Chapter 3: Repentance from Dead Works, Part 2

Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

Write the Key Verse from memory.
Explain the importance of repentance.
Explain what causes men to repent.
Name four things associated with repentance.
Define conversion.
Explain the importance of conversion.
Define justification.
Explain what it means to be “saved.”
Use the parable of the prodigal son to describe repentance and conversion.

“I have not come to invite good people but sinners to change their hearts and lives.” – Luke 5:32

The last chapter defined “repentance from dead works” which is the first of the basic doctrines listed in Hebrews 6:1-3. “Dead works” were defined as sin and the origin of sin was examined. You learned how the original sin of Adam and Eve corrupted human nature and how this sinful nature is inherited by all men. You also learned how this corrupt nature results in all men sinning individually when they are drawn by this nature into actual acts of sin.

This chapter continues study of the first foundational principle of repentance from dead works.


The purpose of your spiritual “building” is to provide a habitation [a dwelling place] for God. His Spirit will dwell in you only when your life is built on the right foundation. Paul asked:

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (I Corinthians 3:16)

Because of this you are cautioned to build your spiritual life properly:

“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 3:10-11)

The spiritual foundation of which the Word of God speaks:


“God’s word stands firm like a rock [foundation]; nothing can shake it.” (II Timothy 2:19, The Living Bible)


“Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation.” (I Timothy 6:19)


“The uncompromisingly righteous has an everlasting foundation.” (Proverbs 10:25, The Amplified Bible)


“…Laying up for themselves the riches that endure forever, a good foundation for the future…” (I Timothy 6:19, The Amplified Bible)


“But the firm foundation laid by God stands sure and unshaken, bearing this seal and inscription: The Lord knows those who are His and let everyone who names himself by the name of the Lord give up all iniquity and stand aloof from it.” (II Timothy 2:19, The Amplified Bible)

The two principles upon which the foundation stands are:

1. Redeemed men: The Lord knows those who are His.
2. Living redeemed lives: Let everyone who names himself by the name of the 
Lord give up all iniquity and stand aloof from it.


“He is like a man which built a house and digged deep and laid the foundation on a rock and when the flood arose and beat vehemently on the house it could not shake it for it was founded on a rock.” (Luke 6:48)


There is no other rock; I know not any.” (Isaiah 44:8, The Amplified Bible)

Jesus Christ is the only foundation for spiritual life:

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 3:11)

God is the one who chose Jesus Christ as the foundation for spiritual life:

“…Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation…” (Isaiah 28:16)

The foundation of spiritual life is not a man-made creed, a denomination, or a religious ceremony. The foundation is Jesus Christ.

Many professing believers try to build great spiritual structures of Christianity in their lives. They become involved in the program of the church and do many good works. The outward appearance of their spiritual building is good. But before long their spiritual building begins to sink and collapse. They become discouraged, defeated, and fall into sin. This is because they are trying to build on the wrong foundation.

Just as a good foundation is necessary to properly support a building in the natural world, the right spiritual foundation is necessary to support the building of your spiritual life:

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” (I Corinthians 3:11-13)

All so called “Christian” works will be tested by God. The structure of your spiritual life will be examined to determine if it is built on the proper foundation. The only foundation of spiritual life which will stand is that which is built on Jesus Christ.

Foundations are very important. The writer of Psalms realized this when he asked:

“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalms 11:3)

In the natural world if the foundation of a building is not properly laid the whole structure can collapse. The same is true in the spiritual world. A wrong foundation will result in spiritual disaster.

The Biblical record of Haggai stresses the importance of proper spiritual foundations. Israel was experiencing poor harvests in the natural world. Haggai told them to examine their ways:

“Ye have sown much, and bring in little…Consider your ways…Ye looked for much, and lo it came to little.” (Haggai 1:6,7,9)

To correct the problem, Haggai told Israel they must rebuild both in the natural and spiritual worlds.

Rebuilding in the natural world was necessary for Israel because they had delayed building the house of the Lord. They had built their own homes and put their own concerns ahead of God’s command to rebuild the temple. But more important, the spiritual foundation of their lives was wrong. They had been offering sacrifices [good works] with unholy hands:

“…So is this people, and so is this nation before me, says the Lord; and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there on the altar is unclean because they who offer it are themselves unclean.” (Haggai 2:14, The Amplified Version)

A right work offered by unholy hands is not acceptable. The spiritual foundation of their lives was wrong and this is why they were not blessed by God.

In the natural world Haggai told God’s people that the foundation of the Lord’s temple must be rebuilt. He said they must also rebuild their spiritual lives on a proper foundation. From the day that Israel started to build on the right foundation God began to bless them:

“But now note this: From today,…and from this day onward, I will bless you. Notice, I am giving you this promise now before you have even begun to rebuild the Temple structure, and before you have harvested your grain, and before the grapes and figs and pomegranates and olives have produced their next crops: From this day I will bless you.” (Haggai 2:18-19, The Living Bible)

From the day you start to build proper spiritual foundations, God will bless you in every area of your life.

Jesus stressed the need for building on a good spiritual foundation. He illustrated this truth by a parable of two men who built houses. The Bible has two records of this parable. One is in Matthew 7:24-29 and the other is in Luke 6:47-49. They are reproduced here to allow comparison of the two passages:


“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them,
 I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.

