Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
You Need to Understand --
The Peril of False Repentance!
What is true, genuine REPENTANCE, in the sight of YEHOVAH God? Could you be deceived into accepting a FALSE, counterfeit "repentance" which will not save a single soul? Even as Satan the devil has deceived the world in every way (Rev. 12:9), his ministers also teach a diabolical, false, fraudulent kind of "repentance"! How can you tell the difference between the true and the false? Have YOU really repented of your sins? Let us study what the Word of YEHOVAH God has to say about this vital, pivotal, crucial issue! You may be surprised!
by HOIM Staff
What is the Bible way -- the right way -- the only way of salvation?
Let us search the Scriptures themselves for the answer, so that we, too, will not be deceived.
On that day of Pentecost, shortly after the resurrection and ascension of Yeshua the Messiah to heaven, a large crowd heard the apostles preaching the gospel of Yeshua the Messiah with power and conviction. "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
Here we have set forth the Biblical answer revealing the true way to salvation. "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:37-38).
The first thing to do, after you learn the truth, and hear the Word of YEHOVAH God, and are convicted by it, is to REPENT of your sins, your previous life and all its mistakes and shortcomings, and to accept Yeshua the Messiah as your Savior, and be baptized in his name. The act of baptism symbolizes your whole hearted repentance and turning away from sin, and rising up out of that watery grave a new creature, a new creation, a new person, in the Messiah!
"Repent," Peter said. But what is real repentance?
False Versus Genuine Repentance
How many people think they are Christians, but are not? How many have been deceived by the Devil into a false conversion, a fraudulent repentance?
Real repentance is far more than most people even begin to assume. It does not merely mean being sorry for your past sins. Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed the Messiah to the Pharisees for thirty pieces of silver, later "repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and alders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself" (Matt. 27:3-5).
Judas repented -- and hanged himself! That kind of repentance is not genuine, godly repentance. It was a self-centered remorse and self-pity which in the end led to self destruction! YEHOVAH God does not want us to feel bad about our sins, and then go out and commit suicide! That kind of repentance is a devilish repentance -- a false repentance!
What kind of repentance does YEHOVAH want?
Let me give you an example of godly repentance, again, from the Bible.
The Church of God at Corinth was proud, puffed up, spiritually proud, and yet carnal, fleshly minded (See II Cor. 5:2). Paul said they were "yet carnal" (II Cor. 3:1, 3, 4). Things were so bad in that Church that they openly fellowshipped with a so-called member of YEHOVAH God's Church who was a sex pervert -- he was sleeping with his father's wife!
Paul rebuked them for this sin, and commanded them "To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" (verse 5). He sternly warned them that unless they repented of this sin, a little leaven (sin) would leaven the whole lump (the Church). They would soon all become spiritually contaminated!
What did the Corinthian Church do?
Later, Paul sent Titus to see how the Corinthian Church was coming along. In his second letter to that Church, Paul wrote: "Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus: and not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.
"For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.
"Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh REPENTANCE TO SALVATION not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
"For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter" (II Cor. 7:6-11).
Here is an example of true, genuine, godly repentance. Notice! It produces GOOD FRUIT! It does not lead to suicide or death. The sorrow of the world, or false repentance, leads to or "worketh" death. Godly sorrow and repentance lead to a CHANGED LIFE! A total about face in the way you live! A complete CHANGE in the way you are going! A NEW OUTLOOK! A new attitude! It produces dramatic changes in your life style and approach toward living, a NEW SPIRIT, a new you! Godly sorrow and repentance leads you to CLEAN UP YOUR ACT, to use the modern coloquial vernacular!
What about you? Have you truly repented of SIN?
What True Repentance Involves
Repentance of sin is not merely accepting the Messiah or an intellectual acknowledgment that you have sinned. It is not merely a matter of the mind, and mental, intellectual understanding -- it is also a matter of the heart. True repentance involves both the mind and the emotion. It is not a "halfway" repentance, or change in your life, but a TOTAL repentance, a TOTAL CHANGE, involving your heart, mind, soul, and strength! True repentance involves your TOTAL BEING!
