We could also call this the “4R” program for short. This is a way I see as leading to nice Spiritual growth in Christ Jesus and conquering sin.
Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Today I have a general post about Christianity. I thought about whether this post belonged in the Do Not Fear the End Times series, and I decided that no, it doesn’t. It’s a lone post off on its own, in the “General Christianity’ category.
Today I’m introducing a method of approaching our Christian Walk. I call it: “REPENT!, Renounce, Reform, Repeat.” We could also call this the “4R” program for short. This is a way I see as leading to nice Spiritual growth in Christ Jesus and conquering sin. If we spend our lives working through the four steps of REPENT!, Renounce, Reform, and Repeat, we should make nice progress on our Christian Walk. We should in most cases, anyway.
I know that no human-made program will work equally for everyone, but I like this 4R method and think it’s solid. So read on, and see what you think.
So the first step in our four-step process is to REPENT!
Arguably the greatest gift Christianity offers is the forgiveness of sins (because this forgiveness allows Salvation). But wait, there’s more! This forgiveness is 100% free, and this special forgiveness offer doesn’t expire until Judgment Day, and it’s always available 24/7, 365. All we need to do is turn to Jesus, and it’s ours!
Jesus died for our sins on the cross. He took on the punishment that we deserve—a gruesome death. He was completely innocent, He was perfect and never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). And yet He was executed in the most painful and humiliating way possible. He did all this for us so that we don’t need to suffer the same fate. We don’t need to suffer the eternal death we deserve for our sins. Jesus Christ already paid the price for us, an insurmountably high price we could never hope to afford.
There’s no need to despair—the forgiveness of the Blood of Jesus Christ is always available to us, if only we’ll take it!
We could never earn this forgiveness on our own. Even a lifetime of good works would not be enough to outweigh our sins. We’re Saved by God’s grace, through Faith, we aren’t Saved because of anything we do (Ephesians 2:8-9). Forgiveness and Salvation are not things we can earn. We’re so blessed, then, that both of these things are free and always available to us through Jesus Christ.
(8) You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. (9) It’s not something you did that you can be proud of.Ephesians 2:8-9 (CEB)
God is good. Praise the LORD! We must give thanks to God for this mercy we didn’t earn, this stay of execution we could never hope to be worthy of through good deeds. I don’t know about you, but I for one am not grateful enough for this unbelievably generous gift of mercy. I should give thanks for it everyday, but the details of day-to-day life get in the way and I forget to give thanks. Well, if you’re like me, this is a shortcoming we can work on improving over time.
But anyway, back to the topic of REPENTING! We have the offer of free forgiveness in Christ Jesus, and this offer is always available. But if we want to be forgiven by Christ … we have to ask Him for His forgiveness!!
This simple first step is what starts the rest of the process. If we want Christ to forgive our sins, we need to turn to Him and admit that we’ve sinned!! Why would He forgive us otherwise?? If we don’t REPENT!, if we don’t bow before Christ and admit that we’ve sinned, He will not forgive us. As long as we don’t admit our sins, we’re lying to Christ and ourselves, telling Him there’s no problem with what we do.
But if we turn to Christ in Faith that He can forgive our sins, then He is Faithful to us in return and forgives us our sins. This is written in 1 John 1:9, one of the most important passages in the New Testament. It’s definitely one verse we need to know.
(8) If we claim, “We don’t have any sin,” we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (9) But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong. (10) If we claim, “We have never sinned,” we make him a liar and his word is not in us.1 John 1:8-10 (CEB)
So once again, if we claim that we don’t sin, we’re lying to ourselves and Jesus. Jesus will never forgive any sins of ours that we won’t admit to.
Think about it—to ask for forgiveness, we must first say “I’m sorry.” If we don’t think we’re doing anything wrong, we never say “I’m sorry.” If we never say “I’m sorry,” why would we be forgiven?
We aren’t asking for forgiveness if we aren’t admitting wrongdoing. When we turn to Christ and confess our sins, now we’re admitting our wrongdoing. Once we acknowledge what we’ve done wrong, and ask Jesus to forgive us, now He will forgive us our sins. If we’re Faithful to Him, He is Faithful to us, and He will forgive us.
And turning to Him to confess our sins is an act of Faith in Him. We’re either outright telling Him or implying that we believe He can and will forgive us our sins. This is even implied in the act of confessing our sins to Him and asking for forgiveness. Why would anyone do this if they didn’t believe Jesus could or would forgive them? We must have Faith in Jesus when we REPENT!
