Repentance as a Gift in the Old Testament

Testamentum Imperium, an online international journal, just published a copy of a paper I wrote called “Repentance as a Gift in the Old Testament.” It traces the idea of repentance throughout the Old Testament and argues that God’s grace precedes and enables repentance, as it explicitly does in the New Testament (cf Acts 3:26; 2 Tim 2:25).

Researching this subject affirmed in my thinking how important it is to rightly understand the covenant structure of the Bible, how much greater the New Covenant is than the Old, and how humanity is absolutely dead without God’s gracious intervention.  Faith and repentance, in the Old and New Testaments depend on God’s regenerating work.

Moreover, the paper reiterated to me how many systematic disputes (e.g. Credobaptism vs. Paedobaptism, Covenant Theology vs. Dispensationalism) are tied to a misreading of the covenants in Scripture.  Differences of (scholarly) opinion on the continuity and discontinuity of the Bible lead to differing views of many doctrines.

In my paper, I argue that genuine acts of repentance under the Old Covenant anticipate the greater reality of the New Covenant.  In this way, repentance is always a gift from God that not only offers but effects contrition and corresponding faith in the life of his saints.  While there are many instances of insincere repentance–one thinks of Pharaoh–all genuine repentance is initiated by God’s sin-conquering grace.  Repentance is therefore one of God’s great gifts, as it is instrumental for the sinner’s salvation.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the paper: “Repentance as a Gift in the Old Testament

Still learning how to read the Bible, dss

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