Sabbath, August 22, 2009
“Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Acts 5:31; Luke 24:47.
God’s work in man
1. What is the Lord’s invitation to every human being, without exception? What is the final result of sin if we do not repent?
Acts 17:30, 31 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
“Today a large part of those who compose our congregations are dead in trespasses and sins. They come and go like the door upon its hinges. For years they have complacently listened to the most solemn, soul-stirring truths, but they have not put them in practice…. The stirring testimonies of reproof and warning do not arouse them to repentance. The sweetest melodies that come from God through human lips–justification by faith, and the righteousness of Christ–do not call forth from them a response of love and gratitude. Though the heavenly Merchantman displays before them the richest jewels of faith and love,… they steel their hearts against Him, and fail to exchange their lukewarmness for love and zeal. While making a profession, they deny the power of godliness. If they continue in this state, God will reject them.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 426.
2. What work of great importance is taking place in the hearts and minds of the people to lead them to repentance?
Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Acts 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
John 16:7, 8 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.
“The Spirit is given as a regenerating agency, to make effectual the salvation wrought by the death of our Redeemer. The Spirit is constantly seeking to draw the attention of men to the great offering that was made on the cross of Calvary, to unfold to the world the love of God, and to open to the convicted soul the precious things of the Scriptures.
“Having brought conviction of sin, and presented before the mind the standard of righteousness, the Holy Spirit withdraws the affections from the things of this earth and fills the soul with a desire for holiness.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 52, 53.
Without repentance, there is no freedom from sin
3. May we expect to improve our condition if we try to cover up or justify our mistakes? What does repentance include?
Psalm 32:1-3 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.
Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
“Repentance includes sorrow for sin and a turning away from it. We shall not renounce sin unless we see its sinfulness; until we turn away from it in heart, there will be no real change in the life.” –Steps to Christ, p. 23.
“Repentance is turning from self to Christ; and when we receive Christ so that through faith He can live His life in us, good works will be manifest.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 87.
4. What type of repentance is outside God’s sphere of response?
Hebrews 12:16, 17 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
Numbers 32:23 But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out.
“Esau was not shut out from the privilege of seeking God’s favor by repentance, but he could find no means of recovering the birthright. His grief did not spring from conviction of sin; he did not desire to be reconciled to God. He sorrowed because of the results of his sin, but not for the sin itself.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 181.
The result of God’s response
5. How does the Lord guide individuals to sincere repentance? Whose life and sacrifice revealed God’s wonderful grace?
Acts 5:30, 31 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Romans 3:24, 25 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.
“It is the virtue that goes forth from Christ, that leads to genuine repentance. Peter made the matter clear in his statement to the Israelites when he said, ‘Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.’ Acts 5:31. We can no more repent without the Spirit of Christ to awaken the conscience than we can be pardoned without Christ.” –Steps to Christ, p. 26.
6. What will be the evidence that true, sincere repentance has taken place?
2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Matthew 3:7-9 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
“No repentance is genuine that does not work reformation. The righteousness of Christ is not a cloak to cover unconfessed and unforsaken sin; it is a principle of life that transforms the character and controls the conduct. Holiness is wholeness for God; it is the entire surrender of heart and life to the indwelling of the principles of heaven.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 555, 556.
“Through repentance and faith we are rid of sin, and look unto the Lord our righteousness….
“Although as sinners we are under the condemnation of the law, yet Christ by His obedience rendered to the law, claims for the repentant soul the merit of His own righteousness. In order to obtain the righteousness of Christ, it is necessary for the sinner to know what that repentance is which works a radical change of mind and spirit and action. The work of transformation must begin in the heart, and manifest its power through every faculty of the being; but man is not capable of originating such a repentance as this, and can experience it alone through Christ….” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 393.
7. Therefore, what was the immediate invitation given when people responded to one of the most solemn sermons ever preached? What similar appeals must be presented to the people today?
Acts 2:37, 38 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 3:18 But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
8. Since sin is like deadly leprosy, what should be our first and most ardent desire?
1 Chronicles 21:8 And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.
Psalm 25:11 For thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.