John and Matthew have spent the last seven episodes showing what careful evangelism can look like. Now they look to the aim of all these discussions. Drawing once again upon Samuel Walker, the guys explain that repentance is the fruit of all this effort.
But in our culture, repentance has lost some of its meaning. Walker’s definition, which John and Matthew find helpful, is “...the heart choosing God in Christ as his master and portion and refusing the services of sin and the delights and confidences of the world. And this is also called conversion.”
In most nomenclature today, conversion and regeneration are synonymous. But this is not the picture Scripture paints. In regeneration, we are as passive as we were at our physical birth. But in conversion, we are active.
But what can bring a man to the point of conversion? We started this series by pointing to conviction and the law. Do we continue that plowing of the soul? No. After a person has the legal sight of God, after a person is regenerated, then they must be shown an evangelical sight of God.
As Matthew mentions in the episode, this is not an episode to start with. There has been a building-up, a progression. Links to all the previous episodes and additional resources mentioned in the podcast are under Show Notes.
0:00 We return to Samuel Walker this week and discuss repentance. Walker says repentance is the fruit of all the discussion we have had up to this point. There are certain facts about the gospel that, when they take hold of a man under the influence of the Holy Spirit, make him want to repent. Often people ask what comes first, repentance or faith. While there is benefit in asking the question, we shouldn’t get bogged down in it. But we must avoid thinking we can have one without the other.
4:00 What is repentance? Ask people in your church and their definition may be “stop doing bad stuff.” Walker has a different, more biblical definition of repentance, although it may be unusual to our ears.
6:00 When we talk about conversion, we need to be precise with our language and wording. Conversion is not synonymous with regeneration. They are two distinct things. We are as passive at regeneration, new birth, as we were in our physical birth. But in conversion, we are active. But conversion is also not sanctification.
9:00 With all the discussion of a person’s will being involved in conversion, are we preaching decisionism? No. There is a difference between the doctrine of regeneration and conversion and convincing someone to say the sinner’s prayer.
14:00 What can lead a man to the point of repentance? It begins with a person having a true understanding of himself. Then comes a true understanding of the love of God toward the sinner. It is the kindness of God that leads to the heart to repentance. Careful evangelists must grasp these truths and live upon them as we share them.
17:00 In this discussion of repentance, Walker says we must see the motivational level of a man turning to Christ in conversion. The only true motivation must be an evangelical sight of God. But what is an evangelical sight of God? How is it different from a legal sight of God?
21:00 The love of God is the driving force, the power behind the gospel. It is the wrecking ball of the entire Bible. No longer is a man sinning against the legal sight of God, but the evangelical sight. He is not sinning against the law but against love.
23:00 Walker gives two warnings. Nothing other than an evangelical sight of God will move a man to conversion. The second was that conversion deals with the will of a person, not their knowledge or emotion.
26:00 How can we tell the difference between someone who has truly repented and been converted and those who were moved emotionally? John explains how he and his church approach this issue.
This week's Supporter Appreciation Episode is again focused on John's bookshelves. This week John shares some of his favorite books on his bookshelf on the topic of revival.
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Other Episodes in This Series:
Supporter Appreciation Episode Resources:
The Fulfillment of Scripture by Robert Flemming
Theology: Explained and Defended by Timothy Dwight
A Practical View of the Prevailing Religous System of Professed Christians by William Wilberforce
Amazing Grace (film)
Letters to a Wife by John Newton
Checks to Antinomianism by John Fletcher