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Law of Repentance

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In man’s law, a statute is a set of rules and regulations that make up all the laws that serve a particular purpose.

For example, the Crimes Act 1900 in NSW is a statute. It is a set of laws about all the criminal offences in a personal nature such as murder, theft and rape. The Crimes Act is a statute, just as the tax legislation is a statute. Each set of law or statute stands on it own and has its own applications. A statute is defined by the purpose it serves to achieve, but they share the following 7 common elements:

1. The Law and its application

2. The authority and jurisdiction

3. The intent/purpose

4. The evidence

5. The attitude

6. The rewards and consequences

7. Decree

There are three Laws in the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins: the Law of Grace, the Law of Forgiveness and the Law of Repentance. This is the statute of the Law of Repentance in accordance to the commands of Jesus in the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins.

1. The Law and its Application

Jesus preached in Matthew 4: Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”[1]The time promised by God has come at last!” “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”[2]

This is the Law of Repentance. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated. Just repent and believe the good news. God is not making it so hard and difficult. Repent and believe. Even a 5 year old can do it.

What is sin? Listen to Jesus when He said that the Holy Spirit will convict and rebuke[3] the world of guilt in regard to sin, righteousness and judgment. “And when He comes, He will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in Me. Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see Me no more. Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged.”[4] The Holy Spirit will convict and rebuke you when you do not believe in Jesus. Sin is disbelief of Jesus.

He will convict and rebuke the world of God’s righteousness because our Saviour has come and returned to the Father. He will convict and rebuke the world of the coming judgment because Satan has been judged as a murderer and a liar, a father of lies.

Once you believe in Jesus, you must obey the Father’s command to listen to Jesus. Why? Because you believed that Jesus is the Son of God, and God said to listen to His Son.[5]

Therefore for a believer and disciple, sin is the disobedience against listening to Jesus and disbelief of His words.

When you listen to Jesus, the first block of teachings you will receive from Jesus is written in Matthew 5-7. It is not a coincidence that these teachings of Jesus were placed at the forefront of the four gospels. It is also not random that Jesus taught His disciples various topics and provided numerous explanations, then concluded those teachings by saying, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice and acts on them[6] and follows it[7] is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”[8] For not all of Jesus words as they are written are commands or law. This is because He taught His disciples parables to give them understanding; He rebuked and praised people; talked to them; prayed and talked to the Father. It is time to extract from all the written words of Jesus the commands and regulations of the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins to give light to the Law of Jesus.

What am I saying? For example, Jesus commanded us to love our enemies by praying for them. When you, a believer or disciple, hate your enemies and refuse to pray for them, you have sinned according to Jesus’ words. Not only because of your hatred for your enemies. No, your sin lies in your refusal or negligence in putting Jesus’ words into practice by loving your enemies through praying for them. It’s slightly flipped around. We sin when we DO NOT put Jesus’ words into practice (deliberately or unintentionally). (When you pray for your enemies and forgive them, but find it hard to or find yourselves still feeling angry – do not worry – you are putting Jesus’ words in practice already. You are practicing righteousness. For now, do not worry on the outcome, and concentrate on the practice of His words.)

The focus, and thus the application of Jesus’ commands, is therefore on whether you are listening to Him and putting His words into practice. The words of Jesus we practise depend on the situations that arise as the Lord wills them.

This is a minor adjustment of our understanding, but it is a major refinement because it defines sin as the disobedience against putting Jesus’ words into practice, whatever the sin may be in whatever situation the Lord has brought you in. So then, how much more important is it to listen to Jesus? Otherwise, you will have no idea what He has taught us. For it is correct to say it is a sin to hate our enemies. If someone asks you, “Why?” you will answer, “Because Jesus said so.” This leads us to the second element of the Statute of the Law of Repentance.

2. The Authority and Jurisdiction

Authority means the right of a person to set a law, and the right of another person to tell other people to obey that law. Jurisdiction is who and where or when that law applies.

