A TIME FOR REPENTANCE

A TIME FOR REPENTANCE Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

The Day of Atonement comes after the feast of Pentecost, in the series of seven feasts of the Lord. This tells us symbolically that after the Holy Spirit is given to us we can expect God to remove from us all that is displeasing to Himself.

Today the Holy Spirit is calling for repentance, in the churches in the United States—and perhaps elsewhere. But our doctrine maintains that God sees us only through Christ. This unscriptural understanding prevents the thorough, lasting repentance that must take place prior to the return of the Lord.

A TIME FOR REPENTANCE

Repent, then, and turn to God, so your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, (Acts 3:19)

The Day of Atonement comes after the feast of Pentecost, in the series of seven feasts of the Lord. This tells us symbolically that after the Holy Spirit is given to us we can expect God to remove from us all that is displeasing to Himself.

Today the Holy Spirit is calling for repentance, in the churches in the United States—and perhaps elsewhere. But our doctrine maintains that God sees us only through Christ. This unscriptural understanding prevents the thorough, lasting repentance that must take place prior to the return of the Lord.

Because of the fundamental misconception in Christian teaching the believers live in a state of eternal babyhood.

Because of the fundamental misunderstanding the testimony of moral behavior, which is the true testimony the world is waiting to see, is not being displayed by the Christian churches.

Because of the fundamental error the Christian people cannot respond properly to the Holy Spirit’s call to repentance.

We all believe the Lord Jesus will return soon (although that "soon" may be a hundred years from now). The way of the Lord must be prepared in the hearts of the believers. The low places must be raised. The high must be brought down. The crooked must be made straight. The rough places must be smoothed.

Such conversion of the hearts of Christian people is prevented by the confusion that underlies Christian doctrine.

The misunderstanding is that the new covenant consists of a statement of faith concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. Once that statement is made, sin no longer is an issue. God sees us through Christ (an unscriptural tradition). Even though we ought to try to do good, in appreciation for what Christ has done for us, as long as we make the right profession of belief we may continue in our way of life and when we die we will go to Heaven to live forever.

It is not absolutely necessary to turn away from the world, take up our personal cross, and follow Jesus. We will go to Heaven anyway as long as we once make a profession of faith in Christ.

It is not absolutely necessary to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. We will go to Heaven anyway as long as we once make a profession of faith in Christ.

It is not absolutely necessary to present our body a living sacrifice to God. We will go to Heaven anyway as long as we once make a profession of faith in Christ.

It is not absolutely necessary to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. We will go to Heaven anyway as long as we once make a profession of faith in Christ.

It is not absolutely necessary to put to death through the Spirit the sinful deeds of our sinful nature.. We will go to Heaven anyway as long as we once make a profession of faith in Christ.

It is not absolutely necessary to follow the Spirit of God in all we do. We will go to Heaven anyway as long as we once make a profession of faith in Christ.

It is not absolutely necessary to live the victorious Christian life. We will go to Heaven anyway as long as we once make a profession of faith in Christ.

The Christian error is that "accepting Christ" is a ticket that insures our entrance into Heaven independently of the forming of a new righteous creation in us.

The Christian misconception is that the bulk of the New Testament writings have to do with salvation by grace through faith. The truth is, the great bulk of the text has to do with the necessity for living a righteous life, accompanied by the warning that if we do not overcome our sinful nature we are facing disaster in the Day of Resurrection.

The Christian misunderstanding is that no matter how we behave, God sees only the righteousness of Christ in our personality.

The Christian error is that God is not intent on making us in His own image but on bringing us to Paradise in our untransformed state.

This unscriptural teaching, this misapplication of the grace of imputed righteousness, is the common denominator of the current errors including that of the "pre-tribulation rapture," and the myth that our destiny is to spend eternity in a mansion in Heaven.

