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God’s message to His Creation, humankind, has always been the same, believe and repent. Only the format changed at Christ’s Crucifixion.
In this seventh Section about spiritual conversion of consciousness and mind, the focus has been on repentance, a change of mind resulting in a change of behavior; it includes the application of the Second Great Commandment, love your neighbor. Let’s meditate on believe in believe and repent, and reveal its relationship to love your God, the First Great Commandment, and see how this duo formula links God and humans.
(Mind-Body Problem Solved, Chapter 48 – Table of Contents)
We shall also take a moment to show how a Christian practicing believe and repent should feel emotionally. This is important because some equate repentance with an extreme form of sorrowful penitence.
Doctrine is teaching
As we study these two subjects, I must broach the doctrinal side of faith and works as well as other subjects. The Bible states clearly in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine (G1319), for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Unfortunately, we’re misusing the term doctrine for isolated biblical subjects like the doctrines of repentance, faith and works, etc. Doctrine (G1319) is simply translated learning, teaching from G1321 didaskō, to teach.
The point is this; many Churches have creeds, confessions, or statements of faith; a list of doctrines, teachings, or beliefs that identify them. True, it is a quick way to get to know Church teaching, but it hides the integration of the beliefs. Members will defend each doctrine by finding corresponding verses, while someone in disagreement will find opposing verses. One is trying to outshout, outverse the other. That’s not teaching, didaskō, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33). What this book, Mind-Body Problem Solved has endeavored to do is present the overall integrated plan of God.
It’s a jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces (doctrines, if you will) assemble together to form that one unconfused plan of God. As such, I entitled this chapter, “Believe and Repent = Faith & Works = Dress & Keep the Garden of Eden = 10 Commandments = 2 Great Commandments.” There’s one of the first events of the Old Testament, the Garden, coupled with the Two Commandments of the New Testament. In one sense, it couldn’t get more diverse than that. Since there’s no confusion and “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrew 13:8), let’s reveal the link between these two seemingly disparate concepts.
To set the stage, we’ll see God’s plan for the Creation of humankind and, in particular, to whom and why God freely gives eternal life. If I break it down a little further, we plow into the commonly talked about doctrines of “believe and you’re saved” and “are works necessary for salvation?” Keep in mind we’re broaching this subject because it directly involves spiritual conversion, the Holy Spirit working with consciousness and mind and turning it around to God’s point of view.
Believe = worship = faith = love God, the First Commandment
We’ll start at the beginning with a question. God created the entire world with its biodiversity of fauna and flora during the six days of Creation. Toward the end of the sixth day, his culminating action was that of the first human, adam. Why did God plant the Garden of Eden only AFTER that human was created? After all, everything had been accomplished before his coming into existence. Note the sequence of events immediately following the verse, which is the key to the Mind-Body dilemma.
7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
The first human, with his consciousness and mind, fully functioning and undoubtedly his eyes open as wide as saucers, witnessed God plant a magnificent garden. Adam, in amazement, glimpsed the trees sprout and elevate skyward; those two cornerstone trees were the centerpieces of the garden, surpassing all the others by their splendor. It’s impossible to be in Adam’s shoes (which he didn’t have anyway) but mediate on the scenario. Adam was a first-row spectator of the awesomeness of what God is capable of. Then, God picked him up and gently placed him in the garden; he quickly realized this literal paradise was where he’d live with this extraordinary Creator God. What an introduction to life.
Soon after, God created Eve, and the couple spent the Sabbath in the presence of God’s shared wisdom (Genesis 2:2-3). The Serpent was introduced into the Garden with the subsequent succumbing to temptation. God then made a decision to expel them, and here’s the reason given.
22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know (H3045) good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till (H5647) the ground from whence he was taken.
Unfortunately, this translation hides the important figurative meaning for fuller comprehension. Humans had become “like God to know (H3045) good and evil.”
יָדַע yâdaʻ yaw-dah’; a primitive root; to know (properly, to ascertain by seeing); used in a great variety of senses, figuratively, literally, euphemistically and inferentially (including observation, care, recognition; and causatively, instruction, designation, punishment, etc.):
KJV – acknowledge, acquaintance(-ted with), advise, answer, appoint, assuredly, be aware, (un-) awares, can(-not), certainly, comprehend, consider, ⨯ could they, cunning, declare, be diligent, (can, cause to) discern, discover, endued with, familiar friend, famous, feel, can have, be (ig-) norant, instruct, kinsfolk, kinsman, (cause to let, make) know, (come to give, have, take) knowledge, have (knowledge), (be, make, make to be, make self) known, + be learned, + lie by man, mark, perceive, privy to, ⨯ prognosticator, regard, have respect, skilful, shew, can (man of) skill, be sure, of a surety, teach, (can) tell, understand, have (understanding), ⨯ will be, wist, wit, wot.
