Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Jesus and Repentance

"John was known for his practice of baptism, which was understood as a sign of repentance (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3); but Jesus, according to John's emphatic note (4:2), did not practice baptism himself. This corresponds to a notable absence of instruction on the need for formal repentance, restitution and sacrifice. St Luke emphasises this especially. Zacchaeus offers restitution spontaneously, after Jesus has entered his house and not as a condition (19:18). When the Prodigal Son tries to deliver a speech of penitence, it is brushed aside (15:20-4). If there is, in Jesus' teaching, anything like a condition for being forgiven other than faith itself, it is, as we find St Matthew emphasising, forgiving others. And this is a condition only because it shows we have taken God's act of forgiveness seriously as a world-changing event which leaves no relations in the state that they were. On this understanding, however, it is clear that faith implies a change of life. Repentance is included in, rather than excluded by, the priority of faith."
-- Oliver O'Donovan, The Desire of the Nations, p.113-114.

Consider the implications, if this is a valid position, on our understandings of evangelism.


byron smith said...

Yep - trust Jesus first, work out the consequences as you go (rather than "fix your life before Jesus will accept you).

Anonymous said...

With repentance comes blessings and grace, so true repentance certainly can be granted via baptism.

One of Freedom said...

Joel the text from O'Donovan would actually make a case against baptismal regeneration. And also it is the other way around - blessings and grace allow the fruit of repentance to be produced in the life of the believer. I'm thinking it is worthwhile wrestling with the statement O'Donovan makes, but it would be helpful if you make clear what you ground your position in.

BTW welcome to the Freedom Log.