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September 2009

August 2009

What is "the fall?"

What do we mean when we talk about things like "someone falling into sin" or that "mankind has fallen" or "the fall of man?" Let's look at some examples of fallen.

Acts 15:16
" 'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, - here we have something that was at one time operational and useful but is now in ruins. Rebuilding and restoring it will result in people seeking God; in this case the Gentiles.

Hebrews 4:1
[ A Sabbath-Rest for the People of God ] Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. - here we have a goal or objective that we are trying to achieve; in this case rest in God.

Revelation 2:5
Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. -here we have a sense of being high up and something happening where we have ended up much lower.

If we look at Jesus again in the context of the Logos of God (from Strong's Concordance)::

  1. a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea
  2. the act of speaking, a continuous speaking discourse - instruction
  3. reason, the mental faculty of thinking, meditating, reasoning
  4. answer or explanation in reference to judgment
  5. with whom as judge we stand in relation

First used by a Greek philosopher named Heraclitus around 600 B.C. to "designate the divine reason or plan which coordinates a changing universe." (Strong's Concordance from Logos Software)

We find that, basically, we have become out of sync with the divine reason or plan of the universe. Our reasoning and way of thinking should line up with this living divine reason that coordinates a changing universe but we have a different reasoning, a different way of thinking. As a result we are no longer operational and useful but are in ruins. We come short of the objective of the universe. We have fallen from a high place to a low place.

Being "hot" or "cold"

In the Book of Revelation, Jesus says the following:

 14"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
      These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. 15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth." (Rev. 3:14-16)

One of the interpretations of this passage that I have oftened heard preached is that people who are lukewarm are resistant to repentance. It is easier for a Christian who is hot to repent and for a Christian who is cold to repent than it is for a Christian who is lukewarm (Jesus is speaking to a church so this is in the context of actual believers).

My point here is that we all need to live a life of repentance, or change, under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Many people think of repentance as something we need to do if we have been "bad" or disobedient (and repentance is certainly useful in those situations :). But our relationship with God should be such that; as we experience worship, prayer, meditation, Bible reading, service; as we minister to others, encourage others, and help others; one result of those experiences is that we think a little differently. That those experiences result in repentance.

What is repentance?

In general repentance means change, particularly a change in a way of thinking. In the New Testament the Greek word translated as repentance (metanoia/metanoya) basically means to think differently after; as in something happens and we think differently afterward. We all go through different things and/or experience events in our lives that result in repentance, or a change in a way of thinking, that have nothing to do with Jesus or Christianity. One classic example is the idiom "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." The expectation here is that we should learn from our mistakes, change our way of thinking (or repent) after being fooled once so that we (because we are now thinking differently) don't let our self be fooled again. The concept of repentance can have different connotations but my point here is that repentance is not a Christian concept; it's generic.

For Christians repentance primarily has meaning within our relationship with the Logos of God, or Jesus. In the post "Who is Jesus" I stated the original definition for Logos;  the "divine reason or plan which coordinates a changing universe." Repentance for salvation starts with an awareness or understanding that our reasoning and plans are in conflict with Jesus. Basically we are wrong and He is right. Not we did something wrong, we are wrong. Next comes a willingness to die to our own reasoning and plans. And afterward faith that Jesus will work His divine plan in us.

The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 2:20 - 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (NIV).

This is the repentance, or way of thinking, that leads to salvation.