“Genuine repentance”

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BrianK
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“Genuine repentance”

Post by BrianK » Mon May 10, 2010 4:56 am

I feel that once someone has asked for forgiveness, they have been forgiven, and God remembers their sin no longer.
I feel the repentant person will always feel grieved at their wrongdoing because they've hurt others and mainly because they've gone against the will of God.

I'm just not sure if pleasing God would mean making up for the wrongs we've committed in the past by going back and trying to fix those wrongs. Or if pleasing God would mean accepting that you've been forgiven, you've been given a clean slate and getting on with the here and now rather than struggling to repair the past.

"I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins" (Isaiah 43:25 Heb. 8:12; 10:17). "For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:11-12).

(Oops, this was supposed to be a follow-up rather than a rewrite)
Last edited by BrianK on Mon May 10, 2010 6:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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mattrose
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Re: “Genuine repentance”

Post by mattrose » Mon May 10, 2010 6:56 am

I suppose there are some circumstances where you really can't 'pay back' what was taken...
But if your repentance is genuine, you'll want to (that's a heart issue)
And if your repentance is genuine, you'll do whatever you 'can' do to make it right

Part of it is just a justice issue too. If you've been advantaged in some way, or are still being advantaged, by something you stole (for instance), then that also means someone has been disadvantaged. A genuine Christian will want to do whatever he/she can to right that injustice.

That's my 2 cents

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steve
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Re: “Genuine repentance”

Post by steve » Mon May 10, 2010 2:02 pm

I agree with Matt. There may be no possibility of even making small payments on the restitution of gains unjustly gained (for example, if the repentant offender is serving a life sentence in prison and cannot earn money). True repentance causes the sinner to wish above all things that he/she had never wronged God or man, and to desire to do everything possible to rectify the damage done. Where nothing can be done, there is no responsibility, but the repentant one will regret that his/her victims will have to live with the damage he/she has caused.

As for Matthew, I actually think he was probably an honest tax collector before he was called. It is my opinion that the disciples of Jesus were drawn from the ranks of the faithful remnant within Israel. This would include Matthew, and would suggest that, while he had chosen a controversial occupation—and one that earned him the scorn of his fellow Jews—yet he, like Nathanael, was "an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile" and would not be the type to cheat his neighbors. At the time Jesus called him, he may well have already become very disillusioned with the corruption so rampant in his industry—and this may account for the eagerness with which he answered Jesus' call and left his job without giving notice to his employer. In any case, we would have to depend entirely upon conjecture to conclude that he had been a dishonest publican.

BrianK
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Re: “Genuine repentance”

Post by BrianK » Mon May 10, 2010 9:09 pm

I'm becoming a little leery of saying "someone is a genuine/true Christian if..." Because I wonder at what point we start making up rules for whether or not we're really forgiven, really redeemed, really saved, really in Christ, if... if... if...
It's not if you perform a work, that performing that work will save you, but by performing that work you prove you're a true Christian. It can come out as a catch 22 situation. You don't have to do it, but if you don't do it, you're not a true Christian, because that's what a true Christian does. A true Christian prays 2 hours a day, pays a 10% tithe, does this, does that; is what it can lead to. I know the concern is against "cheap grace", "easy believeism", a "ho-hum attitude towards salvation", "carnal Christianity". That's what prompted the "Lordship Salvation" doctrine. Someone who was in the inner circle of very well known pastor, hit him with a slough of scripture in rebuttal to him introducing Lordship Salvation into that congregation's doctrine. The pastor agreed with the rebuttal privately, but said he "didn't want people thinking they could do whatever they want."

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kaufmannphillips
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Re: “Genuine repentance”

Post by kaufmannphillips » Tue May 11, 2010 9:50 pm

{with acknowledgments to Monty Python...}

(SCENE: Jesus comes upon the clouds, astride a great white horse, and trailed by a host of angels clopping coconut-halves together. As he touches down to earth, Jesus encounters a couple of churchfolk...)

Jesus: I am Jesus, Savior and Lord.

Lucy: Savior and What?

Jesus: Lord.

Lucy: I didn't know we had a Lord... I thought we were an autonomous collective.

Jesus: What?

