Can you Repent again?
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. Rev2:5
Today the Sin-Confess fallacy based on a flawed understanding of 1Jh1:9, 2:1 (advocacy with the Father) has created scores of false converts who have never truly come clean with God in repentance, but assume they are Saved under the false premise they can merely 'confess their ongoing sins as they occur and will be forgiven again and then pick up where they left off. We know this because the answer most given them to the question: "What happens if I sin again, after I have received Jesus", is 'Confess it and move on'. As though its really not too big a deal that you keep messing up and falling back into your old patterns of sin, as long as you confess it (quickly) and ask Jesus for help. BUT what are the true implications of such an attitude in light of Scripture that constantly warns us that such behavior will disqualify us from the Kingdom? You cannot Keep repenting of the same sins you supposedly repented of initially. Jesus is not your lawyer (advocate) the word advocate in 1Jh2:1 is paraklētos which is used to describe the ministry of the holy spirit, translated Comforter in Jh14:16, 26, 15:26, 16:7, It was translated 'advocate this one time in 1Jh2 to convey the flawed concept of forensic Justification based on what Jesus did on the Cross. Therefore the idea of Him 'Pleading your case before the Father, as many Pundits teach, is not intended in the original language of the passage, rather than plead the blood, the Comforter (Holy Spirit) Convicts of wrong doing to get you back on track. Because:
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. Eph5:6-7
Such a mind-set most certainly breeds indifference and a leniency toward sin, creating a life-style of repentance that in reality is no better than the Catholic version of penance in the confessional. 'You repent for the rest of your life' I've heard people say, BUT where does it say that in the Bible! This is like using the Blood of Christ on credit, calling your ongoing sins mistakes under the false assurance that the blood has you covered as long as you feel remorseful for doing it. Again, what's the difference between that and going to the Priest for absolution, none in my view. And that seems to be their distinction between the outright sinner in the world and the professed Christian sinning less, but feeling sorry for doing it. But then the question also arises 'how much less sin is considered acceptable to God over those are 'sinning more? Who sets the standard and how do we tell the difference between a Saint and a Sinner. (if both are sinning!) Any reasonable person can see the dilemma. If feeling remorse when you sin is the ONLY criterion in distinguishing the saved from the lost why make repenting of sin an issue to begin with, just tell them to confess 1Jh1:9 as their Priestly confessional for ongoing absolution. AND why cry foul for drawing this conclusion, if sin is sin, (all sin is the same) and there's none worse than any other; all are freely forgiven anyway, how can it be said that anyone supposedly saved under this mess can't be saved by the confession (as their repentance) every time they go back to their Porn, fornications, drunkenness, uncleanness and filth? (you're caught in your own paradox) Those who have created this Sin-Confess plead the blood every time you mess-up (as they call it) can Never understand the true intent of Heb 6, 10 in light of a real Christian going back to their vomit and what a real Second repentance entails. They can't in right conscience deny anyone the use of the 1Jh1:9 confessional, no matter what the sin. And worse, they use it themselves when asked the common question: 'Do you Sin'. So unless we can agree that a true convert has ceased from sin, crucified (put to death) their evil passions and desires and emptied their heart of all guile and deceit, in the process of repentance (not afterward in a sin-confess routine) we have no basis of conformity in which we can rightly discuss Second Repentance, because of the quandary of ongoing sin. (that was supposed to have ceased in repentance, you say, but never does)
Setting the right
premise for our discussion is the most difficult part of this study, due to the
fact that so many professed Christians are under multiple layers of deception on
the subjects of Sin, the Atonement, Repentance and even faith. Many think all
sin is the same, a fleeting thought crossing the mind, a feeling of anger or
resentment or not fully concentrating on God 24/7 is as much a sin as anything
listed in 1Cor6:9-10. How do you get someone like this past 1Jh1:9, that says
'If we confess our sins, He is faithful and Just to forgive us our sins, and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness', its an ongoing cleansing in their mind
AND a covering for their unrighteousness (since all theirs if filthy rags) Also
sinning (any sin) doesn't mean eternal loss to these people, or disqualification
from the Kingdom as it applies to a real Christian who commits sins unto death.
