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I Timothy 3:15
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Do you draw up a specific image within your mind with this statement? “The world is coming to an end! REPENT!" Maybe you recall a statement similar to ..."Repent you heathen!", or "Repent you sinner!" Well, first off you've just "dated" yourself now, you Old Timer, and secondly, the chances are that you, too, have been programmed by the entertainment world to laugh or take no note as to the gravity of just such a message.
I read the words of my Lord saying, "And the times of this ignorance God winked; but now commanded: all men every where to repent"…"...not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (Acts 17:30; II Pet. 3:9) Yet churches and "Christians" make light of such a vital principle of salvation. Truly, this can only be a fulfillment of the Scripture found in II Peter 3:3-7, where the condition of the hearts of men and women are prophesied as being completely unmoved by the truths of God. Please, I ask only this of you: Consider with me this "old and archaic word ‘repent', and what it has to do with you and I today.
"Repent', or "repentance", according to Webster's Dictionary means: 1) "to feel sorry, self-reproachful or contrite for past conduct regret, conscience stricken about a past action; 2) to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one's life for the better". Another definition found adds "remorse for some deed or omission." So, repentance involves two parts; being full of remorse for past wilful ways, AND, consciously resolving to not be the same again.
"What does repentance have to do with me?" you ask.
Well...everything! You see, God says that unless there is repentance, there is no forgiveness, salvation, or fellowship. The Lord Himself said, "I say nay, except you REPENT, you shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:5) The Lord later spoke of a rich man who died, went to Hell, and tearfully cried out that repentance was necessary to avoid God's wrath. "For I have five brethren; that he may testify, unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets (the Word of God); let them hear them. And he said Nay, father Abraham; but if one went unto them from the dead; they will REPENT.” (Luke 16:28-30) "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations." (Luke 24:47)
Horribly enough though, the "Christendom" of today is trying to get anyone and everyone to "say this little salvation prayer so that you don't go to Hell", forgetting that only the working of the Omnipotent God, on a penitent heart, can accomplish this. "But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit and trembled: at my word." (Isa. 66:2b) This working originates with God, through the Bible; “…knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance…"…"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word"…"For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." (Rom. 2:4; Ps. 19:9; II Cor. 7:10)
This speaks of a sorrow aimed toward God for having spurned His great love, stifling up from within a hatred for the "sin-filled character” that we are BY NATURE, and a desire to quit one's own ways, permanently, for the sake of the All Mighty's wisdom. It is not an "I'm sorry" and then a "willingly go do it again" type of sorrow. The apostle Paul wrote of those in Thessalonica, "...and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God." (I Thess. 1:9) This is what true repentance does, yet, herein lies the greatest error that religion has developed.
Most people will admit that they are sinners because they drink, smoke, swear, steal, are not churched, etc. Therefore, the reasoning becomes, "Stop it all, and you should become good enough to be acceptable.” On the other hand, a second thought arises saying, “I'll never be good enough, so what's the use in tying?!” The first statement is as far from the truth as you can get! The second is as true as you can get, BUT, it also reveals the love, grace and promises set forth by God.
First of all, while it is true that the many things one does are bad, they are not what makes one a sinner. The word "sin" according to Webster's means: "to willingly step over, or break a boundary; to cross a line." The Bible says, "sin is the transgression of the law." (I John 3:4) "What law?" you ask. The religious leaders in Christ's day tried to trick Him by asking him what was the most important, or greatest, law. Jesus Christ put an end to their word games quickly by showing them the depth of their own depravity. He replied, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matt. 22:37-40)
God wants us to realize what we are truly like, through HIS eyes! If there are things that you allow into your life that harm you, or others, they hinder your relationship with God, and they become idols. (Matt. 6:24; Eph. 5:5) This dis-fellowships you from God, in that He will not even hear your prayers. "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." (Isa. 59:2)
The fact of the matter is that we are all born into this world with a nature that separates us from God, and inherently continues to drive us in ways that alienate us from His Holy Presence. Our very thoughts have failed, stepped over, broken, transgressed, His law, and made us sinners. "And you…who were dead in trespasses and sins"…walking "according to the...spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience whom...we all...were by nature the children of wrath, even as others…aliens and strangers from the promise, having no hope, and without God. (Eph. 2:1-3, 12)
This nature came through the blood line from Adam. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." (Rom. 5:12) By his own free will, Adam chose to follow his own desires, knowing the consequences instead of (sound like someone you last saw in the mirror?) clinging to the Creator of the universe, who would have fulfilled all his needs and desires. (Ps. 37:3-5)
Just as an honest look reveals the degree of our affection toward God, so will it also show us our commitment to our neighbor. Truly, we are all selfish creatures, putting our own thoughts, feelings and intents before those of others, “there is no faithfulness in their mouth." yet "they flatter with their tongue.' (Ps. 5:9) WE ARE ALL GUILTY of having broken the second great commandment also! “…for by the law is the knowledge of sin."…"…that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become guilty before God." (Rom. 3:20b; Rom. 3:19) God went even one step further to bring before our eyes just how alien we are to Him, by the revelation of this, "...for whatsoever is not of faith is sin."(Rom. 14:23b) No one intrinsically trusts God at His very word, living accordingly; therefore, "we make him [God] a liar”…“for there is no man that sinneth not.” (I John 1:10; I Kings 8:46)
Listen! Our vary nature purposely CHOOSES AGAINST God's will for our lives, bringing only hurt and pain to all around. It is because God is Holy and Love, that He must condemn this nature (John 3:19-20) to eternal torment and separation from Him - in Hell. "The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God…and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone…And the smoke of their torment ascended, up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night." (Rev.14:10-11)
You cannot ever stop sinning, nor, as concerning the second rationale before mentioned, will you ever be good enough! "When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed saying, Who then can be saved? (Matt. 19:25) The only way to avoid the deserved punishment an Holy and Just God must mete out for this conscious rebellion, (that He might stay true to His own Word), is for you to be made "ALIVE.”
Look to Him to change your heart, and rely solely upon His work at the cross of Calvary to save your soul. "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God"…"born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" John 3:3; John 1:13) Repent of your ways! Be sorrowful toward God for your care-LESS-ness towards Him, acknowledging His unconditional love, and ask Him to work in your heart. Voice your desire to be conformed to His will and His way; that your wish is to turn FROM your own will, TO His. True repentance, because of shame BEFORE GOD, is experienced only when a life chooses to desperately search out the will of God, through the Word of God, no matter the cost! "With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments." (Ps. 19:10)
This trek into the spiritual will inevitably allow less and less room in the seeker’s life for the nonsense of this world. When the Holy Spirit of God takes and works the Word of God through one's heart and mind, it will bring him to the point where he will believe, and trust God, with his eternal life, and soul. "In whom ye also trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also, after that ye believed ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” (Eph. 1:13)
This is a supernatural work that can in no wise be explained, even though tens of thousands have experienced this very "God-authored" event. When this moment arrives, we are able to call out to Him, seeking, and realizing, forgiveness through the means that God Himself has provided. The individual's mind is molded in a very UNnatural way, in that his will for his life becomes one of CHOOSING THE WILL OF GOD. This ONLY is what unites one with God, giving him a spiritual birth, a second birth, being born again (John 3:6-7), PLACING ONE INTO the family of God. “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”(Gal. 4:5, 6)
One of the greatest miracles that ever occurred begins within the repentant, blood-washed person which cannot be ignored. A very present DESIRE to please God, and love God, GOD'S WAY, will be evident, wishing to "SERVE THE LIVING AND TRUE GOD." with all the heart, soul and mind. This is precipitated by a heart yearning to say, “THANK—YOU FOR THE SALVATION SO FREELY GIVEN AT SUCH AN UNFATHOMABLE COST” to the person of God Himself.
