Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 92 of The Berean Manifesto brought to you by The Ekklesian House.  This is Pastor Bill and over the next 15 minutes, or so, (a bit longer episodes than normal in this series) we are going to continue our series on the elementary teachings of Christianity with this, our second installment.

I would encourage you to start with the first episode in this series in season 2 episode 91 about baptism.  The topics in this series are the milk of Christian theology.  What I mean by that is that these are the things we understand to be the very first basics that you should teach a new Christian you are discipling.  Something we don’t see a lot of these days so a lot of Christians haven’t been taught this stuff.  I didn’t come up with the list for this series, it comes straight from Hebrews 6:1-2 CSB, “[1] Therefore, let us leave the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, faith in God, [2] teaching about ritual washings, laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.”

In this installment we’re going to talk about repentance from dead works.  That world translated as repentance in Hebrews 6 isn’t a wrong translation, but as with many English translations it lacks a certain something in fully communicating the idea of the word.  The word for repentance in Hebrews 6:1 is the Greek word:

G3341 μετάνοια metanoia met-an'-oy-ah From G3340; (subjectively) compunction (for guilt, including reformation); by implication reversal (of [another’s] decision): - repentance

The closest I can put into modern English words is that it’s the self conviction that makes you want to change.  For our purposes, in this episode, we’re going to take a journey through Hebrews 9, paragraph by paragraph. 

Hebrews 9:1-5 CSB, “[1] Now the first covenant also had regulations for ministry and an earthly sanctuary. [2] For a tabernacle was set up, and in the first room, which is called the holy place, were the lampstand, the table, and the presentation loaves. [3] Behind the second curtain was a tent called the most holy place. [4] It had the gold altar of incense and the ark of the covenant, covered with gold on all sides, in which was a gold jar containing the manna, Aaron's staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. [5] The cherubim of glory were above the ark overshadowing the mercy seat. It is not possible to speak about these things in detail right now.”

Chapter 8 of Hebrews covers how the covenant we are currently under in Christ is better than the covenant of Abraham since ours is Heavenly and Spiritual.  Verses 1 through 5 of Hebrews 9 reinforce the idea that the first covenant was built completely around the Earthly and physical, and therefore faulty.  (Not my words, go read Hebrews 8).

Hebrews 9:6-10 CSB, “[6] With these things prepared like this, the priests enter the first room repeatedly, performing their ministry. [7] But the high priest alone enters the second room, and he does that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. [8] The Holy Spirit was making it clear that the way into the most holy place had not yet been disclosed while the first tabernacle was still standing. [9] This is a symbol for the present time, during which gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the worshiper's conscience. [10] They are physical regulations and only deal with food, drink, and various washings imposed until the time of the new order.”

The first covenant required the high priest make constant sacrifices for the sins of the people.  The sacrifices, regulations, and water baptisms temporarily cleaned the people until they sinned again.

Hebrews 9:11-14 CSB, “[11] But Christ has appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come. In the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands (that is, not of this creation), [12] he entered the most holy place once for all time, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. [13] For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow, sprinkling those who are defiled, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, [14] how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works so that we can serve the living God?”

In the old covenant the high priest could only enter the second chamber, the presence of the Lord, with the blood of the sacrifice to obtain a temporary redemption.  In the new covenant Christ sacrificed Himself and entered the eternal presence of the Lord obtaining eternal redemption.  In this act He has offered us clean consciences from our dead works.

Hebrews 9:15-22 CSB, “[15] Therefore, he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance, because a death has taken place for redemption from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. [16] Where a will exists, the death of the one who made it must be established. [17] For a will is valid only when people die, since it is never in effect while the one who made it is living. [18] That is why even the first covenant was inaugurated with blood. [19] For when every command had been proclaimed by Moses to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll itself and all the people, [20] saying, This is the blood of the covenant that God has ordained for you. [21] In the same way, he sprinkled the tabernacle and all the articles of worship with blood. [22] According to the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”

It’s an accurate, if not interesting, analogy to compare the legal validity of a covenant by the shedding of blood to the legal validity of a will requiring a death in order to be carried out.

Hebrews 9:23-28 CSB, “[23] Therefore, it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves to be purified with better sacrifices than these. [24] For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with hands (only a model of the true one) but into heaven itself, so that he might now appear in the presence of God for us. [25] He did not do this to offer himself many times, as the high priest enters the sanctuary yearly with the blood of another. [26] Otherwise, he would have had to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. But now he has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of himself. [27] And just as it is appointed for people to die once-and after this, judgment- [28] so also Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”

Alright, the first covenant being faulty due to its physical nature needed to be replaced with a new covenant of a spiritual nature.  Jesus came and offered Himself as the sacrifice to fulfill the law and entered the presence of the Lord to obtain eternal redemption for us from our dead works.  This work of Christ did not need to be repeated like the sacrifices of the previous covenant but only once for the removal of all sin.

We’re not talking about hyper-grace, simply grace.  Whereas hyper-grace posits that all enter into eternity with God regardless of their faith, grace actually depends on entering into the covenant with Christ.  Any covenant requires both parties to participate to be valid.  Christ did His part to remove our sin, our part is to place our faith in Christ and confess that faith with our mouth.  We are then redeemed from sin, no longer its slave. As Romans 8:1-4 CSB tells us, “[1] Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, [2] because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. [3] What the law could not do since it was weakened by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh as a sin offering, [4] in order that the law's requirement would be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

1 Corinthians 7:10 CSB reads, “[10] For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, but worldly grief produces death.”  As a new Christian I was constantly racked by guilt, shame, and fear that led to quickly asking for forgiveness every time I sinned.  But it did little for leading me to actual repentance as I would find myself returning to the same sins repeatedly.  I was still thinking as one who was a slave to sin and needed my mind to be renewed.  There is no need for the guilt, shame, or fear that comes with the condemnation of sin when we are freed from the slavery of sin and into grace.

This is not an excuse to sin though, Hebrews 6:4-8 CSB says, “[4] For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, who shared in the Holy Spirit, [5] who tasted God’s good word and the powers of the coming age, [6] and have fallen away.  This is because, to their own harm, they are recrucifying the Son of God and holding him up to contempt.  [7] For the ground that drinks the rain that often falls on it and that produces vegetation useful to those for whom it is cultivated receives a blessing from God.  [8] But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and about to be cursed, and at the end will be burned.”  That sounds like you can lose your salvation, but that isn’t the takeaway.  1 John 2:18-19 CSB tells us that none who are truly saved can leave the faith, “[18] Children, it is the last hour.  And as you have heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come.  By this we know that it is the last hour.  [19] They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us.  However, they went out so that it might be made clear that none of them belongs to us.”

Let’s sum all this up.  Christ died once for all sin, for all time.  We are moved to the repentance that leads to faith and salvation.  True faith, true repentance leads to a heart that doesn’t want to sin.  When that person falls prey to sin it isn’t a cause for the guilt, shame, and fear that leads to continual repentance from dead works.  It is a cause to renew yourself with the word, turn toward God, and move forward.  While not sounding like much on paper, in action it makes all the difference.

This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”

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