Posts Tagged ‘repentance’

Is Repentance Necessary for Salvation?

October 25, 2016

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I have recently discovered the shocking truth that there are an increasing number of people who do not believe that repentance is a prerequisite for salvation. “Just believe and receive,” they say – “no need to repent.”

I listened incredulously to a preacher who maintained that “repentance is works” and we are not saved by works. It is certainly true that “by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2v8&9) At the same time: “faith without works is dead.” (James 2v14-26) “Bring forth therefore fruits meat for repentance:” Jesus warned the Pharisees and Sad-du-cees. (Matthew 3v8) James said: “shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2v17)

Perhaps I should relate my own experience here: for many months prior to giving my heart to the Lord, He had been dealing with me and convicting me of my sin. While the world looking on would have said to me: “seriously, you’re not that bad you know,” the Lord was showing me my life as He saw it – and I knew that it was not a life ready for heaven.

“The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.” (Proverbs 16v1&2) He showed me that I needed work done in my heart – work which only He could do. I learned that by giving Him free rein in my life, that only He could make me a better person – one fit for His Kingdom.

Indeed it has always been my clear conviction that, spiritually speaking, the old must die – for new life to begin. The old leaves of autumn curl up and die, in order that spring can bring new growth and fresh shiny green leaves! The night that I trusted Him, I simply walked (spiritually speaking) from the darkness of my past into the light of the future that He wanted for me. Yes indeed, I was sorry for (and turned away from) that old life lived outside of His grace. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2Corinthians 5v17)

“Repentance” this preacher shouted, “cannot mean turning from sin, since God repented… didn’t He?”

My answer to this is that when God ‘repents,’ He in effect is changing the course of action He was going to take on account of the fact that people have repented of their sinful ways. In the Book of Jonah we have a good example of this: The people of Nineveh said: “Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” (Jonah 3v9&10)

Denial of the fundamental doctrine of repentance is a very serious matter and one in which the devil plays a big part. If people think that they can make some sort of ‘commitment’ and then continue to live on in their sin, this awful doctrine has the potential to drag them to lowest hell – a horrific thought. This is why they should pray and search the scriptures diligently for we cannot rely on the words of mankind, regardless of their standing in the community or their achievements in Bible College.

With regard to “just believing,” James said: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2v19)

We read of John the Baptist that “he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;” (Luke 3v3)

Later in Luke 13v3 Jesus said: “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” The Greek word used in this verse for “repent” is “metanoia,” a transliteration of the Greek “μετάνοια,” which can be defined as “a transformative change of heart, especially a spiritual conversion.” If we merely believed without the “transformation” (which should include an entirely different attitude to sin) what change would have been wrought in our lives? Surely only the Lord can bring about this real transformation!

The devil somehow convincing people that they don’t have to have the sin in their lives dealt with is a story which has its evil roots in the dawn of time. “Yea, hath God said…” he said to Eve in the Garden of Eden, sadly convincing her that her action would have no dire consequences for the future of mankind. (Genesis 3v1)

The fact is… God hath said: “The soul that sinneth it shall die…” (Ezekiel 18v20)

In Acts 3v19 Peter stresses the need for repentance: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;”

Abhorrence is the only attitude that the Christian should have to sin. John says in his epistle: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” (1John 2v1-3)

And so we see that wherever repentance is talked about in the Bible in relation to mankind, it involves the issue of sin… something which the Lord wishes to eradicate from our lives. At the same time our adversary would prefer that people argued over semantics and the meaning of the word ‘repent,’ while turning a blind eye to sin – which will have eternal implications in their own lives, if the Lord is not permitted to deal with it. No sane person would ignore a cancerous tumour that they had knowledge of. They would be dismayed by its very presence and then they would go immediately to an authority who was qualified to deal with it, to have it expertly operated on and removed, for the good of their whole body. The thought that there might be a waiting list for such an operation would fill anyone with anxiety – and of course even the most ‘non-religious’ would find themselves praying earnestly that it would never return! Praise God, there is no waiting list where the disease of sin is concerned, for He is willing and able to deal with an entire world of repentant ‘casualties’ in the ‘here and now…’

 

Have You Broken those New Year Resolutions already?

