Repentance and faith towards God (Tutor notes)

The previous study dealt with how the fall of the first man changed humankind; the mind of humankind is in a state of enmity and rebellion against God and His law; a mind that desires to go its own way (Col. 1:21 ; Eph.2:3).

Repentance is a desire, followed by action, to change from this rebellious state. To repent is to change one’s mind and this is brought about by obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

No person can or will repent of themselves. The Holy Spirit convicts us, of sin, righteousness and judgement. Rom.2:4 says: “God’s kindness leads us towards repentance.” When we repent or turn around or change our minds, we come to trust God. i.e. Have faith in Him.

A quick revision of the previous study to check on clarity is advisable.

The first step

Repentance is tied to the basic need of believing that God “is”. Particularly in the modern world many people have a problem with the idea that there is a Creator, and even more of a problem with the idea of a personal God who is Father. Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists find these ideas very difficult. A little discussion about the nature of God our Father might be useful.

There is a need to realise that the idea introduced by Jesus of God as our Father was revolutionary and probably filled the theologians with horror.

(Heb 11:6 NIV) And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Some false ideas

The ideas that follow are often found in the Sunday Christian. They begin with a genuine experience of salvation but continue into dead faith. This is often the result of an inadequate understanding of true repentance. The falsity of each of these ideas need to be strongly reinforced in the understanding.

What are some of the fruits (results) of genuine repentance?

This could be used as an activity exercise. Look up and student read out; look up and student explain; look up and student give example.

If we get the roots/foundations right then the fruit/building will be sound (Matt. 3:8).

What are dead works?

This is another activity exercise. General discussion is one way to approach the subject. All look up, then give and discuss their ideas. After discussion, perhaps the student could answer the question given in writing, then read out their answer.

As tutor, your aim is to keep changing the activity so that all the faculties are active, while still making sure, that the focus on repentance is always centre stage.

Faith is also a foundation

We dealt with this in step one above. A revision would be a good idea. What is meant by the just shall live by faith? Can you, the Tutor, explain this?

“The just shall live by faith” (Rom.1:17). Nothing can be known or received of God unless we first believe in His existence.

Faith defined

As this extract was taken from the Amplified Version it might be a good opportunity to tell the student about this version.

Heb.11:1 (Amp.) Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deeds) of the things (we) hope for, being the proof of the things (we) do not see and the conviction of their reality — faith perceiving as a real fact, what is not revealed to our senses.

An approach is to ask for a practical example of all or some of these meanings. E.g. A possible answer to … “to rely on a person” could be “You know that when they say they will be there or say they will do something … they always do!”

You might set Heb. 11 as a homework exercise with the question, “Read and be able to comment on one of the people mentioned.”

What is the source of Christian faith?

The next two sections are quite difficult. Tutors need to study the content very carefully and be sure they can understand and teach what they contain.

Read Rom.10:4-17. The source of Christian faith is? The WORD of GOD. The Words of God come to us in different ways:

i. The creative Word (Gen. 1, John. 1:1-3).
ii The Word of prophesy (2 Pet. 1:20-21).
iii. The written Word (Luke 24:44).
iv. The Living Word (Jesus) (John 1:1-3).

Bible faith is not from the mind but from the heart (the spirit life). It is a now experience not just some future happening. Having faith changes behaviour and life style. Being based exclusively on God’s Word Christian faith only allows sense knowledge when it agrees with the text of God’s Word. Faith is confessed with the mouth.

e.g. Abraham. Heb. 11. Consider the steps in his experience:

i. He heard the Word, v.8.
ii. His future hope found expression in his present faith behaviour.
iii. He refused to accept the evidence of his senses.
iv. He did not waver in his faith towards God.

Walking in faith

(Some helps as to how)

i. Receive the quickened promise from God’s Word that applies to your need. (Phil.4:19; 2.Cor.1:20.)
ii. Fulfil all the conditions attached to that promise. (Exod.15:26.; Isa. 1:19-20.; Psalm. 37:5.)
iii. Allow God to test your faith in patience. (Heb. 6:12-15.; James. 1:3-4.)
iv. Firmly maintain faith in the fulfilling of the promise. (2. Pet 1:3-4.; Heb. 3:1.; 1 John.5:14.)
v. Look to Jesus in active faith. (Heb. 12:2.)