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Why Repentance is Necessary

posted Jul 19, 2017, 6:33 PM by William Masopust   [ updated Jul 19, 2017, 6:34 PM ]

It is a sad trend I see in the church, and I have personally witnessed it in churches I have previously attended, that repentance is rarely, if at all, mentioned. I honestly don't see how a church can claim to be preaching the gospel, if repentance is completely taken out of the mix. The message is stripped down to a simple A-B-C or 1-2-3 method and a two or three sentence dear-Lord-I-choose-You prayer—repentance lacking, of course. Where in the Bible is this method outlined or taught? I do not recall it being anywhere. The Scriptures hold the key to our preaching and hearing of the gospel, and repentance is certainly necessary for a conversion to take place.

In a nutshell, repentance is, according to Noah Webster, “...a change of mind, or a conversion from sin to God.” Notice that Noah Webster saw the importance repentance has on the conversion process. He actually used the conversion as the definition for repentance. In Thayer's Greek Lexicon, the Greek word, μετανοέω (met-an-o-eh'-o), is defined and explaind like this: "to change one's mind, i.e. to repent (to feel sorry that one has done this or that, of having offended someone)... used especially of those who, conscious of their sins and with manifest tokens of sorrow, are intent, on obtaining God's pardon... to change one's mind for the better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins." These two definitions are exemplified quite well by Paul in 2nd Corinthians 7:10, which says, "For godly sorrow works penitence to salvation not to be repented of, but the sorrow of the world works death." Godly sorrow, or compunction (a picking of heart; poignant grief proceeding from a sense of guilt or consciousness of causing pain; the sting of conscience), leads to a true salvation which lacks any regret.

The Scriptures refer to various forms of repentance throughout the Bible. What immediately comes to my mind is the first quote of Jesus Christ according to Mark's gospel: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15). Also, at the beginning of the thirteenth chapter of Luke, Jesus rebuked some people who believed they were more righteous than some Galileans because of the sins committed by the Galileans by telling them, "...unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:1-5). In fact, He said that to them twice, each after giving an example to prove His point. He was trying to demonstrate to these people that they, as sinners, will also perish as the sinners from Galilee, if they do not repent of their sins. Finally, in the third chapter of Revelation, after Jesus rebukes the luke-warm church, he tells them, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Be zealous therefore, and repent" (verse 19). If anyone should set the example for presenting the gospel it would be Jesus, and He did not withhold repentance from His preaching.

Elsewhere, the Scriptures even mention the role and importance of repentance in the conversion process. For instance, Isaiah 59:20 says, "And the Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob." In other words, Christ will come to those who repent. In The Acts of the Apostles, Peter preached repentance as being necessary. In Acts 3:19, Peter was speaking to a group of people, and after preaching the Law's telling of Christ and the need of faith in Him, he said to them, "Therefore repent, and be converted, so that your sins may be blotted out..." (Recall back to Noah Webster's definition of repentance and see in this verse how it is consistent, and that repentance and conversion go hand in hand.) Also in The Acts of the Apostles, Paul gives light to the importance of repentance. In the seventeenth chapter, Paul is speaking on Mars-hill to some men of Athens who worship the "unknown god." In verses 30 and 31, Paul drives the point home by saying, "And the times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he has ordained, of which he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead." Notice that Paul says that God commands repentance. With these few scriptures as examples, it is clear that repentance is very necessary for a soul's conversion. Not only is it essential for the conversion, but God also commands it.

Now, a possible argument that may arise is that people already know right from wrong and since they already know right from wrong, repentance doesn't need to be stressed. This mindset is not only contrary to the examples given in the Scriptures, it's also dangerous. The Scriptures are to be our guide and example, and if we claim this to be so, then the Scriptures show us the manner in which we are to preach. Isaiah preached repentance, Peter preached repentance, Paul preached repentance, and even Jesus Christ preached repentance—among many others in the Bible. They are our guides and examples; therefore, we should do as they have and preach repentance. I also mentioned that the argument is dangerous. To give an example, I will use the prophet Micah. In Micah 2:11, he speaks of false prophets coming and preaching "wine and strong drink." Micah is warning the people of the dangers of the preaching of these false prophets who preach what the people want to be preached. In other words, Micah is warning the people of those who come preaching to the satisfaction of the flesh, and that if they do not repent, they will have the reward of the false prophet. In reference, it says in Jeremiah 5:31, concerning the teaching of false prophesies, that, "…my people love to have it so…" Matthew Henry, a trusted Biblical commentator, made a bold statement concerning the teachings of false prophets. He said, "False teachers encourage men to expect peace and salvation, without repentance, faith, conversion, and holiness of life." Matthew Henry saw the importance of preaching repentance for the conversion of souls. Even though people have a sense of knowing right from wrong, that is no excuse for taking repentance lightly.

