This is republished from A Voice in the Wilderness (www.a-voice.org) Re: Repentance is in the Heart "..yet when they have returned in their minds in the land where they have been carried captive, and have repented in their hearts, and made supplication to You in the land of those holding them captive, saying, We have sinned and done perversely, we have committed wickedness; and when they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who have taken them captive, and have prayed to You toward their land which You have given to their fathers, the city which You have chosen and the house which I have built for Your name: then hear in Heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their supplication, and attend to their cause, and forgive Your people who have sinned against You, and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You; and grant them compassion before those who took them captive, that they may have compassion on them.." (1Ki8:47-50) This is part of Solomon's dedicatory prayer for the glorious temple for which David drew up the designs, and Solomon built it. Unlike typical dedications today that glorify 'man' and his own efforts at having built the building, and praising all the people who scrimped and saved, and ran the fund drives to make the building program "a huge success", where the city mayor and other dignitaries of the world are also invited to the building's 'christening'... The glory of the holy God has just entered the building to where the priests could no longer stand at their posts where they were ministering with the offerings. (vs10-11) Solomon is praising God's greatness, and speaking of all peoples of the earth seeking to God towards the temple. He continues by acknowledging that God's people are going to sin... And "When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), and You have become angry with them and delivered them to the enemy, and they have taken them captive to the land of the enemy, far or near..." (vs46) This is the context. When there is sin, and resultant judgment; what is the cure? Reading through the verses, do we not see, essentially, the definition of "repentance"? We can see the utter despondency in the accounts of Isaiah, Job and the man in the temple. (Is6:5, Job42:6, Lk18:13) We can see the emotional wailing of "mourning" over our sin (Jac4:9) as we humble ourselves before God. But because the anti-christ "church" of Rome has proclaimed a doctrine of "penance" for so many centuries, which also conforms to heathen paganism's "appeasement" of angry gods, many people are confused. Penance becomes a "work", and we know that salvation is "not of works". (Eph2:9) And so, the opposite false doctrine came out of the Reformation, of "faith only", sans "repentance". They proclaim, specifically, that salvation DOES NOT INCLUDE (the work of) "repentance" thus illustrating that they, also, do not understand what it is. People wonder "how much" they need to repent; or... how will they know when they've repented "enough"? You see... that's a form of "penance". But you see...salvation does not come from outward physical acts. The Jews thought that circumcision guaranteed salvation for them. But Paul informs us that salvation is not through circumcision, but is from the "heart". (Rom2:28-29) What is it that condemns a person? Surely, a sinful person will be judged according to their works. (Rev20:13) But the "condemnation" results from what is in the heart. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jer17:9) It is out of the 'heart' that evil spews forth out of the mouth. (Mt12:34) Thus, notice how repentance 'progresses'. Solomon prays, "..when they have returned in their minds.." Salvation is not something that "comes over us" without our own control. I have heard testimonies similar to the nature that a person was musing over their own sins, and then suddenly this 'aura' overshadowed them, and they 'knew', inexplicably, at that moment they were "forgiven". But no. Repentance involves the "mind". Regarding righteous things, Paul says, "-think- on these things" (Php4:8) Even regarding spiritual things Paul says that we pray, sing, worship, and learn "with the mind". (1Cor14:15) The 'spirit' is not without the 'mind'. When the prodigal son was in famine, it says that he "came to himself" and starts 'reasoning' (a function of one's mind) regarding his hungry state, and the better state of his father's servants. (Lk15:17) And then, "..and have repented in their hearts.." Now, where is the heart? That is that innermost part of our beings that we, even, do not fully understand. In another study we learned that God made it. (Pr16:1, Ps100:3) It is Jesus Christ (the Word) who "pierces" into our soul and spirit and "discerns" the thoughts and intents of our hearts. He knows, when a person is going forward at an altar call, if the person's heart is genuine