Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line

Monday, January 6, 2020

The Baptism and Filling of the Holy Spirit



The Two Natures of the Believer
Chapter Nine
The Baptism and Filling of the Holy Spirit

 
         The baptism WITH the Holy Spirit and the filling OF the Holy Spirit are NOT the same events.  The baptism WITH the Holy Spirit is a one-time event never repeated in the believer’s life.  The baptism WITH the Holy Spirit removes the believer POSITIONALLY from the cursed creation and immerses that believer into the New Creation in Christ.  The baptism WITH the Holy Spirit with Christ positionally is another aspect of the vicarious nature of Christ’s work of redemption. 

8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete {perfect tense; i.e., once and forever} in him {vicariously}, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands {vicariously}, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ {vicariously}: 12 Buried with him in baptism {vicariously}, wherein also ye are risen with him {vicariously} through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:8-12).

32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:32-34).

           John the Baptist was the first to introduce the baptism with the Holy Spirit as the introduction of the believer-priest into the New Covenant of the New Creation.  The baptism with the Holy Spirit is unique to the Church Age dispensation (from the Day of Pentecost to the rapture).  The baptism with the Holy Spirit was not available before the Cross and the completion of the propitiatory work of Christ.  We should not confuse the baptism with the Holy Spirit with anything the Holy Spirit of God did in the Old Testament.  John the Baptist is the messenger announcing the future coming of the New Covenant in Jesus the Christ.  Integral to that unfolding nature of the New Covenant dispensationally is the baptism with the Holy Spirit.

           Therefore, understanding the baptism with the Holy Spirit defines God’s working in the lives of His Redeemed throughout the New Covenant and the Church Age (from the Day of Pentecost to the rapture).  It is the finished work of Christ that opens the dispensational door for the baptism with the Holy Spirit.  For instance, we know from Scripture that the baptism with the Spirit could not have happened before Jesus was glorified.

37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (John 7:37-39).

           The Scriptures tell us that the Holy Spirit could not come in this new way until after Christ was ascended to the Father.  Christ said this in John 16:7 and Peter said it in his message on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:31-33)

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16:7).

31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell {Abraham’s bosom or paradise}, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear” (Acts 2:31-33).

           Although the finished work of Christ opened the door to the New Covenant (and closes the door to the Old), it is the baptism with the Holy Spirit that defines God’s operations in everything He does throughout the Church Age.  Anyone ignorant of this one doctrine will be easily led astray (and many have been led astray).  Therefore, it is important to take the time to establish what the Scriptures teach regarding this doctrine.  THIS IS THE DOCTRINE OF GRACE ENABLING!

We must be careful to avoid confusing the transitional period between the Old and New Covenants.  At the time of the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, there were believers in both the Old Testament sense and the New Testament sense.  The Old Testament believer was saved by faith in what Messiah would do when He came.  There were many saved Jews like this at the time of Christ’s first advent.  All the disciples of John the Baptist (as well as John himself) were Old Testament saints. 

These Old Testament believers were saved but were not baptized with the Holy Spirit.  In order to become New Covenant believers, they needed to recognize Jesus to be their promised Messiah, accept the work of the Cross as the fulfillment of all for which the Old Covenant rituals cry out (completeness), and publicly acknowledge (confess) their belief that Jesus was the incarnate Jehovah God Who came to redeem them.

The baptism with the Spirit happens only to those who trust in Jesus and His finished work from the Day of Pentecost forward.  During this inter-testament period, there were many Old Covenant believers who became New Covenant believers by hearing the Gospel and accepting Jesus as the fulfillment of the Law and the promised full propitiation of God’s wrath through His vicarious death, burial, and resurrection/glorification. 

THIS IS IMPORTANT.  All three aspects of the vicarious nature of the redemptive work of Christ are part of our understanding of the completeness of the gift of salvation.  Apollos was a disciple of John the Baptist and was one such Old Covenant believer who became a New Covenant believer.

24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. 26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. 27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: 28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ” (Acts 18:24-28).


     Another example of the Old Covenant believers becoming New Covenant believers is the twelve disciples of John the Baptist which Paul encountered at Ephesus (Acts 19:1-7).  These Old Covenant believers had trusted in the promises of redemption in the coming Messiah but had not yet heard that Jesus had fulfilled all of those promises through His death, burial, and resurrection/glorification.   This is a perfect example of this transitional issue moving from the Old Mosaic Covenant to the New Covenant and the new operations (governance) of God through the baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit.  The filling of the Spirit could not happen as it happens under the New Covenant apart from the baptism with the Holy Spirit and the accompanying indwelling of the Spirit.  The filling happens from within through the indwelling thereby overflowing through the believer’s life.    
  