Now, I must explain the role of repentance in the conversion process. In a nutshell, in order to convert, a man must change, and repentance is that change of sinful ways to the godly lifestyle. Repentance can be better detailed than that. It begins with sin. Every person in the world is born into a sinful nature. It is at this point that a man is a spiritual corpse, or dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). If the course of his life remains as such, he will continue for all eternity as a spiritual corpse. Sin is the bondage which holds the man in his condition. It says in Jeremiah that, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). Furthermore, the man remains in his condition because, "...men have loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19). This applies to all of mankind and is given a term: Total Depravity. This can also be seen in Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Man is in a desperate condition, and if things are to change, help must come. God has set in order the things to come throughout all of eternity, even those who are called to salvation. He has, in effect, unconditionally elected, or adopted (Ephesians 1:5) His children; moreover, He allows His adopted children to participate in the calling of His other adopted children to salvation. But first, He had to pave a narrow way to salvation by offering His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross as the one sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 10:12). This offering was a universal act, but the gift is reserved for those who will believe, or the elect (John 3:16). This is known as the limited atonement. We are to preach this gospel to all the world (Mark 16:15) as the call to salvation to those who are chosen by God. It is through the hearing of this gospel of Christ that the Holy Spirit revives the spiritual corpse in a show of God's grace (for it is by grace through faith that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8)), to give the man the power to become a son of God, not by his own will (not by free will), but by the will of God (John 1:12-13). This power is what overcomes the sinful resistance of man against God's grace, which makes God's grace irresistible. This power allows the man to put off the old, sinful corpse of a man, and put on Christ into eternal life (Ephesians 4:22-24), for Christ is his strength (Philippians 4:13). This is that turning point of repentance when the conversion takes place, which was preached. The man has converted from a corpse to a revived spirit. Now, God will forever hold the man in His hand (John 10:27-29) and he will persevere to the end with Christ.

The process of conversion is purely monergistic, meaning that it is completely from God alone (Jonah 2:9). Even though the conversion of a man's soul is accomplished completely apart from his own works or the works of another man, repentance is still a critical aspect of that conversion, which must be preached. While the conversion is monergistic, repentance is still applied to the Christian walk as a response to God's grace. The need for repentance is seen through the preaching of the Law, which is in place "so that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God" (Romans 3:19). It is only through a thorough preaching of the Law that we may see that sin is "exceedingly sinful" (Romans 7:13), for "the Law was our school-master to bring us to Christ, so that we might be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24).

God gives us, as His children, the opportunity to participate in His plans of redemption for the souls of men. To have this honor is not to be taken lightly. It is a very serious and weighty matter, and it would be an injustice to the privilege we have been given if we were not to follow in His example, through Christ's preaching of repentance.

New Digital Edition of the RCV Released: r1707

posted Jul 17, 2017, 12:03 PM by William Masopust   [ updated Jul 17, 2017, 12:04 PM ]

Today, a new digital edition of the RCV has been released. This is the r1707 edition. This edition contains hundreds of edits and focused primarily on specific books, namely, Joshua, Ezra, Nehemiah, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Daniel. The edits primarily consisted of readability issues and the removal of commas that may be deemed unnecessary or were inconsistent with the flow of reading.

This edition will include all digital files available on the Downloads page and the Kindle edition on the Amazon Kindle book store. This edition will not be applied to the print version of the RCV. I will wait for the next edition release to update the print version.

Thank you for your taking the time to read the RCV, and as always, if you have any questions, comments, or feedback of any kind, please feel free to send me an email to the address listed on the Home page. I always welcome and value reader feedback. Again, thank you.

