Millions have heard the hue and cry of religion, “Repent!” But what does it mean to repent? Somehow, the piteous bleating of those urging the public to repent has sounded almost entirely negative! Myriads seem to have the concept God desperately needs something from them, that Jesus Christ is hurt, perplexed, wounded, terribly disappointed, all because “sinners” don’t seem to want to believe in Him!
But this is Satan’s lie! God needs nothing from us; we desperately need everything from Him! And never, not in the history of man’s pilgrimage on this earth, has man so desperately been in need of God and His mercy!
The lesson of all history shouts at our heedless, reckless, hell-bent generation to repent! To be completely broken up in spirit over the vile, filthy, wretched swill we’ve been wallowing in, the mountainous specter of crime and violence, the hideous diseases of mind and body we have brought upon ourselves, the constant threat of final destruction of all mankind! The Apostle Peter shouted to those of his dayto, “Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19). To repent means to change! To change your attitude toward God, toward His perfect laws, which were designed to bring us peace, health, happiness and everything we so earnestly desire! To change your attitude toward your fellow man, toward your own self!
Look around you! What do you see? Do you witness a world full of happiness, productivity, success? Stable, secure homes? Respectful, obedient children? A world of harmony, joy and beauty? NO, you most certainly do not; instead, you see a world filled with jealousy, racial bigotry, religious intolerance, political unrest, divorce, crime, juvenile delinquency, and the threat of nuclear cosmoscide! It’s a world that has turned heedless ears to God’s call to repentance!
God’s word reveals He has “winked at” the ignorance of blundering man in past ages, “but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). But man has not obeyed that command, except in some few, scattered instances.
As a result of remaining unrepentant, unchanged from his natural-minded selfishness, his resentment toward God’s laws, his jealousy, animosity, hatred, bigotry and intolerance toward his fellow man, he has filled the world and the nostrils of God with the stench of his decaying, rotting society! He has remained unmindful of God’s command, and so is suffering the automatic penalties!
Why should you continue to suffer the anguish, sickness, wretchedness and the threat of death that hovers over this reckless, heedless world? Why should you remain unrepentant, when you have now seen, with your own eyes, from your own Bible, the thrilling, shocking, wonderful truths of Almighty God!
Now is the time for you, as an individual, to obey the command of your Creator, the One who gives you every breath of air you breathe, and repent!
Satan the Devil has remained unrepentant through the centuries. Don’t let this happen to you. Eternal oblivion would be the result. It is your decision to make, and no-one can make it for you.
Do you want to see the effect of repentance on one man’s life that lived hundreds of years before Christ? This man did obey God and did repent. That man was David!
Yes, David did do some pretty bad things. And so do we. But he did something about it, he repented! People overlook this key. Yet it should cause them no surprise when they read in their Bible that David will be in God’s Kingdom and will even Rule over the modern descendants of Israel when Jesus Christ soon comes to establish His millennial government here on this earth. That’s what the power of repentance can lead to, even though one has done some very bad things!
Some people’s natures give them more trouble than others. David was one who had more trouble this way than most. He had pressing drives. He was a man of action. He “gave himself a bad time.” On the surface it would seem impossible for such a one to ever please God enough for God to transform him, let alone giving him rule over others.
Look at what David did! He lusted after Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, who was one of his soldiers. David lusted to the point that he committed adultery with her and caused her to have a child by him. Then David, in an attempt to disclaim himself as the father of this illegitimate child, caused Bathsheba’s husband to become drunk in order to make her husband logically think that it was he, himself, who was the father.
Failing in this, David then took drastic action to conceal what he had done. He had Bathsheba’s husband placed in the very front of the hottest battle so as to make certain he would be killed. And Uriah was killed. David had murdered him. (II Sam. 11).David had sinned terribly!
But did David confess his sins? He certainly did – “David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord” (II Sam. 12:13). David’s repentant attitude endeared him to God.