You have heard of the book the Total Woman or the Total Man, meaning the "complete" woman or man. Well, real, true repentance is a Total repentance, a complete repentance. Nothing is held back. Nothing is restrained. Nothing is consciously hidden away in a corner or left unrepented of. Everything is open and acknowledged before YEHOVAH God.
Total repentance is a spiritual process, but it is somewhat akin to the physical process of wanting to throw up -- to vomit up your past life, and your sinful being, and get shuck of it. It involves throwing up your whole being, spiritually speaking, and starting over. It involves coming to see that you were sick with sin, your whole being was shot through with sin, your flesh was permeated with the leprosy of sin; and now you want desperately to get rid of that sinful body, that sinful self, that old carnal YOU -- and to become a new man, a brand new creature in Messiah Yeshua!
Let us notice some examples of true repentance in the Bible. And then some examples of false repentance.
"Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican (tax collector; a member of the I.R.S. of that time, a despised and hated person). The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself (notice! he was actually talking to himself, insofar as the effectiveness of his prayers), God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice a week (Oh, how self righteous he was! We will notice more about this spiritual problem, or disease, later!), I give tithes of all that I possess (he was extremely diligent in figuring the last penny he owed YEHOVAH God!).
"And the publican, standing afar off (over in the corner), would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven (he felt so small and unworthy in his own sight!), but smote upon his breast (Actually hit himself upon the chest, angry at himself, and his failings, and abhorring his shortcomings -- despising himself!), saying, God be merciful to me a sinner."
Notice! He had nothing to be proud of. He didn't feel good about himself. He didn't look down his nose at other men. Rather, he literally hated himself, abhorred himself, detested himself. He felt lower than the lowest scum. He felt like the dregs from the bottom of the barrel, or like the dirt beneath the barrel. He felt like, and thought upon himself as, the worst slime in the cesspool of life. He looked upon himself as an open running sewer. As far as his attitude about himself was concerned, he was a burned out hunk of worthless old scrap metal, good for nothing, utterly useless. He had no vain pretensions about himself, no lofty ambitions, no false image to protect. He wasn't putting on a facade for other people to see, to witness how "good" he was. He wasn't savoring esteem from people, or praise of men. He was merely beating his chest, sobbing huge sobs perhaps, absolutely broken up inside, disgusted with himself.
And in this state of utter humiliation, contrition, and repentance, he cried out to YEHOVAH God simply: "God be merciful to me a sinner!" He didn't ask YEHOVAH to look at his good deeds. He crawled before YEHOVAH's Throne, knowing and feeling that he was worthy of nothing but death. Death, death, death! He just cried out for MERCY!
What did Yeshua say?
"I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted!" (Luke 18: 10-14).
Have you ever truly repented of your sins before YEHOVAH God?
Read over that story once again. Think about it. Right now, read it again, before we go on. Have you ever repented like that?
Or does the example of the Pharisee seem to fit you more closely? Like a glove? Are you more resembling the self righteous Pharisee?
"Oh that we could see ourselves as others see us!" is a famous saying. But even better, "Oh that we could see ourselves as YEHOVAH God sees us!"
I have known self righteous men in my time. I have known men bitten by the bug of self-righteousness. I have seen them rise up to lofty positions of power and eminence. I have seen them strut in their gleaming paneled offices, with rich, luxuriant carpeting and huge expansive desks, as if they were the chief executive of General Motors or IBM. And I have seen them fall from their heavenly heights, tumble from their lofty perch, and plummet like a stone to the earth below.
False repentance; self righteousness; self importance; pride, including religious or spiritual pride; these deadly cancers can afflict anyone! And unfortunately, people afflicted with this condition are blind to their true condition; everyone else looks bad, but they look all right to themselves!
They have the attitude of the old Quaker who remarked to his wife: "Martha, it seems to me the whole world is a little bit queer, Martha, except for me and thee." And then he peered at her through his spectacles, and said, "And sometimes, Martha, I'm not quite so sure about thee!"
Each one of us should humbly and prayerfully examine himself for this sin of spiritual pride and vanity, the leaven of self worth and self importance and self image, and deeply acknowledge the truth and repent! If you think you are innocent that may be the greatest proof that you are GUILTY!