And on that note, have Faith that Jesus can forgive our sins. There is no sin that’s too grave for Jesus to forgive. His terms are clear: Have Faith in Him (which also means follow Him), confess our sins, and receive forgiveness. This is important to note, because we need to understand and respect the power and Spiritual significance of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Listen:
If we believe that there’s a sin that’s so grievous, Jesus can’t or won’t forgive it, then we’re denying the divinity of Christ and downplaying the Spiritual power of His sacrifice for us on the cross. We’re placing limits on Christ’s power, and implying there’s something He can’t do. This is wrong, shows a lack of Faith, and a lack of understanding of what Jesus has done for us.
So turn to Jesus Christ in confidence. There’s no sin that’s too grievous for Him to forgive. If you admit you’ve done wrong, say “I’m sorry,” and ask Him for forgiveness. He will forgive you for your sins, because of your Faith in Him.
To wrap up this section on repentance, remember that when we REPENT! we are basically making an apology to God. And there are some important elements to every apology. To make a proper apology, we must first admit we’ve done wrong, and also say “I’m sorry.” And we must also promise to do better from now on (but that’s in the next few steps). An apology that lacks any of these elements isn’t a good apology.
If we truly want to REPENT!, we must take accountability for our sins and say “I’m sorry.” That’s the most important thing to say. Remember that as long as we don’t say “I’m sorry,” we don’t admit we’ve done anything wrong, and as long as we don’t admit we’ve done anything wrong, Jesus won’t forgive us for that sin. Why would He? Because in that case, we aren’t asking Him for His forgiveness!
Alright, well, that’s step one, REPENT! in a nutshell. Now let’s move on to the next step: Renounce.
This step is short. I considered combining it with the next step, but decided that it’s a distinct step on its own, even if it’s short.
When we REPENT! of a sin, we must also Renounce it. This means we must reject it, and cut all ties with that sin. It’s part of us walking away from the sin. We declare we hate it, and cut it out of our life. This may involve destroying items related to that sin.
In Pigs in the Parlor, the classic book on Spiritual warfare, Frank Hammond describes Renouncing like this:
Renunciation is the forsaking of evil. Renunciation is action resulting from repentance. […]Frank Hammond, Pigs in the Parlor, Pages 42-43
It is demonstration of repentance—evidence that one has truly turned from his sins. For example, if one repents of lust he may need to destroy some pornographic materials. […]
Let me give you a specific example of Renouncing from my life.
I used to be interested in heretical Gnostic theology. The Gnostics were heretics who believed they could reach Salvation through knowledge. In other words, they believed they could make themselves gods on their own. This is the same lie the devil told Eve in the Garden.
I had an 800 page book of Gnostic writings, and I liked reading it. I read the whole thing. But later I turned back to Jesus and started following Him. As I continued learning more and more from Him, I understood that it was violating the First Commandment to investigate such shadowy, “forgotten” theologies, out of curiosity or not.
I REPENTED! of that grave sin, and then I Renounced Gnosticism. I declared that Gnosticism was false. And I burned my book of Gnostic writings in my backyard. That was how I Renounced the sin. I declared it was sin (Gnosticism, breaking the First Commandment), I REPENTED!, and I cut it out of my life by destroying all items related to it in my house (burning the book).
So that’s Renouncing. It’s kind of related to the next step, Reforming. We could think of Renouncing as a first step to Reforming. Anyway, let’s talk about Reforming now.
So we REPENTED! of a sin, then we Renounced it and cut it out of our lives. Now we have to Reform. Now we have to do better.
We can’t just REPENT! of our sins to Jesus and leave it at that. We can’t tell Jesus “Sorry Jesus. I’m only human, so I’m not perfect. I’m going to sin sometimes.” That kind of statement doesn’t show proper Faith. Of course Jesus knows we’re going to sin, and that no one’s perfect (Romans 3:23). But that doesn’t give us an excuse to not try to do better. We have to pray to Christ for help, and put our full effort into defeating our sin. Into doing better, and being better.
If we’re Saved, if we truly have Faith in Christ, our actions should show it. Our lives should show it. Because if we’re Saved, we should be thankful and Faithful to God. We should stay out of sin, because we know God has forbidden these things and we don’t want to sin against God because we love Him and have Faith. If we live a life of sin, it shows that we don’t have true Faith in God. If we did have true Faith, we would obey His commandments out of respect and love.
And so we can’t stop at step one, REPENT!, if our Faith is true. We then have to battle our sins because we can do it with God’s help, and it pleases God to see us correct our lives. Cutting sins out of our life also leads to a better life in general, but that’s unrelated.
So, we have to see to our own actions, our actions toward others, and the thoughts in our own mind too. In our own actions, we must avoid things the LORD says are sins. In our actions toward others, we must always be loving, patient, and forgiving, like Christ teaches us. And in our own minds, we must learn to recognize sinful thoughts when they pop up, and to reject them immediately.
