“We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
—- In their own Self-Righteousness, have some gone so far as to make an idol of repentance? Or, perhaps they’ve made an idol of self.
“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” Lamentations 3:22
Sometimes those who gain an understanding of the absolute necessity of repentance go off in an imbalance and are unteachable, calling others false teachers who attempt to help them learn a bit more about the LORD.
In this type case, perhaps such a person should consider their own need to repent afresh and to rely upon the LORD who would grant them this gift. Instead of just calling everyone else to repent, perhaps they should consider doing so themselves. We can get to the point where we are calling others to repent and it’s coming out of our own self righteous hearts which are actually in need of repentance (Matthew 7:1-5; Romans 2:1-3).
This is an important topic to say it lightly …. there are those who seek to impose a self-righteousness upon salvation …. and CHRIST Himself is lost in the mix and so anything in place of HIM is an idol. Read Colossians 1-2.
We must not lose site of CHRIST Himself in all our preaching about what He commanded (Colossians 2:18-19). The whole reason He came is so we could know Him and the Father – a truth seldom ever heard today (John 17:3).
THERE are some even well meaning people who misunderstand the things of God. They subtly place repentance before CHRIST Himself. Please listen closely and judge this against the whole counsel God’s Word: Repentance is utterly necessary to be saved (Luke 13:3, 5) and you know this is preached often here. Yet isn’t true repentance more a turning TO God than it is turning FROM sin?
“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye TURNED TO GOD from idols (sin) to serve the living and true God.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9
“You can never be sorry enough to be saved.” Lisa Seiler
Of this imbalance, Travis Bryan III writes:
“Holiness is first and foremost agape love. Unconditional love for all, including enemies of us and enemies of God. This over emphasis on repentance can make us the initiator and God the responder if we are not careful. God is always the initiator.”
—- Overcoming sin and living a holy life begins with receiving the very mercy of God which each of us is so very desperately in need of. Many times, especially in some circles, God Himself gets left out of His own salvation plan. The chief purpose for which God sent His only begotten Son was so that we could “know” Him (John 17:3). Paul told us that knowing the LORD was his all-encompassing goal. Everything else (including a holy life) will follow (Philippians 3:7-14). THIS is what he pressed toward. An ever-deepening relationship with the LORD breeds or produces that holiness which is necessary (John 17:3; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:15-16).
—- WITHOUT EXCEPTION, any person who repents, changes their whole lifestyle. If a person doesn’t worship and love and obey Christ, they have not repented.
“Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” Matthew 3:8-10
—- TRUE HOLINESS can only come by way of knowing CHRIST. There is a true and therefore a false or counterfeit holiness. “True holiness” – Watch this:
“And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and TRUE HOLINESS.” Ephesians 4:23-24
Remember how Jesus said that the self-righteous religionists had a false form of godliness as they cleaned the outside of the cup and neglected the inside – knowing Him in their hearts and therefore yielding the fruit of “true holiness.” (Matthew 23:23-25; Ephesians 4:24)
—– If we are preaching and not personally ever deepening our fellowship with our LORD, we can easily fall into this trap and imbalance. This is the sin of idolatry and while we may be busy calling everyone else to repent, God may be attempting to get our attention and lead us to repentance. Right? Like Mary, we must make sitting at His beautiful feet to know Him our highest priority around which all our life revolves (Luke 10:38-42).
Remember, Jesus says that without HIM we can do nothing at all to please God and that we are to LOVE the LORD with all our being (John 15:5; Matthew 22:37-39). Does He matter to us? Or, have we forgotten the One we claim to be serving?
“Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.” Psalms 50:22
One comes before the other. Repentance saves no one – Only Christ can save. Repentance is the divine condition for knowing Him which is what saves us – He does. Yes He without exception requires repenting and when we hearken to His drawing and obey by repenting, HE saves us. We must be very careful about the subtle idolatry of displacing CHRIST Himself even with the preaching of the imperative of repentance (Luke 13:3, 5). Some become so very heavy handed on repentance that they themselves need to repent of their own imbalance due to their own need to actually repent. Repentance is clearly a gift also and only God Himself can draw the sinner to Himself (John 3:29; 6:44; 2 Timothy 2:24-26, etc.).
On judgment day Jesus didn’t say He was going to say to the counterfeits “Depart from me because you didn’t repent” but rather “Depart from me ye workers of iniquity, I never KNEW you.” (Matthew 7:21)
Relationship mean alot to God…. you know, the ONE who invented relationship? Please memorize John 17:3.
Some preach as though God hates sinners. They misunderstand and take out of context things from Psalms. If God hated sinners so much, why did He so love the world, including you and I, that He gave His only begotten Son to come to die for us “WHILE we were yet sinners”? (Romans 5:6-8)
Listen to Jesus:
“For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.” Luke 9:56
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17
Your input welcomed. I am simply attempting to prayerfully be in God’s will in this understanding.
Memorizing Titus 3:5-6 has greatly helped me understand the relationship between God and us, His people. Can anyone relate?
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;” Titus 3:5-6
Will we give thanks today because WE have repented and obeyed OR because of the GREAT MERCY God showed to send His only begotten Son to die for OUR SINS and “while we were YET sinners”? (Romans 5:6-8) Oh and by the way, no man can possibly partake of the divine gift of repentance unless and until God blesses Him with that gift (John 3:29; 6:44; 2 Timothy 2:24-26, etc.).
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us…” Ephesians 2:4
Do you think that the patriarch Jacob could have understood a truth we also need to understand? When he really met with the LORD, here’s what he stated:
“I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.” Genesis 32:10
A holy life is the fruit of truly coming to HIM, repenting and putting our faith in Him … obedience doesn’t save, JESUS saves, amen? And when He saves a soul that soul will choose to abide (remain) or not and if he remains/abides in Christ, he will live a holy life. To GOD be that glory! John 15
If you at all erroneously believe that I even hint of the justification of sin in the life of anyone, you may wish to read the book Lie of the Ages which in a 730 page Scripture-rich format thoroughly demolishes the idea that any person can die in any sin and go to Heaven.
“We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
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