Behavior Modification vs. Repentance

Evangelical psychology tells us we can re-wire the brain to get rid of our “stinkin’ thinkin,” but the Bible tells us there are no such shortcuts to circumvent true repentance.

Eric Davis over at Cripplegate has written a very good piece on this, and if you’ve ever been through one of those behavior modification life skills classes, you might want to rewire er, reconsider what you learned. Here is a snippet of his article:

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Oftentimes problems with the fruit on a tree are not because of problems with the fruit on the tree. Below the soil’s surface, there is usually a sickness present. Things like fungus, poor nutrient content in the soil, insufficient watering, and pests can plague the roots and subsequently damage the tree. So goes the root, so goes the fruit. Neglect the root, neglect the fruit.

Imagine an orchardist who addressed sickly trees by only addressing the fruit. He approaches the sickly lemon tree, puts up his ladder, and inspects the lemons. Some of the lemons are flaccid, some shrunken, and others cracked open and rotten. Then, imagine, that he breaks out a syringe with store-bought lemon juice and injects the emaciated lemons to fill them out a bit. To repair the sickly, split lemons, he breaks out some band-aids and closes up those holes. Finally, he notices some fruitless branches. So, he breaks out his duct-tape and tapes some nice-looking, store-bought lemons to the branches. He steps back and notices that, for the moment, the tree looks fruitful. For the moment.

Read it here: 

3 Responses to Behavior Modification vs. Repentance

  1. Edwitness May 12, 2016 at 8:06 am #

    When the scripture speaks of fruit, it is saying that what we believe in our heart (the tree) comes out of our mouth (the fruit). Our words that tell what we really believe are the fruit Jesus describes as good or bad. Not our behavior.

    What we believe speaks of who we really believe in. Our works do not necassarily express what we believe. This is why, as the article rightly quotes, “man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart”.

    The false teachers of Mt.7 are to be recognized as such because of what they say when they teach their false doctrines. When they say to Jesus in the judgment that they have done “many wonderful works”, they betray their false doctrines. Because they have admitted that they trusted, not in Jesus, but in their works to save them.

    When we focus on sin as man’s basic problem, and interpret that sin as bad behavior, It makes us focus on works, when we should be focused on Jesus instead. This is why Jesus made it abundantly clear that He came that we might have life, and that life abundantly. John10:10. And that this life is the remedy to what man’s truly basic problem is. Death.

    When we are delivered from death we are then delivered from sin and wrath. Because being made alive spiritually (relationship with God, righteous), we are now free from sin’s salve mastery. And the wrath that was against us because of sin is removed, and replaced with peace with God.
    Praise Jesus for His mighty deliverance!!


  2. Manny1962 May 12, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    Isn’t this what Romanism does, reprogram your behavior through penance, lent, ascetic practices and so on? And repentance is by works? Cult.

    • Edwitness May 12, 2016 at 7:37 pm #

      Amen Manny 1962. Amen!

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