If we can Reform in these areas, then we’re showing our Faith in God through our actions. God sees what we do in our own actions and in our mental battle to fight sin in our own mind. Both God and the world see our actions toward others, and whether we’re being loving or not. Our actions should show our Faith, and that we read God’s Word and follow His Commandments.
In the Book of James, “the practical apostle” has a lot to say about Faithful action. He even calls Faith without Faithful acts dead. To learn more about Faithful actions, and how we should behave as Christians, we can turn to the Book of James. It’s a great place to start learning about that. Let’s look at some excerpts from James 2. First is James 2:17-18, “Faith without Faithful acts is dead.”
(17) In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity.James 2:17-18 (CEB)
(18) Someone might claim, “You have faith and I have action.” But how can I see your faith apart from your actions? Instead, I’ll show you my faith by putting it into practice in faithful action.
In verses 19 through 23, James mentions the Faithful actions of Abraham in the Old Testament. Then in verse 24, he says:
(24) So you see that a person is shown to be righteous through faithful actions and not through faith alone.James 2:24 (CEB)
So although our Salvation doesn’t depend on our actions, if our Faith is true that should reflect in our actions. All our actions should show our Faith in God and love for Him. This means quitting the sins in our own life, acting with love, patience, and forgiveness toward others, and cleaning up our mind too. All these things fall under the Reform step.
But understand that the Reform step is a long-term step. We need to keep doing this, and we need to keep fighting sin every day. We need to always have the attitude of wanting to battle our sin, and never compromising or agreeing with the sin. We can never willingly tolerate it in our own lives.* Because tolerating it, even for a minute, leads to horrible backsliding—falling back on our old ways.
*(As for the sins of others, warn them about it, then let them see to it. That’s for them to deal with. I wrote about this in End Times Part 53, check out that post for more.)
I speak from experience here. Never tolerate old sins in your mind or your life. If you do, you’ll fall back on your old sinful ways so fast it’ll make your head spin. It happened to me, Readers. Don’t let it happen to you! It’s terrible to lose progress on the Walk and have to get back to where you were. That being said, I know it happens sometimes. Well, whenever you fall, pray to God, REPENT! before God, and make sure you get back up quick.
We are human and we will screw it up sometimes (Romans 3:23). No human is perfect except for Jesus Christ. So sometimes we’ll fall into sin, even sins that we thought we were done with, that we thought we had beaten. But the longer we walk this Spiritual path and mature in Christ, the better we’ll do.
We should be sinning less and less as time goes on and we make more progress on the Walk. Less sinning is a sign of our Spiritual growth and maturity in Christ Jesus. To get here, we need to Reform. We need to battle our sins, every day. We need to always pray to Jesus and try our absolute best to do better.
Now, everyone has their own different weaknesses. Some things are harder for me and easier for you, and vice-versa. It was easy for me to quit drinking alcohol. The last time I drank was on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2014. But some people are mercilessly oppressed by the demon of alcohol. Meanwhile, I’m having a horrible and bitter struggle right now trying to remove lust from my life and my mind. But other people out there might be able to clean up that sin in a few days. What’s easy for me can be a bitter struggle for you, and vice-versa.
The point is, some of our sins will give us a long, bitter battle when we try to walk away from them. While other sins will be easier to defeat. And this will vary for each individual.
But here’s one thing in common for every person and every sin: We can only defeat sins with the help of Jesus Christ. Because when we try to take our lives in a positive direction, turning away from sin and drawing closer to God, the devil will strongly oppose us. He will try to tempt us off the path like never before, and his attacks will be brutal.
He does this because we’re going in the right direction. If we start doing the wrong things, like smoking cigarettes or doing drugs, the devil won’t give us any trouble at all, because we’re hurting ourselves and that’s what he wants us to do. He wants us to not only lose our Salvation, but to have a worse life here on earth too. He’s the most horrible enemy we could ever have, and he attacks every Christian believer in this way.
We can’t defeat these sins with our own power, and relying on our own human power is a recipe for failure, every time. We need to pray to Jesus for Him to strengthen us. He will teach us how to fight the sin if we ask for Wisdom, which He freely gives (James 1:5). We need to learn the best strategies that work for us to defeat our sins, and keep doing those things. We need to learn what triggers us to fall into temptation and sin, and stay far away from those people, places, or things. This can be a painful, difficult, long-term process, and we need to stay committed to it till we overcome.
But what we can’t do is give up the fight, or have a tolerant attitude toward that sin. If we tolerate a sin (decide that it isn’t so bad, and allow it sometimes) or compromise with sin (allow it somewhat, or allow elements of it), we have lost. We need to be intolerant of the sin and unwilling to allow it in our lives. This is the attitude we must have to truly Reform. Reforming is already a painfully difficult task, one we can’t achieve without Jesus’ help. So if we aren’t also giving it our full effort and having a focused and determined state of mind, we’re doomed to failure.
