John 3:14–15 (CSB) “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
This saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by faith in Christ, humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrency, praying for pardon and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavour, by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things.
Zechariah 12:10 (CSB) “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the house of David and the residents of Jerusalem, and they will look at me whom they pierced. They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child and weep bitterly for him as one weeps for a firstborn.
The four words of this statement--saving, repentance, evangelical, grace--are each originated by God alone and given to us by God alone to the glory of God alone.
It is the day and age of the modern era we live in--where humanistic mindset tends to seep into our onward thinking. We must be quick when we read a book, confession, creed or Scripture to stop putting ourselves as the subject and the protagonist of what we are reading. A thousand living Christians will read this statement today and you will get a thousand different ways on how they are somehow involved in the statement other than the dead sinner who simply receives the whole gift of God.
"saving" - I was something worth saving. Yet:
Isaiah 64:7 (CSB) No one calls on your name, striving to take hold of you. For you have hidden your face from us and made us melt because of our iniquity.
Ephesians 2:1-3 (CSB) And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously lived according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.
Titus 3:3 (CSB) For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another.
Romans 3:10-12 (CSB) as it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away; all alike have become worthless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one.
Romans 3:23 (CSB) For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
"repentance" - I had the sense to repent of my sins. Yet:
2 Timothy 2:25 (CSB) instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth.
Acts 11:18 (CSB) When they heard this they became silent. And they glorified God, saying, “So then, God has given repentance resulting in life even to the Gentiles.”
"evangelical" - as though I had so much grief and sadness over my sins, I was able to carry myself to God! Yet:
Matthew 1:21 (CSB) She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Acts 4:12 (CSB) There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”
John 3:14–17 (CSB) “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 12:32 (CSB) As for me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to myself.”
John 6:44 (CSB) No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.
John 6:65 (CSB) He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted to him by the Father.”
John 6:37 (CSB) Everyone the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never cast out.
"grace" - as though God's grace was added to something I did to save me. First, that is Mormonism. Second:
Isaiah 64:6 (CSB) All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.
Titus 3:5 (CSB) He saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
The best and most classic passage in the Bible dealing the grace of God can be found in the story of Noah.
Genesis 6:5–7 (CSB) When the LORD saw that human wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every inclination of the human mind was nothing but evil all the time, the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and he was deeply grieved. Then the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I created, off the face of the earth, together with the animals, creatures that crawl, and birds of the sky—for I regret that I made them.”
Look at the judgment of God. Did Noah and his family was part of mankind? Did Noah wickedness and every inclination of his mind was nothing but evil all the time? Did the Lord regret making Noah and was deeply grieved? Did Noah deserve to be wiped out with the rest of humanity?
These are not trick questions but rhetorical. The answer is yes.
But what happened? Noah decided to live righteous before God so God would save him? That is not what the passage says.
Genesis 6:8 (CSB) But Noah found favor with the LORD.
Noah was a son of Adam just like you and me. And just like all born sons of Adam, we are not righteous. No, not one of us. We don't understand God. We don't seek after God. We are all worthless. We have turned away from God. How do I know this? Because none of us have done good because we are incapable of doing anythig good that would be pleasing unto God and cause God to save us.
No. We are not the first cause but God is the first cause of everything. We have done nothing that would cause God in anyway to look upon us and save us. When God saw us and he knew us (Romans 8:28-29), he knew were were wicked and helpless.
And like Noah, he took pity on us. It is Noah "that found favor in the eyes of God."
And just like Noah, since he has found favor with God despite being wicked, worthless, and dwelling on evil all the time, God saved him.
What did God's salvation do?
Genesis 6:9-10 >Genesis 6:9 (CSB) These are the family records of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries; Noah walked with God.
It is because God saved you, me and Noah, he made us righteous, blameless, and we now walked with God.
This saving repentance is an evangelical grace.
whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by faith in Christ, humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrency
Ezekiel 36:31 (CSB) “ ‘You will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and detestable practices.
2 Corinthians 7:11 (CSB) For consider how much diligence this very thing—this grieving as God wills—has produced in you: what a desire to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what deep longing, what zeal, what justice! In every way you showed yourselves to be pure in this matter.
Let me sum this up. If you read the Bible a hundred times over, graduated from the top seminary in the land with a Th.D, perfect attendance in church all of your life, gave your money and time to the church, and yet, the Holy Spirit has not made his home in you, you are not saved.
John 3:3 (CSB) Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
John 3:5 (CSB) Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
You think what I am saying might be insanely. "Surely, someone who has dedicated their life to God and the church is saved!" No. That is not how we are saved. We are only saved by Christ alone. There is no other name in which we are saved.
We are so desperate to look for proof of the Christian that we tend to be judgmental and legalistic. But then that seeps into our hearts and guess what? When we take even a half-hearted look at ourselves and by God's grace, see a little of our wickedness, we shudder to think how could we be saved?
But look at what God does:
Ezekiel 36:24–28 (CSB) “ ‘For I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place my Spirit within you and cause you to follow my statutes and carefully observe my ordinances. You will live in the land that I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.
God takes you out of the world and puts you in his kingdom. (John 3:5) God cleanses you from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) God gives you a new heart and a new spirit. God places his Spirit within you and causes you to follow his statutes and carefully observe his ordinances.
My beloved, God does it all to save you to himself. And he does this by the Almighty power of His Spirit in you, with his Son in your heart, and Father himself making his home in you.
praying for pardon and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavour, by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things.
Psalm 119:6 (CSB) Then I would not be ashamed when I think about all your commands.
Psalm 119:128 (CSB) I carefully follow all your precepts and hate every false way.
It is only then--the indwelling of the Triune God in you--that you can pray for pardon and strength of grace, to walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things.
Notice what the Scripture, nor the Confession, nor what I am saying: you are not saved because you were really good of repenting of your sins. You are going to sin and your repentance might be perfectly sincere--because you are infected with sin. If you looked upon yourself for your salvation, you will become prideful, which is an abomination to God, or you will empty out in complete despair.
You and I sin continuously. What hope is there for us?
Yet, God has raised his only begotten up from death by the same Spirit. That same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is the same Spirit that is in you. You and I get to look upon the risen Christ and you and I will be saved forever and ever.