Class 3: Repentance
Much of this class including the general outline and some of things I wrote are taken directly or indirectly from the book Whosoever Repenteth by L. Wayne Updike. For quotes that I have included from this book, I have indicated the page numbers.
The Principle of Repentance
Scripture: DC 6:4
The realization and process of repentance.
It seems that many times when sermons are preached that involve repentance there is a less warm reception to the material then if it had been about something else such as God’s love. This may in part be the delivery, but it should be made abundantly clear that the process or need for repentance should not be something to fear. Repentance should be a happy process that draws us closer to God.
As we recognize sin in our lives, we acknowledge that we have error. This realization often provides us with the desire to make amends for our errors and is the direct result of God’s Spirit working within us.
Definition of Repentance:
“Repentance is a conscious, positive response to an ever increasing revelation of God.” page 15
“Repentance involves obtaining a new view of God and his purposes.” Pg 16
“Repentance sees sin as rebellion against God, not just a matter of inherited characteristics.” page 20
“Repentance, then, is a way of life which we see with increasing clarity as we walk therein, a way in which our sin becomes more apparent as we move closer to the light” page 21
We also have a responsibility to make amends with others.
The Need for Repentance
Scriptures: Romans 3:23, Acts 17:30
Is repentance needed? How are we doing?
What has God really done for us and how should this evoke the need for repentance in our lives?
DC 101:2d, e; 59:4, 5
What aspects of God’s nature are involved in repentance?
The Process of Repentance
Scripture: II Corinthians 7:10
Godly sorrow reminds us of the guilt of our sins, but shouldn’t bring us down. The avenue of repentance should bring us hope.
Has the process of repentance begun in your life?
Repentance has already started or you wouldn’t be here.
What is the function of the Spirit in the process of repentance?
John 16:13; DC 36:1l
What function does faith play in repentance?
Alma 13:52-54; 16:151
The general process of repentance is similar to the game of checkers where you give away pieces instead of trying to take them.
“Immediately when a man asks questions, God responds. When new light comes to him he must make a new decision. Will he change directions in response to the light that God gives him, or will he continue to go in the way that he was going before? It is man’s move.” page 49
We need to have a change of mind.
“We are not punished for our sins; we are punished by them, for they keep us away from God our Father.” page 56
“A righteous man is not righteous because of what he does. He does what he does because he is righteous” Vernon Cornish
Our response needs to be suitable and appropriate.
Alma 9:27; 10:6
We are always called upwards by God because of his inherent goodness and love towards us. page 57
Repentance and the first commandment
Scriptures: Romans 12:2; Proverbs 4:23; Joshua 24:15
What is the great commandment in the law?
Matthew 22:36-38; Mark 12:35; Luke 10:28
“Jesus intended that man’s relationship with God should touch the life of man in all its aspects.” page 62
“God is not so concerned with our getting what we want as he is in our wanting the right things. Repentance has to do with what human beings want. And there are some people who continually work to obtain things that will take them to the place they don’t want to go. Our motives have to do with our heart. They move us in various directions. We respond to our desires.” page 65
“The repentant man learns to make the right selections so he moves in the direction of thinking more and more as God thinks.” page 69
“The investment of our strength can be in one of two directions. The repentant man sees to it that his strength is invested in such a way that it will help the kingdom and thus move himself toward God. This is probably one of the greatest areas in which the church needs to go forward. The idea of witnessing is strong among us. We have emphasized it for years. We have worked on technique; we have developed our procedures; we have set our goals; we have tabulated our results. But the heavy emphasis in all these years of talking about witnessing has been in witnessing in word only. We have worked hard on learning how to tell the story. The day is here when we must begin actually meeting the needs of people. We must not only tell them the gospel, but show how it works, not only by feeding the poor but also by solving for them the problem of poverty.” page 77
“The repentant man deliberately chooses actions that will build emotional and intellectual patterns which are in harmony with God’s purposes.” page 78
Repentance and the ordinances
Scriptures: DC 1:3; 52:4
“We enter a covenant a long time before we return to the place of our destiny. God’s plan has to do with working with a covenant people to achieve his purposes in us and includes the ordinances as steps along the way, as significant points in the life of people who have determined to become the kind of people he wants us to become.” page 83
“… in general the word ‘ordinance’ means the legal connotation, the idea of law, or of commandment. And the word ‘sacrament’ has attached to it the connotation of ecclesiasticism.” page 85
“The ordinances make a significant contribution to our progress toward God. They provide a focal point or a check point along the way. An ordinance or sacrament is the point at which there is an outward indication of a decision within.” page 85
“In the ordinances we give evidence of an inward commitment to devote ourselves to becoming more nearly worthy of His gifts. The ordinance is an indication of a step along the way which man is intended to go. It is not a sign of having completed the course. It is more like a service station than the destination.” page 86
“The Sacrament provides an occasion when the Christ is placed at the center to receive the attention which he deserves among us and thus call forth from us additional action to move us toward God. To accomplish this he specifies the symbols which we shall use to represent him.” page 88
“Many people participate in the ordinances unworthily, as the Scripture says, ‘not discerning the body of Christ.’ Since the purpose of the ordinance is to set up the situation in which the Christ can make himself visible to us through his Spirit, the person who partakes unworthily is not just simply breaking a law. He is failing to prepare himself that his eyes can be opened to the presence of Jesus. Seeing causes us to commit ourselves to him. This response to him we have called repentance.” page 88
“Repentance is an appropriate prerequisite to the proper participation in the ordinances. If there were no prerequisites there could be no significance.” page 90
“Repentance is not only a prerequisite, but also an indirect result of proper participation in the ordinances. When one participates in the ordinances properly and sees the Christ, there is born a new determination to serve him more adequately.” page 91
Repentance and salvation
Scriptures: Psalms 51:1, 2; Gen 5:1-2; 6:30-31
Forgiveness and cleansing
I John 1:9
“There is a difference between being forgiven and being cleansed from our sins. These two things should be considered as being related but not necessarily the same. First of all, there is the matter of being saved from sin, saved from the condition of continuing in sin, being saved from the situation in which we find ourselves if we are rebellious or if we are against God. We are saved from that condition. But more than that, there is the other side of being saved – the being saved to something worth while or for some purpose.” page 103
“One aspect of the great purpose of the Restoration is to prevent men from being deceived and misled in this area. Forgiveness and salvation are not the same. Even though we cannot be with God unless we are forgiven, yet the two are different. Forgiveness cannot cancel consequences. It removes the reasons for pressing charges against us under the law, but it does not erase the effect our sins have had upon ourselves. If a man in error drives a nail in a beautiful panel door, he may remove the nail, and the landlord may forgive him, but the nail hole still remains.” page 104
Things to ponder for next week:
What can I do to help others draw closer to the Lord?
To what extent can we expect the Lord to work in our lives and within the Branch?