And the rain descended and the 
floods came, and the winds blew,
 and beat upon that house; and it fell not for it was founded upon a rock.

And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand;
And the rain descended and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell; and great was the fall of it.

And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine.” (Matthew 7:24-29)


“Whosoever cometh to me and heareth my sayings
 and doeth them, I will
 shew you to whom he is like;

He is like a man which built an house
 and digged deep, and laid the foundation foundation on a rock; and when the flood when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house and could
 not shake it; for it was founded upon a rock.

But he that heareth and doeth not, is like a man that without
 a foundation built an house 
upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently and immediately it fell and the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:47-49)

There are several important principles in these passages:


The first principle is that building a proper spiritual foundation is part of the doctrine [teachings] of Jesus. This passage records that the people were “astonished at His doctrine.” Part of that doctrine was the story He told about building on a good foundation.

Paul also refers to building a foundation as part of the doctrine of Christ:

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ…not laying again the foundation…” (Hebrews 6:1)

Paul then continues to list the content of the doctrine of Jesus.


The steps for building a good spiritual foundation are given in Luke 6:47:

1. Whosoever cometh to me…
2. Heareth my sayings…
3. And doeth them.

All three steps are required. It is not enough to come to Jesus. You must also listen to what He has said. But coming and listening are not enough. You must also take personal action. A person can come to Jesus, hear what He has to say, but not respond:

“Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46)

You can know the Word and still not act upon it. Jesus is not truly Lord of your life until you respond to His teachings. A good foundation is based on the Word of God. The man who came to Jesus, heard His Word, and then acted on it is called wise. This man made sure the spiritual foundation of His life was firm. He “digged deep” removing everything between him and the Rock, Jesus Christ.

God’s Word is the plan which shows how to build your spiritual life. The Bible must be accepted as the absolute authority and the plan for your spiritual foundation because…

“…the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (II Peter 1:21)

The purpose of God’s revelation is given in II Timothy 3:16:

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (II Timothy 3:16)

The Bible contains instruction in the basic doctrines of Jesus. It also provides reproof and correction for failing to follow these teachings.


The man who built on a wrong foundation heard the Word of God but did not take personal action on what he heard. He is called a foolish man and compared to a man who built without a foundation (Luke 6:49).

His house was built on the sand instead of the rock (Matthew 7:27).

You build on the sand spiritually when you base your life on the traditions or religious beliefs of man. It is thinking you can make yourself spiritual by good works, church attendance, or religious ceremonies.


Jesus’ story of the two builders reveals another great truth. It is the nature of life to be stormy. Circumstances of life result in many personal crises. You must face death, disease, and disaster. Even believers will face problems. Acts 14:22 warns that “we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God.”

Jesus said:

“…In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

No one escapes the storms. Stormy circumstances of life are experienced by all people everywhere. The storms are the same, but what differs is how people respond to them. If your spiritual life does not have the right foundation you will fall. Just as the house built on sand, the fall will be great. If your life is built on the right foundation of Jesus Christ and His Word [doctrine], the storm cannot shake you:

“…Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.

And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” (Hebrews 12:26-27)

When the shaking experience comes, that which cannot be shaken will remain. Those who stand have built a right spiritual foundation.

A good foundation is a prerequisite for constructing a sound building in the natural world. The word “prerequisite” means that it is “required before.” A proper foundation is required before constructing the “superstructure.” The “superstructure” is that which is built on the foundation.

A proper spiritual foundation is a prerequisite to spiritual maturity. In Hebrews 6:1-3 we are told we cannot go on to perfection unless the spiritual foundation is properly laid. Spiritual maturity is the superstructure [the building] which rests on the spiritual foundation. If the foundation is wrong then the superstructure will not stand and you will never achieve spiritual maturity.

The following lessons explain things which must be part of your spiritual foundation. But as the parable of the two houses indicates, it is not enough to be informed of these basic doctrines. You must make a personal response to God’s Word and integrate these truths into the spiritual foundation of your life.

If you do not respond to God’s Word, you are like the man described by the Apostle James:

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving our own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass; For he beholdeth himself and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1:22-25)

Remember that from the moment you decide to start building your spiritual life on the proper foundation, God will bless you.

These are the basic principles you will study in the following lessons:

Repentance from dead works

Faith toward God

Laying on of hands

Resurrection of the dead

Eternal judgment

1. Write the Key Verses from memory.

2. What are the six foundational doctrines listed in Hebrews 6:1-3?

3. What enables you to go on to spiritual maturity?

4. What are the three steps for building a proper spiritual foundation given in Luke 6:47?

5. Who is the spiritual foundation laid by God?


Please use this section to reflect or comment on what you learned. Applying the lesson to your own life will help you remember what you learned.

Reflection One


Reflection Two


Reflection Three


May we pray for you about anything?

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(Answers to tests are provided at the conclusion of the final chapter of this study.)

The Bible contains the teachings [doctrine] of Jesus Christ and the words of the one true and living God. It explains how to build your spiritual life on the right foundation.

Study the following verses about God’s Word and summarize what they teach:


II Timothy 3:14-17
II Peter 1:19-21
Hebrews 1:1
I Corinthians 2:13
I Thessalonians 2:13
John 5:39


Matthew 24:35
Isaiah 40:8


Psalms 119:89


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