Debie Misir: November 02, 2009


“No conversion without conviction, no salvation without repentance”

Repentance – changing our minds and attitudes about God and His truth. As we change our minds about God and turn toward Him, we soon come into a deep conviction of our sins and sin nature which are as filthy rags before a pure and holy God. True confession and the forsaking of our sins and sin nature will soon follow. There is no “belief” in God without repentance, and there is no true repentance until there is a clear understanding of who Jesus is. Australian evangelist, John Chapman, puts it like this: "The true response of a person to Christ is a genuine repentance which involves recognizing Jesus as true King in God's world and thus seeking to live under his authority." Salvation then is having our sins removed from us forever when we surrender our lives to the lordship of Jesus Christ believing who He is and sincerely confessing and forsaking our sins and self. Repentance must precede Salvation.

The word of God says, Jesus Christ came to save us from our sins, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Jesus Christ came to remove our sins from us and to blot them out forever. But, before the Lord can remove anything from us, we must turn to Him, believing who He is. Confession and deep remorse will soon flow as we begin to know Him for then we will begin to truly see ourselves as we are; sinful and unworthy to stand before a pure and Holy God. Finally, we will offer our lives over to Him as a living sacrifice. (Romans 12:1)

Throughout the Scriptures, there is a call to repentance before Salvation.“Repent ye therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19). God’s word says it is impossible for us to be saved in our sins. Luke 13:3-3 says “I tell you, nay; but except you repent you shall all likewise perish.” The entire ministry of John the Baptist centered on repentance. John’s was the voice crying in the wilderness, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2). John’s call to repentance was a preparation for the one bringing salvation, Jesus Christ. "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Matthew 3:11). Repentance must come before Salvation, and Salvation must bring change for when we truly repent, believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and who He is, the Holy Spirit enters us and begins to sanctify us. There can be no experience of the Holy Spirit, unless we have repented, and there can be no change in us unless the Holy Spirit has entered us.

Repentance is not only necessary to enter into the Kingdom of God at the beginning of our faith like many think, but it is necessary throughout our faith walk in a deeper sense, in order for us to continue in the Kingdom of God and to grow in grace. John Wesley writes of this continuous repentance…”It is generally supposed, that repentance and faith are only the gate of religion; that they are necessary only at the beginning of our Christian course, when we are setting out in the way to the kingdom.... And this is undoubtedly true, that there is a repentance and a faith, which are, more especially, necessary at the beginning: a repentance, which is a conviction of our utter sinfulness, and guiltiness, and helplessness.... But, notwithstanding this, there is also a repentance and a faith (taking the words in another sense, a sense not quite the same, nor yet entirely different) which are requisite after we have "believed the gospel;" yea, and in every subsequent stage of our Christian course, or we cannot "run the race which is set before us." And this repentance and faith are full as necessary, in order to our continuance and growth in grace, as the former faith and repentance were, in order to our entering into the kingdom of God.” At the beginning of our faith, we enter the gates of the Kingdom of God through repentance. Most likely we have repented of many sins, guilts, fears, doubts, and weaknesses, but we have not necessarily repented of self which is sinful to the core: our selfish, wicked ways; deep, hidden, evil motives of the heart; and our sinful thoughts. Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” As we continue in the Kingdom of God, we must repent every step of the way as the Holy Spirit convicts us in every area of our innermost being or we will never truly change and we cannot glorify God or apprehend His promises for a victorious life. We must learn to say “nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done Lord” to every desire, thought, decision, deed, or pursuit. This is a moment by moment and daily process for the rest of our Christian walk.

I have been a part of the body of Christ for just over five years and it never ceases to amaze me that the majority in the Church seem totally lost even after having been in church for many years. They have definitely received Christ as Lord and Savior by saying a prayer of Salvation but there are no signs of a repentant, surrendered heart; no signs of an inner heart’s transformation; and no signs of a life given over to Christ. They are being taught the word of God but all they seem to absorb are the promises of God for an abundant, victorious life. They do not know that Salvation is all about turning their lives over to God and living for Him His way, but instead think that it is all about God now helping them to live their lives their own way. They expect to live the lives they always wanted with God now stepping in whenever they are in trouble or they have a desire they want granted. They have come to expect victory in every area of their lives, yet they clearly have no intention of offering their lives as a living sacrifice to the Lord. They confess their love and dedication over and over again, but there are no outward intentions or actions to back up their declarations. These are of the same type spoken of in the book of Isaiah where "The Lord Says: These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. (Isaiah 29:13). These are those who accepted the Lord solely because they were told that Jesus Christ came to save them and give them a victorious life. A right knowledge of a Holy God; His purity, His love, His righteousness, His judgments, His hatred for sin, His wrath against evil etc in relation to a true account of the extent of our individual sinfulness and sin nature was never emphasized.

True Repentance as a prerequisite for Salvation is not being preached the way it should. All the emphasis is now only on God’s love for sinners and His grace and promises; chiefly prosperity in this life. Professed believers are not being truly convicted of their sinful selves simply because they are only receiving part of the Gospel. As a result, true repentance cannot take place. How can anyone possess true faith and belief in God when they do not have a right understanding of who God is? How can they truly repent and be saved if they have not had the filthiness of their sinful selves before a Holy God revealed through the message of repentance and a true knowledge of God’s holiness. All they are being taught is that accepting Christ as Savior, to believe on Him, to join a Church and be baptized with water, these are the essentials of Salvation. However, repentance, unconfessed and unforsaken sins and self have not been hammered home. As such professed Believers continue to live in their sins, so much a part of the world that they cannot be separated. They neither have the full Gospel, nor do they know the Living Word – Jesus Christ. Their idea of God is now likened to a glorified Santa Claus, an idol. One who is seemingly blind to their selfishness, greed, and habitual sins and is only there to gratify their every fleshly desire. They have come to see the Lord as a “good” God who will not only look the other way if they sin as long as they come to church, worship, pray eloquently, and tithe occasionally, but who will continue to bless them with every good thing.

We ministered to someone a few weeks ago who had been in several churches over many years, and essentially besought her to seek the Lord and His righteousness, and He will take care of all things concerning her for she had many material concerns. At the end of more than an hour of ministering to her, she said angrily, “I need money now. Why do I need to seek the Lord? I don’t want to seek the Lord, I want money now.” Her reply says it all. Beloved there can be no Salvation without repentance and there can be no conversion with conviction.

Then there are those who initially repented, but have not allowed the Holy Spirit to sanctify them through the many trials He allows in their lives. Instead they complain, get angry, blame others, sink into depression, guilt, and condemnation, and continuously turn away from God instead of running to Him. They do not allow the Holy Spirit to work. Whenever they get convicted, they run from Church to Church, thinking it is the Church leadership or the Church members who are causing them offence. Beloved, it is the Holy Spirit who is convicting them and often times it is He who allows the wound to come through others, offering them an opportunity to run to the Lord in forgiveness and mercy in order to obtain mercy. Instead of recognizing the work of the Holy Spirit, going before the Lord and repenting, they allow the offence to take root and flee. They yet do not know that God is the all-seeing, ever-present God who will follow them wherever they go and allow the same trials in different forms just to give them many more opportunities to repent and be cleansed of the filth that is causing death in their members; in order to be transformed in their inner man. This is His mercy. Then and only then can the fruits be manifested in them causing them to live the victorious life. Rich Warren said “Our lives change more through the crisis we experience than through the creed we confess. In other words, what we know first-hand of God is what takes root and changes the way we live.”

Conviction: “When he is come, he will reprove the world of sin” (John 16:8).

When repentance is preached the work of the Holy Spirit begins. His work on earth is to first convict us of sin. Without this work, we can never be truly converted. We must be reproved inwardly, convinced by God that we are sinners by nature as well as by our actions. Under this work of the Holy Spirit, you will begin to feel what David felt when he said, "I acknowledge my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight” (Psalm 51:3, 4). You will begin to know your own filthiness and guilt before a Holy God and confession will flow and your heart will deeply repent. We cannot be truly saved if we have not truly repented, and we cannot truly repent if we have not acknowledged in our hearts, our sins and sin nature which are prey to.