Obviously, if you are guilty of this problem, you cannot see it. So even if you think you are innocent, I suggest that you confess this sin, and ask YEHOVAH God in earnestness to CLEAN YOU UP from it, on the off chance that you might just be mistaken!
David prayed, "Lord, cleanse thou me from SECRET sins" -- even those sins he didn't see, and didn't know that he had! (Psalm 19:12). The apostle Paul warned: "Wherefore let him thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (I Cor. 10:12).
Notice also Galatians 6:3: "For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself"!
Take that admonition to heart!
If you are living a life of true repentance, then you are living in the constant awareness that YOU ARE NOTHING! You are just another human being. You are no better than any one else! When you see a poor unfortunate person, or a crippled beggar, your thought is; "There but for the grace of God go I!"
Paul was a great apostle of YEHOVAH God. He wrote more of the New Testament than any other man. But was he proud, haughty, self important, or lifted up in his own eyes?
Notice, now, Paul's attitude. It is a remarkable example to follow, and cultivate!
Paul wrote to his friend Timothy, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief" (I Tim. 1:15). Paul didn't say, "of whom I was chief." He said, "of whom I AM chief!" He did not have an exalted, perverted high opinion of himself. He still had a humble, childlike attitude -- even after years of service to Yeshua the Messiah!
Notice again Paul's attitude: "After that, he (the Messiah) was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was in me" (I Cor. 15: 7-10). Paul did not even take credit for his hard labors and work in fulfilling his ministry and calling. He gave all the praise and credit to YEHOVAH God!
Now, notice just one more time (three is the number of completion), Paul's example: "Unto me, who am less than the least of all the saints, is this grace given," Paul wrote, "that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Eph. 3:8). Here Paul even said he was less than the least of all the SAINTS! He felt like the lowest member in YEHOVAH's Church!
It is truly amazing how many people think they are Christians, and think they have repented, and may even be ordained as ministers in a church, and yet haven't really taken step one on the road to real surrender to YEHOVAH God, repentance, and conversion! Some of them wear their authority like a policeman's badge; they know to perfection how to chew out a lowly member, or rake somebody over the coals for imagined or alleged sins or "bad attitudes." But have they themselves come to genuine repentance? If they had, they would be much more understanding, merciful, and considerate of others, as Paul said, "considering themselves lest they also be tempted" (Gal. 6:1).
We have probably all known such people. But the proverb of Jesus is truly fulfilled -- the wheat and the tares grow side by side until the harvest. Notice the parable: "The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field," Yeshua said. "But while men slept, his enemy (the Devil!) came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares (like dandelions) also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn" (Matt. 13:24-30).
Yeshua explained this parable, "He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom (true converted Christians); but the tares are the children of the wicked one (Satan); the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear" (verses 37-43).
The ironic thing is, a tare doesn't know he is a tare. While they are little, the wheat plants and tare plants look identical to the casual observer. It is not until they are fully mature that the difference can readily be seen! But the tares grow up right along with the wheat, in the Church, until the final time of harvest comes, when YEHOVAH God Himself will show who are the wheat and who are the tares!
We should examine ourselves, and make sure that we are not the tares! As Paul wrote: "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove (put to the test) your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Yeshua the Messiah is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (II Cor. 13:5).
A remarkable example of true repentance is that of King David. At one point in his life, David began to stray from close contact with YEHOVAH God. He allowed himself to drift. The lusts of the flesh began to assert themselves. "And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
"And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child" (II Samuel 11:2-5).
The plot thickened. David allowed his gaze to dwell upon the lovely form of this woman until he lusted after her. Even though he found out she was a married woman, his lustful impulses were strong, and wasn't he the king? He had her brought to him, and he had intercourse with her. As so often happens when we sin, complications developed. She conceived a son! Now she was pregnant, and what would she tell her husband? Adultery was punishable by death, according to YEHOVAH's law!
David didn't know what to do. He was stuck. How could he get out of it? How could he make the problem go away? But in nine months, it would be all too obvious!
So David hatched a plan. He plotted to bring Uriah, the woman's husband, back from the battle, giving him a little R and R -- rest and relaxation from military duty.
