The doctrine of repentance, the worthy, and the unworthy

Repentance involves a conscious change of heart, mind, and deeds on the part of the believer. Forsaking sin, it must be from the whole heart and sincere; and not to be regretted of, lest it be a worldly sorrow which leads to destruction. Hebrews 6-1, 2 Cor. 2-10. Therefore it must also be of our own freewill choice, then Lord will restore as He promise.If you return, then I will restore you— Jeremiah 15:19.

On the 1st day of Pentecost, Peter was asked by the multitudes; What shall we do? The first response by Peter was that same as of the Lord Jesus, and also of one who came crying in the wilderness, John the Baptist, REPENT…It is the message proclaimed all throughout the NT and OT as well. Repentance is the strongest message pertaining to ones salvation in the gospel. Repent and believe the gospel. The gospel of salvation begins with repentance.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (the gift is the power of the Holy Ghost>His grace)

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
Matthew 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Matthew 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Matthew 11:20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:

Matthew 11:21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

Matthew 12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

Mark 1:4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Mark 6:12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

Luke 13:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
Luke 16:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
Acts 5:31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Acts 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
Acts 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
Acts 13:24 When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:

Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Revelation 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Revelation 2:21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
Revelation 2:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
Revelation 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Revelation 9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:
Revelation 9:21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
Revelation 16:9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
Revelation 16:11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.

Many are called, (the gospel message), but few are chosen, (the saints). The many are all of mankind, the few are the worthy, the sheep that hear His voice and obey His commandments. Not of our worthiness, lest any man should boast, but rather Christ “in” us that makes us worthy. Those of faith and who exercise their God given belief are accounted worthy to escape all things. All glory must be for God and not for self, for self is most certainly unworthy..

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

The salvation plan was predestined “in” Christ Jesus, it is for all men, God is long suffering and desires that none should perish.

We know from the entirety of the scriptures that the call has gone out to the whole world, (the many). Acts 17-30, Titus 2-11. We also know that Christ died for all in the world John 3-16, He is the propitiation for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD 1 John 2-2. The “many” all held captive in Babylon.. The called out of Babylon, are those who incline and ear, and respond to the call of the kings wedding supper of their own free will choice, they are called to receive, to repentance, to surrender, to obedience, and to the love God. Everyone has been given an invitation, but not everyone has received and acted on that invitation. Christ clearly tells us who the called are, we are called into His predestined plan of salvation, for HE desires that none should perish 2 Peter 3..The parable of the wedding supper found in Matthew 22:2-14 Luke 14: 15-24. This is the kingdom unto we are called for His glory that we walk in 1 Thessalonians 2:12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

Paul shows that God calls us but we must be worthy. Worthy how? Surely not of works, but by receiving Christ in us through a broken, poor, and repented vessels Matthew 5-3,4,5,6…… with a faith that worketh love. Not by an alter call of man’s inventions and works of easy beliefism. But rather His call by faith that brings forth good works (fruit) James 2-27. Once we receive and hear His voice we have His favour and “grace” (the power of God) that cleanses us and sanctifies us. God has given all men the faith to believe. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Notice Paul tells us repeatedly in the text that it is our faith that prompts, or sets in motion our salvation and baptism in repentance. God’s giving us the power “grace” to fulfill our purpose “if” the free gift is received. (In other words faith is a condition) I recommend reading Hebrews 11, the faith chapter.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
1. In a manner suited to; as, to walk worthily of our extraction.
2. Deservedly; according to merit.
You worthily succeed not only to the honors of your ancestors, but also to their virtues.
3. Justly; not without cause.
I affirm that some may very worthily deserve to be hated.

Strong’s G2661 Worthy-kat-ax-ee-o‘-o
From 2596 and 515 to deem entirely deserving: – (ac-) count worthy.

2 Thessalonians 1:5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
Matthew 10:11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.

Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Acts 5:41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

Colossians 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
2 Thessalonians 1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
1 Peter 2:19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

Revelation 3:4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

Only Christ who has received power, riches, wisdom, strength, honour, glory, and the blessing, is worthy of the Kingship and to open the book of life. But by faith we can be made worthy “IN” HIM, to follow Him, and be received into His Kingdom with the countenance of righteousness imputed upon the believer through faith proven by good deeds. Jesus Christ the hope of glory “IN” us..


Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Revelation 5:2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
Revelation 5:4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
Revelation 5:12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

The wicked are imputed of their works (sin) and are worthy of their rewards also.

Revelation 16:6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.

Matthew 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
Matthew 22:8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.

grace and truth, Bill

Throughout the New Testament reconciliation is always in terms of man being reconciled to God and not God being reconciled to man. This is a very important point. Man must forsake his way and return to God through the path the Lord has provided. This path is in keeping with God’s holy and righteous character and man must conform to it. God does not yield to man nor will the “truth” be changed in any way to accommodate evil. The path to God is one of righteousness (Ps 11:7, 15:2, 23:3, 45:7, 85:10, 106:3, 118:20, 119:42, Pv 11:19, 12:28, 15:9, 21:21, Rm 3:22, 4:13, 5:21, 6:13, 16, 8:10, 9:28, 30, 10:3, Gal 5:5, Eph 4:24, 1 Pt 2:24, 2 Pt 2:21, 3:13, 1 Jn 2:29, 3:7, 10).