True repentance is not simply confessing that you have committed adultery, lied, or stolen. It is not simply turning away from old beliefs in false gods, old habits, or worthless traditions. But it is a deeply sorrowful repenting of any belief in self, fully understanding its sinfulness. Allshorn said, “Repentance is not a mere feeling of sorrow or contrition for an act of wrongdoing. Repentance is contrition for what we are in our fundamental beings, that we are wrong in our deepest roots because our interior government is by Self and not by God.” We are born of the seed of sin. A seed of sin can never produce anything righteous or good, just as a lemon seed can never produce apples or pears. We are filthy, in our thoughts and intentions, and in our desires and deeds. We cannot go through a single day without having lust or greed in our hearts for someone or something, a critical or hateful thought, or a selfish desire. This is a fact. This is the way we were made and this is way we will continue to be if we are without Christ. We are captives of our sin nature and helpless in our sins, and we were born that way. David confessed by revelation knowledge, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psalm 51:5).

True Repentance “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation” (2 Cor 7:10)

David repented deeply as often as the Holy Spirit convicted. He constantly cried out to for the Lord for His mercy. “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (Psalm 51:1, 2). Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14). David recognized that everything about Him was sinful all the time and only God could cleanse him and enable him to overcome his sin nature and remove His sins. “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me,” (Psalm 51:10), he asks. Isaiah repented in great sorrow when he first came into true recognition of his intensely sinful state before a Holy God, crying “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5). Job said “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee” (Job 42:5) and like Him we must repent crying, “Wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:6)

Some of us may think we are ok. We pray hard and we do good deeds. We love the Lord and we worship often. We have compassion for others in that we give to the poor and those in need. We even pray constantly for others. But the word of God says, sin is hid in our hearts and minds and our hearts deceive us into thinking that we are ok. Know that sin does not have to manifest in the physical to be evil, it is part of our makeup. We are conceived in sin and shaped in inequity. There is nothing in us that can produce good, as such any reliance or belief in ourselves is sin. The word of God says the intentions of all of our hearts are evil all the time. “The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” (Genesis 6:5). Because the wickedness of man goes so deep inside and is now often glossed over by a prosperous society; a good job, money, good outward relationships, outward beauty, good manners, tact, and intelligence, we often do not know what is inside of us. The truth is as long as the situations and circumstances around us are prosperous or even bearable we will never know the evil we are capable of, the evil contained in us. I recently watched a TV show where three teenage college girls who were best friends were kidnapped. These girls were successful, beautiful, smart, and athletic. The kidnapper placed them in a dark, damp, cold underground cell without food or water for seven days and then informed them that one of them has to die and they must choose amongst themselves which one. Initially they refused maintaining they would all rather die. After seven days without food, warmth, light, or water however, self and survival were the only thing remaining in their hearts. The veneer of society, self-confidence, and well-being was stripped away… and they did choose. Then they were told that they would have to murder the one they chose with a club he provided. What do you think they did? They murdered their own friend, to save their own lives. The man, when caught by the authorities, said all he wanted to do was to reveal the basic selfish, evil nature of humans. In a twisted, sadistic, sick way, he made his point. This was only a show, but the point is the same. Do we truly know what we are capable of? The truth is that only when we are tested will we ever find out. The Lord will often allow us to be tested of the enemy to reveal to us what is hidden inside of our hearts, so that we may repent and allow Him to take it away.

Peter knew the Lord and loved the Lord. I am sure he initially repented of every sin he could think of; but he did not repent of self. He did not know the evil contained within self and that he was prone to sin again unless He recognized the sin in self and repented of it. Peter had confidence in himself. He knew he loved the Lord. He has seen many miracles the Lord performed, and the Lord had worked many miracles through him. In himself, he felt he could give his life for the Lord and never deny Him. But God knew that Peter’s heart was not yet cleansed. Peter did not know, but God knew. The Word of God says, “The LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.” (1 Chronicles 28:9). In the 26th chapter of Matthew before His arrest, the Lord told His disciples, “All ye shall be offended because of me this night.” (Matthew 26:31), Peter immediately said “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.”(33). Oh how sure Peter was of himself. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.”(34). Peter knew the Lord and knew that He spoke only truth, yet still Peter could not see what was inside Himself. He believed in himself. “Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.”(35). It was only after they arrested the Lord and took him away that Peter’s test came. Then and only then did Peter accept what was inside of himself and repented deeply. Only then did true change begin in him.