It is NOT to pay back, or to maintain his salvation. It happens by reason that:
"…if any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." (II Cor.5:17)
"Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. " (Heb. 10:15-17)
"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people; zealous of good works…For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful...But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost: Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour: That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 2:11-14; Titus 3:3-7)
You cannot say some little prayer because you are sorry for the mess you've made of your own life, and then go back to the way you were living, thinking God should now accept you, and that eternity with Him is rightfully yours. This "easy believism" is Satanic, and is responsible for sending thousands upon thousands to Hell, YEARLY! "But the sorrow of the world worketh death."
The only way to eternal life is the Bible way. It does not matter what you or I think; it matters only what God says. PLEASE UNDERSTAND THIS! God would gladly make known His heart and will to any who would honestly seek FOR HIM IN THE BIBLE; "....but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word " (Isa.65:2b)
JESUS SAID "EXCEPT A MAN BE BORN AGAIN, HE CANNOT SEE THE KINGDOM OF GOD YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN." (John 3: 7)
FOR THIS TO HAPPEN YOU MUST:
1. Believe that Jesus Christ IS God. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, The mighty God The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace"…"For there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one"…"for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins."(Isa. 9:6; I John 5:7; John 8:24; see also John 1:1-3, 10, 14; Rev. 1:5-9; John 8:24)
2. Believe that you are a sinner, that you will die and are RIGHTFULLY on your way to Hell. "For when" we "do by nature the things contained in the law," we "having not the law, are a law unto" ourselves "which shew the work of the law written in" our "hearts," the "conscious also bearing witness, and" our “thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.”…”For from within, out of the hearts of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries; fornications murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile a man."…"The soul that sinneth, it shall die" for when we stand before God to give account, all we will be able to say is; it is “Against thee, thee only have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest." (Rom. 2:14-15; Mark 7:21-23; Ezek. 18:20; Ps. ,51:4)
3. You must realize that there is nothing that you can do to save yourself. "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God it is evident:"…"Now if any man have not the Sprint of Christ, he is none of His"…"For to be carnally minded is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be, So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." Therefore, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal. 3:11; Rom. 8:9; Rom. 8:6-8; I Cor. 15:50; Rom. 4:4-5) You cannot be saved by joining a church, being baptized, giving to the poor, praying and doing the best that you can to reform your life, giving money, etc. To do any of those is to only be relying upon your own works. “Not by works of righteousness -which we have done" (Titus 3:5) "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Rom. 4:12)
4. You must understand that Christ's sinless blood was shed for YOUR substitution. His love for you compelled Him to shed His blood to pay the penalty for YOUR sin, forever: "For God so love the world that he gave his only begotten Son"…"in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us Much more then, being now justified by his blood we shall be saved from wrath through him"…"In whom we have redemption through his blood the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8-9; Eph. 1:7; see also Heb. 10:12, 14; Eph. 2:12-16; Col. 2:13-15; I John 5:10-13)
5. You must repent of your sin. "I tell you nay, but, except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish." for "the Lord is ... longsuffering to us-ward not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (Luke 13:3; I Pet. 3:9)
6. You must understand that salvation (the new birth) is a gift of God and that there is nothing that you can do to pay Him back. "For by grace (unmerited, undeserved favor) are ye saved though faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast"…"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost"…"For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; Rom. 6:23; see also Rom. 5:15-17)
7. You must confess you are a sinner to God. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us"…"For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me." I John 1:9,10; Ps. 51 3)
