DOES GOD REQUIRE YOU TO REPENT ... To Be Saved?
"Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." Matthew19:16-17
Why did Christ say this? Don't some say the law is done away? Does God require us to keep the commandments and to repent of breaking them, to get eternal life, to get salvation? Let's see what the Bible says happens if you don't keep the commandments!
Christ said that if your eye offends you *(causes you to sin) it would be better to pluck it out than to have 2 eyes and be thrown into Gehenna fire. When He says offend, it doesn't have the meaning we attach to it. The word offend is from skandalizo which means "cause you to sin," or "make you to sin." Let's look at this closer, because it is kind of important.
A STRONG ANALOGY...
"You have heard that it was said, `Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Matthew 5:27-30
Of course, Christ used many metaphors, analogies and other teaching tools. This is one of those. It powerfully emphasizes the importance of getting rid of sin out of our lives. We can't "save" ourselves, but we can definitely get ourselves thrown in Gehenna fire by rejecting God and His system. Christ used this analogy of cutting off the hand and plucking out the eye to help us understand that we simply need to get serious about getting rid of sin...we need to repent of breaking the commandments. His teaching here conflicts with the popular Gnostic notion that "the law is done away." Christ certainly did not do away with the law...nor did He ever approve of sin, but what exactly are these sins that we need to get rid of? Is it card playing, bingo, dancing? No, we have to go by the Bible, and the Bible specifically tells us. 1 John 3:4 says,
"Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."
This concept of violating the law and being thrown into a furnace of fire is repeated in Matthew 13:41-43! "The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, (cause to sin) and them which do iniquity; (anomia: violate the law) And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Don't the angels know that the law is done away with? Tongue in cheek!
People that violate the law will not always be tolerated by God. For now He puts up with it from the world, but when His Kingdom comes, those that violate the law blatantly and without regard, will be cast into the fire. Read our article on Hell to learn more about Gehenna fire. (There are 3 different meanings for Gehenna in the Bible!)
HOW TO BE IN THE BOOK OF LIFE
Why is it important to repent? We have to understand this...God will eventually punish all rebellious and unrepentant sinners harshly, and God says that He will blot sinners out of His book. (of life.)
"The LORD replied to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book..."
Transgressing the law is sin. Consider the 4th commandment. God commands us in the law to rest on the Sabbath day. It was made at creation and is a sign that you are connected to the actual creator. We worship on His sign of that, it is a day....it is the 7th day of the week, which is Saturday. Keeping Sunday would be breaking the law, it is the first day of the week, not the commanded seventh day.
SABBATH...."IT IS A SIGN....THAT YOU MAY KNOW I AM THE LORD..."
"Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths you shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that sanctifies you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defiles it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people." Exodus 31:13-14
HOW NOT TO BE IN THE BOOK OF LIFE
The sign or "mark" of the Beast will be a different day of worship than God's. Anyone who worships contrary to God will not be in the book of life. If the Sabbath is God's sign or mark, then the mark of the Beast is a different false day of worship. Revelation 13:8 says, "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him (the Beast), whose names are not written in the book of life... " People who keep this false day of worship, which is the "mark" of the Beast, will not be in the book of life.
Remember how God said that those that do any work on the Sabbath would be cut off? That is from the Hebrew word Karath, meaning utterly destroyed or utterly consumed. This is what Christ was talking about in his analogy of the cutting off the hands, feet, plucking out the eyes...the ones that don't get the sin out will be utterly destroyed, burned up in Gehenna fire. This shows the dead seriousness of repentance, and working at getting sin out of your life. Unrepented sin is quite dangerous and can cause us to lose our eternal life. Satan would love for us to believe that the law is done away, and that we can break the commandments, including the 4th one. But God makes it pretty clear that not keeping the law can lead to be being utterly consumed. The last book of the Old Testament describes the ultimate fate of the wicked...
ASHES UNDER THE FEET OF THE RIGHTEOUS
"And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, says the LORD of hosts. 4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
The Bible says the wicked will consumed and will be ashes under the feet of the righteous...and God then immediately gives the admonition to "remember the law of Moses." The righteous ones remember the law of Moses and the wicked ones become ashes under their feet. Matches what Christ taught about being thrown in Gehenna fire and the angels gathering up the ones who violate the law and throwing them into the furnace of fire.
THE NEW COVENANT....our repentance (our part) is required!
Christ's sacrifice is all important, but we still have to do our part and obey God as best as we can, and really try to repent of our sins. Christ came preaching repentance for a reason, it is part of what is required to be saved. Repentance is our part of the New Covenant! People really don't understand the New Covenant, but look and see what God says. For this is the covenant that I will make...I will put my law in their mind and write it in their heart. Once you keep the law, you know you have the right God. The wrong god does away with the law, because it is not his. When you want to keep God's law, and it is in your mind and your heart to do it, you are now connected to the Great Law Giver, the creator, the right God. Under the Old Covenant, if you kept the law (the humans part of the covenant), you got physical blessings, but under the New Covenant, which is better, you get eternal life for doing your part of the Covenant.
OUR PART OF THE NEW COVENANT
"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people..." Hebrews 8:10
THE PASSOVER SEASON PICTURES THE NEW COVENANT AND THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING SIN (leavening) OUT
We all know there is no salvation without Christ, so why did Christ stress that it was important to get rid of the thing that causes you to sin? If keeping Passover applies Christ's perfection to us, why do we still have to "repent" and throw the leaven or the sin out of our lives? During the Feast of Unleavened bread, we throw the sin out AND...we eat unleavened bread everyday. This pictures something very important!
This eating unleavened bread for 7 days pictures taking in the sinless body of Christ, and His sinlessness applied to us is what saves us. But, the question remains, why do we still have to throw the leavening out of our house (get rid of our sin).
Because salvation, (the New Covenant) has 2 parts. A covenant is an agreement between 2 or more parties. Under the New Covenant, Christ does His part, His sinlessness is applied to us when we are baptized and go under the water. Our old man dies there, and a new man is spiritually conceived within us. The new man has no sin now, it is washed away when he is baptized. And every spring when Passover rolls around and he takes in the unleavened bread and the wine, symbolic of Christ's body and blood, all his sins are forgiven yet again, and if he remains in this state of sinlessness until Christ comes back, he receives eternal life then. This new man is sinless under the New Covenant but, he still must do his personal part of the covenant as well, the law is written in his mind and in his heart, and he is driven to try to obey God as best as he can. Keeping the 10 commandments (the law) is our part of the covenant, and giving us eternal life is Christ's part of the covenant. Both parts are necessary.
Now we understand why Christ insisted that we get rid of sin. Repentance is required to receive eternal life. "Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." Matthew19:16-17
Now we know why He said that!
What the Bible Teaches about Sunday
WHAT IS GRACE? Understanding the role of Passover
5 ARTICLES ON THE SABBATH
Online sermon: Obedience
ONLINE STREAMING SERMON: God and Repentance
Sermon given by James E. Throgmorton
Copyrighted by the Churches of God Can You Repent?