11 March, 2014

Repentance... Is it Necessary?

Acts 3:17-21

New King James Version (NKJV)
17 “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before,[a] 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. 

The whole misuse and misunderstanding of grace just continues to grow stronger and stronger, and many preachers are jumping on the bandwagon, because it sure sounds nice. (And it draws big crowds too!) God's grace is surely amazing. Without that grace, we are without hope. I have been accused of being "anti-grace."  Far from it. But grace without repentance leaves people trapped in sin and lost. Period. The Bible is abundantly clear to me, that we must TURN from our wicked ways. We must leave our sinful ways behind us. Some would say, "you're preaching salvation by works. I counter, "not at all." You are not saved because of your works, you do works because you are saved.  

I used this illustration this past Sunday in my message: Imagine you are a baseball player who is a free agent. You choose the offer made by another team and agree to play for that team for "X" amount of dollars. You sign a contract. You put on the new team uniform and announce to the world, "Today I am a member of the Saint Louis Cardinals and I'm thrilled to be a part of this winning team!"  The Cardinals begin paying you, you come to spring training and train with the Cards, but then on the opening day of the season you go back to your old team, put on their uniform and start playing for them again.  In essence, that is what many people are doing. They have announced they've changed teams (accepted Christ) begun to train (go to church) but they continue to play for the other team.  That's not salvation. And many people have been deceived. Jesus told the crowds that followed him to "count the cost."  He told them that to follow him they had to love the Lord with all their heart and soul and be willing to "pick up their cross" (die to their old way of life) and follow him no matter the cost.  

I hear people say "salvation is free." I disagree. It cost God his son. It cost Jesus great pain and his life. The Bible says we were bought with a price and that we are not our own.  There must be a change. No question. That's what repentance is all about. 

No comments: