Greetings friends everywhere! Let’s talk about a topic that’s least understood on Christianity – change or repentance!
Repentance means to change and is a vital part of the Christians life. Jesus said, “Unless you change (repent), you too will all perish” (Luke 13:3, 5). The Holy Spirit, on the day of Pentecost, uttered a powerful message of change (repentance) to the people through Peter, “Repent (change) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). The repentance and the ‘cross’ are two separate acts that dovetails into the other in one movement – you cannot have one without the other. Sometimes, repentance can take time depending on the person’s response to it, and his or her subsequent grasp and need for it. When time is of the essence, the Work of the ‘cross’ is held at bay by the person’s response, waiting for repentance to bring the person to the foot of the ‘cross.’
But here is the question to do with the ‘missing link.’ When a person comes to the point of understanding and sees the need for repentance, however long or brief that may take, is the awareness of his or her sins enough to take the vital second step to the ‘cross’? The answer is, no! Our awareness for repentance, which the Holy Spirit gives us, does not equal repentance. Awareness simply makes us recognize the need for repentance. It is not repentance. For it is humanly impossible for man to repent of his or her sins. Man does not have it in himself to repent unconditionally and absolutely as God expects of him. That is why Jesus had to come. That is why He is the Good News (Gospel).
Only Jesus, in His perfect sinless divine/human reality, has done that. If it takes the ‘cross’ to save man from his sins, then how is it possible man can repent of his sins? Jesus does and mediates in both these vital activities in man, it’s that simple. People have wrongly assumed repentance is ‘man’s part’ and the cross is ‘Jesus’ part.’ No, salvation is entirely God’s Work, which He does in man through the power of the Spirit. If only He can save us from our sins (‘cross’), then only He can repent of our sins in our place. This is what the Triune love of God is, and what collaborative Triune living means. We are never left to ourselves, and He never leaves us. We cannot accept one without the other – we can’t accept His ‘cross,’ without His repentance. They both go hand-in-hand in one movement of faith in His complete saving Work.
In our awareness of our fallen state of being which constantly generate wrong choices in life (sin/trespasses) that brings on heartaches and pain, repentance and the ‘cross’ enables us to live vicariously in the perfect glorified humanity of Jesus in heaven, Whom the Father accepts on man’s behalf as the only sure and complete mediation for man. This does not gives us the license to live in care-free abandon, but rather, sin or the mistakes we make in life that brings on suffering, pain and eventually death, creates in us the awareness for the need of a Savior to help us repent so we can be forgiven and follow the right path blessed with life, not death. It is a life which Paul told young Timothy, “the life that is truly life” (1 Tim.6:19; 4:8).
Repentance and forgiveness (the ‘cross’) initiates our relationship with the Triune God through and in Christ. Our need to repent on an ongoing basis is intended to take us to its reality in Christ. Just as no other but Jesus saves man at the ‘cross,’ only He can repent for our forgiveness on a continuous basis. I explained this in my Book, “Bula man-river,” this way,
“A person cannot repent and forgive his own sins, but it’s done for him by the miraculous act of the Spirit through faith in Christ. Jesus, though He had no sin to repent of, assumed the “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” of John the Baptist in the place of man (Luke 3:3; Matt.3:13-17; Rom.6:3-4). Likewise, though Jesus was sinless and did not deserve death, He was crucified for mankind’s sins (John 19:16-18; Rom. 6:6-8 2 Cor. 5:21) Jesus’ baptism/repentance marks man’s point of true conversion, and His death, resurrection, and ascension marks his point of true forgiveness and entering the new life in the Spirit (“living waters”). He is now the Bula man-river who takes his stand in the finished Work of Christ (Rom. 5:12, 18-19, 21; 6: 4-8, 23; 1 Cor. 15:22; Eph. 2:1, emphasis added).”
I go on to say, “Man repents because Jesus has already done it for him, not because man is capable of doing it for himself. These are gifts from God our Father, which today, are ritualized in church ceremonies. Jesus ministry encapsulates His complete mediation for humans which began at the repentance for man’s sins in the Jordan, and ended at Golgotha for the forgiveness of mankind’s transgressions. His life in between these two momentous acts, embodied all our human responses He carried in healing all our pain and suffering, in body, mind and spirit. He is the “author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2 NKJV).” (“Bula” man-river, The Miracle of Triune Living”, Pg.41-42)
“The Words I have spoken to you–they are full of the Spirit and life.” – John 6:63
Repentance and forgiveness are important because they are vital steps that takes us into the realm of living the miraculous life in the Triune Being and existence of God in the Father, the Son Jesus, and the Spirit. And make no mistake, this miraculous life, springing from these two pillar-decisions we make in Christ, makes all the difference how you and your loved ones will live life to the full today, and by extension, your community and the valley (people) you will flow through as a “Bula man-river.”* For it is in our encounter with the Triune God that the miraculous life is lived and articulated.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to write me in the space provided below, or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessing of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you today and give you strength for authentic Triune Living as a Bula man-river.*
Kiang (Your Servant in Christ)
* The “Bula man-river” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. To read the many facets of life of the Bula man-river, go to my website www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my Book.
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
Note: Any information obtained from this website that is used for publication should be acknowledged by citing the website address, date of acquisition and information pertinent to original authorship. For general guidelines regarding web citations see The Guide for Citing Electronic Information.