But to his dismay and chagrin, this clever ploy, this cunning stratagem, this brilliant tactic, didn't work! When he came back and reported to David, Uriah didn't go down to his own house or have sexual relations with his wife! If he had, then David reasoned that nobody would really be able to prove the baby was his, and Bathsheba could claim the baby was really Uriah's. "But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house" (verse 9).
David was beside himself. Mortified, he asked Uriah, "Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house?" (v. 10).
Uriah was a good man, a loyal and brave soldier of the King. He replied: "The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing" (v. 11).
David's plot had backfired! Little did he know the loyalty of this fine soldier! At this time David wished devoutly that Uriah had not been quite so loyal! Now how could David cover up his sin?
After David plied Uriah with liquor, and strong drink, until he was roaring drunk -- completely inebriated -- Uriah still did not go down to his house to lie with his wife!
At this point David committed the worst sin of his life. In order to cover up his sin (he did not want to freely admit it, or confess it, but he strove to hide it from the people!), David sent a letter to his commander in chief, Joab, saying: "Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die" (verse 15).
Joab, a loyal commander, did as the king commanded. "And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were. And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also" (verse 16-17).
One sin had led to another. To cover up the first sin, David committed a far worse sin! Adultery led to deceit and deceit led to outright murder of an innocent and righteous man!
David justified this sin to Joab, claiming, "for the sword devoureth one as well as another" (v. 25). So David reasoned that the event was over. Everything was settled. Uriah was out of the way. So after her days of mourning were fulfilled, David took Bathsheba to be his wife.
But was it all over?
In the days of Moses YEHOVAH God inspired His prophet to say: "But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out" (Deut. 32:23).
David's sin found him out.
That which David attempted to hide, and bury (literally!), and sweep under the carpet came back to haunt him for the remainder of his days! YEHOVAH would not let him get away with it so easily!
The sin which David had performed secretly was later blazoned abroad! The sin which David had attempted to hide, and COVER UP, YEHOVAH later had shouted from the housetops!
Yeshua said: "For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that it shall not be known and come abroad" (Luke 8:17).
Yeshua also said, pointedly, and plainly: "Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the house-tops" (Matt. 10:26-27). Luke adds: "Beware ye of the leaven (sin) of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be PROCLAIMED UPON THE HOUSETOPS!" (Luke 12:1-3).
The apostle Paul explains: "For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made MANIFEST by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light" (Ephesians 5:12-13).
David tried to cover up his secret sin and hide it from view. In so doing, he added sin upon sin, until murder was the result! But YEHOVAH God sent the prophet Nathan to him (Nathan means "gift" in Hebrew). Nathan used a simple story to convict David of his sin, telling him of a rich man who stole a poor man's only lamb to feed a guest in his home. David was outraged at the act -- it was so brazen, so insolent, so callous. David said to Nathan, "As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die" (II Samuel 12:5).
Nathan replied: "Thou art the man."
"It is you, David."
"Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; and I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
"Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon" (vs. 7-9).
It took courage for Nathan to bluntly tell these things to the king. David could have had him beheaded, or put to death in some other unsavory fashion. But Nathan was a man of YEHOVAH God. He did not flinch or hesitate. With complete confidence in YEHOVAH he gave the king YEHOVAH's message.
Nathan continued: "Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbor, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun" (vs. 10-12).
What was David's reaction to this message of doom -- this sharp, cutting rebuke?
"I have sinned against the Lord," David said (v.13). He was cut to the quick. There was nothing else he could say. He was thunderstruck. The enormity of his sin, what he had done, hit him in the stomach like a bolt of thunder. "I have sinned." He knew it. It welled up in front of his face. It blocked everything else from his line of vision. It filled the entire horizon. "I HAVE SINNED!"
David felt dead. Worthless. Useless. The wind was totally knocked out of his sails. There was nothing else to say.
And notice. David knew against whom he had really sinned. It wasn't just Bathsheba. Or Uriah. Or the people. It was YEHOVAH God. "I have sinned against the Lord." He had sinned against the One who had given him every gift -- the One who had made him KING; the One who had preserved his life from the hands of Saul, who had sought to slay him; the One who had blessed him, and exulted him, and given him great and wonderful promises! David had sinned against the One who loved him so much that He gave His only begotten Son to pay for his sins. David had sinned against YEHOVAH GOD!
How much did David repent?
Read the 51st Psalm, which was dedicated "To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba."