New Edition of the RCV Released: r1701

posted Jan 1, 2017, 4:19 PM by William Masopust   [ updated Jan 1, 2017, 4:20 PM ]

I have released a new edition of the RCV today. This is the r1701 edition and it will be applied to both digital and print versions of the RCV text. This edition contains more than a thousand edits, mainly in the New Testament. The great majority of these edits will most likely go unnoticed as they are very minor, only involving removing, moving, or adding commas. There were, however, many readability updates to various passages in Acts, Revelation, Zechariah, and Malachi. Also, the print version of the RCV will feature the updated title page introduced in the r1607 edition of the digital version.

This edition will affect all versions of the RCV text. The digital versions on the Downloads page have already been updated and the Kindle version on the Amazon Kindle book store should be updated within the next few days. The print versions have been submitted for publishing and should be available by the end of January 2017.

Thank you for your taking the time to read the RCV, and as always, if you have any questions, comments, or feedback of any kind, please feel free to send me an email to the address listed on the Home page. I always welcome and value reader feedback. Again, thank you.

New Digital Edition of the RCV Released: r1607

posted Jun 30, 2016, 11:26 AM by William Masopust   [ updated Jun 30, 2016, 1:56 PM ]

Today, a new digital edition of the RCV has been released. This is the r1607 edition. This edition contains hundreds of edits across the whole text. I have replaced several archaic or obsolete words, many verses have been revised for clarity (i.e., Habakkuk 2:18, etc.), I have changed the spelling of some words to the American English spelling (e.g., 'towards' was changed to 'toward'), the glossary underwent a few changes (e.g., removed 'Cote' and added 'Fold', 'Repent' and 'Repentance' were also added, etc.), and the PDF file has a newly formatted title page.

This edition will include all digital files available on the Downloads page and the Kindle edition on the Amazon Kindle book store. This edition will not be applied to the print version of the RCV. I will wait for the next edition release to update the print version.

I plan on sticking to a consistent schedule for releasing updates to the RCV. The plan is to release a new digital edition every 6 months and a new print edition annually. The text on this website will still contain the latest edits to the day, so the website will be continually updated on a daily basis.

Thank you for your taking the time to read the RCV, and as always, if you have any questions, comments, or feedback of any kind, please feel free to send me an email to the address listed on the Home page. I always welcome and value reader feedback. Again, thank you.

Can I Know if Someone Else is Saved?

posted May 30, 2016, 8:57 AM by William Masopust   [ updated May 30, 2016, 8:58 AM ]

To answer this question, I will cite John Calvin's Commentary on Philippians 1:6. That verse says, "Being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

Calvin said this in his commentary:

"It is asked whether any one can be certain as to the salvation of others, for Paul here is not speaking of himself but of the Philippians. I answer, that the assurance which an individual has respecting his own salvation, is very different from what he has as to that of another. For the Spirit of God is a witness to me of my calling, as he is to each of the elect. As to others, we have no testimony, except from the outward efficacy of the Spirit; that is, in so far as the grace of God shows itself in them, so that we come to know it. There is, therefore, a great difference, because the assurance of faith remains inwardly shut up, and does not extend itself to others. But wherever we see any such tokens of Divine election as can be perceived by us, we ought immediately to be stirred up to entertain good hope, both in order that we may not be envious toward our neighbors, and withhold from them an equitable and kind judgment of charity; and also, that we may be grateful to God. This, however, is a general rule both as to ourselves and as to others—that, distrusting our own strength, we depend entirely upon God alone."

Feature Highlight: Notes on Joel, Amos, and Obadiah

posted Apr 27, 2016, 11:07 AM by William Masopust   [ updated Apr 27, 2016, 11:07 AM ]

I now have a complete set of notes for the books of Joel, Amos, and Obadiah. I really enjoyed studying these books because, before I began to study them, I didn't know a whole lot about them. I really liked the consistent story of redemption in them. They all show that we are all sinners, and that if we repent of our sins and turn to Christ, we shall be spared the wrath of God. They also show God's care for his elect people, or his Church, under the head of Christ.

Here are some notable passages:

  • Joel 2:32
  • Amos 5:4-6
  • Amos 9:11-15
  • Obadiah 1:17-21

Feature Highlight: Notes on Hosea

posted Apr 7, 2016, 9:21 AM by William Masopust   [ updated Apr 7, 2016, 9:21 AM ]

As with my previous post on this blog, I have a complete set of notes on Hosea. One thing to note about these notes is that the style changes with chapter 10.

