angry with us. Six hundred times the Bible portrays God, in the Old Testament alone, as a wrathful God against us. Not that He has lost His temper, but His wrath is a determined, holy response to human sin. 

Anything that we do in preaching the law of God, so as to set up the stage for showing how wonderful the grace of God is, is surely got to be a good thing. If you talk about the grace of God before people recognize there’s any sort of problem, it’s almost inevitably going to turn out a bit of cheap grace. Wesley, in one of his letters, 137 or something like that, was asked, „How do you preach the Gospel in any place?” That is: He gets on his horse, goes to the next town, starts preaching; what does he do first? He says, „I begin with a general declaration of the love of God and the Gospel, and then I preach law. I preach law that men may know that they are lost. Then I preach more law and when I see a few people come under conviction of sin, knowing they are lost, maybe a few tears, I preach more law. When substantial numbers are clearly under conviction of  sin, then I admix a little grace. ” Wesley says that when the entire congregation is under the deep conviction of God, and crying out like those in Acts- „What shall we do?” Then, he says, ” I preach grace freely, and fully and richly, so that they see how glorious is the Gospel of God and then quickly do I admix law, lest men shall presume.” That was actually the Puritan view of things. Much of Wesley’s theology was actually puritan.

There is something right about all of that. I think there is also something wrong about it too, but there is something deeply right about it.  It really reflects the fact that you can’t get the Gospel right until you see what the problem is. One way or the other, they have to get that across. But, Tim Keller, a Presbyterian Minister in New York City who has about 6,000 members , average age of 31, mostly converts and biblically illiterate; he has learned not to begin with law, but with idolatry; because today, with a post modern world, in  a world with new ideas about tolerance when you preach law, what people hear you to be saying is that there’s some arbitrary being up there that just wants to step off and tell me what to do all the time. None of his business. Says who? But when you begin with idolatry, then you’re portraying something of the same thing, but in a relational dimension. The heart of idolatry is, you rebel against your maker. That’s a form of betrayal. This generation understands betrayal better than it understands trespasses. And, as Keller likes to point out, Paul himself in Romans 5 said: Before the law came that is with Moses and the giving of the law covenant, there was still idolatry and because of  it death reigned from Adam to Moses. Before the giving of the law there was still massive idolatry. So there is a sense that all of idolatry is a sense of transgressing against God. All of acting against the law is also idolatrous.

Now at what point do you start introducing the grace of God in the Gospel? That still has to be out there. It has to be the goal towards which we press. I don’t care how you mix it in. But somewhere along the line that if you run to grace and the Gospel before people have any idea of what the offense is then we ultimately end up with a diminished Gospel.

6) You’ve talked about the transforming power of the Gospel. If you are saying that after you are saved, there’s a certain way you have to live, how is that not works based salvation?

Carson: In works based salvation it is the works that finally commend you to God, not Christ. But, in the New Testament we are finally acceptable before God exclusively on the grounds of Christ’s substitutionary death on our behalf. Yet, the inevitable result  of genuine salvation in the New Testament and regeneration is change in their life. That’s why Jesus can say things like: „By their fruits ye shall know them”, and, „many shall say to Me in those days: Lord, Lord haven’t we done this and haven’t we done that, then I shall say to them, Depart from me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you”. This does not say that Christians are sinlessly perfect, it does not say they all grow at the same rate, it does not say there is no possibility of slipping and siding on occasion, having to be restored to God. The experience of most Christians is that as you become closer to God you become more aware of the sin in your life. But having said all of those things and putting all of those caveats in place, when you are converted you want to do what you didn’t want to do before and you don’t want to do what you wanted to do before. There’s a change in the heart. A cleaning, an orientation and holiness becomes attractive instead of something that you have to put up with instead of trying to see what you can get away with. As long as young people are asking, „Can I get away with this, or can I get away with that. I wonder if they’re regenerate. If they’re asking instead, „How can I grow in holiness, then I suspect they’ve begun to understand.

7) What do you make of Scott McKnight’s call for a Gospel that is first Christology, and second soteriology in his recent booklThe King Jesus Gospel?

