Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What Happens When People Stop Repenting?

When Jesus commissioned his disciples to preach the gospel to the world, he explained the Old Testament theme of his coming death burial and resurrection (Luke 24:44-46). He then continued with this intended purpose - "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 24:47). Later, Paul explained, "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30).

Repentance is a God-given command which is necessary for salvation (Acts 2:38). It is not a one time act, as some suppose and display, but rather an on-going change of mind and heart that results in being shaped and transformed by the will of God (Rom. 12:1-2). If Christians desire to receive remission of sins on a regular basis, the Bible teaches they must daily live for God - a relationship that involves a constant state of repentance and confession of sins (Luke 9:23; 1 John 1:9).

What happens, then, when people stop repenting?
  • People stop having a sense of sorrow for their sins.
  • People start feeling a false sense of eternal safety.
  • People justify sinful actions.
  • People crucify Jesus all over again.
  • People let their faith grow weak, their dedication diminish, and their relationships fail.
  • People harden their heart and become nearly untouchable when it comes to spiritual and eternal truths.
Nobody is immune to the reality of this problem. When Jonah preached to Nineveh, the whole country repented. But God allowed them to be destroyed a few years later - why? They stopped repenting! Strong Christian marriages fall apart after years of success - why? Because spouses stop being sorry for poor behavior and they stop forgiving each other. Aging, mature Christians leave the church - why? Because they cease to call upon their indebtedness to Christ. And YOU - well, YOU struggle in some areas of your faith - why? Because there are some things, even in this moment, for which you need to repent, but you have allowed satan to talk you out of it.

It is important to consider what Paul says in 2 Cor. 7:10 (KJV) - "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of..." - In other words, don't repent of your repenting! Don't be sorry you were sorry! Don't change your changing! Allow God's love through Christ to continually shape your mind and heart and empower your life - and you will be saved!

Only bad things will happen when people stop repenting. The opportunity to repent is a great blessing from God! It is cleansing! It is transforming! It is eternal life!

Acts 11:18 - "When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, 'Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.'"

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post!
    Steve Miller