It is time now for devout Christian scholars to return to the New Testament, to forget the prevailing myths and traditions, and to teach and preach exactly what the Word of God states. It appears the seals are being removed from the Bible and those who are seeking truth will begin to understand the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Because God is dealing with sin today, requiring that we obtain the Spirit’s wisdom and strength in driving from our personality all that is displeasing to the Lord, we need to understand the difference between the Law of Moses and the new covenant. We need to grasp how Paul on the one hand could state we no longer are under the Law of Moses, and on the other hand could stress that if we continue to sin we will reap corruption in the Day of Resurrection.

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. (Romans 3:20,21)

Do you not know the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders Nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9,10)

Can you see how the above two verses seem to be in conflict?

Also we need to be able to recognize when the Spirit of God is dealing with an undesirable part of our personality and how to respond in a manner that produces the moral fruit Christ is looking for.

Perhaps the main problem when we are attempting to learn why the Spirit is summoning us to repentance has to do with the relationship of the Law of Moses to the new covenant, the Christian Gospel.

Paul insists we no longer are bound by the Law of Moses.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)

If it were not for the Law of Moses, how would we know what sin is? Our conscience can become deceived and seared, and while it often is a good guide as to what is decent and honorable, it is not entirely trustworthy.

The Apostles of Christ were Jews and their judgment of right and wrong was heavily influenced by the Law of Moses. In addition they were filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Therefore their commandments, admonitions and exhortations found in the New Testament (of which there are a multitude) are to be regarded as binding upon us. We simply cannot ignore them and claim we are "saved by grace." We ought to perceive we cannot claim to believe in the full inspiration of the Scriptures and then ignore what is clearly written! This is utter nonsense!

Is the Law of Moses still binding on us? No, it is not, if we declare ourselves crucified with Christ and risen with Him. But such a declaration must be wrought out in all we do; every decision we make, or it is a vain, useless head knowledge.

We have to "eat the book," not just read it.

As long as we are following the Holy Spirit, and obeying the commandments found in the New Testament, we are free from the Law of Moses. But if we have not counted ourselves crucified and risen with Christ, are not following the Holy Spirit in all we do, are not obeying the commandments issued by Christ and His Apostles, then we are condemned by the Law of Moses.

God will not have lawless children. We either are following the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, or we are governed by the Law of Moses. There is no area in between in which we are living under no law except that which our own sinful nature and ignorance of the Scriptures have invented.

The concept that we are not obliged to obey the commandments of Christ and His Apostles has destroyed the character of the Christian churches.

As we look to the Holy Spirit at every moment He begins to point out to us the areas of our personality that are not in the image of God.

He may convict us when we read the Bible.

He may use some situation to bring out the spiritual darkness in us.

The Spirit often uses other people to pressure us in such a manner that we react in an ungodly manner.

The Spirit has his ways of revealing the sinful nature in us.

If we respond correctly to the revelation we will grow in Christ. If we do not respond correctly we will not grow in Christ and our sinful nature will remain intact.

Let us say that someone in the church speaks evil of us. What are we to do?

Our sinful nature demands revenge. We must return evil for evil.

But we are called to be in the image of Christ.

How would Christ behave in a similar circumstance?

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. (I Peter 2:23)

It is common for Christian believers to retaliate. One Christian lady said to me, "When people harm me I do nothing at the time. But sooner or later I get ’em."

Now, how are we to regard such retaliation?

Customarily we would say, "I know I should not try to get even, but if I do, I am saved by grace.

Such is the mammoth Christian misunderstanding that keeps Christians in an eternal babyhood, making them totally unfit to work with Christ in installing the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The truth is, to retaliate is an act of the sinful nature. It is sin under the new covenant.

If instead of retaliating when someone hurls insults at us, we go to the Lord in prayer until our peace is perfectly restored, a part of our sinful nature will perish. In its place will be the Nature of Christ. This is how the law of the Spirit of Life operates.

From the present hour forward in time you can expect many irritating, sometimes painful, experiences to take place in your life. How you respond to them will determine whether you inherit the Kingdom of God.

If you blame people, or Satan, becoming angry, bitter, vengeful, you will not profit from the work of the Spirit.

If you let each painful episode drive you to prayer, press you further into Christ, you will grow in the Lord.

