The first principles of Christ’s teachings is the milk of the word of God. But that does not mean that its precepts are not ground-breaking and earth shattering. And heart-rending, too.
These Foundational Principles of His Teachings Are Powerful
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit…and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4: 12 NKJV). Christ’s doctrine about repentance will cut us to our very spiritual core, exposing what we are really thinking about God and what our intentions are on the stage of life.
Just because these first principles are the milk and not the meat of the word and are to become our very foundation upon which to build the temple of God, we should not take them lightly. For “repentance from sin” will shake us to our core. It will break our hearts, minds, and our wills. It will evoke a complete upheaval of the human heart.
It will provoke us to question whether we really can follow the Lamb wherever He goes. Christ admonishes us to “count the cost” of discipleship. And He asks us this question, “Are you able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Matt. 20: 22). This was not the water baptism of John but rather the baptism into His death that Paul speaks of in Romans 6: 3-6. And, yes, Christ answers His own questions to us with a resounding prophecy: “You shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with” (v. 23).
For repentance from sin is a complete reversal of the old life’s ways and means. Instead of depending on our own wits and talents to gain advantage in the game of this earthly existence, we now depend on the Creator’s sustenance from the new Spirit He has ignited in us.
Of course, our new life in Him is really His creation. He restores us day by day back into His heart. We are His clay as He exhales the fire of His lungs into our breathing moments, thus transforming us into a new creation, created in true righteousness and holiness.
And God does have greatness in store for us His children–things so grand and glorious that, like the apostle Paul said, “it is unlawful for a man to utter” (II Cor. 12: 2-4). These are heavenly things that the human eye has not seen, “nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for them that love Him” (I Cor. 2: 9). These things will be the meat, the spiritual food that He will feed us when we get the first principles fully operating in our lives. This is one of the major problems in Christianity today. New followers want to jump into the book of Revelation or visions or prophecy or the heavenlies while they are still struggling with repentance from dead works in their lives.
First, we must get strong enough in our walk and get mature enough in order to be able to glimpse those rare, glorious, spiritual things that He has prepared for us. Prepared for whom? “For them that love Him.”
So How Do We Love Him?
Let’s get it from our Savior’s own lips. “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14: 15, 23). And one of His commands to us is “Repent of sin.” We show our love for Him by obeying Him. We must hear His sayings and do them. Really do them. And the first thing is to repent from sin, the breaking of the 10 Commandments.
Someone will say, Well, no one can do that. True, because that’s the way God designed it. No human in their earthly strength can keep the law successfully. He made it this way in hope that we would turn to the Savior and seek forgiveness. For left to our own devices, eventually man surely will see the futility of his selfish ways and seek to find a place of repentance, won’t he?
Repentance will be realized when brokenhearted man believes the word concerning God’s sacrifice for sin–His Son. Not just believe that Jesus of Nazareth died for mankind’s sins some 2,000 years ago, but believe that we must be immersed spiritually into Christ’s death and by faith in His resurrection, we now walk in a “newness of life.” This is done by faith, believing that He now lives in our hearts. We rise with Christ by faith (the second principle of Christ’s doctrine). Christ’s Spirit now is living within.
Many of you have experienced this wonderful spiritual reality. Praise God for you. Yet some may wonder, Why all the details about repentance? Why is it necessary to study all this out?
The answer is this. If we love Christ, we will obey His command: “Feed my lambs…Feed My sheep…Feed My sheep (John 21: 15-17). We need to be rooted and grounded in these teachings in order to be able to teach them to others coming into the church, the body of Christ. That’s it, pure and simple. Can we explain it and teach this miracle of transformation in our lives to others? When we can, then He will feed us with a banquet fit for kings and queens. HalleluYah! Kenneth Wayne Hancock
[This is part of Chapter 10 of my new book The Apostles’ Doctrine due to be published later this fall. I will announce on this blog its arrival and how you can receive your free copy (with free shipping). It is seminal and proper spiritual food for the lambs and sheep of His pasture. Be sure to subscribe and may our Father bless all of you.]