Carson: Scott’s an old friend. He’s a creative writer and thinker. He couldn’t write a boring sentence if he tried. He’s an excellent communicator. He is also temperamentally a guy who likes to take on almost anything that’s going and push it in a whole other direction. He is the universal corrector. One of the things that bothers me about some of Scott’s writings is that often he is right in what he affirms but wrong in what he denies. How can you have a genuinely biblical Christology without the soteriology entailed? Hw can you have genuine soteriology without knowing something about Christology?  Why do you want to pit them against each other? So, I know the error he is trying to correct, but I think it is rarely the path of wisdom to correct an error by advocating a pendulum swing. The path of wisdom when there’s an error is try to find the center of biblical faithfulness again rather than a pendulum swing. It’s not as if biblical truth is several pearls on a string and which pearl you put in what order makes a difference. It’s more like a symphony and all the instruments need to be playing together.

8) Are the issues of dispensationalism and covenant theology worth breaking fellowship over and should this affect the Gospel movement? 

Carson: In the context of a local church which has a strong statement of faith on either one side or the other, then transparently to be faithful to that heritage you do break fellowship. But there might be some context where a church that is a moderate dispensational church and a church that is a moderate covenant church in the same town might share platforms together, might do some  evangelism together without consigning each other to Dante’s inferno. Behind the question, I see another question. It is bound up with this new view of tolerance. There are many, many people saying today: Anything that doesn’t directly affect your Salvation is not an important doctrine. They are saying in effect: Provided someone believes that it doesn’t matter a twig. I think that’s hugely mistaken. What that’s looking for is the lowest common denominator theology. It’s constantly asking the question: What is the least I can believe in Bible and get away with it?  Whereas there’s so many biblical texts that say that the righteous person loves the law of the Lord and meditates on it day and night. To this man I will look, he who is of a humble spirit, who is contrite and who trembles at my word. So it seems to me that the right approach to scripture is how I can understand and believe more accurately  so I can think God’s thoughts, after Him. Not asking purely pragmatic questions: What’s the least I can believe in and get away with it? If God didn’t think it was important, why did He give it?

9) How do we preach the full magnitude of the Gospel in a culture of such busyness and non commitment?

Carson:  If it wasn’t a culture of such busyness and non commitment then sin would manifest itself in some other way. Every Gospel apart of the grace of God and the Gospel is already alienated from God. In the first century they had polytheism to contend with and paganism and blood sacrifices. Every society has things that stand over and against the Gospel and what you do in a culture like that is still to preach the whole counsel of God. You learn to do it winsomely. You learn where the tender spots are so you can negotiate them tenderly and not cause unnecessary offense. But, if there’s an offense in the Gospel itself, then you bear the offense. That’s just the way it is. If people think that you’re intolerant because you say there is no other name under heaven by which you must be saved; then you try hard to think through how you might defend yourself in that regard and thus defend Christ, but you don’t duck it because it’s still the truth. And without that truth there’s gonna be all kinds of people who think that they’re saved when they’re not.

People make their own busyness. They’re not busy in the same sense that people during the industrial revolution were busy, who worked 5 1/2 or 6 days a week, 12 + hours a day. Many of them died at the age of 40 or 45, all worn out. There were no holidays, there were no unions. The beginning of unions, was in fact under John Wesley.The first 3 trade union leaders were exported to Australia as prisoners because of the rapaciousness of all the power being on one side. So, in every culture there are problems to face and in our culture there are these problems. So when people get converted in our culture, I wanna start saying things like this: When you get up in the morning, is the first thing you do turn on the iPhone? Check your email list from the night before or read your Bible? That’s a choice. That’s not the imposition of a culture, that’s a choice. You never, ever pray in any culture unless you make plans to pray. You never drift into self discipline. It’s a choice. Choose your priorities. Stop making excuses about how busy you are. You think you’re busy here? It’s nothing compared to what will come later. So you start challenging anyone who uses that as an excuse. God has given you all the time there is: 24 hours a day. Question is not how busy you are. It’s what you do with it. Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.

Free Will (2) Thirteen Things a Lost Person Can Not Do

by Curtis A. Pugh (via) monergism

That the lost sinner must cast himself wholly on the mercy and grace of God must be obvious to those who read and believe the Scriptures. But the Bible knows nothing of such foolish man-made ideas as „praying the sinner’s prayer”, or „making a decision for Christ”, or „inviting Jesus into your heart” or „going forward to receive Christ.” No New Testament preacher ever used such terms or tactics! To tell spiritually dead sinners that there is something they can do to bring about their salvation is damnable heresy for by its false hope sinners are taught to trust in what they have done rather in Christ who has done all. 

Consider these thirteen spiritual things an unsaved person cannot do:

1. HE CANNOT THINK AS GOD DOES:

„For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

2. HE CANNOT UNDERSTAND GOD:

„. . . thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself . . .” (Psalm 50:21)

„Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know? (Job 11:7-8)

3. HE CANNOT SEE SPIRITUAL THINGS:

„Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

4. HE CANNOT KNOW HIS OWN HEART: 

„The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

5. HE CANNOT PROPERLY DIRECT HIS OWN PATHS:

„O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23)

„There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

6. HE CANNOT FREE HIMSELF FROM THE CURSE OF THE LAW:

„For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” (Galatians 3:10)

7. HE CANNOT RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT:

„Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not . . .” (John 14:17)

8. HE CANNOT HEAR (receive & understand) GOD’S WORDS:

„He that is of God heareth God’s words; ye therefore hear them not because ye are not of God.” (John 8:47)

„But the natural (unsaved) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Corinthians 2:14)

9. HE CANNOT BIRTH HIMSELF INTO THE FAMILY OF GOD:

„Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man but of God.” (John 1:13)

„For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” (Romans 9:15-16)

10. HE CANNOT PRODUCE REPENTANCE AND FAITH IN CHRIST:

„For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that (faith) not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

„. . . for all men have not faith.” (2 Thessalonians 3:2)

„For unto you it is given . . . to believe on him . . .” (Philippians 1:29)

„. . . if God peradventure will give them repentance . . .” (2 Timothy 2:25)

„. . . to them that have obtained like precious faith with us . . .” (2 Peter 1:1)

11. HE CANNOT COME TO CHRIST:

„No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him . . . Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” (John 6:44, 65)

12. HE CANNOT BELIEVE ON CHRIST:

„But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep as I said unto you.” (John 10:26)

13. HE CANNOT PLEASE GOD:

„For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. . . . So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:5, 8, 9)

SO THEN, MANKIND IS SHUT UP TO THE FACT OF HIS OWN TOTAL INABILITY TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT HIS LOST CONDITION.

In the light of these things which a spiritually dead (lost) sinner cannot do, how then do we account for the command of God to all men to repent? The Bible does state that God „. . . now commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). What do we do about the counsel of God to men which says they are to believe on Christ? Would God command and instruct men to do that which they cannot do?

We answer an emphatic „Yes!” Our proof is the holy Law of God given to Moses on Mount Sinai. While there was nothing wrong with God’s Law, no man is able to keep those commandments (1 Timothy 1:8; Romans 8:3). No man ever kept the Law of God and yet God was right to give it to man and command its keeping! By that Law we see ourselves as sinners (Romans 3:20). That was the purpose of the Law!

While God requires repentance (the will to turn from sin) and faith (the will to believe in Christ), no man is able of himself to do either. Thus, as with the Law, man is forced to see that there is nothing good in him and that he cannot repent and believe savingly in Jesus Christ.

Throughout the Bible God’s children recognize their own inability to do anything to save themselves. In addition to the portions previously quoted in this tract, consider the following statements:

„. . . I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:18)

„Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

„. . . I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.” (Psalm 88:8)

Turn us. O God of our salvation . . .” (Psalm 85:4)

” . . . Turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God.” (Jeremiah 31:18)

„But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our riqhteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee . . .” (Isaiah 64:6, 7)

„. . . Salvation is of the LORD” (Jonah 2:9).

Those who think that they can properly repent of their own ability and savingly believe of their own faith fall into error. They trust in their own ability and not in the saving work of Jesus Christ! Is not this true of those who boast of their past sins and their turning from them? Do they not claim that they did it themselves? Repeatedly we hear this in their popular „testimony meetings.” Some are willing to share the glory and admit that they had a little help from God, but even this is wicked confidence in the flesh. And do not some religionists boast of their faith as if it was some great thing worthy of reward? Faith (confidence) in my faith or in my turning to God is not „. . . the faith of God’s elect.” (Titus 1:1)

Paul wrote concerning true children of God, „. . . We . . . worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Philippians 3:3). To trust in anything done in the flesh (human nature and strength) is to have „confidence in the flesh.” To trust in your prayer, your baptism, your goodness, your faith or any experience you may have had is to have confidence in the flesh and not to trust in Christ. The faith and confidence of the true believer is in Christ! Those born of God trust not in rituals, sacraments, good works, their own repentance or their faith in Christ, but rather in Christ alone!

„Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith . . .” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Are you trusting in your faith or are you trusting in Christ? What is the object of your faith? Do you really see that all your „righteousnesses are as filthy rags”? (Isaiah 64:6). Have you seen that you deserve Hell? Are you willing to take your place as a sinner and if God sends you to Hell will you say He is just, fair, and righteous to do so? Or do you think yourself unworthy of eternal punishment?

Consider these words from the old English Baptist Gadsby Hymnal.

O beware of trust ill-grounded;
‘Tis but fancied faith at most, 
To be cured, and not be wounded:
To be saved before you’re lost.

Have you never been wounded by the Word of God so that your sins have been laid bare? Have you never been lost–that is, have you seen yourself as hopelessly lost and a Hell-deserving sinner? How can you think yourself saved if you have never been lost? Jesus said, „. . . I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17). If a sinner, surely the Scriptures cited in this tract have shown that you are helpless to do anything about your terrible lost condition!

Salvation is free and comes, „Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us . . .” (Titus 3:5). Look to Jesus Christ, who has done all things necessary and possible, „for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

May God give you grace to see yourself as He does, and may He give you the twin gifts of „. . . repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21) so that you are „. . . not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:39).

A lesson from King Manasseh

by Royce Frederick (via) GospelTeacher.org

…press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

              KING MANASSEH

Manasseh of Judah
Preceded by
Hezekiah
King of Judah
Coregency: 697 – 687 BC
Sole reign: 687 – 643 BC
Succeeded by
Amon

(Chart from Wikipedia)

Manasseh, son of Hezekiah, began reigning as king over Judah about 690 B.C., when he was only twelve years old. Generally, such a young boy would not be ready for such power and responsibility. Manasseh’s grandson, Josiah, who was only eight years old when he became king, was a very good king. But Manasseh did not choose the path of wisdom and righteousness.

Manasseh's idolatry

Manasseh reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. Most of those years were filled with great wickedness. “And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel … Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel” (2 Kings 21:2, 9). He “rebuilt the high places [places for worshipping false gods] which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; he raised up altars for Baal, and made a wooden image, as Ahab king of Israel had done; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them … Also he made his son pass through the fire, practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritists and mediums. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger. He even set a carved image of Asherah that he had made …” in the temple in Jerusalem (2 Kings 21:3, 6-7). All of these were clear violations of the Law of Moses.

In addition to forsaking the worship of the living God, he was extremely cruel to his own people. “Moreover Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides his sin with which he made Judah sin, in doing evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 21:16).

"And I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down" (2 Kings 21:13)

Manasseh’s wickedness was a major reason for the eventual destruction of Judah. “Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations … therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle … I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down’” (2 Kings 21:11-13).

However, the record of Manasseh’s funeral in 2 Kings 21:18 appears peaceful: “So Manasseh rested with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza. Then his son Amon reigned in his place” (2 Kings 21:18).

The Bible also mentions Manasseh’s repentance. Did he repent after his death? No. That is not possible, for “… it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Each person lives only one time on the earth. When we die, all opportunities for repentance and salvation are gone. We must make our choice in this life.

The story of Manasseh’s repentance is not recorded in 2 Kings, but in 2 Chronicles. “And the Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not listen. Therefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze fetters, and carried him off to Babylon” (2 Chronicles 33:10-11). The Assyrians often used hooks through the noses of their captives to pull them along.

During his captivity and torture in the city of Babylon, Manasseh learned very well a lesson which his ancestor, Solomon, had written: “… the way of the unfaithful is hard” (Proverbs 13:15). “Now when he was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God” (2 Chronicles 33:12-13).

Manasseh went to work trying to make things right. He built the outer wall of the city of David and put valiant captains in all the fortified cities of Judah (verse 14). He took away the foreign gods, removed the idol from the Lord’s temple, and tore down the altars he had built in Jerusalem (verse 15). “He also repaired the altar of the Lord, sacrificed peace offerings and thank offerings on it, and commanded Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel” (verse 16). These are the fruits of true repentance!

Manasseh truly turned his life around! But we need to soberly notice that he was never able to UNDO all the damage he had done. Part of that is seen in his son Amon, who followed his father’s wickedness, not his reform. Had Amon witnessed the wicked life of his father during the tender years of his youth? “Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. But he did evil in the sight of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done; for Amon sacrificed to all the carved images which his father Manasseh had made, and served them. And he did not humble himself before the Lord, as his father Manasseh had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more” (2 Chronicles 33:21-23).

Another part of the lasting damage is seen in the nation. The kingdom of Judah did not collapse immediately, but the foundation of the kingdom was beyond repair. Jeremiah wrote, “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me, yet My mind could not be favorable toward this people. Cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth … I will hand them over to trouble to all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem’” (Jeremiah 15:1, 4). Judah and Jerusalem finally fell in 586 B.C. Truly, “… one sinner destroys much good” (Ecclesiastes 9:18).

Actions have consequences. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Galatians 6:7-8). The law of sowing and reaping involves the physical, mental, social, and spiritual parts of life. And it involves all of the people whom we influence along the way. Very often, the people we influence the most are those who are most dear to us.

How sad it is when anyone continues in sin. The lesson we need to learn from Manasseh is NOT permanent guilt and unbearable regret. When a person hears the gospel, believes, repents of his sins, confesses his faith in Christ, and is baptized into Christ for the remission of sins, ALL of his sins are washed away by the blood of Christ (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 8:35-39; 22:16; Galatians 3:26-27). The Lord is ready to cleanse even the most defiled. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). “… I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all long-suffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life” (1 Timothy 1:13-16).

The lesson is this: we must not delay obeying the Lord! The cost is too high–for ourselves and others. “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). We cannot undo all of the results of our sins. But we can prevent more damage and regrets. We need to surrender to the will of God today, then always look forward and “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

Repentance is always an option. It’s never too late (via Kevin DeYoung)

from thegospelcoalition.org website-Kings of Judah: Manasseh’s Metanoia

2 Chronicles 33:1-25

He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea… (v. 13a)

Change is hard. We all make goals we don’t meet–exercise more, eat less, have a quite time, turn off the t.v. Sinful habits are especially hard to change: pornography, gossip, unforgiveness. Repentance is hard work. It means more than regret or embarrassment for our mistakes. Repentances means sorrow for sin, confession of sin, and turning from sin. Repentance means metanoia, the Greek word for change of mind or direction.

Manasseh was a bad king, probably the worst king Judah has ever had, at least the worst king who ruled long enough to do the most worst things. Most of Manasseh’s reign was positively wicked. But toward the end of his life, the Lord broke his pride. Manessah prayed to the Lord and the Lord heard his prayer. Manesseh was a changed man, who changed his actions and changed the kingdom.

Repentance is always an option. It’s never too late. Granted, Manasseh’s previous wickedness could not all be undone. He was still known as a bad king. But don’t miss the two miracles of this story.  One, Manasseh changed after years of wickedness. Two, God forgave. Come to Jesus and keep coming back. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Read a more in depth article  about Manasseh here at GospelTeacher.org

Paul Washer – Shocking Youth Message – How do you know you are saved?

Many of us first knew Paul Washer through this 4 1/2 min. video:

Someone  sent me another message which I have not watched before (Thanks Gabi). It is one of the best message/sermons out there. Please find a quiet hour, away from the bustle and listen to this message. No matter what our age is, we need to hear this message on a recurring basis. With the New Year coming  we  tend to focus and reflect on our life while  at the same time, anticipating new beginnings. May God give us a hunger for his word and a thirst for fellowship with Him in the coming year- 2011.

In this video from a Paul Washer Youth Conference in 2002,  among some important topics preached on, Paul Washer also addresses the most important question – How do you know you are saved?

Here is the link to the video of the Background of Paul Washer’s ‘Shocking Video’.

It is only 11 minutes, Watch it!http://youtu.be/EwXacLu5aAk?hd=1

Matthew 7:13 „Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Luke 13:24 „Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

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