Monthly Archives: April 2013

Beware of the Judiazers.  The Apostle Paul continually warned church about slipping into a “gospel” that was other than they had originally received. He pulled no punches in describing those who wanted to add the yoke of the law the gospel of grace.  I can imagine that those who were teaching the error were fully convinced their doctrine was correct.  After all, how could someone be sanctified if they  weren’t circumcised, and they ate pork, and didn’t attend the festivals or tithe, and so on?  Weren’t all those things in the scriptures?  Didn’t Paul tell Timothy “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”? 

Yes, those things are in the scriptures, but care must be taken in  considering who they were speaking to and in what context.  Paul goes to great lengths in the books of Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews, with honorable mentions in the books of Timothy, Ephesians, and his other letters, to explain that in Christ we are under a new covenant:

 [8:1] Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, [2] a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. [3] For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. [4] Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. [5] They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” [6] But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. [7] For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.


               [8] For he finds fault with them when he says:

              “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,

                              when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel

                              and with the house of Judah,

               [9] not like the covenant that I made with their fathers

                              on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.

               For they did not continue in my covenant,

                              and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.

               [10] For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel

                              after those days, declares the Lord:

               I will put my laws into their minds,

                              and write them on their hearts,

               and I will be their God,

                              and they shall be my people.

               [11] And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor

                              and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’

               for they shall all know me,

                              from the least of them to the greatest.

               [12] For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,

                              and I will remember their sins no more.”


[13]  In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

(Hebrews 8:1-13 ESV)

You can use the search tool on to look up the many other references to the new covenant.

I would recommend the reading of the entire books of Romans, Galatians and Hebrews, often and intently, to get a grasp of the new covenant, and why Paul was so adamant that the Judiazers not be given place.

Why am I bringing up this topic today, in an age where it seems that God’s grace has been cheapened to be interpreted as “anything goes”?  Because Paul, through the Holy Spirit, deemed it to be deadly to the faith.  And because it is sneaking back into our church doctrine and teaching in a very surreptitious way. 

My observation for the reasons for this reappearance of the Judiazers is 1) it is a misguided response to the apparent licentiousness of the modern church (although that licentiousness does need addressing), and 2) in standing in concert with Israel, many believers have obfuscated the division between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, wanting to interpret the old covenant law as continuing to apply to those under the new covenant.  This second instance is directly in line with the form of Judiazer doctrine that Paul so vehemently fought against. 

So, after reading Romans, Galatians and Hebrews, (I am intentionally not referencing specific verses because the entire books address the issue, and you really, really should read the whole thing) you can see that we are not, as in the example Paul uses in Romans 7:1-6, married to the law (the old covenant).

Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives?  For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work kin our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

We are not tied to the old covenant law.  In Jesus, we have been given a new commandment: 

When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

John 13:31-35


Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on this blog.  It’s not that I haven’t been “ruminating”.  It’s that I have been thinking of too much!  Sometimes it’s hard to determine what to write what is from God’s heart rather than mine.

I was thinking that certainly since this is Easter, I should write something pertaining to the crucifixion, and try as I might (since there is so much to say),  I just couldn’t put it together.  I kept hearing in my heart that I needed to write about repentance.  So that is what this blog entry will be about.

There seems to be a difference of opinion on the origins of the English word “repent”.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the English word “repent” is a verb that first appeared in the late 13th century.  It means:

“To feel regret for sins or crimes,” from Old French repentir (11c.), from re-, here probably an intensive prefix, + Vulgar Latin *penitire “to regret,” from Latin poenitire “make sorry,” from poena (see penal). The distinction between regret (q.v.) and repent is made in many modern languages, but the differentiation is not present in older periods. Related: Repented; repenting.” 

Miriam-Webster differentiates between the origin of the verb and the adjective.  Whereas they agree with the Online Etymology Dictionary as to the origin of the verb, they indicate the origins of the adjective as follows:

Definition of REPENT

 : creeping, prostrate <repent stems>

Origin of REPENT

Latin repent-, repens, present participle of repere to creep — more at reptile

First Known Use: 1669

At any rate, either of the English definitions carries with it a picture of sorrow and grief, and of penance.

The word translated as “repent” or “repentance” is used 52 times in the New Testament.  The Greek root word is metanoeó.  It originates from the words “meta”, which depending on the context, means “changed after being with”, and “noieo”, to think.  So it literally means “think differently after,” “after a change of mind”.  “A change of heart” has been suggested as a good modern translation. 

But I am more inclined to stay with the literal translation of “change of mind,” simply because I don’t think that emotion is a part of the central idea.    The word metanoeó is used in many contexts, from changing one’s mind on what to have for lunch, to changing your mind about eternity.  But the change is made after something, whether it be based upon new knowledge or an experience. 

Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 

Matthew 11:20-21

As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

2 Corinthians 7:9-10

Here, Paul indicates that the godly grief (which was in response to the information they received in Paul’s first letter to them, correcting their errors) produced the repentance. That would indicate to me that the “change of mind” or “thinking” that resulted is not the same thing as grief.  Good news that brings rejoicing can change your thinking as well.

I think we may be in error to associate the word translated as “repent” as always being associated with sackcloth and ashes.  As I read the word of God, I see so much that makes me rejoice into a new way of thinking.

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

Luke 2:10

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 4:17

Haven’t we been conditioned to interpret Matthew 4:17 to read as “Uh-oh, God is here.  We’re toast.”? 

Compare that to the message of “Change your way of thinking, the kingdom of heaven is here”.  

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.

Matthew 11:2-6

I don’t see Jesus saying “I’m here, you’re toast” in this passage.

Perhaps the concept of “repentance”, or “changing your thinking”, should be defined as aligning your thinking with God’s words, rather than focusing on whichever emotion was felt when you changed your mind.

Anyway, more thoughts on this to come in the future.