Then follows another layer of their deception in the flawed assumption that
'Christians inevitably fall, mistakenly stumble and will unavoidably mess-up,
meaning return to their old patterns of sin, (Vomit) and can be easily restored
by confessing it via 1Jh1:9, claiming Christ's advocacy with the Father; having
Paid their debt in advance, took their punishment and now pleads their case
continually. How can such a person wrap their mind around: 'No sacrifice
remains, Crucifying Him afresh, trampling the blood and insulting the Spirit of
Grace, if grace means they're covered and Christ paid the toll? The language
in Heb 6, 10 is foreign to them just as the language of a genuine initial
repentance in which the convert is washed, scrubbed, renewed and purified, not
merely pardoned and saved from hell, but Released from bondage and addiction to
The fact is we have a large number of 'Professed Christians of the sin-confess persuasion who are trying to understand this matter form a Very Flawed perspective. They've been the Prodigal many times, they've returned to their vomit regularly, they've transgressed the Commandments routinely and worst of all they still THINK they're Saved! As I said, they are under multiple levels of deception and the hardest thing for them to accept is the harsh reality that they have NEVER been Saved to begin with! Otherwise there would have been a cessation of sin and a release from bondage to filthy addictions. If that never occurred, then true Redemption has not taken place. But they cannot imagine a 'Christian not sinning. Only when they are able to swallow that pill (without choking on it) then they MAY begin to understand the difference between a first and second repentance and why falling into sin a second time (for a real Christian) is exactly what Peter said:
For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 2Pet2:20-21
That's the premise we're working from: 'the latter end is worse than the beginning!', meaning you came OUT of your filth and perversion (escaped indeed!) and now you go BACK to it! It's like knowingly stepping off a steep cliff into a black abyss that may swallow up you forever. Therefore I say again, People who are currently under the sin-confess routine, who presumably got 'saved somewhere along the line, (in a church, as a child, during a street rally, etc) are going to have a VERY difficult time proceeding with this study, because all the 'Christians they know of (including the pastors, preachers and teachers, are admittedly falling into their past sins and addictions on a regular basis, passing it off as the common experience of every believer. So to clarify once again:
A Real Christian is Not:
a sinner saved by grace, who's righteousness is filthy rags
The Rom7 Wretched man, with a desperately wicked heart
The Chief of sinners who sins daily in thought, word and deed
or a person using 1Jh1:9 as their confessional for ongoing sins
The Real Christian has:
Ceased from such sins that would disqualify them from the Kingdom: 1Cor6:9-10, Gal5:19-21, Eph5:3-7
Crucified their evil passions and desires once for all in repentance
And does not routinely succumb to temptation or lust
From here we will answer the question: Can a Genuine Christian
Obviously from the quoted passage Rev2:5, written to the assembly (church) at Ephesus, we can conclude that is it possible to recover from a 'fallen (to fall away to ruin, 2Pet3:17) state and repent again. So the simple answer is YES,
but its not something to trifle with and recovery is never guaranteed.
The Prime example in Scripture is King David who committed murder and adultery, covered it up and spent nearly a year in despair until Nathan the Prophet came to him and exposed it. He recovered but the dire circumstance surrounding his sin and restoration are seldom considered. And there are FEW David's!
First of all David's life was not a Pattern of sin, but one of faithful obedience and integrity, but when he did fall to temptation it was devastating to him and his Kingdom. And even though he found restoration the bitter consequences of his sin followed him the remainder of his life. His was VERY rare case and stands as an ominous warning to real Christians that playing with fire in this manner will cost you dearly. His retoration spanned nearly a year, something few could endure. One can only read Psalm 32, 51 and feel his anguish in those months of darkness and shame, hiding in his Temple, pouring out his heart, begging, weeping longing to hear the voice of God speaking peace to his tormented soul and finding only darkness and despair. He never once blamed anyone but himself for his calamity, but accepted God's Verdict as his just deserts and placed himself in His merciful hands empty of self. When Nathan showed up and said: 'You are the man', (2Sam12:7) it was the final indictment of the Lord's decree. There was nothing ‘easy about it, no mere confession and then picking up where he left off, as many are being told today. What happened with David is no guarantee to others that restoration is assured. The sin-confess crowd love to use him as their model for 'Christians falling into grievous sin and being easily forgiven. BUT given that a Higher standard applies under grace, Heb10:29, his bitter experience taken into full consideration should give anyone pause in assuming that a successful Second Repentance is something FEW will find. Few will consider Saul in contrast to David. He disobeyed the Lord and was cut off, 1San15, and then tried to restore himself by his own version of the confessional (sacrifices and burnt offerings) but the bitter root of rebellion he had failed to root out in the beginning was his final demise. David was a man after God's own heart, he failed once, but found restoration. Saul was much like the 1Jh1:9 crowd today, he lacked the genuine sincerity to admit his wrong doings and get clear of them.