or not. He knows if that "decision card" was filled out because a person had truly repented, or if they were merely "shutting up" the person hounding them...just to get rid of them from their door, but not wishing to shut the door in their face. Beyond this, there is not much more we can say about the heart...because it is that secret place that each individual has from God. It is that place where only the person and God know about. No other human can truly know what is in another's heart, at the VERY CORE of that person's being. It is at 'that' place where a person either repents, receives Christ and is saved; or rejects God. And while you may fool other people, you cannot fool God. Like the words of that old song, "You cannot hide from God..." It is in that place where a person makes "supplication to God". This supplication is -NOT- the repeat-after-me so-called "sinners prayer" that so many use as a formula. Because it is in that place which God made, which only God and the person know; and since it is God who meets and "draws" the person (Jn6:44); the conversation and the nature of that supplication is something which is unique to that individual. Salvation is not like a scene from that TV movie I saw years ago (I don't know it's name): The scene depicted America's South just after the slavery years, and the white kids and black kids were playing together. They were doing as children do...playing/enacting what they see adults do. So, they were -playing- "church"; the white kids were "making a christian" out of the black kid... and to do this, they were "baptizing" the black kid. The kid would get dunked under the water, and back up...Are you saved yet? No. Back under the water, and back up. Are you saved yet? No. This repeated a few times, until the black kid was having enough of his head being dunked under water, and when asked: Are you saved yet? says, "I think so! So... 'one-more' dunk, "just to be sure". Are you saved now? Yes! And everybody is now smiling, and the little one has just "become a christian". No. Salvation is not something where the "counselor" can ask the person "are you saved now?" after running them through the formula they were trained with. I dare say very few conversions actually take place around the altar (of the church), or the open field (of the crusade arena). If a person got saved at that meeting, it happened way back when the person was still in their seat/pew, as God's Word was convicting them, God spoke to their heart...and IN THEIR HEART they 'responded' to God's Call. I dare say that more people who actually got saved in their seats, turned away again after being 'confused' by the unsaved counselor, than ever got saved 'while' talking to a counselor; as "..the wicked one snatches away what was sown in his heart" (Mt13:19) Repentance and supplication happens, not to the counselor, but to God...IN THE HEART. The evangelist might proclaim God's Word, and the counselor may clarify things on a personal level; but the "drawing" happens by the Father. (Jn6:44) The repentance is "-toward- God" and the Faith is "-toward- Jesus Christ". (Ac20;21) Now notice that this repentance includes "confession". "We have sinned and done perversely, we have committed wickedness." You see why so few are really being saved today? They are being told, "God accepts you JUST AS YOU ARE"; and they go-forward to the hymn "Just as I am..." And the preacher "encourages" them by telling them, "You are all wonderful people." And the basic 'sin' in many minds is the 'sin' of not recognizing JUST HOW WONDERFUL they are; repenting of not having any self-worth and self-esteem. Do you begin, now, to see why we continually say that most of today's so-called "[c]hurch" is not part of Christ's [C]hurch? True salvation comes after acknowledgement and confession of our sin and depravity. Today's [c]hurch is preaching an "other gospel". It is "accursed". (Gal1:8-9) And so, repentance is not a grunting and straining REAL HARD with physical emotions. We often quote Isaiah wailing "woe is me", and the man in the temple "beating his breast". But what actually goes on in each 'individual' heart? Truly, what goes on in the heart manifests itself outwardly, because that's how we were designed by God. But each person is going to outwardly behave differently, just as each person's unique personality will dictate, and as the depths of each unique depravity is, out of which the person is saved. Remember, ".. her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." (Lk7:47) Some may show -no- outward emotion, but may go off someplace alone in quiet; some will cry; and still others will be exuberantly jumping up and down, screaming and crying with joy, grabbing everybody they see and will blurt out their new-found Faith. But whatever the case, repentance is "with -ALL- their heart and with -ALL- their soul.." When a young man