Dennis: We're an anarcho-syndicalist community. We take it in turns to sort of act as a sort of executive officer for the week.

Jesus: Um...

Dennis: But all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special bi-weekly meeting...

Jesus: Um, I see...

Dennis: ...by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs...

Jesus: That's enough.

Dennis: But by a two-thirds majority in the case of more major...

Jesus: That's enough! I command you to be quiet!

Lucy: Command, eh? Who does he think he is?

Jesus: I am your Lord!

Lucy: Who voted you to be Lord?

Jesus: You don't vote for who's Lord.

Lucy: Well, how'd you become Lord then?

Jesus: When I emerged from baptism in the River Jordan, the holy spirit descended upon me from heaven, beauteous in the form of a dove, signifying that I, Jesus, am the Son of God. THAT is why I am your Lord!

Dennis: Listen, a strange bird swooping over a stream is no basis for a system of government! Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some fanciful aeronautic ceremony!

Jesus: That's enough!

Dennis: You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some spectral fowl took a dive at you!

Jesus: Enough! Do you notice my blood-dipped clothing and rod of iron?

Dennis: If I went 'round sayin' I was Emperor, because some metaphysical pigeon nested on my noggin, they'd put me away!

Jesus: (chasing Dennis around and smiting him with the rod) ENOUGH! Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess!

Lucy: (yelling at Jesus from the sideline) He doesn't have to! I have a slew of scripture that says he doesn't have to!

Dennis: (still running around) Help! Help! I'm being repressed!

(END OF SCENE)
Last edited by kaufmannphillips on Wed May 12, 2010 1:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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"The more something is repeated, the more it becomes an unexamined truth...." (Nicholas Thompson)
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Jason
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Re: “Genuine repentance”

Post by Jason » Tue May 11, 2010 10:50 pm

Enjoying your role as heel, Emmet :?: I'm afraid your Monty Python sketch doesn't meet any criteria for "on topic."
Carry on.

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kaufmannphillips
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Re: “Genuine repentance”

Post by kaufmannphillips » Wed May 12, 2010 1:33 am

I suppose you know me by now, Jason - much given to pointless non sequiturs.

HINT: ".noitavlas pihsdroL ot noitisoppo ta staws daerter nohtyP ehT"

I added a link to the source material above, if one wishes to compare.
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"The more something is repeated, the more it becomes an unexamined truth...." (Nicholas Thompson)
========================

BrianK
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Re: “Genuine repentance”

Post by BrianK » Thu May 13, 2010 4:06 am

kaufmannphillips wrote:{with acknowledgments to Monty Python...}

(SCENE: Jesus comes upon the clouds, astride a great white horse, and trailed by a host of angels clopping coconut-halves together. As he touches down to earth, Jesus encounters a couple of churchfolk...)

Jesus: (chasing Dennis around and smiting him with the rod) ENOUGH! Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess!

Lucy: (yelling at Jesus from the sideline) He doesn't have to! I have a slew of scripture that says he doesn't have to!

Dennis: (still running around) Help! Help! I'm being repressed!
That's a very good illustration of taking things to extremes.

On the one hand, you have those who want to make Christianity so comfortable that topics such as sin, repentance and obedience are either not brought up or glossed over.

On the other hand, you have those who want to counteract this by almost reacting same way the law givers did after the Babylonian exile, when they "cracked down" and added extra laws. Thus a more appropriate adjective might be oppressed.

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steve
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Re: “Genuine repentance”

Post by steve » Thu May 13, 2010 1:03 pm

I don't know why people gravitate to one or the other of those extremes. It's really very simple. God has declared that Jesus is Lord. People deal with that fact in any way they choose.

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kaufmannphillips
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Re: “Genuine repentance”

Post by kaufmannphillips » Sun May 16, 2010 6:11 pm

BrianK wrote:
That's a very good illustration of taking things to extremes.

On the one hand, you have those who want to make Christianity so comfortable that topics such as sin, repentance and obedience are either not brought up or glossed over.

On the other hand, you have those who want to counteract this by almost reacting same way the law givers did after the Babylonian exile, when they "cracked down" and added extra laws. Thus a more appropriate adjective might be oppressed.
:arrow: When we consider the theological significance of “Lordship,” it is important to give due consideration to worldview.