“1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. 4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 7 And all the men were about twelve” (Acts 19:1-7).

Tongues were a sign GIFT to Old Covenant believers who had not believed in Jesus as Messiah.  Prophesying was a sign GIFT for those who believed Jesus was Messiah and that the New Covenant had become a reality and they had now become part of that new reality.

21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. 22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. 23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? 24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: 25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth” (I Corinthians 14:21-25).

Although it appears that tongues accompanied the baptism with the Holy Spirit, it was the filling of the Holy Spirit that resulted in speaking in tongues.

1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come {its prophetic type was fulfilled}, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). 

     The baptism with the Holy Spirit unites the believer with the mystical body of Christ (the New Creation).  At conception, all people become part of the family (body) of Adam and are condemned as humankind.

12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men {genetically the sin nature is transferred through the father to the children}, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come” (Romans 5:12-14).

The moment an individual repents of sin and “dead works,” understands the Gospel, places saving/resting faith in the finished work of Christ, publicly acknowledges Jesus’ divine authority over his life (Rom. 10:9-13), and calls on the Name of Jesus to save him, that individual is positionally removed from the family of Adam, is positionally “born again,” and becomes part of the family of God in the body of Christ.  This is the New Birth event called salvation.  However, salvation does not end with the New Birth.

12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (I Corinthians 12:12-13).

Any time we see the words “in Christ” in the Bible, the phrase is referring to the effects of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and our new position before God.

“So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” (Romans 12:5).

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die {Romans 6:23a}, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” {Romans 6:23b} (I Corinthians 15:20-22).

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become {perfect, active, indicative; once and forever is finished} new” (II Corinthians 5:17).  

29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:29-34).

           It is a sad testimony that Christianity has allowed the doctrine of the Holy Spirit (Pneumatology) to become so perverted.  Many Christians have become very confused by false teaching regarding the different aspects of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, especially in the last century.  In order to understand the New Covenant teaching about the baptism with the Holy Spirit it is necessary to get a Scriptural overview.  The Word of God is quite thorough in its teaching about the Holy Spirit.

           The Holy Spirit is personally involved in the life of every person in the world.  He is working to bring each person to understand what sin is, what the righteousness of God is, and the eternal consequences of sin.

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:7-11).

           The Holy Spirit is even more personally involved in the life of each person who trusts in the finished work of Christ and receives Jesus as Lord of his life.  When a person calls on the Name of Jesus to save him, believing the gospel and acknowledging the divine authority of Jesus over his life, that person is immediately indwelled by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit becomes an integral part of that person’s being.

           The Holy Spirit is the impartation of the Divine Nature.  He is the imputation of the righteousness of Christ.  He personally multiplies all that God is in our lives.  He is the indwelling presence of God in our lives, who empowers believers to do all that God demands.  The indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the baptism with the Holy Spirit are the acts of God which define the Age of Grace from every other dispensation of God.  

2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given {perfect, passive, participle; i.e., once for all and forever} unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given {perfect, passive, indicative} unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers {partner, sharer} of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (II Peter 1:2-4).

           The Holy Spirit is not some impersonal energy or force.  He is the third person of the Godhead who is given to the believer to form a cooperative partnership (“fellowship’) between God and the believer and to enable the born-again child of God to live the life necessary for that fellowship to take place.

3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full {John 15:11}. 5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship {a cooperative, working partnership}with him, and walk in darkness {the mouth and feet are then in contradiction to one another}, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth {present, active, indicative} us from all sin” (I John 1:3-7).

           The Holy Spirit is the source of the rivers of abundant life in Christ.  He is the source of all that God provides to every believer in Jesus Christ.  The abundant life (John 10:10, available to every believer) is conditioned on abiding in Jesus Christ.  It is the Holy Spirit Who enables the believer to live within the circle of truth (obedience).  Without the Holy Spirit’s empowering, it would be impossible for any believer to live the way God wants or to accomplish anything of lasting value in this world.

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:4-11).

           The empowering of the Holy Spirit comes through what the Bible calls the filling.  It is understood that a person is controlled by with what he is filled.  Therefore, the filling of the Holy Spirit refers to a life brought under, or yielded to, the control of the Holy Spirit.  This must be the priority focus of the life of every believer in that everything else in the Christian life depends upon this.  Every Christian is commanded to be filled with the Spirit.

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled {present, passive, imperative} with the Spirit;” (Ephesians 5:18).

9 Knowing {perfect, active, participle} that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon {present, imperative} ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign {present, active, imperative} in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield {present, active, imperative} ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you {future, active, indicative}: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:11-14).

The filling with the Holy Spirit is the basis for the enabling of the Holy Spirit to give understanding of the things of God through the understanding of Scripture (the doctrine of illumination).  Any person, professing to be “born again,” who just cannot seem to understand Scripture is either still lost or is not filled with the Spirit.

9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:9-16).

TWO MAIN ASPECTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT’S MINISTRY

1. Teacher. (illumination); this is God’s personal intervention to enable the believer to understand that which is outside the scope of the believer’s empirical sensatory abilities.
2. Comforter (Paraclete); one called to another’s side to aide and strengthen him.  This is the purpose behind the word “fellowship” with God. 

           While the indwelling is the Holy Spirit in the believer, the baptism with the Spirit is the positioning of believer into the body (family) of Christ.  The baptism with the Spirit is non-experiential and instantaneous with regeneration and is never repeated.

12 Wherefore, as by one man {Adam} sin {and the curse upon sin} entered into the world {of humanity seminally}, and death {separation from God} by sin; and so death {separation from God} passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 {all that follows in vs 13-17 in parenthesis is an explanation of the statement in verse 12} (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came {death; separation from God} upon all men to condemnation {the eternal destiny of Hell}; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift {of God-kind righteousness gifted to the believer in the indwelling Holy Spirit in the gift of the salvation event} came upon all men unto justification of life {the eternal of eternal life with God}. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience {Adam’s} many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one {Jesus} shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound {sin could be seen in its exceeding nature and the severity of its eternal consequence}. But where sin abounded {sin’s consequences are fully understood}, grace did much more abound {the gift of God in gifting His righteousness to sinners is fully understood}: 21 That as sin hath reigned {as king or Lord; sovereignly ruled} unto death, even so might {new possibility through salvation and the indwelling} grace reign {as king or Lord; sovereignly ruled} through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:12-21).

          The baptism with the Holy Spirit is the placement of the believer into the body of Christ.  The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit indwelling the body of the believer.  Both events are instantaneous with salvation and are never repeated.  They are a one-time event never needing repetition.

12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (I Corinthians 12:12-13).

4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-5).

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave {subjunctive mood in junction with the ‘never’ = IMPOSSIBILITY} thee, nor forsake {subjunctive mood in junction with the ‘never’ = IMPOSSIBILITY} thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

           Therefore, any teaching regarding the ministry of the Holy Spirit that contradicts these events being instantaneous and unique (happening once, never needing to be repeated) in the life of each believer is heresy and the person teaching this should be rejected as a heretic.

9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. 10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; 11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself” (Titus 3:9-11).

The baptism with the Holy Spirit makes the believer one with Jesus Christ and positionally united with Jesus Christ in everything that has happened to Jesus and everything that belongs to Jesus.

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death” (Romans 6:3)?

Romans 6:3 begins the answer to the two questions posed in Romans 6:1-2; “1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”  The answer to these two questions in Romans 6:3-23 establishes that the believer’s new position “in grace” (Romans 5:2) in the event of regeneration and justification is to be accompanied by certain expectations in practice – HOW LIFE IS LIVED. 

The emphasis in the verses that follow Romans 6:3 is NOT upon the Person of the Holy Spirit, but upon the supernatural enabling given to the believer fully yielded to Christ so as to be victorious over the “old man” who has now been positionally crucified with Christ. 

10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:10-12).

           A central reason why so many Christians fail to realize their full potential in Christ is because of a misunderstanding of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. 

1. If you are living under the constant guilt of sin, it is because the Holy Spirit is convicting you of sin.  Acknowledge the sin of which He is convicting you (confess it to God), turn from that sin (repent), and yield your body to His control (be filled).
2. If you need wisdom for some decision in your life, ask the Father for that wisdom and the Holy Spirit will give you wisdom.

“If any of you lack wisdom {the heart and mind of God for life decisions}, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).

3. If you are having unresolvable difficulty understanding the spiritual principals taught in the Scriptures, you are either trying to do so with human intellect alone or you are not saved.  Only the Holy Spirit can teach you spiritual truths.
4. If you are living a fruitless life, without inner joy, it is either because you are living your life in the power of the flesh, and not under grace (the enabling power of the Holy Spirit), or because you have never been “born again.”

