Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fruit Meet for Repentance

"Repent".... all throughout the scriptures we hear this important word. It is a foundation principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. After Jesus was baptized, Satan tried to thwart Christ's mission but to no avail.... triumphantly our perfect Savior escaped the snares of the adversary and the first thing Jesus began to teach was repentance.

"From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."- Matt 4:17

Why is repentance such an important thing? And what did Christ mean when He told the Pharisees and Sadducees to "Bring forth fruit meet for repentance."?

What do we think of when we hear the word "repent"? I believe how well we understand the doctrine of repentance will greatly determine our personal application and affections for it.

What feeling does it provoke... difficulty, uncomfortable, hesitation, condemnation of others, ridicule of self, or on the other hand, does it induce feelings of peace, gratitude, an assurance of God's love, Christ, the Atonement, hope and confidence?

Our 4th Article of Faith states:
"We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are:
First - Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
Second - Repentance
Third - Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins
Fourth - Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost."

I submit to you that repentance is not a one time thing in our life. I submit that is the reason why Christ used the word "fruit" with repentance. A tree doesn't grow to bring forth one fruit but many, a whole harvest and year after year it does. Even within one fruit is the potential for so much more.

Today I read an article given years ago by one of the 12 Apostles, Neal A. Maxwell:

This is just a portion of it but you can see all of it here.... in fact I encourage you to read ALL of it. :)

"For some months, I’ve tried to emphasize repentance, one of the most vital and merciful doctrines of the kingdom. It is too little understood, too little applied by us all, as if it were merely a word on a bumper sticker. Since we have been told clearly by Jesus what manner of men and women we ought to become—even as He is (see 3 Ne. 27:27)—how can we do so, except each of us employs repentance as the regular means of personal progression? Personal repentance is part of taking up the cross daily. (See Luke 9:23.) Without it, clearly there could be no “perfecting of the Saints.” ( Eph. 4:12.)

Besides, there is more individuality in those who are more holy.

Sin, on the other hand, brings sameness; it shrinks us to addictive appetites and insubordinate impulses. For a brief surging, selfish moment, sin may create the illusion of individuality, but only as in the grunting, galloping Gadarene swine! (See
Matt. 8:28–32.)

Repentance is a rescuing, not a dour doctrine. It is available to the gross sinner as well as to the already-good individual striving for incremental improvement.

Repentance requires both turning away from evil and turning to God. (See
Deut. 4:30; see also Bible Dictionary, s.v. “Repentance.”) When “a mighty change” is required, full repentance involves a 180-degree turn, and without looking back! ( Alma 5:12–13.) Initially, this turning reflects progress from telestial to terrestrial behavior, and later on to celestial behavior. As the sins of the telestial world are left behind, the focus falls ever more steadily upon the sins of omission, which often keep us from full consecration.

Real repentance involves not a mechanical checklist, but a checking of the natural self. Often overlapping and mutually reinforcing, each portion of the process of repentance is essential. This process rests on inner resolve but is much aided by external support." - Neal A. Maxwell

Read the whole article


RGG said...
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RGG said...

I think that this is a timely post.The word repentance has been on my short list of scary words. The reason being is that I am learning what the true meaning of repentance is.
One of my favorite talks is by Sister Julie Beck,"Remembering,Repenting and Changing." Speaking for myself only,I have found that a barrier to true repentance is not fully trusting in Heavenly Father to forgive our sins. It is a hard thing to remember the "bad or questionable"things we have done,or continue doing in our lives. Sister Beck outlines 4 important points,that has made it easier for me to not fear my shortcoming,not be afraid to admit I made a mistake. They are:
1)Everyone makes mistakes
2)repentance isn't optional
3)We don't do it alone and
4) we can change.

In our human lives,when we admit mistakes or shortcomings to each other,there is always the chance of being rejected,scoffed at or worse,being abandoned. Our Heavenly Father comforts us by saying that "there is no fear in Love". I believe that when we bring our concerns to that "sacramental altar" each Sunday,we should not only pray for forgiveness, but also for the strengh and wisdom to know the difference between right and wrong,and then believe every day to do better.
Thanks Alicia

Alicia said...

I feel the same way sometimes Ramona. It's very freeing to be reminded that repentance brings us closer to God. He has perfect love for each and everyone of us on this earth, perfect understanding and the Savior experienced every emotion we have ever felt when He took opon Himself all our sins in Gethsemene and on the cross.

The greatest peace I find is that I can trust God, I can tell Him everything and He is the perfect forgiving Judge. I take comfort in knowing that when I partake each Sunday of the "sacramental altar" I am being washed clean through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I can make a resolve to do better each week... for in Christ I am strengthened and I have hope!!