Every aspect of worldliness must be driven from us. If we trust in money, in the world system, in our education, to save us, God may have to remove them all from us. Then we can choose to either go to God with our distress, or we can bemoan our fate. If we go to God we will be transformed into the image of Christ. If we bemoan our fate we will become bitter, fearful, unbelieving, hateful, fit only for the Lake of Fire.

Thus are the tares removed from the Kingdom.

Every aspect of the lusts and passions of the flesh must be driven from us. We may encounter in the future fiery lusts that are almost impossible to resist.

Then we can choose to pray without ceasing until the passions die out, or we can yield to them under the impression we are saved by grace and nothing we do can possibly injure our residence in Heaven.

If we choose to pray without ceasing until the passions die out, we will grow strong in the Lord. A wall against sin will be created in us.

If we choose to yield, believing God is too good to deny us something that we desire so intensely, we will end up in corruption in the Day of Resurrection.

Sometimes we are not certain what God’s will is. Then we are to live in prayer, petitioning God continually to show us if we are being deceived. If we persist in such petitioning, the time will come when God reveals to us whether or not we are in deception.

If our desires are of burning intensity, you can be sure they are not coming from the Lord. The wisdom that comes from God is pure and peaceable, never marked by haste, panic, or burning desires.

Our biggest problem is with our self-will. The Spirit of God will permit Satan to put us in some kind of prison. The Spirit does this to prepare us to rule in God with no selfish ambition in us.

We can choose to remain in our prison, although always praying that God will bring us into greener pastures. If we do this we will enter the rest of God to the point that our will and His will become one will. This is the place of the greatest possible love, joy, and peace.

Or we can choose to work our way out of our imprisoning circumstances, having to break God’s laws to do so. If God is willing to work with us He will put us back in prison and we will serve a longer sentence.

If God realizes we never are going to be willing to deny ourselves what we desire so terribly, He will decide whether to put us in burning torment until we are willing to obey Him, or else He will cast us into the Lake of Fire where the rebels of God will exist in torment for eternity.

We see, therefore, that the Holy Spirit cannot bring us to repentance if we are persuaded of the current Christian teaching. The reason is, we are confused about what constitutes sin.

When we retaliate against someone who harms us, is this really sin or is it not? Is it true that God does not see our retaliating because we have accepted Christ, or does God see what we are doing and judge it as sin? I believe this is the primary issue facing Christian scholars in our day.

If God does not see our retaliating, but attributes Christ’s forgiving Nature to us, then there is no need for us to repent. Why should we repent? God holds us guiltless because He attributes to us the perfect Nature of Jesus Christ.

But if it is true that God sees our retaliating, and judges it as sin, then there is a solid basis for repentance.

Let us say we perceive God indeed sees our act of retaliation and judges it as sin. What do we do now? How do we repent?

We confess. We denounce the action. We renounce the action. We accept God’s forgiveness and cleansing. We resist in the future the urge to retaliate.

We tell God exactly what we have done in the way of retaliating.

We denounce the act of retaliation as sin, as an action proceeding from our sinful nature.

We renounce the act of retaliation, asking God to remove every claw and feather of this spirit from our personality.

We tell God with a thankful heart that we appreciate the fact He has forgiven us totally and has cleansed us from all unrighteousness.

We guard our spirit carefully so if in the future the temptation comes to lash back we draw near to God, resisting with all our might any behavior that is of the nature of retaliation.

We are to take these five steps several times a day if necessary.

When it is clear we have acted against our conscience, or against the commandments of Christ and His Apostles, we are to confess, denounce, renounce, accept forgiveness, and resist Satan.

This is a way of life. It is the way of repentance, of righteousness. It is not a way of gloom or sadness but of every-increasing victory in Jesus.

The more we are willing to follow the Spirit in putting to death the acts of our sinful nature, the more we mature in Christ.

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:13,14)

A Christian scholar might maintain that by the expression "the teaching about righteousness" the writer of the Book of Hebrews is referring to imputed righteousness, the righteousness given to us at the beginning that we might start on the path toward actual righteousness of behavior.