           The nature of Biblical repentance has been confused by the corruption of a primary Hermeneutical principle: The Old Testament Hebrew takes precedent in meaning when defining similar terms in the Greek New Testament.  The corruption is when a meaning from New Testament Greek word is used to lower/lessen the meaning brought to that word from the Old Testament Hebrew.  Often the Old Testament meaning is completely replaced by the meaning of a Greek word in the New Testament.  In other words, we do not take the meaning of a Greek word from the New Testament and impose that meaning on the Old Testament meaning.  We DO take the Old Testament meaning of the Hebrew and impose it upon the New Testament Greek.  We interpret the New Testament from the Old Testament, not vice versus. 

           The doctrine of repentance in the Old Testament is communicated using two different Hebrew words; Nâcham (naw-kham’) and shûwb (shoob).  Nâcham (naw-kham’) is usually translated repent or repented.  The word means to sigh or to exhale strongly.  The implication is an expression of sorrow, remorse, or deep regret.  This is the word used in Genesis 6:6 where we are told, “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” 

Nâcham (naw-kham’) is used regarding God more often than it is used to describe something men do.  This word is accompanied with both the ideas of grieving and compassion in a desire for good (as expressed in Romans 8:28).  Therefore, we might conclude that God’s regret is not in the pain or difficulties that the creation of humanity brings to Him, but the pain and suffering sin would bring to humanity.  

There is an extreme and deep commitment on the Lord’s part in the creation of humanity.  God knew man would fall into sin and had a plan of redemption in place (Revelation 13:8) before He ever created humanity.  The pre-creation commitment by God is essentially that He would become the servant of humanity in both redemption and unceasing preoccupation with the minutia of drama with which humanity would constantly preoccupy itself.  

God’s creation of humans, who would willfully sin against Him, created a situation for God requiring an unceasing commitment on His part to bring those sinners to choose the loving gift of His redemption and then choose to follow His loving directions to live righteously according to His commandments.  The great commitment by God in the creation of humanity is Him doing all of this within the context of human freewill choices.  Yet, God created humanity anyway.  Although this was an extreme act of love and commitment, it does not mean that He did not occasionally regret what that commitment.  

This is the lesson God wants parents to learn as they produce sinful children into this world.  Children are born selfish, willful, deceitful, and demanding.  Children will perfect those imperfections very quickly without the careful and watchful instruction and discipline of loving parents.  Culturing and sophisticating the corrupted freewill of a child with a sin nature to choose righteousness over the natural propensity for sinful and selfish pleasures is no easy task.  This involves parents in a loving commitment that gives them a small comprehension of what it means to be God.  

The second word used in the Old Testament to express the doctrine of repentance is the Hebrew word shûwb (shoob).  This word is usually translated turn or return.  The implication is a complete change in direction.  This is the primary meaning that is brought to the New Testament in the Greek word metanoéō (met-an-o-eh'-o).  Although the definition of metanoéō is to think differently or change the mind, the added meaning from the Hebrew shûwb (shoob) would imply a turning from of that which is repented.  Therefore, a change of direction or actions should accompany a change of mind.  To make New Testament repentance mean something different than Old Testament repentance is very poor Hermeneutics.  

Another word used to define repentance in the New Testament is the Greek word epistréphō (ep-ee-stref'-o).  This word is more closely aligned with the meaning of the Hebrew word shûwb (shoob); i.e. a turning from or unto.  Epistréphō (ep-ee-stref'-o) is used both in the sense of turning from and turning unto in I Thessalonians 1:6-10.  In other words, God’s intent in true repentance is to turn from doctrinal corruptions and unrighteousnesses of any kind and reciprocally turning to doctrinal correctness (“the faith”) and righteousness as defined by the Word of God. 

6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: 7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. 9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (I Thessalonians 1:6-10).

           To understand repentance, we must understand that there is a singular action of repentance of sin and “dead works” unto SALVATION, which is once in the event of being “born again.”  There is also repentance of sin and “dead works” unto SANCTIFICATION, which must be constant and continual throughout the believer’s life before practical sanctification can be produced through the filling of the Spirit.  The reciprocity of repentance (from and to) is found in Romans 6:11 extending God’s expectations in the explanation of repentance through verse sixteen.

“8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness” (Romans 6:8-16)?