Notice how David, broken up, poured out his innermost heart before YEHOVAH God: "Have mercy upon me, O God," he prayed, just like the Publican in the example of Jesus. "According to thy mercies, BLOT OUT my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and CLEANSE ME from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me." He couldn't forget it. He couldn't minimize it. He couldn't put it out of his mind. It filled his consciousness. It overwhelmed him.
"Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest."
David declared, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psa. 51:1-5). He felt as if he were filled with sin, since his own conception, that his heart was never really right with YEHOVAH God. He had never seen before the ease with which he could suddenly depart from YEHOVAH and commit heinous transgression. David had once thought he was pretty good, a righteous man. But now he realizes the truth about himself. He saw the exceeding sinfulness of his human nature. He was appalled.
"Purge me with hyssop (an astringent, harsh cleanser), and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out mine iniquity. Create in me a CLEAN HEART, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee" (vs. 7-13).
David learned the most valuable lesson of all from this tragic experience. He learned the meaning of true and full repentance. David said: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise" (verse 17).
Isaiah the prophet knew this truth. He was inspired by YEHOVAH God to tell us: "But to this man will I look," says the Lord God; "even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word" (Isa. 66:2).
Yeshua said: "Blessed are the poor (contrite) in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3). This was the first of the beatitudes!
The prophet Micah tells us how to approach YEHOVAH God: "Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
"He hath shewed me, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:6-8).
Micah says in the next chapter: "Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:18-20).
The Test of Repentance
Have you repented of your sins? How can you know? There are perhaps many tests of true repentance, but notice what John the Baptist had to say to the Pharisees who came to hear his preaching. "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore FRUITS meet for repentance" (Matt. 3:7-8).
Repentance is not an emotion which we work up by human effort. It is a gift of YEHOVAH God. You must learn that "the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance" (Romans 2:4). True repentance is a state of heart and mind that is only given to a few. The vast majority don't begin to understand it. It seems foolishness to them.
True repentance involves coming to see yourself as you really are in YEHOVAH's sight.
In the story of the prodigal son, Yeshua illustrated true repentance. This young man claimed his inheritance from his wealthy father, and set off to see the world. He wanted to see what the WORLD had to offer! He had lived down on the farm long enough. He wanted to see the city, with its glittering lights, neon signs, honkey tonks, gambling casinos, ladies of the night, massage parlors, and the works!
We read that the younger son "gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living" (Luke 15:13). He really lived it up! He gambled, wined, dined, slept with pretty women, and had a gay old time! He cracked jokes, got rolling drunk, and played dice into the wee hours of the night. He went to bed when the sun got up, and when the sun went to bed, he got up to spend another night "out on the town." It was probably some place like Las Vegas -- a real den of iniquity!
But soon he ran out of money. He had spent it all, and nothing was left. He was penniless -- flat broke. The only thing left in his pockets was lint.
"And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want" (verse 14). He was starving, and dressed in tatters, and needed a job -- any job! At this point, he really didn't care. He wouldn't turn up his nose at any kind of work! Ditch digger, cesspool cleaner, chimney sweep-- you name it, he would grab it!
"And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine." Yes, he had sunk so low that he would slop the hogs -- anything, to get a bite to eat! You can imagine that back on his father's farm, he probably refused to dirty his hands milking the cows or feeding the swine or hoeing the corn. He probably ran off every chance he could get to the nearest fishing hole and played "hooky" every chance he got to get out of work!
But now he was slopping the hogs, without complaint! He had sunk to the depths of the gutter. There was seemingly no place to go but up. It couldn't get any worse!
But it did. "And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him" (v. 16). He was down and out on his luck. And no man would take pity on him. Everybody despised him. "That no good bum, throw him out!" "Get rid of him!" "Off the sidewalk and into the gutter with you, you low down scurvy panhandler!"
He finally reached bottom.
At this point, Yeshua tells us: "And when he came to himself..." He finally woke up! He finally saw himself as he really was! No more pride! No more haughtiness! No more self importance!
He finally CAME TO HIMSELF! He came to his senses! He repented! He REALLY repented!
"And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee. And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
"And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
"And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is ALIVE AGAIN; he was lost, and is FOUND. And they began to be merry" (verses 17-24).