This was a roughly 40-day study on a relatively small book in the Minor Prophets. Before this study, I had very few notes on Hosea and honestly, didn't have a good understanding of the book. There's a lot of theology and a lot of the Gospel to be discovered in the prophecy of Hosea.

If you should happen to check out these notes, I hope that they might provide something useful for you.

Feature Highlight: Notes on Exodus

posted Mar 31, 2016, 10:37 AM by William Masopust   [ updated Mar 31, 2016, 10:38 AM ]

Back in December of 2015, I decided to begin a study on Exodus. What came of it was a completion of my already existing notes for that book.

Years ago, I had taught a Sunday school class on Exodus. I was only able to complete the first twenty chapters. I had a healthy set of notes for those chapters, and up until just recently, they were only stored in a folder on my Google Drive. I now had good reason to put them to use, which I had wanted to do ever since I taught that class.

As soon as I began my recent study of Exodus, I immediately knew what to do with my notes, and that is, publish them on the RCV site. After spending 57 days studying Exodus, I have my study notes on each page of each chapter of exodus—all 40 chapters.

As with every other feature I add to the RCV site, I hope it will be profitable for the reader. The book of Exodus is a very important book and has been said to be the Old Testament book with the most references to Christ[1]; moreover, it contains the Ten Commandments. This book begins the law, which "was our school-master to bring us to Christ, so that we might be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24).

So, if you're interested, head on over to Exodus and check out the notes.

Footnotes

[1] - From Robert Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary, in his General Observations of Exodus: "And indeed as it appears from the many references which are made by the other sacred writers of both the Testaments to this book of God, that there are more types and shadows of the Lord Jesus in Exodus, than perhaps in any other of the writings of the Old Testament..."

New Book for Download: Sermons of Master John Calvin upon the Book of Job

posted Dec 6, 2015, 12:07 PM by William Masopust   [ updated Jun 22, 2016, 10:08 AM ]

NOTE: John Calvin's Sermons on Job are available in print. Go to the Books page for the links.

A new book is available for download on the Books page of the RCV website. The book is called, "Sermons of the Master John Calvin upon the Book of Job." I have been searching for this book for a very long time and I found it on the website, Archive.org. This book is very difficult to find in print for a decent price. Currently, the lowest cost I can find for a print version of this book is around $60. I am currently considering offering this book in print form, but haven't decided yet. If I do, I hope to offer it for less than $30.

This book is typeset in the original form when published in 1547 and it is written in Middle English. Because of that, it can be a slow read, but your eyes and brain will soon adjust and you should be able to read it near a normal speed with a little patience and practice.

I compiled this book from a high-resolution scan of an original printing. Due to the age and wear of the source book, there is some information loss in this digital version. All of the sermons are present and the great majority (90% or so) of them are 100% readable. There are few sermons with missing or unreadable words, and few with damage to the pages. I made an attempt to preserve as much information on each page as possible while maintaining the best readability as possible.

One change I made to this book is that I put The Table to the back of the book instead of the front where it originally was. This allows the reader to begin with the sermons (less scrolling in the PDF file). I also added a table of contents listing the sermon number along with the verses covered in that sermon.

So, if, like me, you've been searching for this book, feel free to download it on the Books page or at the below link. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. This sermon series is truly a treasure of teaching. It's most unfortunate that this book is so difficult to find.

Download link: Sermons of Master John Calvin upon the Book of Job

  • NOTE: This is a large PDF file and you will likely get a message from Google Drive saying that the file cannot be scanned for viruses because it is too large. Simply click the "Download anyway" button on that page to download the book.

Updated RCV Text

posted Aug 3, 2015, 1:16 PM by William Masopust

I have released a new update to the text of the RCV. This update fixes many minor spelling, punctuation, and grammar fixes. I also updated the chapter outlines to better match the terminology of the RCV text. There were two notable readability improvement to the text: 1) Amos 3:12, where the phrase "takes out" was replaced with "rescues" to give a better understanding of the text; 2) 1st Timothy 3:14-15, where punctuation and wording were altered to greatly improve readability.

This update is currently available on the Downloads page. An update to the Kindle version purchased at Amazon.com will be available in the next few weeks. Finally, I hope to have an update to the print editions of the RCV published soon.

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