Taken primarily from Derek Prince’s “Spirit-Filled Believer’s Handbook”

Mostly written in 2003

Hebrews 6:1: “…let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of REPENTANCE FROM DEAD WORKS and of faith toward God” 

  • What was Jesus’s mission/purpose?:  Luke 4:43 tells us Jesus’s purpose was to preach the kingdom of God.
  • What is the kingdom of God?:  Rom. 14:17 and John 3:5 show that the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom, as opposed to a natural kingdom (compare Ro. 14:17 with 1 Chr. 12:38-40).
  • How is kingdom of God received?:  Mark 1:14-15 shows that you receive the gospel of the kingdom of God by repentance and belief, or being born again (John 3:3).
  • Putting all of these together, we can see that Jesus’s purpose was to lead people to repentance and belief in the gospel.  This repentance and belief transports the person into a spiritual kingdom that is the difference between eternal life (heaven) and eternal death (hell).  The first objective of Christ’s mission was for people to REPENT!
  • What is repentance?:  Greek verb for repent is metanoein, meaning: “to change one’s mind.”  Hebrew verb for repent literally means “to turn,” “to return,” “to turn back.”  Putting the two together: Repentance is an inner change of mind resulting in an outward turning back, or turning around; to face and to move in a completely new direction.
  • What is an example of this repentance?:  Perfect example is found in parable of prodigal son (see Luke 15:11-32).  In this example, prodigal son turned his back on his father and home and went off to another land.  Eventually he came to himself and made a decision.  He said, “I will arise and go to my father” (v. 18).  He immediately carried out his decision: “And he arose and came to his father” (v. 20).  This is true repentance: first, the inward decision; then the outward act of that decision – the act of turning back to father and home.  
  • How is repentance different from remorse?:  Judas was remorseful (Matt. 27:3-4).  Judas experienced intense anguish and remorse.  Nevertheless, he did not experience true, scriptural repentance; he did not change his mind, his course, his direction.  On the contrary, the very next verse says he went and hanged himself.  Acts 1:25 expresses this in words: “Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.”  Esau was also remorseful, but not repentant (Hebrews 12:16-17).
  • What does repentance have to do with faith?:  The New Testament is unanimous on this one point: True repentance happens with true faith.  Without true repentance there can never be true faith.  
    • Isaiah (Isaiah 40:3) and Malachi prophesy that there must be a messenger before the Messiah comes.  Mark 1:3-4 shows: “’The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight.’ John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”  John came before Jesus preaching repentance, then Jesus came and said: “Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk. 1:15).  Jesus’s first spoken commandment was to repent.  
    • After His death and resurrection: “Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that REPENTANCE and REMISSION OF SINS should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47).  We see repentance first, then remission of sins.  
    • Shortly after the Holy Spirit’s coming on the day of Pentecost, the multitude asked Peter what to do: ”Then Peter said to them, ‘REPENT, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38).  Here again, repentance first; after that, baptism and remission of sins.  
    • When Paul spoke to the elders of the church at Ephesus, he outlined the gospel message which he had preached to them: “I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, REPENTANCE TOWARD GOD AND FAITH TOWARD OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST (Acts 20:20-21).  The order is the same: first repentance, then faith.  
    • Finally, Hebrews 6:1-2 lists the order of the basic foundation doctrines of the Christian faith, and it first lists repentance from dead works, then faith, baptisms and so on.   
    • In Hebrews 6:1 repentance is defined as “repentance from dead works”; in Acts 20:21 it is defined as “repentance toward God.”  This means that, in the act of repentance, we turn away from our dead works and face toward God, ready to hear and obey His next command.
    • In Luke 13:3,5 Christ says: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”  Christ was speaking of men who died in the very act of performing a religious rite.  
  • Who does true repentance begin with?:  Ps. 80:3,7 and Lamentations 5:21 show us that true repentance begins with God and not man (the word “restore” in Psalm 80 literally means “cause us to turn back”).  It originates not in the will of man but in the free and sovereign grace of God.  Apart from the working of God’s grace and the moving of God’s Spirit, man left to himself is incapable of repentance…Unless God first moves man toward Himself, man cannot of his own unaided will turn to God and be saved.  The first move is always made by God.
    • Christ expresses this clearly in John 6:44.
    • The supreme crisis in every human life comes at the moment of the Spirit’s drawing to repentance.  Accepted, this drawing leads us to saving faith and eternal life; rejected, it leaves the sinner to continue on his way to the grave and the unending darkness of an eternity apart from God. (Prince, SFBH). 
  • Who is called to repent?:  Acts 17:30 says that every man in every place is commanded to repent.
  • What is the formula in the Bible for GREAT MOVEMENTS OF GOD?:  The familiar words of 2 Chronicles 7:14 must not be missed: 
    • “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn form their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chr. 7:14)
    • For God to move greatly, his people are called to: 1. humble themselves (the Bible shows that a method of humbling one’s self is fasting, see Ps. 35:13).  2. pray and seek God.  3. REPENT (turn around from wicked ways).  In light of this passage, I would dare to say that FASTING AND PRAYER, AND REPENTANCE have been at the forefront of every single great movement of God.  The importance of repentance (along with fasting and prayer) has been discarded for far too long.  

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