X-Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org X-Mailer: Windows Eudora Light Version 1.5.2 Mime-Version: 1.0 Date: Thu, 21 Sep 1995 09:15:52 +0200 Reply-To: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel From: Teus Benschop Subject: Catechism, 35 To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP Q. Wherein does the conversion of man consist? A. In a hearty repentance, and avoiding of sin, and in an earnest desire after, and doing all good works. The conversion of man consists of two parts. The first part is a turning away from sin, and the second part is a turning to God. This can be clarified using the example of one walking on the way. The natural man walks on his own way, the way of sin. He walks away from God. But when he is converted, he stops his walking away, turns himself around, and walks back towards God. He did evil, but turned himself from that to God. Those are the two parts, wherein the conversion of man consists: a turning away from sin, and a turning to God. A hearty repentance, that is not an outward repentance only. One may outwardly repent when he fears God's punishments. But as soon as his fear vanishes, he turns back to his former evil ways. That was but a temporal repentance, not hearty. A hearty repentance is the repentance of the whole man. He repents not only outwardly, but also with his heart. The whole man repents. His heart is renewed by God, so that it loathes doing evil, and begins to love doing good. He begins to avoid sin. That is, when he suspects that on some places sin lies in wait for him, he tries to avoid the occasion. When he knows that he is weak in some circumstances, so as to fall in sin, he will avoid coming there. For, he knows that only avoiding the opportunity will prevent him from sinning therein. Since he tries always to do God's will, he fears to come in dangerous places. The truly repenting man has an earnest desire after good works. Maybe that he, being in this weak flesh, is not able to do all what he desires, yet, the desire is there, and he does all what he can. He desires to do all good works, which he knows that God approves of. He does not belong to such, who only do "good" works in the sight of men, so that they will be praised, and looked at as holy. No, the truly repenting man and woman, they try to do God's will always, either when they are in the sight of the people, and when they are not. They know that they always are in God's sight. The hypocrites only try to do good, when they can get a name through that. They care not for God, and His honour. Why not? Because they don't know God. So, in which things does the conversion of man consist? It consists in a hearty repentance, and not in an outward repentance only. It consists in avoiding of sin, and all opportunities thereof. It consists also in an earnest desire after all good works, and in the doing thereof, both in the people's and God's sight. Q. What are good works? A. Only those, which proceed from a true faith; are done according to the law of God, and to his glory; and not those which are founded on human institutions, or on our own imaginations. When it is said that the truly repenting man desires after, and does all good works, it is important to know _which_ works are considered good. For, when we heedlessly do some works, which we think to be good, and they are not good in God's eyes, what use does that have? In fact, we are not doing good works at all, though we think we do. Therefore, it is important to know which works may be called good, and which not. The question, then, is: What are good works? The answers says, that good works are only those, which proceed from a true faith, and which are done according to the law of God, and which are to His glory. So, three things are necessary to call a work good: 1. Proceeding from true faith; 2. Done according to the law of God; 3. Done to God's glory. Any other work, though it may be considered good in man's eyes, is in fact not good at all. That is wherewith the answer continues. Good works are not those, which are founded on human institution, or which are according to our own imaginations. Listen to Christ, who said: "But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15:9) The people in Jesus' time imagined that they worshipped God, but it was in vain, since they kept but human commandments, which are worthless in God's eyes. If you earnestly keep all human commandments, and forsake God's will, what value does that have, I pray you? Nothing, of course. A real good work is firstly proceeding from true faith. For, "without faith it is impossible to please [him]", (Hebrews 11:6) that is God. Without faith, we cannot please God. Since any good work will please God, it appears that only those which proceed from faith, are acceptable. When one is doubting if the work he is doing is a good work, it is clear that he has no firm faith, since he is doubting. Or, if one is doing good works, (as he imagines) without faith, he deceives himself. Let then the faith in God bring us to good works. A good work, secondly, is done according to God's law. Any work, however good it might be regarded by the people, when it is against the law, is not a good work. Only works done according to the law, that is, done according to God's will, can be good. In the law, we find the rule, according to which we have to live. Only according that rule, we can please God. And, as is already said, not without faith. A good work, thirdly, is done not to our one glory, but to God's. When we always help our neighbour, and we take the honour for ourselves, we do not a good work. Yes, the work itself is good, of course, but we make it evil in God's eyes by robbing Him of the glory, and taking it away for ourselves. When all people praise us for our good behaviour and deeds, and we feel proud, then we rob God of His honour, and make our works evil. Let then all praise be brought to God. A good example of honouring God can be seen in Joseph, when he was in Egypt, and stood before Pharaoh. The king said that Joseph could interpret dreams, but instantly, Joseph answered that God was the Interpreter, not he. "And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, [that] thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace." (Genesis 41:15,16) Joseph took no honour for himself, but said that God did all. Also Peter teaches, that we have to live thus, that the people praise God, when they see our good works. "Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by [your] good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:12) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Teus Benschop -- email@example.com Listowner of firstname.lastname@example.org "A Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel" Institute Practical Bible-education Web: http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/ipb-e/ipbe-home.html ------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/cate: cat-035.txt .