So I asked that you put pride aside, open wide your eyes and soul, and believe that the Christ came, lived as a man, died, and rose again. For you.
Believe and repent. Repent and believe. These weave together in such a way that I don’t believe they can be torn apart if either is real. To repent is to be sorry, and to turn away from what you’re sorry for. When I died to my sins I was sorry. Sorry that I ever did anything wrong and sorry that God had to be tortured and killed in order to save me from those things. Why again must that have been so? Because God is just. He tells the truth. So when He said that the price of sin is death (when Adam and Eve sinned for the first time), death had to be delivered to Him. The price had to be paid, one time or another, in full.
Or our God would be a liar and we wouldn’t be able to trust what He said and…we wouldn’t be here writing and reading this.
So you believe? That He came and lived and died yet is dead no longer? That the gift is abundantly sufficient for you and all who believe?
So, repent then. Turn from the things God hates (sin) and towards what He loves. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think on such things. Philippians 4:8
The Christian life isn’t easy, per se. (But y’all seriously it has never appeared to me that the alternative is any easier). Yet it’s simpler than you might think. Do you know why? It’s not because God doesn’t have rules. No! He does. But that’s WHY it’s simpler. Folks, most of the time I don’t sit there and struggle with what to do. Because He’s given me such a clear roadmap in the Bible that I know what the right thing is. I don’t agonize over that. It’s awesome. I struggle in doing the right thing, certainly. But my life is not a very confusing one. I know where I have freedom, and I know where I have boundaries. And I don’t begrudge my God His boundaries. Someone who has the power to give me life and does so by giving up His own doesn’t deserve my argument over what His preferences are. Especially when He is also perfect and almighty and fearsome and….also invented my very soul, individually, and also, by the way, has my name written on the palm of His hand. When He tells me not to lie, I nod my head yes and strive to tell the truth. I don’t argue with God over why lying is bad.
You hear me, there?
You want to understand His ways. I get that. But you won’t get there 100%. In the meantime, as you get glimpses of His work and reasoning while walking through life, just obey anyway. Just obey anyway. Don’t wait for Him to prove to you His “why.” He might not. And you’ll rob yourself of the blessings that come with obedience. *******This is not a promise to get all you want if you obey. God blesses for reasons other than obedience and obedient people still go through trials…But He does say that He blesses for obedience.****** Do it. Do it because He says to. Do it because you love Him. Did your parents explain why they did every single thing they did as they raised you? Even now that you’re grown? Well how much less does a perfect Creator owe you? I don’t mean to sound harsh, but my dear – He doesn’t have to answer every question you ask.
But He does love you with an everlasting love. He did sacrifice His life for you. Isn’t that enough? Must He also be your encyclopedia?
I’m getting off topic.
Repentance. If you believe and say a prayer and go home and do all you ever did before, you did not repent. You did not “turn from your sin.” And my love, if that’s the road you remain on…ahhh if I could only shake you! It is not better on that side! It is not easy, it does not contain more happiness. Rip off that old, dirty bandaid and let the love of Jesus wash over you and breathe into you new life! Yes, new life. Different life. Something altogether new.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. I Corinthians 5:17
In repenting and rest you will be saved; in quietness and confidence will be your strength. But you would not. Isaiah 30:15
This was all about the Israelites who were (like we are) so incredibly stubborn and backward. Please don’t take the grace of God for granted; that just because He is merciful He is not just. That’s a lie. It’s a lie of the devil (the real devil; not the thing with a pitchfork in a red suit) to lull you into complacency. Please. Turn. From. Your. Ways.
So repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out… Acts 3:19
Something that’s converted…simply is not what it was before. So don’t be as you were before! Notice this doesn’t demand literal perfection. God doesn’t ask that of you. But He does ask that you change direction.
Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. Revelation 3:3
Because you don’t know when the end is.
My friend if you want to know what this means, there is one sure way to find out: open up His book. And read it.
Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance. Matthew 3:8 >>> Next week: 5. Sanctification