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I have been reading these past few days Dan Phillip’s book, The World-Tilting Gospel, and I have certainly enjoyed it very much. This is a book that I recommend to anyone who professes to be a Christian but cannot explain the basics of his faith: what is the Gospel for example, and what does it mean -and why it matters so much- to have a Biblical worldview. On the other hand, it is a book that I recommend to those who already know the answers to those questions, but love the Gospel so much that reading about the wonderful truths in it is always a joy, a refreshment. It is like taking the time to sit back on a lovely day and be reminded of all its beauty, and once more, fall in love with it.
Yesterday I read what Phillips writes about repentance; and it made me think about the beauty of it. O what a wonderful gift it is to us! Yet, just like we do with many other of the gifts we receive from God, at times we despise it. How many times have we used this word only as an excuse to hide the sin we love? We say “I repent, forgive me,” only to keep on doing exactly the same thing, over and over again; making no effort to kill that sin; making no attempt to mortify the sin that wants to rule our conduct and destroy our relationships.
“Sticking with just the words translated “repent/ repentance” in the Greek NT, we start with the term’s fundamental idea: ‘Change your mind.’ However, I must issue an immediate warning: Beware mistaking ‘change your mind’ as meaning simply ‘shift an opinion or two.’ The ‘change’ is a radical, top-to-bottom change; and it is the ‘mind’ that must change, not merely some individual notion.”
“Maybe a better explanation of repentance would be a transformed mind, or a transformed way of thinking that issues in a transformed life.
We are exposed to the Word of God; and as a result, the way we look at and think about everything is transformed.”
“Everything is transformed,” this just hits hard. If we are still in this body, we are still struggling with our sinful nature, that is true. But, if we are true believers, repentance should be part of our daily walk with the Lord, which in turns means that we should be transformed every day in all things, in our attitudes, in the way we see things, in the way we look at the world. Always walking forward toward the goal: our sanctification.
Change and transformation must be part of our daily life. I don’t want to be the same person that I am today in ten years, or two months, or three weeks from now; not even when I go to bed tonight.
Phillips explains, taking the example of the Churches at Ephesus and Thessalonica, how when they repented, “their fundamental beliefs changed, and their loves changed -in costly, practical ways.” “They turned from the dead false idols they served, and to the living and true God, to a life centered around their hope in the Lord.”
“One cannot seek God or turn to Him without by that act turning away from sin. it is impossible to lie in the arms of sin as lover, or serve sin as master, and at the same time love and serve God. One cannot turn to God without turning away from sin.”
And this truth not only refers to the first time we are called out of darkness into His admirable light. This is true for today, in our Christian walk. Today I cannot turn to God without turning away from sin.
Today as we look at the Cross and take time to examine our heart, I pray we will truly grasp by the Spirit of God, what true repentance means so that, in turn, we may be changed into his likeness.
Under His grace,
If you are interested, you can read a more thorough review of this book at Douglas Wilson’s Blog.
More on repentance:
“All too frequently repentance is either not taught at all or it is in the fine print. We somehow feel that if we get a person to “receive Christ as their personal Savior” it will automatically change their heart. We don’t bother to find out if the person wants a changed heart. The Greek word for repentance simply means to change your mind. Do the people we “lead to Christ” want HIm to change their minds? Sad to say, frequently they do not. Too many people today think that it is possible to believe in God and be a Christian without turning to God and away from their sin. This is not the gospel message of Paul.”
Douglas Wilson, Beginning with Repentance