Let's consider the Process of falling into this kind of sin. It's certainly NOT a Mistake, you don't Stumble into Porn watching, fornication, drunkenness, adultery, filthy behavior of any sort by accident. The 1Jh1:9 folks all think they can mess-up by going back to their on-line perversion, feel sorry for doing it and then call their accountability partner, sobbing asking for prayer and then better luck next time. Scripturally such behavior does not reflect real repentance by any stretch of the imagination. That's why we always insist you define what KIND of Sin we're talking about, that if a Real Christian commits, can they be restored. The Process of sin is clearly defined by James 'But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Desire in this sense means LUST and lusting after something requires contemplation, a thought process; that instead of stifled is allowed to fester in the mind and take you captive, (which means to catch by bait, beguile, allure 2Pet2:18) So this is by no means something that occurs by accident, like dialing the wrong number. You allowed it to happen by choice, instead of taking the Way of escape provided as clearly shown, 1Cor10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. This is not merely looking at the woman, but looking and conceiving unclean thoughts that satisfy your desires. Its stepping over the line into the Desire uniting with the Will into full-grown sin. Considering that all things Pertaining to live and godliness are given to the Christian freely, the exceeding great and precious promises by which he can escape the corruption that in the world through lust, 2Pet1:3-4, failure to resist such temptations and allow them to draw you into self-indulgent behavior to gratify your lust, will indeed fall under the frightful warnings of Heb 6, 10, BUT remember these warnings are written to REAL Christians, not the 1Jh1:9 sin daily crowd. Although they can apply in Principle to the Professed, they are speaking to someone who has truly entered into Christ, been released form their bondage to sin and has gone back.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. Heb6:4-6
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord. And again, The Lord will judge His people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Heb10:27-31
First: 'Impossible in this sense is the word weak, impotent, used in Rom15:1 'infirmities of the weak', so better understood as 'Virtually impossible', not entirely. But frightful indeed! Such a person who was genuinely enlightened, (illuminated Heb10:32) tasted the heavenly gift was a partaker of the Holy Spirit and has fallen to this extent, into lust, filth, vomit, may indeed find themselves like Esau who sold his birthright and was unable to recover it although he sought it diligently with tears. Heb12:16-17. Why? Because as the Scripture goes on to say; You cannot re-crucify Christ, His sacrifice and your initial repentance was a Once for all, Rom6:4-6, act that cannot be repeated, in the sense of your initial reconciliation in which the Blood was applied to purge away your past sins. (Heb9:14) That's why the sin-confess 1Jh1:9 routine is comparable to 'Trampling the blood under foot, treating it as the blood of animals that cannot take away sin', as though it can be re-applied continually as some kind of magic cover. Even though such people have never been 'sanctified by the blood' to begin with, as the passage says, the Principle remains and is applicable because the bitter root of sin (Heb12:14-15) they have never rooted out in repentance will indeed defile them to the point of no return if they keep sinning and thinking mere confession is enough. (because sin hardens the heart, not humbles it!)
Knowledge of the Truth in the passage means a 'Full and precise Knowledge' as the knowledge God wishes all men to come to, 2Tim3:7, to be Saved. (not an acknowledgment) Again, if such a person goes as far as to Trample Christ underfoot, count the blood of no value to take away sin and insult the Spirit of Grace, by returning to their vomit, giving in to lustful self-indulgence (even once!) is in a fearful and dire situation. Grace raises the bar, not lowers it! The Grace of God has appeared to ALL men teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust and live soberly , righteously and godly in the present age. (Titus2:11) So if a real Christian shames Christ in this manner restoration is NOT going to be a simple matter of confessing 1Jh1:9 and moving on, as many claim. They face the dreadful consequences of a Second Repentance, which may prove impossible. WHY? Simply Because of the lack of motivation! They went back to the Pig Pen head long, knowing it was evil, something not done in the spur of the moment, but required thoughtful consideration and deceitful planning before the first step to ruin was taken. Where's the incentive going to come from to bring them back into a state of godly sorrow sufficient to restore them again to repentance? Grace cannot be abused, as many seem to think these days, the comparison in Heb10:29, between the severity of Moses law and the much higher standard of Grace should dispense with any speculation that you get a some kind of special pass because we're 'Under Grace. It's not that God doesn't want to forgive Christians who fall, He's not willing any Perish, BUT when its done deliberately, willfully, with premeditated motives involved its insulting His Grace, as the passage says. Even under Moses there was a huge difference between intentional and unintentional sins, Num15, surely God makes allowance for the fact that we are not Perfect in Knowledge or free from ignorance in this life. BUT making a willful Choice to sin presumptuously, as in returning to your porn, drunkenness, fornication, unclean behaviors, is not something He is going to wink at and let you come back time and again pleading 1Jh1:9 as though you made a little mistake in judgment and fell into sin. NO, like Judas who 'fell by transgression' Acts1:25, you step off the cliff when you make the decision to sin willfully against grace. Peter took that critical step when he choose willfully to deny His Lord, but unlike Judas who fell into irreparable despair, he found restoration in the bitter tears of repentance and NEVER transgressed again. And this is of vital importance to note in our discussion of Second Repentance, in every instance it is shown in scripture, in which the person was restored, they never fell again! The Prodigal never returned to the Pig Pen, David remained faithful to the end and Peter became a fire brand for Christ. We do not see any patterns of repeated failures in the Bible as is so common today among the professed using who seem to think God feels sorry for them because they are such sinful creatures.
The five assemblies (churches) addressed in Rev2, 3, who had fallen into serious transgression, were never told to merely confess 1Jh1:9 and pick up where they left off. They were commanded to Repent or perish in their sins least they loose everything. Restoration was possible but not assured. The Lord said be 'Zealous and repent', and it’s this kind of zealousness required to make it though a successful second repentance and that's difficult to come by for people who have gone back. Demas never returned, 2Tim4:10, there's no record of Hymenacus and Alexander, delivered over to Satan, ever coming back, 1Tim1:19. The record among the early Saints does not speak well for those who fell away and sought a second repentance, most could not endure the strenuous nature of it, given the fact that the 1Jh1:9 sin-confess crowd hadn't yet come into existence. Everyone understood what a Real Christian looked like and anyone hoping around Promising liberty in sin was exposed as a heretic.
Consider what a person of this sort has done, they've grieved away the Holy Spirit, denied their own conscience and willfully committed an act thy KNEW would disqualify them from the Kingdom! The Spirit can Convict such a person but not override their Will. God cannot 'affect repentance in a person who is not motivated to even SEEK it out. That was the major difference between Peter and Judas, Peter's sin was committed on the spur of the moment, during a time of great trial and temptation. He came around quickly immediately seeing the error of his ways. But most sins of this sort go far beyond momentary denial, like Judas who sold Christ out, it took planning and contemplation, as I explained about the James passage, when a real Christian turns back to their Filth, it is not something done as an oversight, it could have easily been avoided! The question is why wasn't it? You see the implications in this and why Peter said the latter end is Worse than the beginning! What may have motivated such a person to repent the first time and walk the pure Christian life, will not be easy to revive, so the likelihood of finding a speedy recovery, as in Peter’s case, is doubtful. Its going to take a tremendous amount of effort for them to get back on track with God in a faithful obedient relationship. The 1Jh1:9 folks think they can go back and forth any number of times and never jeopardize their souls in the least. But they willfully ignore the warnings and let others explain them away to sooth their conscience (or sear it) As long as the professed think all sins are the same in God’s eyes and that their relationship with Christ is not conditional on their faithful obedience to the end, its doubtful they will ever understand the extreme danger of sinning willfully against His grace. Real Christians however, who have ‘escaped indeed’ from those who live in error, are keenly aware of the battle raging between the forces of good and evil. And they do not make light of this matter like so many today who think they can sin and not die.
