The early apostles continued steadfastly in the doctrines that their Savior had laid out for them in the three and one half years that He taught them. We will do the same thing if we sincerely desire to walk in that same power that they did. The first teaching was “repentance from dead works” (Heb. 5: 12-14; 6: 1-2).
Our whole walk in God is all about the first of His doctrines, and then by extension all of them. All things have become new because we have turned from our old ways for self, and we have by God’s grace and mercy turned on to the path of Light.
Our new life in Christ is a life of growth. Our old physical life was one of growth to adulthood. Then sadly it is marred by decay and eventual death of the earthly body. The good news is that Christ has overcome death and has brought immortality to light. “Repentance from dead works” is a process in our spiritual life cycle that gets rid of the old thinking that brought forth death; it then takes on His thoughts that brings life.
Our new walk is a continuing development, much like a garden seed that goes through its growth cycle. We, too, are growing. Upon germination, we spring forth as a seedling through simply believing His word on all of this. Christ said that the kingdom growth cycle is like a man sowing seed in a field and the seed came up—first the little blade spearing its way to the sunlight, then it heads out, and then the grain fills out in the head and matures and dries, and then you have seed to be made into bread or replanted for a future harvest. “The seed is the word of God (Luke 8: 11).
Our life in Christ grows into new and stronger stages. Repentance must be accomplished at each level, in order to grow into the next stage. In other words, we must repent from being a seedling in order to eventually grow into a full grown plant with the strength to hold the fruit that the Spirit of Truth is bringing. For a seedling cannot bear–physically nor spiritually–the fruit that’s borne by a mature plant. It is just not strong enough. Besides, He said that He would not put on us more than we could bear.
Consequently, we as the seedling/children of God must repent of whatever is hindering us from growing into a mature Christian. “That we be no more children, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine…” We must rather “purge out the old leaven” concepts that we brought into Christ. Errors about Him in our thinking taint the bread of life. Yes, Christ in us is the bread of life that spiritually raises those that are dead in their sins. We have the awesome responsibility to get it right. When we do this, the same spiritual fruit–the same love, joy, and peace that Christ Himself bore—will come, along with its power to touch lives around us.
A Continuing Process
This is not a “one and done” process. As in all of the apostles’ doctrines, many layers are to be unfolded. We enter into Christ by repenting of our sins through the cross experience in our own hearts. We die with Christ by believing that our old sinful nature dies with Him on the cross. And “he that is dead is freed from sin” (Rom. 6: 5-7). In God’s eyes our old life is already dead and gone, for He calls things that are not as though they already were (Rom. 4: 17). That’s an example of “the faith of the Son of God.” When we think like He does about the sin question, then we are free from sin and sinning. We then are ready to walk on by repenting of faults in our life. Sin is defined as “the transgression of the law,” the Ten Commandments (I John 3: 4). We cannot keep them on our own strength. Consequently, we rely on Christ’s Spirit that we receive by faith in His resurrection to keep the law. He is Love, and “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13: 10).
This is a continuing process. However, we are not talking about fighting the dragon of sin in our personal lives every day. There is nothing more pathetic than to see a long-faced pastor stand up and tell his congregation, “I am a sinner saved by grace and I always will be a sinner.” That’s his testimony. Are you serious? I am glad he is speaking for himself. We have all sinned—yes, in the past. But all are not sinning in the present. Has he never read what the Spirit wrote through the apostle John? “And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him sins not: whoever sins hath not seen him, nor known him” (I John 3: 5-6). Wow! That is not harsh; that’s love speaking. Tough love. And it is time we wake up and smell the righteousness that comes by believing His word.
For we have died on the cross with Christ, and our sin nature died with Him. Therefore, sin has no more dominion over us (Rom. 6: 12-14). Settle it. Believe it. Once and for all. Furthermore, once sin has been repented of by believing in Christ’s resurrection in us, we are free to work on our faults. Our faults consist of erroneous thoughts about God and the bad habits they encourage.
I’ll close this my letter to you here. There is much to absorb. May Yahweh bless you with spiritual understanding. If you are comprehending what the Spirit is saying to us all here, then blessed are your eyes for they see. We simply must do what is necessary to grow into “the fullness of God in Christ.” That is the vision that He has for us—to become exactly like Christ. There—I have said it again. Next time we shall explore how to get rid of our faults. Once this happens, the sky is the limit! Kenneth Wayne Hancock
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