Part of what makes the original Python sketch humorous is the quandary that Arthur finds himself in when he is faced with anachronistic political theory. A “lordship” model only works when all participants have bought into its premises.

So what happens when participants do not buy into the premises? Well, there are a number of possibilities. On one hand, the “lordship” model may collapse. But on another hand, if the participants can be won over to its premises, than it may become viable. And on another hand, if participants who are opposed to the model can be forced into acquiescence or removed from the equation altogether, then the model may be viable.

This last approach is the one pursued by Arthur in the original sketch, and in a conventional comedic fashion, his attempt is feckless. But many Christians expect that, in a second coming of Jesus, his imposition of “Lordship” will be neither comedic nor ineffective.

And so we give attention to worldview: when the early Christians thought of Jesus as “Lord,” what premises would they have considered to be intrinsic to this? How much loyalty and submission and obedience would they have imagined to be a normative part of the equation? And what would they have imagined to be a natural consequence of neglecting this equation? (We may gather some sense from the blood-dipped clothing and the rod of iron in Revelation.)

And what of present-day Christians who derive from egalitarian societies? What do they intrinsically port into their notions of “Lordship,” and how does this compare to or contrast with the notions of their predecessors in faith? Does their sense of “Lordship” cohere more with the Pythonesque, or with the Apocalyptic?

And then, how does this sense of “Lordship” correlate with other notions that are held, in the arena of soteriology?


:arrow: RE: “those who want to counteract this by almost reacting same way the law givers did after the Babylonian exile, when they "cracked down" and added extra laws”...

It is debatable whether this is most appropriately placed in the context of return from the exile, or whether it is more of a later development. The discussion of legal materiel in rabbinic literature is generally couched with figures from the first century BCE or later. I will speculate that the efflorescence of legal interpretation came in the wake of the Maccabean revolt.


:arrow: The diction of “repressed” was ported over from the original Python sketch. But when it comes to the Jewish “law givers,” I suppose that many Christian commentators lack a full appreciation of the issue.

Not all of the commandments in the Torah are explicated in great detail. This can afford a practitioner a great deal of latitude when deciding how to fulfill a commandment. This flexibility can be an asset on an individual level, as the construct can be fine-tuned in a variety of ways to address different personal needs.

But the situation is different at the communal level. When individual practitioners come together, they may find that their ways of fulfilling a commandment conflict with each other. In various circumstances, it may be necessary to establish a common way of practice.

(a) The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. When Moses' father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?” And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God; when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.”

Moses' father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you!

You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.”

So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves.
{Exodus 18:13-26, ESV}

As we see here, disputes arise in the community, and though it is burdensome, a format is established so that these disputes can be settled. Of course, the disputes could be left unsettled, but this could result in a fractious community, relatively weak and unable to cooperate effectively.

(b) Later on, in Deuteronomy, we find:

If any [matter] arises requiring decision between one [blood] and another, one [judgment] and another, or one [diagnosis] and another, [matters] within your [gates] that [are] too difficult for you, then you shall arise and go up to the place that the LORD your God will choose. And you shall come to the Levitical priests and to the judge who is in office in those days, and you shall consult them, and they shall declare to you the decision.

Then you shall do according to what they declare to you from that place that the LORD will choose. And you shall be careful to do according to all that they direct you. According to the instructions that they give you, and according to the decision which they pronounce to you, you shall do. You shall not turn aside from the verdict that they declare to you, either to the right hand or to the left.

The man who acts presumptuously by not obeying the priest who stands to minister there before the LORD your God, or the judge, that man shall die. So you shall purge the evil from Israel. And all the people shall hear and fear and not act presumptuously again.
{vv. 8-13, ESV, alt.}

Here the situation is intensified: the establishment of social order and/or authority is such a priority that refusing to respect the resolution to a dispute becomes a capital offense.

(c) Such is the background for Matthew 23:

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice.’ {vv. 1-3, ESV}

To the extent that the scribes and Pharisees served in the role of judges for their communities, their verdicts were to be respected – even if their examples were not to be followed.