In the Old Testament, the blood of animals was used to cover the sins of the people. This blood did not remove the sins of the people, but covered them until the following year, when another set of animals had to be sacrificed for the sins of the year past, and so on. However when the Lamb of God shed His precious blood on the Cross for our sins, it was not to just cover our sins for a year, but to remove them completely forever. But we need to truly repent of them first. Only true repentance brings true Salvation. In order to repent we must subject the desires of our flesh and all our human strengths and weaknesses to the power of the Holy Spirit, and we must suffer as we amend our lives and change – “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Cor 7:10) --, and the Lord will reward us for coming to Him like the prodigal son.

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

How do we know if we are truly saved? The Bible says if you repent and turn to the Lord Jesus, you will be saved, and those who truly repent will bring forth fruits worthy of repentance. If someone has truly forsaken sin, then they will never live a life of continuous sin. The word of God says, “that anyone born of God does not continue to sin” (1 John 5:18). If we continue to sin, there is then no more sacrifice for their sins. “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because ]to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. (Hebrews 6:4-6). We know we are truly saved, if we are not living in continuous or unrepentant sin. We know we are saved if we are no longer living for self. We know we are saved if we are bringing forth fruits worthy of repentance. Paul brought forth fruits worthy of repentance. He turned from murdering Christians to establishing God’s kingdom on earth. Peter truly repented. He lived his life for Christ and died for Christ. Moses was truly repentant. He loved the Lord and served Him only all the days of his life. The Prodigal son was truly repentant. He recognized his sins and turned away from them, surrendering his life fully into the hands of his father. Mary was truly repentant. She forsook a life of prostitution and followed the Lord loving Him and giving him her all.

If one is truly repentant, their hearts will be transformed and their lives changed forever. They will no longer live for themselves, but totally for the Lord. Jesus Christ is the author of Salvation, but only to them who obey him. If you are truly saved there are many evidences of Salvation which will manifest in your life and everyone around you will see. If we are truly saved, we will produce fruits in keeping with repentance, fruits that will lead us to holiness. If we are truly saved, we will continue on this walk with a humble, repentant heart, persevering until the end, otherwise we may lose the privilege that the Lord has conferred us. ”If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” (Revelation 2:5) If we are truly saved, we will obey the Lord “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love,” (John 15:10). “You are my friends if you do what I command.” (John 15:14). “The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him.” (1 John 2:4, 5) “Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them.(1 John 3:24) We will not love the world or the things of the world. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2:15, 16) . “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”(James 4:4).We will love your brothers and sisters. “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death” (1 John 3:14). We will be pilgrims in this world, bearing his disgrace. “All these people were still living by faith when they died. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.” (Hebrews 11:13). “And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. (Hebrews 13:11-13) We will take our stand against sin. “If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.” (1 John 2:29). On the other hand, He who does what is sinful is of the devil (1 John 3:8). We will live for Christ and Christ only, offering ourselves as living sacrifices, with no more thoughts for selfish needs and pursuits, materialisms, and physical pleasures. “Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:38) "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37) “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”(Romans 12:1)

If you have never met the Lord Jesus, then you are still in your sins. Repent therefore and receive the Lord Jesus as Lord and Savior and He will save you from your sins. Pray this prayer. “Lord Jesus, I believe you died for my sins and rose again on the third day. I repent for my sins Lord and the works of my hands and heart. I ask you to forgive me, cleanse me, save me. I invite you into my heart Lord and ask you to be my Lord and Savior, to keep my heart contrite and repentant before you and to help me to love you with all my heart and all my soul and all my strength and to live my life for you. I thank you Lord.”