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Meaning and Examples of Repentance Part 2

Paul the Apostle:

The meaning of repentance

  1. Change of mind, re-calculate, re-do, or re-think

  2. To Turn from Sin

  3. Be Sorry for Sin

The Stoning of Stephen occurs before the conversion of Paul who later became an apostle. His name before conversion was Saul. He was the man who carried out the arrests and executions of those the preached the gospel to people.

  • Acts 7:54  When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 
    Acts 7:55  But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 
    Acts 7:56  And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 
    Acts 7:57  Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 
    Acts 7:58  And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. 
    Acts 7:59  And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 
    Acts 7:60  And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.  

  • Acts 8:1  And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 
    Acts 8:2  And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. 
    Acts 8:3  As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. 

Precious Stephen, after answering his accusers and explaining the gospel of Jesus starting from the writings of Moses, was afterward stoned to death by wicked hands at the orders of Saul. The message of Stephen foretold of the future one God was going to send to deliver those that believe from sin. Saul standing by heard this and I believe a seed was planted but it did not bear fruit at this time but the time was coming when Saul would repent.

What was really awesome about this was Stephen before he died saw Jesus visibly standing at God our Father's right hand. He said this aloud so Saul must have heard it. We know Saul was not yet converted because verse 3 in chapter 8 was Acts said the he continued to arrest many and place them in prison. Imagine people preaching a message that would bring eternal life to all who believe and receive it, but some hate the messenger that brings them good news. It happened to Jesus and it happened to those that also followed Jesus.

  • Acts 9:1  And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 
    Acts 9:2  And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 
    Acts 9:3  And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 
    Acts 9:4  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 
    Acts 9:5  And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 
    Acts 9:6  And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 
    Acts 9:7  And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. 
    Acts 9:8  And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 
    Acts 9:9  And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. 
    Acts 9:10  And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 
    Acts 9:11  And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 
    Acts 9:12  And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 
    Acts 9:13  Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 
    Acts 9:14  And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 
    Acts 9:15  But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 
    Acts 9:16  For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. 
    Acts 9:17  And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 
    Acts 9:18  And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.  

We visibly do not see Saul ask for forgiveness and repent as we understand repentance to mean but we do see a change in behavior. When Saul asks the Lord "What will you have me to do?" in verse 6 of Acts 9, we know repentance is starting to happen. Saul changes his mind about Jesus. He now believes to the point of making a change. He re-directs his thoughts from unbelief to a belief that Jesus really is the Lord. Since Saul was blind for 3 days, he had a lot of thinking to do.

We also see a merciful God because Saul was not left alone on a road with no help. God made sure there was men with him to lead him to Damascus. Still we see the mercy of God later when Ananias laid hands on Saul so his sight could return. Saul believed and consented to baptism showing a true repentance. Baptism is a sign of obedience.

Now we see the bible mostly refer to Saul as Paul from here on in the New Testament Scriptures. We also see a man who was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to preach the gospel he once fought against. Before his conversion to Christ, he acted in ignorance but later he fought even more zealous for the truth of the gospel even later dying himself for that same gospel. In fact he could have not gone to Rome later on and escaped martyrdom but chose to spread the good news of the gospel even where it was dangerous to his own life. This is an example of true repentance.

Here we see Paul explaining how he felt about being called an apostle.

  • 1Corinthains 15:1  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 
    1Co 15:2  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 
    1Co 15:3  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 
    1Co 15:4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 
    1Co 15:5  And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 
    1Co 15:6  After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 
    1Co 15:7  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 
    1Co 15:8  And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 
    1Co 15:9  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 
    1Co 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 
    1Co 15:11  Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.  

Paul recognized that he received grace and was changed. He felt unworthy of it because of his former actions against those that preached the gospel he now was willing to die for. This not only shows us the meaning of true repentance but it shows us how powerful the gospel is to change a murderer into one who risks all things to spread this gospel to all he can. Paul didn't dwell on the past even though I'm sure he wished he could undo all he had done before. He moved forward and started many churches, never stopping until the Lord called him home. In fact at one time he said to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

  • 2Corinthians 5:1  For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 
    2Co 5:2  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 
    2Co 5:3  If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 
    2Co 5:4  For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 
    2Co 5:5  Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 
    2Co 5:6  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 
    2Co 5:7  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 
    2Co 5:8  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 
    2Co 5:9  Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 
    2Co 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 

Paul wanted to leave and go be with the Lord but then he wanted to stay with them to benefit them further sharing the message God gave to him.

  • Phillipians 1:23  For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: 
    Php 1:24  Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.  

I would venture to say that truly Paul had experienced true repentance

Repentance Part 3 - More from the book of Acts.

 

 


 
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