Repentance: The Lost Chord of Preaching, Part VI
REPENTANCE: THE LOST CHORD IN PREACHING
Part VI --The Fruits of Repentance
The last in a series of articles
Text: "For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a Godly sort, WHAT CAREFULNESS IT WROUGHT IN YOU, yea, WHAT CLEARING OF YOURSELVES, yea, WHAT INDIGNATION, yea, WHAT FEAR, yea, WHAT VEHEMENT DESIRE, Yea, WHAT ZEAL, yea, WHAT REVENGE! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter."
Here are seven fruits that grow on the tree of repentance: The man who has truly repented of his sins will evidence a CAREFULNESS about his soul which is the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of them who are truly His. The Spirit of God works in the heart of the believer to make sin loathsome to him that the individual may be careful to avoid this dreadful plague. "Has sin become exceedingly sinful to you?"
Repentance that culminates in conversion of a personís soul is also evidenced by a "clearing" of themselves: making things right as far as possible. This "righting of wrongs" or RESTITUTION is the first-born son of Repentance. Restitution and Repentance go hand in hand.
Where there is the one there is the other. Are there not those whom you have wronged and to whom you have failed to make things as right as possible?
Another fruit of Repentance is the fruit of indignation that the Spirit of God works in us against ourselves, against sin and against Satan.
Fear is still another fruit of saving repentance: fear of trusting ourselves, fear of yielding in the face of sin; and will result in watchfulness for our souls.
True Repentance turns the thirst for sin into the thirst for righteousness, and what a vehement desire this is. It works in our heart in such a manner as to give us a "vehement desire" had our sins had not been committed in the first place.
True Repentance results in Revenge against Sin, and a Zeal for the Lord.
Dear Reader, have you ever truly repented of your sins? Or are you seeking to rationalize your guilt and shame? Do you possess a new heart? a new name? Do you sing a new song and talk a new conversation?
If your life has undergone various reforms, What is the reason for them? Is it merely because you have felt bad concerning your past sins? Or is it because you feared the end would result in punishment? Or, could it be because you have indeed felt "sorry after a godly manner" which has resulted in your lifting up your eyes in faith to the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world? If this latter be true, then give to the Lord the glory due His name for His having been to you the "Author and (will be) the Finisher of your faith."
If the latter is not true in your life, may God work in your heart to the saving of your soul.
Part II -- His Influence, No. 2 THE LIFE OF AUGUSTINE
Text: "Salvation belongeth unto the Lord.... " --Psalm 3:8
"Salvation considered as coming from man is the creating principle of all error and abuse." -Merle DíAubigne-
The Church that Christ founded was the envy of the world. The salvation she preached was a salvation by the grace of God and therefore she distinguished herself from all other religions of the world. She boasted of a free salvation conveyed upon undeserving men, the very reason she could so glory being the fact she believed the death of Christ had actually accomplished the work of her redemption.
The plan of God for the redemption of His Church involved a plan so lofty that it enchanted the angels of Heaven. But the naughty pride in the heart of man early sought to present to the Church a counter-plan. The apostles had freely taught salvation came from God: "Looking
unto Jesus, the Author, and the Finisher of our faith .... " "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.... " --(Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). The salvation God offers, however, is received
by faith, and it was not long before faith meant no more than a mere understanding, and a submitting to an obedient way of life. We find such today in the churchgoer who though knowledgeable of the Bible is nevertheless ignorant of the God of the Bible.
When faith, trusting faith is shunned as being unnecessary for salvation, then works must necessarily follow, for in the eyes of the worldly-minded some good deed, some act of kindness will heal up this breach of acceptance. Such have not learned for any deed to be good and
acceptable unto God, there must be the elements of faith and love: "For without faith, it is impossible to please Him;" (Hebrews 11:6), and "Love is the fulfilling of the Law," --(Romans 13:10) for on it hangs "all the law and the prophets." --(Matthew 22:40).
By the third century, when the Church was not on her guard, error slipped in unsuspectingly. Faith and WORKS were now necessary for salvation. Grace and Law were pronounced husband and wife. Doctrine and Duty became Siamese twins. And as such is a sad monstrosity in nature, such perversion is no less a monstrosity in the spiritual realm.
This heresy was fostered by a man named "Pelagius." Pelagius, (Pronounced "Pe lay ge us), was born in Wales with the name "Morgan" which means "sea-born." As a young man, he took the meaning of his name and merely put it into Latin.
Pelagius went to Rome in his early life, and it was here that he drank in errors which he later propagated in Africa and in the East. But this monk from Britain was to have profound effect upon his own country as well.
Agricola, the son of a bishop of Gaul, brought his teachings into Britain. Germanus, the bishop of Auxerre, and Lupus, as well as bishop of Troye came over when the British bishops sought the aid of the Gallic church to arrest the spread of his errors. What terrible errors was it that Pelagius propagated?
First, Pelagius taught that human nature was not fallen in Adam. This meant infants were born in innocence, and that sin was a matter of will and not of nature. He termed original sin, a myth, as well as the transmission of guilt by parents to their children.
Second, Pelagius taught man has the ability to do good if he wants to. This meant salvation was attainable without the Law and the Gospel or Divine grace, though these helped in the attainment of salvation. He added, Christ also helps us by His example.
Cotton Mather once said, "Ignorance is the mother of heresy," and it was an ignorance of the Scriptures that led Pelagius to the theological positions he took. Was Adam merely a bad example? And does man have the freedom of his will? -TO BE CONTINUED --