It’s not just knowing good and evil; it’s appointing, declaring, discerning, discovering, marking, perceiving, respecting, showing, and teaching good and evil. From that point forward, humans took it upon themselves to decide what is good and evil, which is solely the prerogative of God. Human consciousness and minds disconnected from God’s way to establish their own way. Every country has a leader and or legislature to establish laws about right and wrong. Some invoke God, but not one makes any effort to do what’s good in God’s eyes.
There are two results impacting believe and repent. They no longer believe in God and no longer wish to follow His way. Therefore, God sent Adam and Eve out of the Garden to till the ground. This is the equivalent of Romans 1:28 “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” There’s a mind-flip from believe and repent to disbelief and disobedience. God’s knowledge of good and evil is replaced by human knowledge of good and evil. God left them with their twisted mind.
Dress and keep
God had put them in the “garden of Eden to dress (H5647) and keep (H8104) it.” Now He expelled them to “till (H5647) the ground from whence he was taken.” Note that dress and till are identical in Hebrew.
עָבַד ʻâbad aw-bad’; a primitive root; to work (in any sense); by implication, to serve, till, (causatively) enslave, etc.:
KJV – ⨯ be, keep in bondage, be bondmen, bond-service, compel, do, dress, ear, execute, + husbandman, keep, labour(-ing man, bring to pass, (cause to, make to) serve(-ing, self), (be, become) servant(-s), do (use) service, till(-er), transgress (from margin), (set a) work, be wrought, worshipper.
God put humans in the garden to believe in and worship him. That’s the meaning of dress; Paul called himself the “servant of God” (Titus 1:1). Believe is to have faith (faith and works); it is the first four of the Ten Commandments and the First Great Commandment, love God. It’s always been the same injunction to humanity; focus your mind on God, believe and repent. Adam, Eve, and humanity didn’t want to worship God; He turned them over to till, worship the ground. Today materialism, worshipping the ground, is the name of the game.
Repent, keep, works; reprobate or righteous, it starts in the mind
Do a study of keep (H8104) as in “dress and keep the garden” in Genesis 2:15. It means observe, identical to many verses in Deuteronomy, namely Deut. 31:12 “that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe (H8104) to do all the words of this law:” Believe and repent is fear the LORD your God and observe. In the New Testament, Paul shows that non-observance has the same origin as non-worship, the mind.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Being animated by a reprobate mind is sinning, breaking God’s law, and doing those acts in verses 29-31. They start in and are controlled by the mind, ruach, and spirit in humans; from this conduct, we must repent; that’s believe and repent. It is transforming our worldly behavior to the faith and works of God. It is the application of the Second Great Commandment, love your neighbor as we see in the above context.
Results of a reprobate mind
Allowing someone who has been helped, warned, shown the way, encouraged, guided, and received all possible assistance BUT who insists on doing their own thing to be abandoned to a reprobate mind might sound awful, but it has a specific purpose. Paul in the New Testament does exactly what God did in the Old Testament with the expulsion.
1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5 To deliver such an one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit (G4151 – pneuma – mind) may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
The key here is the preeminence of the mind over the body. Today all the emphasis is on the comfort of the physical body. In the name of humanitarianism, we’ve gone beyond the tolerance of unthinkable behavior. Our reprobate society is upside down. It is here we need repentance and the works of the last six of the Ten Commandments. God focuses on how you and I believe and repent to maintain healthy psychological and spiritual minds.
Believe and repent. Both are vital for salvation
It’s not one or the other or an interpretation of the meaning of repentance. A change of mind is the basis. We saw that on expulsion from the Garden of Eden, God clothed Adam and Eve with coats of skins signifying their new way of life. Similarly, those who will live eternally with God must don the white clothes of righteousness. Eternal life is a free gift, but we have responsibilities now and forever.
12 And he (the King) said to him, Friend, how came you in hither (to the wedding) not having a wedding garment? And he (the guest) was speechless.
13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
God will only allow individuals who are appropriately dressed into His House for all eternity. Just as you wouldn’t admit rebellious people into your home even if they somehow believe you’re the house owner. Believe and repent go together.
Believe and repent bring peace of mind
Some think that a Christian who believes and repents will live a life of drudgery, tediousness, sadness, and struggle. Sure, God will try us but imagine knowing why the Universe exists, why humans are on Earth, why we have consciousness and mind, why the world is the way it is with its incurable ills, and why humans are so stubborn. And especially understanding what the future, beyond the turmoil, holds for all of humankind, past, present, and future, and ourselves for all eternity. That’s why Christ makes this promise.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you: not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
This is the peace of mind and tranquility of consciousness received from the ability to believe and repent. The world offers a false, temporary calm. The repentant believer sees their life and situation in light of God’s plan; their mindset carries them through troubled waters. Hang on to this SOS buoy, the save-our-spirit lifebuoy we can serve Christians and, in the right way, those who are willing to address spirituality in their lives so they can benefit from God’s peace of mind.
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