Repentance From Dead Works Before We Take the First Step, by Bill Parker

A godly change of mind and conduct which is called repentance can come only in light of the Gospel wherein Christ and His righteousness is revealed as the only ground of salvation . This godly repentance is a change of mind concerning the character of God (Who He is) and concerning the only ground upon which God justifies the ungodly.

It is a change of mind concerning Christ (Who He is and what He accomplished) and the value of His obedience unto death (His righteousness) as being the only ground of salvation. It is a change of mind concerning ourselves (who we are) as being guilty, defiled sinners who owe a debt to God’s justice we cannot pay.

It is a change of mind concerning our best efforts to remove the guilt and defilement of sin, our best efforts to recommend ourselves to God, our best deeds aimed at attaining, maintaining, and entitling us to salvation.

The Apostle Paul illustrates this clearly in Philippians 3:3-10. In true Gospel faith and repentance a sinner comes to see and trust that Christ’s righteousness alone entitles him to all of salvation, including the subjective work of the Spirit, BEFORE HE TAKES THE FIRST STEP, before he makes any efforts to obey God and persevere.

In this specific light, he comes to see that before faith, his best efforts at obedience, all that he highly esteemed and thought was profitable in recommending him unto God, is now “loss,” no more than “dung” (Philippians 3:7-8) in light of Christ’s obedience to death.

What he before thought was pleasing unto God and works of the Spirit, he now sees as “flesh” (Philippians 3:3-4). What he once highly esteemed, he is now ashamed of it (Romans 6:21) and now, in light of the Gospel, counts it as fruit unto death, DEAD WORKS, and evil deeds.

He now sees that before faith, before believing that Christ’s righteousness alone entitled him to all of salvation, his thoughts of God were all wrong. In repentance, he turns from that idol to serve the true and living God (1 Thessalonians 1:9).

This kind of true godly repentance can only come in light of the Gospel as it takes this specific truth, this light, to expose the sin that deceives us all by nature (John 3:19-20). Before we hear and believe the Gospel we are all deceived by sin (Romans 7:11). The sin that deceives us all by nature is not immorality.

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: good works

Tags: , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

3 Comments on “Repentance From Dead Works Before We Take the First Step, by Bill Parker”

  1. MARK MCCULLEY Says:

    You cannot use good works to get assurance because works done without assurance are not good and do not please God, but are instead an “abomination” to God. Pharisees like Nicodemus got assurance from their works. But the light of the gospel exposes that our “good works” are sin.

    Romans 8:13. “Put to death the deeds” includes putting to death assurance by works and blessing by works. Before I was converted, I had read this text only in terms of morality. Certainly we are to be moral. But morality can be done in the flesh: We should not use Romans 8:13 to create doubt and legal fears.

  2. markmcculley Says:

    http://www.puritansermons.com/erskine/erskine4.htm

    Ralph Erkine—1. Gospel mortification is from gospel principles, viz. the Spirit of God [Rom. 8. 13], ‘If ye through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live’; Faith in Christ [Acts 15. 9], ‘Purifying their hearts by faith’; The love of Christ constraining [2 Cor. 5. 14], ‘The love of Christ constraineth us.’ But legal mortification is from legal principles such as, from the applause and praise of men, as in the Pharisees; from pride of self-righteousness, as in Paul before his conversion; from the fear of destruction; from a natural conscience; from the example of others; and many times from the power of sin itself, while one sin is set up to wrestle with another, as when sensuality and self-righteousness wrestle with one another. The man, perhaps, will not drink and swear. Why? Because he is setting up and establishing a righteousness of his own, whereby to obtain the favor of God here is but one sin wrestling with another.

    2. They differ in their weapons with which they fight against sin. The gospel believer fights with grace’s weapons, namely, the blood of Christ, the word of God, the promises of the gospel, and the virtue of Christ’s death and cross [Galatians 6. 14] ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom (whereby) the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.’ But now the man under the law fights against sin by the promises and threatenings of the law; by its promises, saying, I will obtain life, I hope, if I do so and so; by its threatenings, saying, I will be damned, if I do not so and so. Sometimes he fights with the weapons of his own vows and resolutions, which are his strong tower, to which he runs and thinks himself safe.

    3. The believer will not serve sin, because he is alive to God, and dead to sin [Romans 6. 6]. The legalist forsakes sin, not because he is alive, but so that he may live. The believer mortifies sin, because God loves him; but the legalist, that God may love him. The believer mortifies, because God is pacified towards him; the legalist mortifies, that he may pacify God by his mortification. He may go a great length, but it is still that he may have whereof to glory, making his own doing at least some of the foundation of his hope and comfort.

  3. markmcculley Says:

    What if it turns out that a “theology of the cross” worldview means a puritan “mortification of the flesh”?

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2017/03/mortification-of-the-flesh/?
    Augsburg Confession,” Article XV, We teach this about the discipline of the body. A true and not a false putting to death happens through the cross and troubles, by which God exercises us . . . .There is also a necessary voluntary exercise. . . .This effort should be constant.”

    Mark–if water baptism brings justification at the beginning, Lenten fasting has to come after not before water justification.

    Matthew 3:2 “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!”

    Ralph Erskine—Gospel mortification fights with grace’s weapons, namely, the blood of Christ, the promises and the virtue of Christ’s death and cross [Gal. 6. 14]: ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.’ But the man under the law fights against sin by the threatenings of the law; saying, I will obtain life; I hope, if I do so and so. The man under law fights with weapons of his own vows and resolutions, which are his strong tower, to which he runs and thinks himself safe

    http://doulogos.blogspot.com/2010/06/sanctification-done-right.html

    Putting the word “repent” before the word “kingdom” does not mean that law comes before gospel. Christ’s kingdom is reason to repent. The gospel is reason to repent.

    But we do not prepare to hear the gospel by our repenting of legal mortification. If we repent without knowledge of the gospel, our repentance may be pleasing to other sinners but our repentance will not be pleasing to God.

    The kingdom coming near is not always about law coming near


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: