Would Jesus tattoo Leviticus 19:28 on his left thigh?
Would he wear one earring or two?
Would he wear skinny jeans?
Would he play fantasy football?
Would he endorse 'Batman Begins'?
These are the questions that Kevin Swanson opens his book "The Tattooed Jesus" with. He says, and it is worth quoting in length,
"Sincere Christians have arrived at widely differing conclusions concerning theses matters, as evidenced in the diversity of cultural expressions found in Western Christianity today. Indeed many professing Christians do believe that Jesus would tattoo Leviticus 19:28 on his left thigh, pierce his head with metal studs and cremate His family members upon their death. Other professing Christians would be horrified by such a suggestion. One cannot help but wonder if sincere people who call themselves Christians may be holding to different Christs or different religions altogether....Christ said there would be false Christs who would appear in the 'last days' which very well may apply to the day in which we live. There is the Christ who is 'accepting' of homosexual activity and another who hates homosexual activity. There is the Christ who loves homosexuals and the Christ who hates homosexuals. There is the Lord Jesus Christ who sits on a throne and calls nations to repentance, and then there is the Jesus who accepts everybody just the way they are. Then there is another Jesus who bears more resemblance to a Mexican drug lord named 'Jesus'. He makes everyone feel good."
And so I ask the question.....
What are we repenting of anyway?
If the gospel is a good news message of repentance and salvation, don't we Christians need to be VERY clear about what we are actually repenting of?
Repentance is defined as a change of mind that involves a change of behaviour i.e. I changed my mind about that. I don't do it anymore; You couldn't pay me to do that. I just don't do it.
And so I ask the question again....
What did you repent of?
Most Christians would quickly answer 'sin'. But I've noticed that even the definition of sin varies from 'christian' to 'christian'. Some define sin as 'wrong stuff' or 'evil' but they are quick to point out that each person, individually defines evil, as they see fit.
So, I thought if might be worthwhile to have a quick look at how the Bible defines some of it's terms. You can't use a dictionary for this. An intrinsic part of being a Christian is accepting God's definition of terms used in the Bible. We don't get to choose our own definitions. We gave up that right at the cross. The Bible clearly defines it's own terms. This is Biblical Interpretation 101.
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Sin: "Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness." 1 John 3:4
Law: The Commandments minus the laws relating to the sacrificial system (burnt offerings, sin offerings). This is because these laws were done away through Jesus' sacrifice, once and for all. (Hebrews 10). Jesus said,
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commandments will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matt 5:17-19
And so I ask the question again....
What did I repent of?I repented of rejecting God's Law and the Prophets as the ultimate authority on my life. I repented of rejecting God's Law. You see, there was a time in my life, when I hated God's Law. 'Stupid laws - stupid god', was my heartfelt response. 'Why would He make a law like that?' This played out in my life in many ways. I professed Christianity but refused to bow the knee to what God called right and wrong. I wanted grace without repentance. I wanted God's forgiveness but without any change on my behalf. I wanted redemption but I certainly didn't think I needed to be redeemed from my disobedience to God's law.
It's interesting... I would say to the LORD, free me from lust and rage and malice and jealousy.... but I didn't realise that the reason I was having these habitual sins in my life was because I had rejected so many of his laws. It wasn't until I embraced the laws of God into my life, that I was able to overcome the former mentioned. You see, I've now learned that His laws are there to protect me from evil. Like a loving mother who instructs her young child not to touch the fireplace because he will be burned, so my loving Heavenly Father has instructed me not to touch certain things because He knows I will get burned. He is trying to protect me from myself.
The Bible says we have ALL broken God's Law. Every single one of us on the face of this earth. We are all in need of God's grace and mercy and salvation. But His grace towards us does not mean we can now reject His Law. Paul is quite clear on this in Romans.
"Do we then nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather we uphold the law." Rom 3:31
"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin, how can we live in it any longer?" Rom 6:1,2.Or as John says,
"No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him." 1 John 3:6
"He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." 1 John 3:8
As Christians, the Bible says we will be judged first. As women, we have a responsibility to train our children in the laws of God and to help them apply them correctly within our culture. We have a
responsibility to teach them to not cheapen the grace of God and use it as a license to sin. (Jude 4) We have a responsibility before God to raise our children in the ways of the LORD and to teach them His commandments.
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"These commands I give to you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at one and when you walk down the street, when you lie down and when you get up." Deut 6:6,7
And so I ask again....
What did we repent of?
Do we know?