Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Our pursuit of obedience to the Lord may appear riddled with failure but as Edison’s failures led inevitably to success, our pursuit of obedience leads inevitably to righteousness. Read More
Many Christians are angry at the things they see and hear and justifiably so. We become angry at unfulfilled expectations. While there are times we need to adjust our expectations, there are other times our expectations don’t need adjusting but we need to make the adjustment in our dealings with the ones with whom we are angry. We need a way to turn our anger into something positive and constructive as God does. Read More
God’s goodness, mercy and patience invites us to repentance. God calls us to live the repentant life.
Romans 2:4-5 NKJV
Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
Paul is writing to those “called as saints” (Romans 1:7), so this is not a warning to those who have not received the Gospel. When he describes the “godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18), he cautions these believers against judging the sinner since they are doing the same things (Romans 2:1).
Therefore, in the church at Rome were those whom God had delivered “over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual immorality…” and many other sins (Romans 1:24).
Yet God’s mercy and grace were not given to allow us to continue under sin, but to free us from the condemnation of sin so that we would be free to repent.
Those who hear the Gospel and receive it as truth but continue in their sin, despite God’s kindness, restraint and patience, are only putting off the wrath of God until the day when they will be made to drink the cup of His wrath to the dregs (Psalm 75:8).
“Many will come to me on that day saying, ‘Lord, Lord… but I will say, “Depart from me you workers of unrighteousness…”’” (Matthew 7:21-23).
A hard and unrepentant heart leads to wrath. The tender, broken and changed heart leads to mercy and grace from God and an abundant reward (Matthew 21:44, Matthew 10:41-42, 2 Timothy 4:7-8, Revelation 22:12, Hebrews 10:35, Hebrews 11:6).
Break Up the Fallow Ground
Therefore, we must break up the fallow ground of our hearts (Hosea 10:12; Jeremiah 4:3). We must prepare our hearts to hear and receive the Word and to be changed, so that we will not be condemned with the world.
Therefore, we must begin with self-examination and confront our own sinfulness, because if we behave like the world, we will be condemned with the world (1 Co 11:31-32).
Examine yourself (Lamentations 3:40, Haggai 1:5-7, 1 Corinthians 11:28, 2 Corinthians 13:5). Are you guilty of any of these: Ingratitude; Not loving God with our whole heart; or not living what you say you believe (unbelief)? Have you been neglecting the Word of God, prayer, or the church and God’s saints? What about failing to love your spouse (who is your closest neighbor)? Are you failing to show yourself faithful, failing to love and care for the lost and broken or failing to support missions and the persecuted? Have you been pursuing the things of the world instead of God? Have you marred your testimony and brought the Gospel into reproach? Are you neglecting your family or your duty to your community or nation? Have you neglected of your personal finances? Are you negligent in caring for your brothers and sisters in Christ and watching over their souls? Are you denying yourself? Have pride, envy, bitterness, slander, wrath, lying or cheating taken hold in your life? Are you robbing God of that which is His due in time, talent and treasure? Are you bridling your tongue or is cursing and coarse language making you a hindrance to the Gospel?
Faith without Works is Dead
We are saved by faith through grace. It is a gift that we cannot earn. But to say we believe in Christ risen from the dead means we also believe that we must stand before Him and give an account (Romans 14:12). If our hearts condemn us when we imagine this, God is greater than our hearts (1 John 3:18-24) and far purer and holier. His eyes are flames of fire (Revelation 19:12-15). Nothing will be hidden from Him (He 4:11-13, Lu 8:17, Lu 12:1-3, 1 Co 4:5, Ro 2:16, Ec 12:14, Pr 28:13). What will survive that fire? (Is 66:15, Na 1:6, Zep 3:8, 1 Co 3:12-14). Let the wise be wiser still (Prov 17:10).
If you have sinned against someone, go to them and seek forgiveness.
If you have defrauded someone, send them the money, plus interest.
Don’t put off change until tomorrow. Immediately uproot the sin and plow up the ground that you may do what God calls upon you to do.
The Repentant Life
The repentant life requires breaking up the fallow ground—the ground of common sin—the sins that the worldly and unbelieving no longer are shocked at seeing.
The repentant life requires we pull the weeds—what is keeping us from devoting the time, energy and resources to the kingdom of God? We must get rid of everything that stands between us and God (Romans 12:1-2).
Lastly, we must submit ourselves thoroughly to God’s Word and God’s Way. We must surrender our opinions and any false religion or belief and do what Jesus does and say what Jesus says.
Lord God, Father, thank you for your kindness, Your mercy and Your grace. Grant me the sorrow that leads to repentance and a zealous heart to change.
In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.
“Three bad choices—I don’t have any good choices!” the defendant said. “No matter what I choose to do, it is bad!”
We were in chambers. He explained his choices and I had to agree. He had three bad choices; I was his judge and saw the hand of God in it because the Lord reminded me of David’s three bad choices. I chose to imitate God; I set my face like flint and was unrelenting.
“No choice is still a choice. Make the best choice you can.” Read More
The country preacher says, “When trouble or trial comes, you’ve got to dig into God like a tick on a hound dog!” Jesus put it differently, He said that when God pulls out His pruning shears, abide in the vine (John 15:1-8) but they both mean the same thing: turn to God with your whole heart and all of your strength. Read More
“Use soap and water!” Momma said. It is the same with spiritual cleansing. This is how you begin to cleanse yourself to prepare to meet God.
My personal meditations in the Word each morning and each evening are rich and full but this sent me reeling as I contemplated the ramifications of what the Spirit was saying to me and to every pastor, minister, and Sunday School teacher in America. Ours is a harsher judgment (James 3:1).
What will you do with what the Spirit is saying? Let the wise read and take action… Read More