ON TO PERFECTION
In Hebrews 6:1-3 Paul gives an additional step which is necessary in building your spiritual life:
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection. (Hebrews 6:1)
Repentance from dead works, faith toward God, baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment are all principles of the doctrine of Christ.
Two extremes are common among believers. One is that they have a knowledge of the Word of God but do not apply that knowledge to daily living.
ETERNAL DESTINY OF THE UNRIGHTEOUS
Hell is the eternal destiny of the wicked. Hell is a place of:
And the Devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)
MEMORY AND REMORSE:
And in Hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom...
But Abraham said, Son remember that thou in thy lifetime receivest thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
THE LOCATIONS OF FINAL JUDGMENT
There are three locations where final judgment will occur:
THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST:
Those judged here will be all true believers:
...We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (Romans 14:10)
...For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
(II Corinthians 5:10)
THE THRONE OF HIS GLORY:
The second place of judgment is called "the throne of Christ's glory". Those judged here will be those who remained on the earth during the tribulation period.
ACCORDING TO KNOWLEDGE:
Men and nations will be judged according to the knowledge of God which was given them. Jesus said some would be judged more severely than the cities of Sodom, Gomorrha, Ninevah, Tyre, and Sidon. These were evil cities mentioned in the Old Testament which God judged and punished.
The reason Jesus pronounced more severe judgment on some New Testament cities was because these cities had more knowledge of God. Jesus Himself had ministered in these cities and performed mighty works of healing and deliverance.
There are different types of faith.
This is a natural trust in things that have proven stable. For example, faith that the chair on
which you are sitting will support you. This faith is not "faith toward God". It is a natural faith
in certain things around you that you have learned by experience are usually dependable.
The following types of faith are what we mean when we speak of "faith toward God":
I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet
not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which
I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of
the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself
YOU CANNOT PLEASE GOD WITHOUT FAITH:
The second reason faith is important is that you cannot please God without it:
Without faith it is impossible to please Him: For
he that cometh to God must believe that He is
and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently
seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
LEVELS OF FAITH
The Bible reveals that there are various levels of faith. Jesus spoke of people who did not use their
faith as being "faithless" (Matthew 17:17). He spoke of those with little faith (Matthew 6:30; 8:26;
14:31; Luke 12:28) and of those with great faith (Matthew 8:10; 15:28; Luke 7:9).
The basic meaning of the word "repentance" is a change in mind which results in a change in outward actions.
Some people associate repentance with emotions, like shedding tears and feeling sorry for wrong actions and thoughts. Repentance is not an emotion. It is a decision. Emotion sometimes accompanies true repentance. But it is possible for a person to feel great emotion and to shed many tears and yet never truly repent.
Other people associate repentance with meeting special religious requirements.
THE MESSAGE OF REPENTANCE
Because repentance is necessary for salvation, God made a special plan to enable the message of repentance to reach everyone. The call to repentance began in the New Testament with the ministry of John the Baptist:
The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way the Lord, make His path straight.
John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. (Mark 1:3-4)
Repentance was necessary in order for the Messiah [Jesus] to be revealed.
DO CHRISTIANS REPENT?
In the first act of repentance, sinful men turn from wrong to right, accept the Gospel message, and become true believers in Jesus Christ. In the process of going on to perfection (which will be studied later in this course), a believer sometimes falls back into the old patterns of sinful behavior. According to the Biblical record, whenever believers sin they must also repent:
The believers at a city called Corinth had to repent:
Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance.
If we are to fully understand the meaning of repentance, we must understand what it is from which we are to repent. We must understand "dead works". "Dead works" are the actions of a life lived apart from God. These works may be wrong deeds or acts of self-righteousness.
These are called "sin" in the Bible. The basic thing that causes sin is selfishness. It is the love of self as opposed to the love of God. This love of self results in man going "his own way":