(d) Let us journey a bit further with the thread, to the classic rabbinic case of “The Oven of Aknai”:

“We learned elsewhere: If he cut [an oven] into separate tiles, placing sand between each tile, Rabbi Eliezer declared it clean, and the [prevailing rabbis] declared it unclean – and this was the “oven of Aknai.” …

It has been taught: On that day Rabbi Eliezer brought forward every imaginable argument, but [the prevailing rabbis] did not accept them. Said he to them: 'If the [way to practice the law] agrees with me, let this carob-tree prove it!' Thereupon the carob-tree was torn a hundred cubits out of its place (others affirm, four hundred cubits). 'No proof can be brought from a carob-tree,' they retorted.

Again he said to them: 'If the [way to practice the law] agrees with me, let the stream of water prove it!' Whereupon the stream of water flowed backwards. 'No proof can be brought from a stream of water,' they rejoined. …

Again he said to them: 'If the [way to practice the law] agrees with me, let it be proved from heaven!' Whereupon a heavenly voice cried out: 'Why do you dispute with Rabbi Eliezer, seeing that in all matters the [way to practice the law] agrees with him!' But Rabbi Joshua arose and exclaimed: 'It is not in heaven.'
{Baba Mesi’a 59}

In rabbinic accounts, the verdict that carries the day always comes last, so Rabbi Joshua’s exclamation settles the matter. But what did Joshua mean?

The reference is to Deuteronomy 30: The LORD your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the LORD will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, when you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.
{vv. 9-14, ESV}

According to Deuteronomy, the voice of the Lord had already spoken. It had said to keep the laws of the book – a book that had been given to men on earth. And as we have seen above, the book said that it was up to men on earth to decide how to resolve difficult issues. The way to practice the law was therefore “not in heaven,” but in the hands of the priestly and/or judicial authority.

Understandably, this stunner of a vignette did not go without further commentary. There is one postscript in the talmudic text that many Jews may be familiar with: “Rabbi Nathan met Elijah and asked him: What did the Holy One, Blessed be he, do in that hour? He laughed, he replied, saying, 'My sons have defeated me, my sons have defeated me.' {Baba Mesi’a 59b}

This is a provocative postscript – but though it is worthy of attention, there is a further addendum that brings us back to our earlier theme:

It was said: On that day all objects which Rabbi Eliezer had declared clean were brought and burnt in fire. Then [the prevailing rabbis] took a vote and excommunicated him. They said, 'Who shall go and inform him?' 'I will go,' answered Rabbi Akiba, 'lest an unsuitable person go and inform him, and thus destroy the whole world.'

What did Rabbi Akiba do? He donned black garments and wrapped himself in black, and sat at a distance of four cubits from him. 'Akiba,' said Rabbi Eliezer to him, 'what has particularly happened to-day?' 'Master,' he replied, 'it appears to me that your companions hold aloof from you.' Thereupon he too rent his garments, put off his shoes, removed [his seat] and sat on the earth, whilst tears streamed from his eyes. The world was then smitten: a third of the olive crop, a third of the wheat, and a third of the barley crop. Some say, the dough in women's hands swelled up.

A Tanna taught: Great was the calamity that befell that day, for everything at which Rabbi Eliezer cast his eyes was burned up. Rabbi Gamaliel too was travelling in a ship, when a huge wave arose to drown him. 'It appears to me,' he reflected, 'that this is on account of none other but Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus.' Thereupon he arose and exclaimed, 'Sovereign of the Universe! You know full well that I have not acted for my honor, nor for the honor of my paternal house, but for yours, so that strife may not multiply in Israel!' At that the raging sea subsided.
{Baba Mesi’a 59b}

In this addendum, we find a defense for Gamaliel (not the one from the NT), who (according to annotation) was the chief Jewish leader and largely responsible for Eliezer’s excommunication. Gamaliel’s defense is that his concern was for Jewish unity, and ultimately for the honor of the Lord of the Universe.

This is the sort of element that many observers might overlook, when they are focusing on the “repression” of a figure like Rabbi Eliezer. Even though the individual may be important, there are broader concerns that come to bear. In the normal oversight of a community, a welter of controversies may emerge that have to be settled – even if doing so amounts to an imposition upon one or more parties.
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"The more something is repeated, the more it becomes an unexamined truth...." (Nicholas Thompson)
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