God is abundant in mercy for those who will turn from their way and seek Him fully through His way. Psalms 86:5, “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee (also Psalms 103:8).” AND Psalms 86:15, “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth (also Jer. 3:12).” AND Psalms 103:11, “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him (also Micah 7:18-19, Joel 2:12-13).” AND Luke 1:50, “And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.” God’s consistent message to man has been for man to repent. Isaiah 55:7, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”.. The Lord is very merciful for those who acknowledge their wickedness and come back to God in the prescribed way (Acts 3:19). Proverbs 28:13, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

The worst thing that you can do is try and shift guilt or blame to someone or something else – yet this is the tendancy of man (consider Adam and Eve as examples, Gen 3:12-13, Job 31:33, Prv 28:13). The Lord requires an acknowledgment (recognition, confession) of wrongs (Job 33:27-28, Psalms 32:5, 51:3)! You cannot be forgiven for that which you do not acknowledge and God knows the truth of all matters. The sinful man, who loves the darkness, cannot understand repentance because it goes against his interest of self. Denial of your wrongs will eventually result in condemnation – the carrying out of the death penalty. Psalms 145:18-20,“The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy (also Psalms 25:14, 33:18).”Mercy belongs to those who sincerely repent. What does it mean to repent? Repentance is to turn around and return. This is a forsaking of the darkness (lie) and coming to the light (truth). To repent is to regret your wicked actions, feel remorse for your transgressions against God, to be sorry and change your mind, to turn back and return – everyone turning away from his iniquities (Acts 3:26, Job 34:32, Ez 18:21-23, 27-28, 30-32, 33:11, 19). Psalms 119:59, “I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.” You must rend your heart and turn to the Lord God (Joel 2:13). The essence of repentance is a turning around whereby you have a complete alteration of the basic motivation and direction of your life (Zech. 1:3-4). This is to recognize your inability to live apart from God and to understand the total dependence you have on the Lord.

Repentance must precede forgiveness and mercy. The early church termed this, “repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18). Consider the account known as the “Prodigal Son.” This young man refused to serve his Father (i.e. God), but sought his own way – his will over the Father’s. He wasted his substance on self with riotous living and spent all that he had (Luke 15:13-14). Then he became in great need or want and was greatly humbled (Luke 15:14-16). When he was humble, lowing in heart (poor in spirit), he began to see his Father in a new light. He began to plan his repentance.Luke 15:18-19, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”

This young man was regretful and remorseful of his actions toward his Father. He realized that “his” way only led to misery and continuance would bring death. He turned completely from “his” way and returned to his Father to live by the Father’s provision (way, will). How did the Father receive him? Luke 15:20, “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” The Father runs with mercy and compassion to meet him.Luke 15:21-24, “And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” The Father receives the repentant son with great mercy and compassion (consider: Luke 15:1-10). This young man was lost in darkness, but now is found (came to the light) – was dead, but is alive again (Luke 15:32). In conclusion, we must strongly consider the message given by God to the greatest prophet to arise – John the Baptist: Matthew 3:1-2, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” We must also consider the message given by God to His own Son:Matthew 4:17, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (also Mark 1:15, 2:17, Luke 4:32, 13:3, 5, 24:47).”

We must consider the message Jesus gave His disciples when He sent them out in pairs: Mark 6:12, “And they went out, and preached that men should repent.” We must consider the message Peter delivered after being filled with the Holy Ghost at Pentecost:Acts 2:38, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” AND Acts 3:19, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”We must consider the message Jesus gave Paul to preach (years later): Acts 17:30, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.” AND Acts 26:20, “But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance (alsoActs 20:21).” We must consider the message Christ has given those who will “follow” Him: Luke 24:47, “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Finally, let us stronly consider Christ’s purpose which Paul was later commission to do: Acts 26:18, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me (Jesus).”

Repentance is all about turning from and forsaking the darkness and power of Satan (enticements of the flesh through seeking our lusts) and coming to the light or truth of God. This is having a contrite heart, which is being broken-hearted over sin; being deeply affected with grief over having transgressed God’s will (Palms 51:17). Psalms 34:18, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”Repentance is not repeating or parroting a sinner’s prayer, but is an entire change of life and direction. If one is truly sincere, then a pray may be the start, but is not the end all – but this is not the general practice. Romans 2:4, “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Repentance precedes or comes before the entering into the strait gate (Jesus Christ) of the narrow way that leads to eternal life. Repentance precedes receiving the promise of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38). Psalms 147:11, “The LORD taketh pleasure (His good pleasure) in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.” What does the Lord have no pleasure in? Psalms 5:4-5, “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.”

David Neal

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