What It Means to be a Christian

What it means to be a Christian:  There is no forgiveness without repentance.  There is no salvation without surrender.  There is no life without death.  There is no believing without committing.

– Idleman, Kyle; Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus; Zondervan; copyright 2011; Grand Rapids, MI; Kindle Edition; page 34

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Godly Sorrow Leads Us on to a Glorious Celebration of the Gospel

Godly sorrow for sin does not lead to self-condemnation and attempts to atone for your sins through acts of penance.  Godly sorrow leads to repentance, which leads us to the cross.  There we see, once again, the beautiful sufficiency of our marvelous Savior.  Godly sorrow leads us on to a big party, another glorious celebration of the truth of the gospel.

– Duguid, Barbara; Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in our Weakness; P&R Publishing; Philipsburg, NJ; copyright 2013; Page 197

We Do Not Need to Be Afraid of What We Will Find in Our Hearts

The good news of the gospel is precisely what gives us the courage to be honest about our sin without being undone by it.  It is possible and delightful to engage in soul searching when you are confident that God is not ashamed of you and will never abandon you, no matter what sins you find lurking there.  Confession becomes a relief while repentance is possible only when we know what it is that we need to repent of.  When we grasp the gospel we do not need to be afraid of what we will find in our hearts, for God’s grace is far greater than all our sin.

– Duguid, Barbara; Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in our Weakness; P&R Publishing; Philipsburg, NJ; copyright 2013; Page 175

It Is Time Once Again to Love God With Our Minds

The greatest  threat to Christianity is never vigorous intellectual criticism but a creeping senility that transform truths into feelings, public claims into private experiences, and facts into mere values.  Christianity is either true or false, ut it is not irrational.  If its claims are not objectively true, then they are not subjectively useful.  If our only reason for believing Jesus is alive is that “he lives within my heart,” then, as Paul said, “our preaching is in vain and your faith in in vain.”  “We are even found to be misrepresenting God because we testified about God that he raised Christ…And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins…. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (I Corinthians 15:14-19).  We must recover our distinctively biblical commitment to rigorous, inquisitive, and persuasive thinking before there can be a genuine renewal of Christian conviction, faith, repentance and discipleship.  It is time once  again to love God with our minds.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 262

This Remains an Unfinished Task Throughout Our Earthly Pilgrimage

Biblical repentance, however, involves a fundamental renunciation of the world, the flesh, and the devil: including every pious experience or deed in which we have trusted.  The whole self must be turned away both from self-trust and the autonomy that demands final say as to what one will believe, whom one will trust, and how one will live.  The effects of this change of mind remain an unfinished task throughout our earthly pilgrimage.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 120

Some Still Struggle to the Point of Despair

Even in broader evangelical circles, some Christians struggle to the point of despair over whether the quality and degree of their repentance is adequate to be forgiven as if repentance were the ground of forgiveness and the former could be measured by the intensity of emotion and resolve.

However, according to Scripture it is not our tears but Christ’s blood that satisfies God’s judgment and establishes peace with God (Romans 5:1, 8-11)

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 120

This is Not a Once For All Transition

The Spirit brings us to repentance by convincing us of sin by the law, the gospel leads us to faith in Christ, and this faith produces within us a hatred of our sin and a craving for righteousness.  Since our tendency even as believers is still to turn back toward ourselves and trust in our repentance, we must be driven again to despair of our righteousness as well as our sins by the law and cling to Christ.  Therefore, this is not a once and for all transition from legal repentance to faith in Christ to evangelical repentance, but a perpetual cycle that defines the Christian life.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 119