asks a girl to marry him, if he is of a divided heart, he will still think on other friends he has known; and often this divided heart causes strain in the marriage. But a 'total' heart is one where, the young man "loves" his bride, and totally "forsakes all others"...even in his heart and soul. Those others no longer 'exist' in his heart. A person cannot have "family values" and also be with God... you know, where after the wedding, all the inlaws continually intrude into the marriage, and the new couple don't have the will-power (or feel the need) to invite them to leave, with the exhortation: "don't come over unless you call first, and/or are invited". This is what Jesus meant, "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me." (Mt10:37) "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." (Lk14:26) As Paul says, "But no, rather, I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, that I may gain Christ.." (Php3:8) That sort of repudiation of one's sin and past is ONLY POSSIBLE when it is repentance of the HEART. Now, when repentance is of that nature, as we continually proclaim, the life will change. If the past is repudiated, what takes it's place? "..to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments.." (1Ki8:58) When the man gets married, he no longer goes running at the beck and call of those other friends. He no longer goes 'running' when mama calls with every little thing, because he has "left father and mother" and is "cleaving" to his wife. (Gen2:24) In the same way, when we repent of our sin, having "confessed and forsaken" it (Pr28:13), when the world comes over uninvited, we show it the door. When the world calls to us with its little annoyances, we tell it to take care of its own problems... We repudiate our former "family values" with the world, because they are no longer our family; because we, now, are the "bride" of Christ. (Eph5:) We are newly married. We have forsaken "all others" and our heart is -TOTALLY- Christ's. Thus, we desire to do what God desires, His commandments. Solomon asks God that, when a person does this, that God would "forgive Your people". (vs50) And then in a dream God tells Solomon, "..if My people who have been called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from the heavens, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (2Ch7:14) Now notice that Repentance is the same, whether it is a wayward child coming back to God, or a sinner responding to God's call. In both cases, it is in the heart. And notice God's Word to "My people". In Solomon's day that was Israel. Today, that is the "church". God's people are exhorted to call upon God, be humble, seek God's face and what? "..turn from their wicked ways.." Except for Smyrna and Philadelphia who were faithful before the Lord, the other five churches were all commanded to "repent...or else..." they would receive judgment. (Rev2-3) They are not exhorted to "believe" more, or "worship" more, or to heal their self-esteem issues. But to "repent". The condemnation of those receiving judgments in Revelation is not that they didn't Believe enough, that they didn't have 'enough' faith (Remember: the demons "believe and shudder" -Jac2:19), but that they "did not repent of the works of their hands" of idolatry, sorcery, immorality, etc. (Rev9:20-21,etc) While Jesus does speak of the "unbelief" of various ones, notice that His 'condemnation' is leveled at those who don't repent. "Unless you repent you will likewise perish" (Lk13:3,5) "Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent..." (Mt11;20) When Nineveh repented, "God was moved to pity with regard to the evil that He had spoken to do to them, and He did not do it." (Jonah3:10) Israel, in pretense, rested on circumcision, but refused to humble themselves before God with pure hearts, to shun idolatry; and God sent them into captivity. The 'heathen' Nineveh repented at Jonah's preaching, and was spared God's judgment. Today's "church" sits smuggly, assuming they are the head. But like the religious leaders of Jesus' day, God says to them, "Truly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you." (Mt21:31) However, for all the complexity the pretenders attribute to this topic, claiming to not understand it, putting different spins to it; for the pure of heart it is actually quite simple. Jesus prayed: "I thank You, Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight." (Mt11:25-26) Because it is of the -HEART-. If a person complicates the matter, it is because they are in rebellion against God. They love their sin too much, and so, twist the Scriptures to their own destruction. (2Pt3:16) But for the pure in heart, who is ready to hear God's voice in simplicity, and respond to Him, the psalmist says... "For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abounding in mercy unto all those who call upon You." (Ps86:5) Amen!