This son, who had spent all he had, and wasted his life, finally woke up, and came to real, genuine repentance! He turned around his life completely. He changed his attitude completely. He humbled himself. Completely.
And what happened? The father in this story is a type of YEHOVAH God the Father. The young man represents all of us sinners who have gone astray, plunged into the world, and wasted our lives, spiritually speaking. We became dead in sins and trespasses. "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation (that is, conduct) in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
"But GOD, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:1-7).
When we repent, and come to our senses, YEHOVAH is eager and delighted to forgive us, and have compassion upon us, and bestow the riches of His grace upon us!
The Other Son
But the rich man in the parable had another son. What about him? His story is very interesting, too.
You see, to all intents and purposes, he never ran off to "see the world." He did not spend his life in riotous living. He stayed at home and worked the farm. He was proud of himself. He was very content and self-satisfied. Even smug. He looked down his nose upon his lowly brother. He was like the Pharisee in the temple, looking down his nose at the lowly Publican. He felt superior. He thought he was better than his brother! He was filled with self-esteem, self importance!
Notice his attitude.
"Now his elder son was in the field" (verse 25). Yes, he was busily working -- doing the Work. Probably working long hours, sweating, sun up to sun down, toiling all day long, like the Negro man in the song "Old Man River." Tote that barge! Lift that hay! Work, work, work!
"Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing." What on earth! What could that mean? He was mystified.
"And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
"And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee (you can detect the tone of bitterness here), neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment (oh oh, we see that self righteousness coming to the surface, here): and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends (notice how self centered the older brother is -- me, me, me, I, I, I): But as soon as this (this despicable, lowly brat; this unclean thing; this disgusting filthy rag; this lowly varmint -- you can almost hear the dripping sarcasm) thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots (now he is accusing the younger brother, bringing up all his past sins!), thou hast killed for him the fatted calf."
The older son's attitude stands out like a sore thumb -- or a red flag, if you prefer. But don't we all think we know people like that? Come on, now! Admit it! But what about you, yourself? Haven't you sometimes acted, and thought, that way? Haven't you sometimes been jealous of somebody else, their success, their advancement, their money, their wealth, their fancy clothes and jewelry, their home or automobile, or their position in life -- or something?!!!
Admit it! It is human to think that way. It is human nature to be jealous. But, I might add, it is also devilish -- it is the attitude of Satan the devil!
The apostle James reminds us: "But if ye have bitter envying, and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish, For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace" (James 3:14-18).
What kind of fruit are you sowing? Peace? Gentleness? Mercy? Are you easy to be entreated, full of mercy?
Notice again in the parable of Yeshua. The father had a heart full of mercy. His bowels ached, yea, longed, for his errant son! He was easy to be entreated! He was anxious to forgive, to pardon, to have compassion! He really was! He had a fully converted attitude.
But the older son was not. He was still carnal. He was selfish. His heart was not right, with either his father, his brother, or YEHOVAH God.
Notice how the father answered the self righteous son:
"And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found" (Luke 15:31-32).
The older brother obviously did not love his younger brother. If he did, he would have rejoiced with him. He would have run inside, and put a big bear hug on him, and wept, crying on his shoulder, slapping him on the back, delighted to see him again-ALIVE, and safe, and sound, and much the wiser for his experiences! He would have been overjoyed!
That's the kind of attitude YEHOVAH God wants us to have -- toward each other. Yeshua said: "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one to another" (John 13:35).
The Sin of Self Righteousness
Now consider for a moment. The elder son thought he was righteous. He obeyed his father. He was busy working in "the Work." He was laboring in the "harvest." He can be compared to a Church member, or even a minister, laboring in the spiritual harvest of the Father. But his attitude is wrong. He himself doesn't realize it. But in his heart he really despises his brother. He is persuaded that he himself is righteous. He has forgotten the admonition of the prophet Isaiah, who said: "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away" (Isaiah 64:6).
The classic case of self righteousness in the Bible, of course, is the case of Job. Job was a great man in the East. He was a wealthy king, he had huge flocks and herds and untold wealth. He is apparently also the one who built the Great Pyramid -- the greatest structure of man ever built, even to this age.
