“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3)
There is a teaching out there that says, there is no repentance necessary in salvation. This is a faulty doctrine. Some gravitate to this because they think when we say repent, we means you begin to clean up your life, turning away from sin in order to be saved; and that would be wrong (they would be right). However, they are misunderstanding the meaning of repentance in its relation to saving faith. – When one comes to Christ for salvation, he must come being in a certain condition, and that condition is lost. What makes him lost? Sin. So he only comes to Christ for salvation when he recognizes he is a condemned sinner. As such, he calls upon Jesus Christ believing that He is able to save him based on His death, burial and resurrection. He has just exercised repentance (whether he knows it or not).
He saw that he was a guilty of sin and for that reason he was lost and would be lost in eternity; hearing the good news that Jesus can deliver him from his sin he turns to Christ and by faith he is saved. – Don’t you see that there is repentance in that? There is a desire to be free from the condemnation of sin and inherent in that is a recognition that his sin is wrong and an attitude of wanting to be free of the sin that has separated him from the Saviour. – He hasn’t cleaned up his life at this point but he is hoping in Christ to be freed from sin.
To strip repentance from faith opens the door to a faith that doesn’t save. How is it that some who you tell of Christ will make a profession of faith but never evidence salvation in the slightest? – You tell him that God so loved the world, He gave His Son to die on the cross for our sins. You explain this to them and say whosoever believes in Jesus Christ shall not perish but have everlasting life. You ask, “Do you believe all that I have told you?” He says, “Yes”. You read Rom. 10:13 – Whosoever shall call ….. “Will you pray and ask Jesus to save you?” “Yes”. He prays and you rejoice, saying he got saved. But wait, he won’t come to church, no change at all ……. What about it?
Some make a false profession. What does that mean? Did he make the whole think up? – “I don’t really believe a word of that stuff but I’ll just play along to make him happy? Maybe? Or, maybe they heard this – “If you believe the story I just told you about Jesus dying and rising from the dead, that it really happened and pray this prayer you’ll go to heaven.” (his mind processes it this way and he thinks) “Do I believe that really happened?” “I see no reason to doubt that it happened”. “Do, I want to go to heaven?” “Well, yeah, of course. So, all I have to do is pray, well, why not? It can’t hurt.” (prays) What’s missing? – Faith? No, he took your word for it that you were telling the truth. (that is a type of faith) Did he call on the name of the Lord? Yes. He believed, he prayed, but he doesn’t get saved. (no evidence at all)
You can conclude that he is saved, despite the absences of evidence, but there are undoubtedly converts who are not converted; what is missing is repentance – the actual recognition of lostness in sin so that when he prays he actually has something to pray about! You are not merely preforming one of the steps in the program as it was laid out to you but you are genuinely asking the Saviour to save you, because you have something to be saved from, and you are trusting that He can and He will; this is saving faith. Do you see the difference?
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” – Psalms 1:1-3
Raising children has never been an easy task. There has always been the influence of evil, the temptations of sin and the pressure to conform to immoral ways. However, today our kids are connected to the vast world of influence as never before through technology. As a Christian parent it is my desire and responsibility to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4) I pray that they would not be comfort to this world (Rom. 12:2) but to be fashioned into the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). In other words, that they would live by the principles and values of Christ and not the world’s.
Notice the verses above from Psalms 1. The counsel (advice, philosophy) of the ungodly leads to living in the way of sinners and eventually to even scorning or mocking the ways of God. Sadly our children are bombarded daily with a philosophy that is contrary to the Bible. They are enticed by the way of sin and often exposed to those who ridicule God and the Bible. How does a parent combat this influence?
You cannot sit idly on the sidelines and hope for the best. If you don’t rear your children, others will! Godly standards in the home are important to protect and teach Christian values. Many parents sit passively by and allow the counsel of the ungodly into their homes through TV, videos, music and other media. Friendships have to be monitored and a good example must be set by us. Your church is a great ally you should cherish. However, church cannot make up for absent parenting. Biblical parenting is about cultivating a child’s heart—in a relationship with the parent and for a relationship with God. Behavior matters (of course), but any lasting change begins with reaching the heart. As stated in the Psalm, the Word of God offsets the influence of the ungodly. Help your children to develop a heart for God and therefore a respect for the Bible and to understand that the boundaries you set up are based on the Bible. This will enable them to embrace Bible principles and apply them to all areas of life.
“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” (Job 19:25-27)
Those of you who are familiar with Job in the Bible, know that he faced some very difficult days. Within a short period of time his children were all killed and his material wealth was taken from him. I can’t imagine all of the sorrows he and his wife must have felt. Nevertheless, Job kept his faith in God. I believe that the main source of Job’s strength during those hard times is found in the opening words of the Scripture above; “I know that my Redeemer liveth”. Regardless of what circumstances brought or what others thought of Job, he had an anchor for his soul and it was the knowledge that his Saviour lives! Jesus Christ is the risen Redeemer who died on an old rugged cross, not for crimes that He had done but for all of the sins committed by you and me. He was taken down from the cross and laid in a tomb. Yet after three nights in the grave He arose from the dead and is alive forever more. The message of Easter is the message of resurrection.
Many well celebrate Easter this month. Some will hunt for colorful eggs, exchange baskets of candy and many will attend church. But how many can say with Job, “I know that MY Redeemer lives”? Have you by faith asked the living Saviour, Jesus Christ, to redeem your life from sin, to cleanse your soul and trusted Him to give you eternal life. If you have you can also say with Job, “though my body will decay in the grave, yet in a resurrected body I shall see God; mine eyes shall behold Him. Because He lives, I too shall live on long after death has its ways with this old body of mine.
This is no fairy tale my friend. Job knew that although his Redeemer would die one day outside Jerusalem for man’s sins, yet He would rise from the dead and Job too would be raised from the dead to meet God face to face. Millions of others throughout history have found the same hope that lifted up Job’s weary head and gave him hope for all eternity. The Lord is risen indeed! Have a wonderful Easter.