Reforming isn’t easy, not at all. But nothing worth doing ever is. If we keep praying to Jesus, walking with Him and trying to do better and better each day, then in time we will succeed with His help if we persevere. And one beautiful day, these sins that trip us up so badly right now will be almost nothing to us. I don’t feel hardly any temptation for alcohol or cigarettes now. We can do it, with Jesus’ help and guidance and our determined perseverance! Stick with it!
And this brings us to the final step, Repeat. Ready to do it all over again? Heh, heh, heh ….
When we get to the Reform step, and we make good progress, and we’ve got that sin beaten, should we stop there? No! We’ve got to keep going.
We all have many sins in our life; from minor ones to grievous ones. No one is perfect, and there’s no one who doesn’t sin (Romans 3:23). So when we feel confident in having conquered one sin … we need to Repeat! We need to start this process over again, starting from REPENT!
We need to be brutally honest with ourselves as we examine our own lives, thoughts, and actions. Where am I sinning? What do I do that goes against God’s Word? We need to read God’s Word to know His Commandments, and we need to pray for the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit to show us where we have sin in our life.
When we pray to the Holy Spirit to convict us, showing our sins to us, we must work on what the Holy Spirit shows us. If we pray for God’s Wisdom that comes from His Holy Spirit, and we receive it, then now we can no longer claim to be unknowingly sinning. Now we’ve been warned by God—convicted, not condemned (yet)—and we need to act on that warning. Any time we receive a warning or correction, we need to act. I wrote about this in End Times Part 52, check that out for more.
We have no idea how much time this world has left. Not much, I’m sure. But with whatever time we have left, there’s nothing stopping us from turning to Christ and battling each of our sins in turn. Becoming better and better all the time. Becoming more and more like Him every day. It’s a long process, and a painful one. But this is how we Spiritually grow and mature in Christ. This is our life, this is our Walk, this is what we’ve got to do. Turn to Jesus in prayer, asking for His help, and never stop battling sin.
Remember the “4 R’s”
This four-step process, this “4R” program is one way we can go about our Christian walk. Jesus is the one Way and the Truth. As long as you honor that, there’s nothing in the Bible that says you must use my “4R” program that I’ve described today. As long as we’re following Jesus, we’re on the right path. But we all need to understand that we need to be serious and genuine about following this path. We need to make sure we’re doing certain things on our Walk.
First, we need to turn to Jesus in Faith and REPENT! of our sins. We need to be honest with Him and ourselves, taking accountability for how we have sinned and gone against His Commandments. It goes without saying that we must read His Word every day to know His Commandments as best we can. In any case, when we sin, we need to be honest about that and REPENT!
Next, we need to Renounce our sins. This means declaring that they’re evil, and walking away from them. Making a clean break with them. This could involve destroying items related to that sin, or even cutting wicked friends out of our life. Whatever it is, we need to Renounce our sin and despise it, cutting it out of our life completely. If we don’t, our sin will come back to rule us.
Next, we need to Reform. We can’t stop at the REPENT! step and tell Jesus, “I’m sorry for sinning … but I’m always going to sin, because I’m only human.” That’s not an argument God will accept. Of course He already knows we’re human and we’re imperfect. In fact, in Jesus Christ we have a high priest who was tempted in every way we are, only He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). So He understands every way we’re tempted, and our human weakness. But that doesn’t give us any excuse to give up on battling our sins. We need to Reform. We should be sinning less and less as we continue walking with Christ. We need to take our battle against sin deadly serious, pray to Jesus for His help, and give it our best effort every day. And we also need to understand that this is a long-term process.
Finally, we need to Repeat. Our lives are full of sins, every one of us. We sin in so many ways. With whatever time we have left in this world, let’s keep battling our sins one after another. Who or what is stopping us from doing that? No one. So let’s pray to Jesus asking for Wisdom. Let’s pray that He shows us, through His Holy Spirit, where we have sin in our life, or where we are compromising with sin. Once we have our Wisdom, we need to start over with REPENT! and do the process again.
We can keep this 4R process going for the rest of our life. And that would be a good thing to do. If we’re going to do it, though, we better do it now, because this world is ending. Let’s try to become as Virtuous as we can before Jesus returns.
I hope you find my 4R program interesting and useful. It’s only one example of how we can approach this Christian walk. It’s not vital to use the 4R method. But what is important is that we have strong Faith in Jesus, REPENT! to Him when we sin, Renounce our sins, Reform ourselves, and to keep going with this as we follow Jesus as far as we can before His return.
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Until next time, be strong and do good!
Your new best friend in Christ,
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