Unless believers repent

Published 9:37 am Monday, June 24, 2013

By Charles Christmas

My last column was the first of four in a mini-series on “Unless We Repent.” The definition of repent is “to turn from and turn to: to turn around, change your mind and your direction.” The simple Bible truth of that column was this: without repenting there is no receiving of the forgiveness, acceptance and the new birth made possible for all by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (You can refer to that column, or any of my previous columns, online: Clanton Advertiser, write in the right top search space, “Charles Christmas”, and scroll down.)

The simple Bible truth of today’s column is that repenting at the beginning of the Christian life is only the beginning of “turning” for the believer. The Book of Ephesians might well be called “The Believers’ Simple Guide for Repenting.” The first three chapters could be called “An Explanation of the Saving Experience” and the last three chapters, “The Believers Guide to the Changed Life.” Using the definition in the above paragraph, let’s examine some ways in which a believer must repent after he or she is saved. These “turnings” and “changes” can be found by simply meditating on chapters 4, 5 and 6 of the Book of Ephesians and some of them are as follows:

Put off the old self and put on the new self. Turn from the former mind-set of darkness, ignorance, lust, sensuality and rebellion against God; turn to a new attitude of your mind to be like God in true righteousness and be different. Turn from lying and speak the truth. Turn quickly from anger, bitterness, rage, brawling, slander and every form of malice; turn to kindness, compassion, and forgiveness, just as in Christ God has forgiven you. Turn away from stealing (any of the ways of taking from others) to being one who gives to others. Work diligently to purposefully earn and have something to share with those in need. Turn away from unwholesome, obscene, foolish talk and coarse joking, and use your tongue for building others up according to their need and for giving of thanks and praise to God. Turn away from lust, sexual immorality, impurity and greed; turn to imitating God’s love toward others just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. Turn away from wasting time by being a fool and make the most of every opportunity to know and do God’s will. Turn away from seeking an additional “higher experience beyond normal” from alcohol and drugs and seek “a higher experience beyond normal” by being controlled by the Holy Spirit. Turn away from a self-centered dominance in relationships and experience a loving submission with others (including relating to a marriage partner). Turn away from disobedience and dishonor toward parents and go in the direction of obeying and honoring. As a father, turn away from contrary actions and attitude toward your children and set before then a Christ-like example and the teachings of Jesus. As an employee, turn away from lesser attitudes and actions in your work and do your labor as if you were being employed by the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are responsible for persons working under you, be an overseer ever remembering Jesus Christ is your overseer.

So, what if believers do not continue to repent, turn and change? They miss the very purpose for being saved. We were saved to be a part of the answer, not the problem; to be the light of the world, not the darkness; to be salt, not tasteless calcium; to be attractive, not repulsive; to be free, not to be enslaved; to be a recommendation, not a shameful misrepresentation; and to be a joy to the Father, not a disappointment.

God is a loving father to his believing, saved children. He continues to call us to change our minds, turn, turn around, change and go in his direction. He does this for our own peace and joy and profit. Every time we meditate in the Word of God, hear a sermon, sit in a Bible class, remember Bible teachings or think of an exemplary Christian, it is a call from God to change or apply in a personal corrective way. You, as the in-flight pilot of the plane of your personal life, are called upon by the Lord to make in-flight course corrections as they are needed.

—Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Thursday.