Again David sinned greatly when he did not trust God for protection but rather in the strength of numbers of men. He had his fighting men numbered (II Sam. 24:2, 9-10). But did David repent and confess his sin? Again, he certainly did. For “David’s heart smote him (repentance) after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly (David confessed his sin) in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant (David threw himself on God’s mercy) for I have done foolishly” (v. 10). Yes, David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).
David was one of the very few people of Old Covenant times to whom God gave the Holy Spirit (Ps. 51:11), for the Holy Spirit was not yet available to all mankind (Acts 2:1-8). David repented and overcame by the power of the Holy Spirit even though he at times did stumble and fall! So David is soon, at Jesus Christ’s coming, to be resurrected and be in God’s kingdom. If repentance can lead to that for David, who had his weakness, it will do the same for you!
Don’t “kid” yourself! Do not make the fatal mistake of counting this article as just “another” article of interest. Don’t think this to be just another emotional appeal that represents God as a disappointed, sorrowful person with a deep inferiority complex because the world won’t believe on Him! Such could be eternally disastrous! You should act on this knowledge!
It’s time to wake up! It’s time to see, clearly, exactly where this world is heading, to see where you are heading so long as you remain a part of it!
You desperately need the Spirit of God! You need to have your human nature changed, made conformable to God’s nature! You need to have the selfishness, the human vanity, the greed, the lust, the resentment, hostility and suspicion crushed out of you; you need the very life of God coming within you! God needs nothing from you but you need everything from Him!
Repent! That’s what God commands! That is the only way to real, lasting, eternal happiness and to peace, contentment, success, and real joy here and now! Repent! Be broken up over your sins, your transgression of God’s righteous and Holy law, your very being, your nature, your way of looking at things needs to be altered, changed, by the Holy Spirit of God! And the only way you can receive His Spirit is to repent (Acts 2:38)!
Now let’s understand how the Holy Spirit can make you a “new man.” In Romans, chapter 7 we learn about our evil pulls which God has placed within us. But God also reveals to us the power of the Holy Spirit in action. He reveals it in action in crushing out our old downward pulls when we have repented from our old ways and thereby receive the power of the Holy Spirit to do this? Read Gal. 5:17-18.
The explanation of these two verses is this: “For the flesh (housing as it does the carnal pulls with which we are born) lusteth (wars) against the Spirit (the Holy Spirit), and the Spirit (wars) against the flesh: and these are contrary one to the other so that we cannot do the things we would (do). But if ye (you who repent and receive the Holy Spirit) be led of the Spirit (led of the Holy Spirit, as it crushes out your downward pulls) ye are not under the law”- you are not under the penalty of breaking the law of God which, we know is death – eternal death. For the Holy Spirit within you, which is now dominant, causes you to live in accordance with God’s law. The downward pulls are dominant no longer.
What are some of these pulls that are predominant before the Holy Spirit starts crushing them? Gal. 5:19-21. But what becomes predominant after the Holy Spirit has gone to work and cleaned us up? (Verses 22-25). This is the mind that Jesus Christ had. Does God command us to let Christ’s mind be within us also? Phil 2:5. Does Ephesians 3:16-17 point out that our minds are strengthened with might by God’s Holy Spirit?
Here is the explanation of this verse. “That (God) would grant you (those who repent), according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit (Holy Spirit) in the inner man (our minds) that Christ (through) the same Holy Spirit that is in Christ may dwell in your heart by faith.”
The Holy Spirit is available so that we may be cleansed by it. But can God clean us up without our willing consent? Romans 12:1. Note the words “present ye.” Then are we not to be sorry, repent and surrender ourselves so He can clean us up by giving us a new mind? Note the words “renewing of your mind” (v. 2). Eph. 4:24 verifies the fact that we should do this.
God knows that this is the only way that we can “put on the new man” – develop spiritually, change from the old person in character to a new person in character.
We are now only clay models that must be reshaped by God. You can whip up all the good thoughts you want to, but you still remain just as vile as you can be and there is nothing you can do about it except you surrender to God and trust Him to change you. God is the Potter. And we are the clay. If we, the clay, are too hard, don’t become plastic by the surrender of our will, there is nothing God can do about us either! We will be discarded to eternal death! That’s all God can do with those who remain unrepentant.