January 9, 2012

I suppose that most people have made them – and mostly they don’t last! There are so many vices that people may want to cut down on – or give up completely, but somehow they just don’t have the willpower.  “Why don’t New Year resolutions work?” one may ask. Well, the answer is simple – because of the weak nature of our humanity! In Job 5v7 we read: “Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” Matthew 26v41 proclaims: “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Nevertheless, there are the success stories! I know a man who gave up smoking many years ago, but it wasn’t a matter of mere willpower, for with David, the Psalmist he could say: “My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121v2) You see, he went to a meeting one night, where he heard that he needed to be right with God in order to spend eternity in heaven and when he asked God to take over his life, all those vices that he knew to be displeasing to Him immediately lost their attraction. To be right with God, we need to change our ways, allowing Him to deal with the sin in our lives, but we cannot do this in our own strength.

Original sin is something that each one of us has inherited from the Garden of Eden… “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:” (Romans 5v12). Furthermore, the Bible tells us that no sinner shall inherit eternal life… “Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” (Psalm 1v5) ‘How awful,’ you may think, ‘but since I have inherited my sinful condition, what on earth can I do about it – and how can I have that assurance of sins forgiven, and a home in heaven?’

The answer to these very serious questions is surely found in God’s Word, the Bible, where God has laid out His simple plan of salvation. In Romans 5v8 we read: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” And in Romans 6v23 we read… “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Many of us are familiar with the story of how Jesus, a righteous person, died all those years ago. But did you know that if you had been the only one, He would still have died for you? Looking far down the years, He could see your birth – and mine, and that of all the other souls who populate this world of ours… and He loved each one of us enough to die, that we may have life. “Not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” (2Peter 3v9), He wants each one of us to be ready for that terrible Day of Judgement, when “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up…” (2Peter 3v10)

Are you ready for this awful Day, which may take place sooner than we think? If not, salvation can be found, not in your own self-righteousness, good works, church-going, community work, or in any other seemingly virtuous trait that you may possess – but in the shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary – who was not just a righteous person, but the Son of God. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3v16) When Jesus died, and rose again, He conquered sin and death forever, and no further sacrifice is necessary for the forgiveness of sins. “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher that the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.” (Hebrews 7v26-28) Remember that only He can forgive sins, because only He was born sinless, and has never sinned. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4v12)

What then, must I do to be saved? Firstly I must acknowledge my sinful state… “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1John 1v8) Secondly, I must acknowledge that I cannot save myself… “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2v8&9) Thirdly I must believe that Jesus has paid the price for my sins once and for all, and that no further sacrifice is necessary for the forgiveness of sins. “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1John 2v2) “Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7v25) Fourthly I must repent of all those sins that I’ve committed, whether big or small, in my previous life. Of course I may not remember everything – but if I have a repentant spirit regarding my past, His blood will cover it all. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1v9) Finally, having put my trust in Him alone for salvation, I may rejoice in His wonderful promises to those that love and follow Him… “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13v8) “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Romans 5v9)…”But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6v22&23)

Please don’t walk further into the unknown year that lies before you, without considering the most important thing in life – your soul’s salvation. Jesus said… “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10v9) “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2v21) He will not turn away anyone who comes unto Him by faith… “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6v37) Why not pray a prayer of faith, in the quietness of your heart today?  Remember – tomorrow may be too late!

“Dear Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that I am a sinner, needing your salvation. Thank You for sending Your only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to save me. Please forgive me for my sins, and come into my heart at this very moment. Cleanse me, make me a new person – the person You want me to be, so that my life will be used for Your service. Keep me from falling, give me courage to tell others of my changed life, help me to read Your Word, the Bible and to find fellowship with those who share my experience. May your Presence reign in my life, for all of my days, in Jesus Name, Amen.”