Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21).
Paul, when giving his farewell words to the faithful elders of Ephesus reminded them of his ministry when he first came among them. He said, "serving the Lord with humility of mind, keeping back nothing that was profitable, preaching to the Jew and to the Gentile repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." (Acts 20:20-21).
Consider for a moment how important faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance toward God is. Our Lord said, "except that you repent you shall perish" (Mark 13:1-5). Again He said, "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb. 11:6). What does the scripture teach us about faith and repentance? Here are seven things to remember.
1). Both faith and repentance are sovereign gifts of God given to the sinner (Acts 5:29-31; 11:18; Eph. 2:8-9; Phi. 1:29).
2). Both faith and repentance are the commands of God (Acts 17:3-29-31; 1John 3:23).
3). Both faith and repentance own, bow, believe and submit to the true Lord Jesus Christ, the true and living God and His gospel (2Tim. 2:25; Titus 1:1).
4). Both faith and repentance are not isolated experiences of the believer, but rather a life-long state of being that is both powerful, permanent and perpetual. (John 5:24; Heb. 12:2; 1Pet. 2:4).
5). Both faith and repentance are not the ground or cause of our salvation but rather the fruit of life in Christ Jesus (Gal. 5:22; 1John 5:1).
6). Both faith and repentance come together at the same time not apart from each other. Where you find a broken and repentant heart you find a believing heart. Read these testimonies from the word (Psa. 51: 1-10; Rom. 7:18-24; Phil. 3:7-9).
7). As repentance grows so does faith. As faith grows so does repentance. The deeper our conviction of sin, the greater our esteem of Christ, who put away our sin (Heb. 9:26). The deeper our faith grows in Christ, as we see more of His beauty (S. Sol. 5:26), the more we see the repulsiveness of our own depravity ( Isa. 6:5; Job 42:5-6; 1Tim. 1:15).
One preacher of the past said, "When we have grown too big for repentance, we have also grown too proud for faith." "When faith is tempted to climb to presumption, repentance brings us back to sit at the Master's feet as little children." Now, do I have real and true repentance that leads to genuine faith? Do I have real faith that leads to true and valid repentance (2Cor. 13:5)?
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