           The only acceptable response to unrighteousness is complete, sincere repentance.  This means honest, transparent confession of the wrongdoing (unrighteousness) to God and a complete turning from the unrighteousness.  Transparency always translates into accountability to other believers.  

           Secondly, repentance is not merely a turning away from and abandonment of the unrighteousness.  Repentance of unrighteousness must be accompanied by a turning to righteousness (doing what is right).  John the Baptist brought this accusation against many who came to him to receive his “baptism of repentance.”  He refused to baptize them if they had not repented of their unrighteousness and turned to living righteously.  He required from them evidentiary change manifesting genuine repentance (“fruits worthy of repentance”).


           When any individual, or any local church, allows a person to receive forgiveness and restoration to fellowship without bringing “forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance,” that individual or local church, becomes complicit in that person’s unrighteousness.  In other words, allowing this is not right (righteous).  It is wrong (unrighteous).  Repentance apart from actual evidence of turning from the sin is just meaningless words. 


           Psalm fifty-one is David’s psalm (song) of repentance published for the world to read.  The Psalm is entitled, “A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bath-sheba.”  David had committed the sin of adultery, which deserved a death sentence under the Law.  David then had Bathsheba’s husband Uriah sent to the front of the battle where he would surely be killed.  The account of this horrid affair of selfish indulgence is recorded in II Samuel chapter eleven.  The point of the writing of Psalm fifty-one is that David is no longer foolishly try to conceal from men what God already knows. 

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee” (Psalm 51:7-13).

           It is very apparent from the next few verses of Psalm fifty-one that David understood the seriousness of his offenses against God.  He understood he had committed sins worthy of death (Psalm 51:14).  It is also apparent from verse seventeen that David understood the true desires of God in genuine repentance.  God knew David’s heart.  There was no way that David could pretend repentance according to what he understood and stated in Psalm 51:17.  David knew repentance was not just words from his mouth.  God was evaluating his heart attitudes for genuineness.

14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. 15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. 16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. 18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar” (Psalm 51:14-19).

           David’s words in Psalm 51:18 tell us that David’s main concern was not for his own life, but rather for “Zion.”  David was willing to accept his due penalty for the benefit of Zion.  David saw the promises of God as significantly more important than his own miserable life.  “Zion” is the reign of Messiah over the nation of Israel.  Genuine repentance from the heart ALWAYS sees the purposes of justice (righteousness) greater than one’s own life.  If Jesus is to reign over Zion, Jesus must be Lord of the heart before He is Lord of the real estate.  Genuine repentance ALWAYS surrenders to God’s will. 

           Esau and Judas are examples of false repentance.  In both instances it appears there is a change of mind about the things they did but ONLY as those things impacted their futures.  Both lost what they could have had because of grievous shallowness and failures.  Hebrews 12:4-17 addresses the issue of regret for the consequences of failure without being accompanied by regeneration.  This was true of both Esau and Judas.  They both regretted what they had done because of the loss of blessing to them without having been “born again.”  Therefore, their repentance was just worldly and not godly (God-ward).  

           God chastens His children to bring them to godly repentance where they regret from their hearts the grief their sin causes God not just their lost of blessings in this world or in the Kingdom Age.  Regretting the grief that the believer’s sin causes God and turning from that sin because of that regret is the primary criterion for genuine repentance.  Only the genuine child of God can understand this kind of sanctificational repentance because it extends from the foundation of salvational repentance.  In this kind of repentance, there is deep regret for the grief and pain sin causes to God rather than mere regret for the loss of blessings to the sinner. 

4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15 Looking diligently{careful examination} lest any man fail of the grace of God {the idea here is to come short of genuine salvation by a false repentance and therefore a false faith}; lest any root of bitterness {poison; the Jews called every poisonous plant a bitter} springing up trouble you {in the ways poison affects the body}, and thereby many be defiled; 16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau {because he crossed over from mere unbelief into apostasy and reprobation}, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” (Hebrews 12:4-17).

Disregarding God’s operations in the conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment by refusing to genuinely turn from a life of sin to pursue a life of righteousness is the manifestation of an unrepentant heart.  However, Proverbs 1:20-33 warn of the very consequences similar to Esau and Judas for anyone living as if God does not care about sin – REPROBATION! 