But Job had a problem. He knew he was good. And he was good. No doubt about it. He was a very righteous man. He gave to the poor, he helped the widows and took care of the orphans. He had compassion on others. He even sacrificed to YEHOVAH God just in case his sons might be sinning! (Job 1:5).
But after YEHOVAH God struck him down, and took away all his wealth, and allowed Satan the devil to smash him to the ground, Job still blessed YEHOVAH and refused to buckle spiritually (Job 1:20-22, 2:10).
Job's real problem does not become evident until the 27th chapter of the book of Job. Until that time, he argues circles around his friends, who are well meaning, but who miss the point entirely. They assumed that Job was being punished by YEHOVAH because he had sinned some huge sin. But they were wrong! They could not discern the truth of the matter. They were actually falsely accusing Job -- and all their well reasoned arguments fell on deaf ears.
In chapter 27, Job said: "As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment; and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul; All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live" (Job 27:1-6).
This was Job's problem. Like the elder son who never thought he had done anything wrong, like the Pharisee who prayed to YEHOVAH God in the temple boasting of his own righteousness, tithing, and good deeds, Job too was filled with himself. He had the wrong vantage point. He couldn't see himself from YEHOVAH's point of view. Compared to other men, he might have had something to boast and brag and feel proud about. But not compared to YEHOVAH God! Not from YEHOVAH's viewpoint! From YEHOVAH's viewpoint, he was still a little speck -- like a tiny mote of dust. Like an ant on an anthill, or a fly in the window pane. Compared to YEHOVAH, Job was nothing at all!
As Isaiah wrote: "Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?"
"Who hath directed the spirit of the Lord, or being his counselor hath taught him?"
Yes, who? You?
You may think you are pretty smart. You may have an I.Q. that would dazzle the simple-minded and put the average to shame! But so what? How do you stack up compared to YEHOVAH God?
You may feel intellectually superior -- even puffed up and vain because of your erudition and knowledge, your understanding of arcane mysteries, and puzzling enigmas. Perhaps you are a wizard at higher mathematics, and labor at the frontiers of knowledge of nuclear physics or astronomy. But haven't you yet learned the basic rudiments of knowledge?
Isaiah continues: "With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?
"Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, are counted as the small dust of the balance (which no one takes any account of!): behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing" (Isaiah 40:12-15).
Isaiah continues: "All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing and vanity" (verse 17).
Consider. It was not until YEHOVAH answered Job out of the whirlwind, and cut him down to size, that Job quit boasting of his own righteousness, and sat back in openmouthed awe and astonishment!
Read Job 38. Our friend Job had become a little too big for his britches. Surely you have known people like that. Perhaps it was a son or a daughter, or a teacher in school, or even (YEHOVAH forbid!) a minister! Or worse yet, it was YOURSELF! But the day came when YEHOVAH took matters in hand, and cut them down to size. He whittled them down, like an expert craftsman whittles a little block of wood until it takes on the correct shape for his purpose!
"Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me!"
YEHOVAH finally gave Job the chance he had been begging for -- the chance to bring his "case" before YEHOVAH! Right now Job began to feel pretty small, very puny. Like a sawed-off runt. Like he wanted to crawl beneath the floor boards through the nearest knothole! He wanted to fade into the background inconspicuously and sort of just "fade out" like the Cheshire Cat in Alice and Wonderland!
But there was no place to hide!
YEHOVAH God said to him, "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding" (verse 4). So you built the Great Pyramid, Job. So what? How does that stack up along side the earth itself?
YEHOVAH continued: "Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched out the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof...?" (verses 5-6).
YEHOVAH really cut Job down to size. Where were you when I did this, He asked. Have you ever commanded the morning? Have you ever made the sun to rise and set? Have you perceived the size of the earth? or the size of the Universe? Do you know the secret of the Black Holes in space? Do you know what Quasars are, or how to make one? Have you ever set a Pulsar in motion? Have you ever created a star?
Can you send forth the lightnings, and bring on the rain storms, to give rain to the dry earth? Can you count the number of the clouds, or the number of stars, or the number of grains of sand at the sea shore?
What about it, Job?