Can a man take fire to his bosom, And his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, And his feet not be seared? Prov6:27-28
The possibility of sin is always present, as temptations never cease in this world. Followers of Christ are warned continually to guard their hearts, keep themselves pure and be diligent against the wiles of the devil, who is seeking to devour them if they should stray, 1Pet5:8-9, Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. If Sinning was normal for a Christian, inevitable as they claim, and easily forgiven by mere confession, why resist anything; if there's no real danger of being devoured then no threat exists that a Christian could fall into ruin by sinning willfully against the truth. But the danger is ever present and the need for the full armor of God is absolutely necessary. Tolerating even 'one occasion of sin cannot be passed off as
common, a little
leaven leavens the whole lump! (1Cor5:6) Anyone who is called a brother
(Professed 1Cor5:11) who has committed a sin unto death must not be given any
false assurance that such a thing can be quickly remedied by a sorrowful
confession based on 1Jh1:9. They must enter into a season of godly sorrow
wherein they prove their repentance by their deeds in a sincere effort to get
clear of all wrong doing and whether it’s a first or second repentance (whereas
so many professed think they are Christians) is not the issue, but ceasing from
sin is central.
John says you don't even Pray for a brother who has committed a sin unto death, 1Jh5:16, you can try to turn them around, James5:19-20, from the error of their ways, but you shouldn't offer them any solace in your prayers without first seeing in them the desire and effort required to be restored. Our Lord spoke of dealing with a sinning brother in Matt18:15-20, when such sin is exposed you give them the opportunity to repent and make it right, if they refuse you approach them again with two or more brothers and finally the entire assembly, then if they still refuse to come clean you must put them out of the fellowship in hope they may come to their senses and repent. We must have a Standard of adherence to go by or anything goes. If a professed Christian is allowed an 'occasion of sin in which they fall prey to their past addictions from time to time, (as inevitable, normal, no one's perfect) WHO can say WHAT will disqualify someone from the Kingdom? Especially if they can simply confess it and move on. Paul says definitely that the Unrighteous WILL NOT inherit the Kingdom of God and then lists the exact type of sins in question. There's nothing in his statement to suggest that as long as the person is not doing these things habitably they're okay with God. You commit adultery you're an adulterer, you fornicate you're a fornicator, you get drunk, you're a drunkard, you steal you're a thief, you molest a child you're a pedophile, its that simple! Doing these things Less doesn't somehow qualify you for the Kingdom because you feel sorry and confess it. The same principle applies across the board, to the Professed or the genuine Christian, ONE willful transgression cuts you off and puts you in need of repentance unto life. Consider the rampant addiction to on-line filth among the professed today, are they EVER told that such behavior will keep them out of the Kingdom unless they get clear of it, NO! Rather they are given the same false assurance I see everywhere that doing it LESS and feeling sorry is enough. This is among the many concerns I have covered in this study and why its so important to make a clear and precise distinction between a True and False Conversion, so you can also understand what happens if a genuine Christian falls into willful sin. Therefore I offer the following concluding summary:
If a real Christian commits Willful Transgression:
They Can repent and be restored, although depending on circumstances it may take some time and a lot of effort
The consequences of the sin will likely follow them for the rest of their life's
In the worst of cases they can pass the point of return and never find recovery, like Esau Heb12:16-17
And they may fall away and not have any desire to come back
To Clarify one last time:
If you are not free from Lust, Filth, worldliness and uncleanness in mind and body, manifest in the fact that you keep falling prey to your evil passions and desires, your First Works of Repentance are NOT complete. You are NOT a Christian, no matter how sorry you may feel for your repeated failures. You need to focus on coming clean with God once for all and being truly Regenerated and stop worrying about so-called 'Christians who sin. When you actually become a Christian, then you will understand that sinning willfully against grace is like playing Russian roulette with live ammunition.
By Mike D