Principles of the Doctrine of Christ - Repentance
When we participate in an event or topic, we hope to grow in knowledge and wisdom. If we have any interest in the topic we want to be informed and maybe even regarded as an expert. The gospel should be no different. In Hebrews 6:1 the King James Version mentions the principles of the doctrine of Christ. Other versions say elementary teaching about Christ. We are encouraged by the Hebrew writer to move on to mature material and not keep repeating the elementary principles of the doctrine.
Before you look at the principles listed you might ask yourself what you think would be listed as principles of the doctrine. Would it be the Lord’s Supper? Praying? As we look at Hebrews 6:1-2 we see the following listed:
Principles of the Doctrine of Christ (Hebrews 6:1-2)
i) Repentance from dead works, ii) Faith toward God, iii) The doctrine of baptisms,
iv) The laying on of hands, v) The resurrection of the dead vi) And eternal judgment
It would be wise to review and study these topics so that you might be able to say we have a grasp on the elementary principles of the doctrine. Sadly, false doctrine in the religious world over the centuries has caused confusion on some of these fundamental topics. We will devote the next few papers to studying these topics. For this paper we will emphasize the first point.
Christ demands that we repent from dead works. This is the doctrine that John the Baptist taught as he prepared the way for Christ. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins (Mark 1:4). Clearly John was teaching repentance. Jesus said, I tell you Nay but except you repent ye shall all likewise perish (Luke 13:3). We must repent from dead works to even begin growing toward maturity in Christ.
I recall from years ago that repentance can be translated “after to perceive”. It means you thought one way and learned differently. It can be called a 180-degree change of thinking. For example, not believing in Jesus and then be convicted, changing your mind and saying, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”. This would show that you had totally changed your mind or thinking.
As a Christian we need to put away dead works. Gal 5:19-21 mentions these fleshly or dead works as things like adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Instead we as Christians need to be trying to focus on things like love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Gal 5:22-23).
We will sometimes falter. We will sin or fall to the lust of the flesh. We are shown that we can pray to God that our sins might be forgiven. A new convert named Simon sinned and was told “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee” (Acts 8:22). John tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:19).
Let’s let Jesus summarize this first fundamental principle in His own words. ”Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. “ (Luke 24:46-47).