A study of repentance

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By Erasmus Makarimayi
THERE is a problem of the meaning of repentance in the face of modern preaching. Let us look at the meaning of the word that was used by Peter on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:38, New King James, “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

The Greek word means a “change of principle and practice,” “A mental change of attitudes.” It also means, “a change of mind” “a change of one’s mode of thinking,” “of one’s conduct.” Hold these definitions clearly in your mind as we study the Word.

It will be necessary for us first to notice the actual condition of natural man.

1 Corinthians 2:14, records, “But the natural 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.”

Why is it impossible for the natural man to understand the things of God? Ephesians 2:1-3 will give us a suggestion, “[1] And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation (conduct) in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

We will notice it more fully as we go on now. Here we found that the natural man is dead in trespasses and sins.

What does it mean? Perhaps we may get a suggestion from John 5:24: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

What does He mean by death? There are two kinds of death mentioned in the Word:- physical death and spiritual death. Spiritual death is the nature of Satan, just as Spiritual Life is the Nature of the Father.

1 John 3:14-15 will throw more light upon this. “[14] We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. [15] Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”

Here we have the contrast of death and life. Life is the Nature of the Father; death is the nature of the enemy/adversary, for the natural man is spiritually dead. He is a partaker of satanic nature that was given to him in the Garden, and down through the ages spiritual death has dominated man.

A vivid contrast is found in Romans 5:17 in Weymouth’s Translation. “For if, through the transgression of one, death seized the sovereignty through the one, much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness reign as kings in the realm of life, through the one Jesus Christ.”

Spiritual death seized the sovereignty over the human race in the Garden and man served as a slave under its dominion.

Paul unveils to us in Romans 5:12-21 the whole drama of spiritual death. We pick this: “Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death (spiritual death) through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned.” The fourteenth verse: “Nevertheless death reigned as a king over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam’s transgression.”

What does he mean? That physical death reigned over all men. No, spiritual death.

It had reigned without interference until Moses came. What did Moses give? Moses gave them the atonement in the blood of bulls and goats. Atonement means to cover.

He took a garment of animal life and spread it over spiritually dead Israel. That garment of blood covered the broken law and the priesthood.

Spiritual death lost its complete sovereignty as long as Israel walked in the First Covenant, but when Jesus came, the combat was between Life and Death.

Not physical life. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Grace and peace be multiplied to you through knowledge.