In Proverbs 1:20-33, “wisdom{s}” speaks.  The word “wisdom” in Proverbs 1:20 is actually plural and is a word use to personify the voice of God crying out to the world describing every variety of His expectations of moral and ethical excellence.  Some will listen, hear, and respond by obeying the instructions from God’s voice describing “wisdom{s}.”  They too will receive the blessings from that obedient response.  Others will ignore the instruction of God and reap the consequences of their willful ignorance. 

20 Wisdom {as the voice of God’s Word or the Spirit of God speaking constantly to the human conscience} crieth without {joyfully not woefully; the intent of the word is the hopeful expectation of fulfillment in hearing of the potential for moral and ethical excellences of character in God’s expectations through hearing and heeding}; she uttereth her voice {giving assignment and moral obligation} in the streets {the implication is universally, consistently, constantly, and publicly}: 21 She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, {the omnipresent and constant operations of God’s Spirit calling men to fear God and repent of sin} saying {there is a particular and peculiar message}, (Proverbs 1:20-21).

The implication of Proverbs 1:20-21 is that God is hopeful about people lost in the darkness of spiritual blindness to His existence and His will.  God has not given up on humanity.  Although man is lost in the darkness, God has not left them alone in the darkness.  God leads the lost and blind back to Him with the “voice” of His “wisdom” through the constant operations of His omnipresent Spirit.  God is hopeful that sinners will hear His voice and follow the direction of His voice to His gift of redemption.  Therefore, when believers began to repeat what they have believed from God’s Word and the convictions of His Spirit upon their lives, they too join with the voice of God and become magnifications of that voice to the world.  

We cannot comprehend the loving “voice” of God’s Spirit constantly speaking to our consciences because we cannot comprehend the depth of our own spiritual ignorance nor the sinfulness of sin.  We cannot comprehend compassion connected to the “wisdoms” of God crying out in the darkness of spiritual ignorance for sinners to return home through the door of redemption offered “by grace” and entered “through faith.”  The cry of wisdom is more than a cry to come home or to believe that home really exists.  The cry of wisdom is the hope of God crying out to sinners to be reconciled to Him and restored to righteous living before Him and with Him.  Sinners being restored to the image of God in which humanity was originally create is the joyful and hopeful cry of God’s wisdom.  

Sadly, sinners love their sin and the ignorant are ignorant because they are lazy.  How long will the ignorant love their ignorance, even though their ignorance continues them in hopelessness and damnation?  How long with the deceived love their deception before they realize the disastrous consequences to themselves and their generations?  It is one thing to be seduced, but it is another thing all together to love the consequences of the seduction.  How long will the foolish listen to the voice of seduction and temptation while ignoring the plea of wisdom to hear God’s voice of hope and possibility?  Most sinners do not even hear the question, let alone understand the plea from God that asks the question.  The question is a preface to God’s command to repent (“turn”, Proverbs 1:23). 

22 How long, ye simple ones {spiritually ignorant and indifferent to God and therefore easily seduced into sin}, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners {there is hatred and mockery implied in the word ‘scorner’} delight {find pleasure or joy} in their scorning, and fools {the unbeliever who sees no will or authority higher than his own} hate knowledge {the foolish Hedonist sees Biblical knowledge with great distaste, odious, and as an enemy to his pleasure seeking}? 23 Turn {shûwb} you at my reproof {God’s correction of a wrong and hopeless pathway of life choices}: behold, {look then upon what God will do in His correction and see it as necessary} I will pour out my spirit unto you, {then} I will make known my words unto you. 24 Because {there is that moment when invitation must turn to justice; the cause of their corrections and failures to find joy in their pleasures of sin} I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26 I also will laugh at your calamity {as an extension of God’s correction}; I will mock when your fear cometh; 27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you {whatever God must do to get sinners to listen to the voice of wisdom is God’s longsuffering love}. 28 Then shall they call upon me {the voice of desperation to escape the consequences of judgment is not the same as the voice of genuine repentance because the voice of desperation lacks the cry for reconciliation to God and redemption of the soul wanting only the pain to end; turning from sin must be accompanied with turning to God}, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me {many want the God of blessings, but few want the God of holiness or the holiness of God}: 29 For {because} that they hated knowledge {why He does not answer}, and {because they} did not choose the fear of the LORD: 30 They would none of my counsel {still no repentance}: they despised all my reproof {the truly repentant loves God’s corrections}. 31 Therefore {consequences} shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 32 For the turning away {their rejection of repentance and therefore conversion} of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 33 But whoso {another whosoever} hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil” (Proverbs 1:22-33).


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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
 Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 50 years.