Can you make the mountain goats to procreate, or do you know the mating song of the bull moose or elk? Do you know the spawning ground of the Chinook salmon, or the way of the Monarch butterfly? Do you know the homing beacon of the Arctic Tern, or the fly way of the Golden Plover?
Finally we come down to Job 40. YEHOVAH God wraps up His thundering argument, taking Job to task, and says: "Moreover, the Lord answered Job, and said, Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him?" In other words, Job, you who challenged YEHOVAH, are you going to teach Him? Sounds rather ludicrous, doesn't it! Mere man, thinking he can teach the Almighty God a thing or two!
"He that reproveth God, let him answer it!" God thundered. And there was deafening silence. You could hear a pin drop. Total silence. The defense rests.
Then, you could hear a muffled squeak, like a rubber sole of a tennis shoe upon the floor of a basketball court. It was Job.
Chastened, humbled, suddenly speechless, all of Job's previous pious arguments now deserted him. He was standing there, naked, seemingly, before YEHOVAH. YEHOVAH was waiting for him to answer. There was nobody else he could turn to, or put forward to speak on his own behalf. It was up to Job.
We don't know, but it is possible that Job sort of stammered, and halted, and coughed a few times, and attempted to clear his throat. And then, in a surprisingly meek and mild mannered voice, like that of a mouse, barely audible perhaps, he stammered: "Behold, I am vile." Job finally got the lesson! It took the entire book of Job, and all the experience it records-but it was worth it! Job finally got the lesson! He finally saw himself as YEHOVAH God sees him! He finally realized how little, tiny, insignificant, puny, and ridiculous he was, and appeared, challenging YEHOVAH God!
Job said: "Behold, I am vile. What shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
"Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further" (Job 40:4-5).
Job said, in effect, "No further argument. I withdraw my case. I withdraw my law suit against you, O God. I was too hasty. I have no further questions, or answers. I will shut up now."
But YEHOVAH wasn't quite through with him yet.
"Then answered the Lord unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?
"Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?" (Job 40:6-9).
YEHOVAH says, in effect, "Not so fast, Job. You're not going to get off that lightly. So you admit you are vile. You admit you were wrong. Now you want to forget the whole matter. But it's too late for that! Now answer me! Be a man! Speak up, I can hardly hear you. Do you still want to condemn me, so that you can hang on to your own righteousness, which is like filthy rags, to me? What about it?"
This time, when YEHOVAH finishes talking, you could hear a bird chirping a mile away. The silence was total. When YEHOVAH finished, Job answered, and said to the Lord: "I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
"Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak...I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee, wherefore I ABHOR MYSELF, and REPENT in dust and ashes!" (Job 42:1-6).
Yes, finally Job saw the picture. He saw YEHOVAH God's greatness, and his own sins became as scarlet before him. Now he saw what a pitiful, wretched, miserable little sawed-off pip-squeak he really was before YEHOVAH. He saw his sins, and his self righteousness in vivid Technicolor and three dimensional reality! He was shocked. He was appalled. He was squirming. He abhorred his own self, despised himself, and REPENTED -- he finally repented -- in dust and ashes, in total humiliation and contrition.
The Gift of Repentance
Unless YEHOVAH had opened the eyes of Job, he never would have seen his own self righteousness. Even so, it is YEHOVAH that grants us true repentance. It is a gift from Him.
Have you ever really repented? Have you really forsaken everything and turned your life over to YEHOVAH God, to do with as He chooses?
Real repentance is a precious gift, one which you should not take lightly. If you have not yet really repented, may YEHOVAH help you. Ask Him in prayer to open your eyes, and open up your heart, to see the truth. Satan has truly deceived the entire world, and has led millions into accepting a false repentance that will not save a single soul! He has deceived MILLIONS into a false conversion, a fraudulent repentance, a counterfeit baptism, and a fake Christianity!
May YEHOVAH God help you to search yourself, in the light of His revealed Word, and come to full and genuine repentance, before it is everlastingly too late!
Have you repented?
The Devil's deception of counterfeit, pseudo-repentance is his greatest bargain. It costs him nothing, so he offers it freely to all who want it. But it could cost you your life! The price to you for swallowing the Devil's clever deception is not small. It could be your eternal salvation!
So again I ask. Have you really repented?
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!
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