Cliff Sabroe is back with some thought he wanted to share. Read the post and then leave your comments if you agree or disagree.
All would agree that repentance is a process. Now, it is true that there is a moment in every believer’s life when one decides to turn away from sin and turn to God, but the process has just begun. As one matures and grows in Christ they continually mold and shape their lives in accordance with the example left by Jesus. There may be those who would dare say they have “completely repented” of all sins, but John would refer to them as liars (1 John 1:8).
During the 1500’s a movement arose in Europe which is now commonly referred to as the Reformation Movement. During this movement, men like Martin Luther, John Calvin and Ullrich Zwingli rose to prominence by proclaiming the mantra of “solo scriptura”, which means “scriptures alone”. These men and others sought to reform what they saw as corrupt and unbiblical religious practices. It was their goal to point people away from manmade ideas and rely upon scripture only. They hoped to reform the church so it would be the church of the New Testament. Although the reformation movement is said to have been completed and there are those today who would refer to themselves as “reformed”, reformation is not a one time event, it is a process. One can be sure that Luther, Zwingli and other reformers would never claim to have fully reformed the church to what they read about in Scripture.
Another well-known religious movement is the American Restoration Movement. The Restoration Movement began in the 1800’s and was spearheaded by men like Thomas and Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone. This movement was slightly different from the Reformation Movement. The Restorers did not seek to reform manmade religious bodies, but go back to the Bible and try to restore the model of Christianity we have outlined for us in the New Testament. The main idea was that churches must constantly survey their teachings and practices in light of Scripture. If it was found that a teaching was false, or that a practice was wrong or could be better carried out in a way more closely aligned with Scripture, then a change was to be made. A true restorer never believes that he or she has completely restored the New Testament model, but instead is always looking for ways to be more biblical, even if it means changing something that has been traditionally taught or practiced.
We must never think that we have completed our task. There are always changes that could be made in one’s life, and repentance is a process that is never complete. Reformation must be made, but it is a process that is constant and ever changing. It is true, that we must try to restore the New Testament model of Christianity, however, if we claim to have completely restored the biblical model, we are mislead, because restoration is a process.
If there is one idea that real repentance, the Reformation Movement and the Restoration ideals have shown us is the need to never be too steeped in a certain behavior, teaching, tradition or practice to the point that we are unwilling to change. We must be constantly changing. It is sad that there are those who would make changes that take congregations and individuals farther from the New Testament model. With this being said, if there are changes that could be made that draw us closer to the New Testament model, we should make those changes. May we never be so proud or arrogant to think that change is not necessary. Repentance, reformation and restoration are processes.