Repentance And John Da Babdist

I’ll probably get in trouble with my dispensational pals on this one, but here goes. Most dispensational types believe that there was a transition between Law and Grace. Law was being phased out as God was revealing through Paul the new system of Grace. But when did that transition begin?

Luke 16:16 is an interesting passage in light of that question. “The law and prophets were until John.” John the Baptist had a very simple message summed up in Matthew 3:2, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

John’s message was “repent!” As was noted earlier, repentance is not a Law word, it’s a Grace word. I challenge you to find me any example under Law where the message began to the people hearing it with “Repent!” You can’t find it (only in Ezekiel when speaking of the Kingdom in the future). But you find it all over the Gospels.

When John told people to Repent, they would have taken notice. Repent? What’s that all about? If you were bad before you would be punished or you had to pay through sacrifice, there was no repentance. Repentance was something completely new. The transition to Grace, a time when you could repent and receive goodness from God, had begun.

5 thoughts on “Repentance And John Da Babdist”

  1. What about Ps. 51 – “For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.

    I’ve always taken this verse to mean that even in the OT, God was more pleased with genuine repentance of the heart than He was with any type of law-fulfilling sacrifice.

  2. That’s a good point. I think an aspect of the idea of repentance played a part in there– acknowledging sin and guilt, that’s why they were to do sacrifices, to cover the guilt, not just out of habit or ritual. But the actual word repent is just not used. Repent means to turn from something, the sacrifices conveyed to the people they didn’t have to turn, they just had to sacrifice. So repentance didn’t play a big part for them.

  3. So is it repent and recieve God’s goodness, repent and receive God’s goodness, repent and receive God’s goodness, etc? Or is it repent and receive God’s goodness and receive God’s goodness and receive God’s goodness, etc?

  4. Just wanted clarification on your view of repentance. Saturday’s post is quite good and I agree. Thanks!

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