However, the context of the Book of Hebrews prevents this interpretation. The Book of Hebrews is one long warning to seasoned Christians that they were neglecting their salvation and were in danger of sinning willfully. Because of this emphasis in the Book of Hebrews, it is not likely that the expression "the teaching about righteousness" is referring to imputed righteousness.

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, But only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Hebrews 10:26,27)

The "teaching about righteousness" is that which we have outlined in the preceding paragraphs. It explains that even though we no longer are bound by the commandments of the Law of Moses, we still are under Divine law.

The Divine law we are obligated to obey is termed "the law of the Spirit of life." As we follow the Holy Spirit each day He leads us to some area of our personality and behavior that is not in the image of Christ. Then we are to call on the Lord until we are able to put that behavior to death. We are to persist in prayer until the life has been driven from the urge to sin.

We owe the flesh nothing that we should obey its sinful desires.

How do we know what sin is, if we no longer are under the Law of Moses?

By what is written in the New Testament. By our conscience. By our sense of what the Holy Spirit is telling us.

The Christian life consists largely of growth in the ability to judge between good and evil, and in the willingness and ability to reject the evil and embrace the good. As long as we are unable to judge between good and evil we are a spiritual infant, not able to eat the solid food of the Spirit.

Why is it absolutely necessary we be able to distinguish good from evil?

It is because it is in the Church that God is building the wall against sin that will last for eternity. It is the wall that surrounds the new Jerusalem.

The entire history of the Christian Church is a reaction against the rebellion of the angels. The members of the Church will judge the angels. The members of the Church will govern the creation forever. Any believer who has not grown in the ability to judge between good and evil is useless for the eternal purpose of God in Christ in the Church.

God had a rebellion at some point in eons past. God created man to be God’s answer to the rebellion, God’s judges, God’s throne in the creation. When God has perfected His Church, then God in Christ in the Church will maintain Paradise for eternity. This is the Kingdom of God.

We see, therefore, that the current Christian doctrine is destructive of God’s plan. By informing us we are forgiven by grace and this is all God is requiring, the plan to develop a royal priesthood that will be able to bring righteousness into the creation is destroyed.

The purpose of the actions of the Holy Spirit in making us aware of the sin in our personality is that we might seek the help of Christ in removing it. We see therefore the very necessary role of repentance. To repent is to turn away from what we have been doing and to set out on a new course.

Thus to repent of having acted in a vengeful, spiteful manner is not merely to express distress for having done so. Nor is it to punish ourselves in some manner, to perform a penance that will atone for our behavior.

To repent is to resolutely turn away from such behavior, and when we are insulted to commit ourselves to God for His righteous judgment. If God says we deserved to be insulted, then we are to deal with the reason someone was motivated to insult us.

But if God says the insult was not warranted, then He will flood us with peace and assurance. We never, never, never are to retaliate for the evil done to us.

Evil cannot be overcome with more evil, only with good.

The Church today is filled with blemishes of all sorts, not just with a vengeful nature. Yet the Scripture maintains that Christ is to have an unblemished Bride.

To interpret this to mean that the Bride of the Lamb is unblemished because God sees her through Christ is illogical and unscriptural.

It is illogical because Christ does not want a bride actually filled with blemishes but whom God has declared to be unblemished by the legal process of imputation. Does the Lamb want a bride who is filled with spite and unforgiveness, as is true of the churches of today? Is it any help to Christ that God has said she is unblemished when in fact she has a sinful nature? Can Jesus Christ have fellowship with this?

It is unscriptural, because the Apostles have warned us repeatedly that if we live according to our sinful nature we will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:3-5)

The final answer to the problem of sin under the new covenant is found in the following verse:

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (II Peter 1:19)

The "word of the prophets" includes every book of the Bible. As we read the Bible the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin in our personality. When He does, we are to put the sin to death in the manner we have described above.

We are to continue in the program of confession and repentance until something takes place. The day dawns and the morning star rises in our heart.

The Morning Star is the Lord Jesus Christ.

As we obey the Scriptures, praying continually, Christ is formed in us.

The forming of Christ in us is equivalent to the writing of the eternal law of God in our mind and heart. This is the new covenant.