If someone asks you, “Why is it a sin to hate your enemies? What right do you have to tell me that it is a sin to hate my enemy?” we simply answer, “Because Jesus said so and all authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Him.” For He said, “All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.[9]

As it is written, Jesus’ authority on Earth is seven-fold and includes the following:

i Authority on Earth to forgive sins[10]. This authority He has given to disciples who have received the Holy Spirit. He said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone their sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive anyone their sins they are not forgiven.”[11]

ii Authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.[12] This authority Jesus gave to His disciples, and they are also signs that accompany a believer.

iii Authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy[13]– which Jesus gave to His disciples.

iv Authority to lay down His life and authority to take it up again.[14]

v Authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those the Father has given Him.[15]

vi Authority to judge because He is the Son of Man.[16]

vii Authority over the nations to rule them with an iron scepter and dash them to pieces like pottery.[17]

Jesus said all authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Him. Authority is always given to someone by the person who sent you. The one who sends you must be of a higher position than you.

Jesus is the One who the Father set apart as His very own and sent into the world.[18] And Jesus Himself said, “The Father is greater than all and greater than Iand the Father is more powerful than anyone else.”[19] It is Jesus’ authority to judge and to rule that gives Him the right to declare the Law of Repentance. If He did not have such authority, it would be unrighteous for Him to tell us to repent. Just like no one but the police can give you a speeding ticket, because the law gives them the power and authority to do so.

Therefore, the authority of Jesus to tell people to repent comes from the same source, the same authority that we tell people to repent by – it is from the Father. The Father is holy and good and righteous and perfect and merciful and compassionate.

Our authority from Jesus comes from His command. If Jesus did not tell us to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything He has commanded us, we have no right to preach the Law of Repentance. But He did, so we must. Also if we ourselves do not repent of our sins, we have no right to preach it, as we would be hypocrites.

To summarise, Jesus’ authority to preach the Law of Repentance is from the Father because the Father gave Jesus the authority to judge and rule. Our authority to preach the Law of Repentance is from Jesus when He commanded us to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything Jesus has commanded us.

The jurisdiction is over all nations i.e. the whole world.

3. The intent/purpose

Every law has a purpose it sets to achieve. It is the reason the law came into existence. Man calls it “legislative intent”. God calls it glory.

The purpose or intent of the Law of Repentance is simply for the joy of the Lord. Jesus said, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent[20]In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”[21]

Jesus said this when the Pharisees and teachers of the law were murmuring against Him, “This Man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”[22] Then Jesus told them two parables – the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin. The heart of God behind these two parables is how hard the Father searches for the ones that we lost to Him. It is not that the shepherd sits in the shade, hoping the one lost sheep would wander back. It goes to show how precious and jealous the Lord is about all who belong to Him, and how graceful He is to them, that He receives such great joy when a sinner repents and returns to Him. This is why grace, forgiveness and repentance are inter-connected as one under the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins.

4. The evidence

To prosecute or convict someone for the disobedience of any law, you need evidence. Evidence comes by testimonies and circumstantial facts. What is the evidence that someone has not repented?

Listen to Jesus: Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank You, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to Heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”[23]

Someone who has not repented is someone who is confident of his/her own righteousness and looks down on everybody else. A person who sins against you or a church that has sinned against Jesus by not listening to Jesus and putting His words into practice, as the Holy Spirit counsels us, will display a false sense of confidence. This is self-righteousness and pride.

It is easy to tell when someone has not repented when he/she sins against you. You just don’t receive an apology or you get snubbed from them, even when you have forgiven them. So what is the evidence that a church has not repented?

For a church that has disobeyed by failing to listen to Jesus and put His words into practice, these are the evidence that they have not repented as written in Revelation 2 and 3:

· The evidence that a church that has not repented of forsaking its first love (which is, love for one another as Christ has loved us) is that its lampstand is removed from its place.[24] What does lampstand signify? The seven lampstands in Revelation 2 and 3 are the seven churches.[25] It means that the Lord will remove that church from its place. Has the Lord done this before? In the same way, Moses was removed from leading Israel and Saul was removed from his kingship when the Lord rejected his as king over Israel. If the Lord has done it before, don’t you think He can do it again and remove a church if it continues to remain in disobedience and fails to repent? Moses was removed of his position because he failed to honour the Lord as holy when he struck the rock instead of speaking to it as the Lord commanded. Saul was removed because he failed to uphold the command of the Lord and kept the best sheep and cattle of the Amalekites, when the Lord told him to destroy everything. Brothers and sisters of the Holy Spirit Workshop, do you think that we, who have so boldly called ourselves the Holy Spirit’s Workshop, are not above being removed if we fail to honour the Holy Spirit as holy, stay on course and remain focussed to carry out the instructions of the Holy Spirit with the attitude and zeal He requires, so that He may be taken out of the way in accordance with Scripture? We can do one wrong thing, seemingly so innocent and minor, but we can be removed and deposed of our positions. If we think anyone of us here have anything to be haughty about, repent and forgive one another. Let’s be on guard for ourselves and one another. The work is urgent – Jesus wants to return to reign.

· The evidence that a church that has not repented of listening to teachings of Jezebels, which are false prophets who give false hopes by their lies, is that it will suffer intensely in the bed of suffering that Jesus has cast Jezebel on, and her children will be struck dead.[26] The church will suffer with Jezebel unless that church repent of her ways. As wisdom is proved right by all her children and wisdom is vindicated by all her children,[27] Jezebel’s children being struck dead means that all the false teachings will be proved wrong and her fruitlessness will be shown by her lack of vindication. All her children being dead means that there will be no one to prove Jezebel’s wisdom, as there is no wisdom in lies, only deceit.

· The evidence that a church has not repented of falling asleep and being dead is that they will not know the time that Jesus will come suddenly to them.[28] You can distinguish such a church because it is not dressed ready for service and their lamps are not burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.[29] Don’t get me wrong. A church can be ready for service of preaching the Gospel and doing mighty works of deliverance, but are their lamps burning for the return of Christ to reign?

· The evidence that a church has not repented of being lukewarm, which has caused them to not realise that they are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked, is that they will continue to say, “I am rich! I have everything I want! I do not need a thing!” Be careful of teachings from such churches that teach their flocks how to attain prosperity by obeying the commands of the old covenant. This is how they reject the gold of Jesus refined in the fire, because they think the old covenant can provide true riches or blessings of God they reject Jesus’ white clothes to wear, because they teach that the practice of the commands of the old covenant can produce fruits of righteousness; and so they reject Jesus’ salve to put on their eyes and they remain blind guides.

5. The attitude

The attitude of repentance is simply this: when Jesus rebukes us, when a fellow disciple rebukes when we sin against him, and when the Holy Spirit convicts in regard to sin, righteousness and judgment:

· Be earnest and repent[30]

· Be zealous and repent[31]

· Be diligent and turn from your indifference[32]

· Be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].[33]

To be zealous appears in three different versions of this command of Jesus, so know what you are to be zealous of.

Our zeal, enthusiasm, earnestness and diligence for repentance come from our respect, honour, appreciation, delight and gratitude of the Grace and forgiveness we receive, time and time again from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We have no righteousness or plan of lasting salvation of our own. The attitude also comes from our knowledge and delight that those who Jesus loves, He rebukes and disciplines.

6. The rewards and consequences

When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, you have believed that you are a sinner who needs the salvation in the Name of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, because you have forsaken God one way or another. Since you believe that you are a sinner and God has forgiven your sins through Jesus alone, you would repent to acknowledge the errors of your old ways and to honour God’s forgiveness.

The reward of believing is eternal life and Jesus will raise us up at the last day.

Unless we repent, we too will all perish. And we will perish too, unless we repent of our sins and turn to God.[34]

What does it mean to perish? And what does it mean to have eternal life? Does perishing mean we go to hell, and does eternal life mean that we live forever?

Eternal life is more than living forever. For it is written that the beast, the false prophet, Satan, death and Hades, who are thrown into the Lake of Burning are “tormented day and night forever and ever”.[35] Therefore, eternal life is not whether you live forever. It is about where and how you live forever, and who you live it with and for.

Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent … And this is the way to have eternal life—to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the One you sent to Earth … And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), whom You have sent.”[36]

Jesus said, “I give [My sheep] eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand.”[37]

Eternal life is so much more than we can understand and imagine. We know that it is a gift to the beneficiaries of the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins. When we go back to the beginning, we can begin to understand that death is the temporary state of existence because we disobeyed God. God created mankind to live, not to die. Though how we think now is reversed isn’t it? We spend about 80 years of life on this Earth and then we die, and stay dead. To us, the span of death is longer than the span of life. But, to God who is the Resurrection and the Life, death is temporary and life is eternal. And that is why Jesus is the Beginning and the End – the Resurrection and the Life.

When Jesus said, “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day,” He is saying, “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has a share in the Tree of Life and in the holy city[38] in order to come to know the Father and the Son, and I will raise him up at the last day to achieve this purpose.”

The ones that go into the Lake of Burning Sulphur[39] have no share in the Tree of Life and in the holy city. This means that they have no eternal life and they perish. They cannot come to know the Father and Jesus.

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life. Outside the city are the dogs – the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.”[40]

People who are judged as dogs will live outside the gates of New Jerusalem and will not be permitted to go through the gates of New Jerusalem. They will not come to know the Father and Jesus compared to ones who are permitted to go through the gates into the city,[41] and those who are pillars in the Temple of God and never leaves it.[42] The humans who are judged as dogs will be spared from the Lake of Burning Sulphur, but they will not share in the Tree of Life and in the holy city as the latter groups. The dogs have eternal life and will not perish, but how much will they be able to know the Father and the Son since they cannot enter New Jerusalem, the city of the great King, His bride?

This is the judgment before the Great White Throne. It is not about Heaven and hell. It is about your place in eternity, for eternity. This judgment determines your share in the holy city and in the Tree of Life. The Holy Spirit has much to show us in relation to understanding judgment and we must hear what He is saying to the churches.

Man was made in the flesh. It is not God’s original intention for man to die, or that his spirit should ever separate from his flesh, nor God’s breath of life to leave his body. We were made in the flesh with a spirit and soul, and we were put on Earth so that we may come to know the Father and Jesus. When we sinned, by God’s word, we surely died. But the life in the blood of the Lamb that was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins, and which sealed the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sin with God’s approval, has restored God’s original intention for man to never die in a body of flesh so that we may come to know the Father and the Son. This Covenant is the only covenant that gives us eternal life to come to know God.

So what is eternal life? It is God’s gift to man so that His original intention, design and purpose for man are fulfilled, because we were created to live and to come to know Him, and to never die. Therefore, it is insulting to the Lord when we refuse to believe that we who believe in Jesus and live in Him will live and never die, because we are actually ridiculing the King by saying, “This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.”

7. Decree

This is the decree: “I do not take pleasure in the death of anyone. Repent and live![43]

AMEN!!!


 

[1] Matthew 3.2 NLT Footnote [a] Or has come, or is coming soon.

[2] Mark 1.15 NLT

[3] Peshitta

[4] John 16.8-11

[5] Matthew 17.5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35

[6] NASB

[7] NLT

[8] Matthew 7.24

[9] Matthew 28.18

[10] Matthew 9.6

[11] John 20.22-23

[12] Matthew 10.1

[13] Luke 10.19

[14] John 10.18

[15] John 17.2

[16] John 5.27

[17] Revelation 2.26. This is a reward given to those who overcome and are victorious and who obey Him to the very end. Jesus said so in Revelation 2.26 to the church in Thyatira. 

[18] John 10.36

[19] John 10.20 and 14.28 [NIV and NLT]

[20] Luke 15.7

[21] Luke 15.10

[22] Luke 15.2

[23] Luke 18.9-14

[24] Revelation 2.4

[25] Revelation 1.20

[26] Revelation 2.22

[27] Luke 7.35

[28] Revelation 3.3

[29] Luke 12.34-36

[30] Revelation 3.19 NIV

[31] NASB, Peshitta and ESV

[32] NLT

[33] AMP

[34] Luke 13.3-5 NIV, NLT

[35] Revelation 20.10

[36] John 17.3 NIV, NTL, AMP

[37] John 10.28

[38] Revelation 22.20

[39] Revelation 21.8

[40] Revelation 22.14-15 NLT

[41] Revelation 22.14

[42] Revelation 3.12

[43] Ezekiel 18.32

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