8. You must believe that His substitutionary death through the shedding of His blood, and His burial and resurrection are more than sufficient to provide YOU with eternal salvation. HIS sinless blood will be put to your account IF YOU accept Him as YOUR personal Saviour "How then can man be justified with God?"…"If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believed: unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."…"Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God had set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past"…So "to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."…"And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation"…"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace"…"and ....shall never perish."…"For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (Job 25:4; Rom. 10:9-10; Rom. 3:24-25; Rom. 4:5; Heb. 5:9; Rom. 5:1-2; John 10:28b; II Cor. 5:21; see also I Cor. 15:20-22)
A person is saved by putting their trust in Jesus Christ. No human is able to earn forgiveness, or manage to keep eternity by their own efforts. As God in the flesh, (John 1:1-14; Phil. 2:6-11) Christ could, once for all.(Heb. 10:10-18) Believing must come from the heart because of the knowledge put in the head from the Word of God, "And he believed in the Lord and he counted it to him for righteousness." (Gen. 15:6) Remember, you cannot lie to God. He knows your thoughts and intentions. (Ezek. 11:5; Heb. 4:12-13)
Oh my friend! Are you ready to get serious about the sin in your life, or do you just wish to go on pretending that things are fine between you and your Creator? And to you who is relying on a little prayer and having no change in your life worked by an Omnipotent God, do you truly wish to continue this pretense, only to realize when you're dead and it's too late, that it was to no avail? Is eating, sleeping, working, living through pain and sorrow - then ceasing to exist - really what your life is all about? Do you realize that your existence truly only starts when you leave this "plain"?
Have you considered the awful consequences to your loved ones because of your utterly selfish, self-willed life style? Is your will one of wanting to reveal all of God's wonderful truths to those around you? Is your life one of showing them God at work? "And these words, which I commanded thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."…"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Deut. 6:6-7; Matt. 5:16)
Because of His great love and compassion for us, God has done absolutely everything to make sure that you will have every opportunity possible to benefit from Jesus Christ's sacrificial provision for your eternal life. (Rom. 2:16-20 Rom. 3:21-28; I Tim. 2:3-6; Titus 2:11-13) For any human being to rely on his or her own efforts in any way, shape or form, they would have to willingly trip over the blood and body of Jesus Christ Himself, only to end up in a place that was only made for the Devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41) This will be for all eternity, with no chance of escape or leave! “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God and hath counted the blood of the covenant ... an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?"…"which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." (Heb. 10:29; John 1:9; also Prov. 13:13)
WE WILL DESERVE IT!!
Please! I ask you to consider the following, and answer with the honest to God truth! Literally! Have YOU experienced true salvation through true Biblical repentance, wanting only to be in God's will by giving your life over to spiritual, Christ honoring, day by day moments with Him? Have you repented of all your efforts to attain Heaven? Have you repented of all your ideas, thoughts, and traditions? Have you turned solely to God through the Word of God?
Have you repented of your religion and sought for a good Bible-based, Christ-centered, New Testament Church so that you may cling to other Bible believers and grow more by holding to true Bible doctrines and standards? "One thing have I desired of the Lord that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” (Ps. 27:4) If you cannot say "AMEN" to all of these, then I urge you to fall on your face and seek the heart of the God of this Universe. He wants you to come to Him NOW, as you are, with an honest heart. NOTHING ELSE! DO NOT WAIT, hoping to "reform" and "build enough strength ", that you may be able to present to Him "a better you" a little later on, "all cleaned-up"!
"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."…"Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him"…"and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out"…"...and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (John 14:6; Rev. 3:20; John 6:37; Matt. 11:28-29)
In His call to Israel, our God gives ALL mankind, Jew, Gentile, saved or not, the order of restoration to a "right relation" with Him. "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; THEN will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land"…"Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God and doeth His will, him he heareth"…."The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth" and "he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him"…"But as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God: Which were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, BUT OF GOD." (II Chron. 7:14; John 9:31; Ps. 145:18; Heb. 11:6b; John 1:12-13)
"SEEK YE THE LORD WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND"
"CALL YE UPON HIM WHILE HE IS NEAR"
"DRAW NIGH TO GOD, AND HE WILL DRAW NIGH TO YOU"