When Christ has been formed in our personality, the Father and the Son will come to dwell in that which has been formed in us. Now we are the temple of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The full Presence of the Godhead will overpower and drive completely from us every lingering aspect of spiritual darkness.

The next move is to raise our flesh and bones and inhabit them with our transformed nature.

Finally the body which has been created in Heaven as a result of our patiently following the Spirit in the killing of our sinful nature will clothe our resurrected flesh and bones.

Such resurrection marks the destruction of the last enemy and the completion of the work of redemption. Now we are privileged to grow in the image of Christ forever.

But if we have chosen to live in our fleshly nature, not following the Spirit of God in the work of transformation, trusting instead in a confession of Christ, we will experience corruption in the Day of Resurrection.

Our flesh and bones will be raised and inhabited by our sinful personality.

There will be no glorious house from Heaven to clothe us because we were not faithful in giving ourselves to the death and resurrection of the Lord.

It now is in the hands of Christ to determine whether we should be admitted to the new world of righteousness as a naked spirit, or whether our talent will be taken from us and we ourselves cast into the outer darkness.

The program of removing sin from the Church has begun, both in the spirit realm as well as in the physical realm. Christ is judging the living and the dead. Such judgment can result in a period of fiery trials, and we may be amazed at the severity of these. Yet these trials are the means of our salvation. They are helping with the removal of sin and self-will from us.

The writer of the Book of Hebrews warns us not to neglect our salvation, claiming that if we do we will not escape the wrath of God.

How do we neglect our salvation? By not pressing forward in the war against the evil in our personality.

Every day there are problems that face us. Every day we have an opportunity to go to the Lord for His assistance in solving the problems. We must learn to bring every decision we make to the Lord Jesus. This is how we obey the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.

Every problem, every pain, every attack against us, is a golden opportunity to press further into Jesus. No one can take our peace if we are resolved to bring every situation to the Lord for His solution.

It is a new day and we are being stretched, stretched, stretched. Our former behavior no longer is acceptable. Our friends have been willing to overlook our shortcomings and bad manners.

But the warfare of the ages is upon us in all of its fury. Every thought, word, and deed is up for examination. The days of foolish talk, of flying into a rage, of pouting, of giving way to lust, of promoting our own selfish ambitions, is over. The enemy takes advantage of such childish behavior and the battle is lost.

An evangelist named George, who had a remarkable gift of healing, in a moment of foolishness said, "Georgie, Porgie, pudding and pie; kissed the girls and made them cry."

Then a girl possessed of a demon was brought to him for deliverance. The demon spoke through the girl saying, "Georgie, Porgie, pudding and pie; kissed the girls and made them cry."

Needless to say, the battle was lost.

As I have stated, it is a new day. The way of the Lord must be prepared—the way that is located in the hearts of the saints. All that would hinder must be removed. The eternal gates of our personalities must be opened to the King of Glory that He might wage war against His enemies.

Armageddon must be fought in the Church people before it can be fought at Megiddo. The Day of the Lord must rise in the Church people before it can rise in the world.

Paradise will not drop down from Heaven but enter the world through the saints.

These are glorious, wonderful, dangerous days we are entering. For those who love the Lord and will give up all in order to serve Him, the thrones of glory have been prepared.

But for those of the churches who are not true disciples of the Lord but merely members of the Christian religion, the age that is coming will be one of incredible horror and agony. Those who have succumbed to the Antichrist world spirit that even now is in America will be kindling for the fires of God’s wrath.

And there will be no "rapture" to remove the careless believers from the scenes of judgment.

The Spirit of God is demanding repentance. We are to turn away each day from behavior that is not pleasing to God. If we do we will be able to stand in victory, and help others stand in victory, throughout the age of moral horrors that is approaching.

But if we do not repent, choosing instead to trust that once we have "accepted Christ" we are guaranteed eternal residence in the Paradise of God, we will be as so much straw in the violent hurricanes at hand, being unable to stand or to help others to stand.

The time to repent and prepare the way of the Lord is now! Tomorrow may be too late.