In a nutshell, the whole truth about salvation is this: To conform to God’s conditions for salvation, we must repent – surrender - have faith in Christ, accept Christ as our Saviour, become changed by God’s Spirit by God’s gift, the gift of grace – unmerited pardon - through Christ’s blood, and then overcome, endure, and grow in a life of obedience and living faith, faith put into daily practice, with Christ living His life in us. And let’s remember not to leave Christ and grace out of our thoughts?
Jesus Christ did not live a good life for you, in your stead! You are not excused from keeping God’s Ten Commandments, living a righteous, holy life, overcoming, growing in spiritual character, and enduring in spite of all opposition, persecution, trial and test unto the end. You and I must actually do these things in order to be saved!
The favorite invitation or “altar-call hymn” sung by the popular denominations at revival or evangelistic services is “Just as I Am.” No, you can’t come to God “just as you are.” You must repent! Neither can you enter God’s Kingdom “just as you are.” You must be cleansed by God’ Holy Spirit! God will not receive anyone “just as they are.” They are too evil, and vile. You can’t sit down at God’s immaculate Holy Table with your wrinkled, soiled clothes and dirty hands, which symbolically represent the human sinner’s condition.
It is amazing to see the misunderstanding of so many people, especially about repenting and becoming a Christian. Here is what one person said: “I’ll tell you why my husband and I have not been converted. As I understand it, we have to go forward in a meeting before a lot of people, kneel at the altar, and have a feeling of deep emotion, pray before a lot of people, and shed a lot of tears. And I just don’t know how to work up that feeling, and I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to shed tears or pray aloud before others.” That is not repentance! Repentance is not a one time emotional experience. It is a sincere change of heart! A sincere sorrow for having transgressed God’s laws!
Truly we are victims of pagan teachings, doctrines, rituals, and customs, which have wormed their way into a so-called Christianity and adopted Christian-sounding names! Let’s contend earnestly for the faith once delivered – as faithfully recorded in the Bible, - not as practiced in various sects or denominations of men!
Where did Jesus give such instructions? Where did He set such an example as they follow? Where did He have His disciples “get converted” by such a formula? Where do you find it in the New Covenant part – the “New Testament” part of your Bible? Where is the teaching for it? Where did the apostle Paul practice it or have others do it? You find no such examples anywhere in your Bible!
It is not a matter of feeling! It is not a matter of stirring up one’s emotions. It is a matter of heart. Deep down in your heart do you realize that you have thought, spoken, and lived contrary to God’s law and Bible teachings? Do you realize that you are a sinner?
Jesus Christ came into this world and died to reconcile you to God the Father, to join you to Him, to establish contact for you! Accept this, and know the great peace that will come over your soul! Then you must be baptized, not into any religious denomination or organization, but into Jesus Christ. Then God promises to put His Sprit within you, to give you the power to radiate from you a love you never had, a new faith, patience, understanding through His Spirit; you will be given power for self-mastery. You will receive power to understand the Bible.
If you have truly repented, you will have the Holy Spirit. The spiritual mind is the surrendered, yield mind. It is the mind that has given up all desire for its own way. It is a mind that has been thoroughly conquered in its rebellion against God. It is the mind that henceforth is willing to obey God no matter what the cost.
Jesus surrendered totally to the rule of God and let the Holy Spirit direct His life completely. Even when facing an agonizing death on the stake, Jesus prayed: “Not my will but thine be done” (Luke 22:42). You, like He, will also be that way continually until the time you are transformed.
If you remain a true Christian, you will not be able to blindly follow the customs and practices of this society. Instead, you will begin asking, “But what is God’s will, and what does God say about it?” And you will begin to search the Bible, the revealed will of God, to see just exactly what He does say about each of the world’s practices. You will begin to know the will of God. You will begin to question the ways of the crowd. And you will clearly discern where the false ministers are wrong. As you can see, God will not accept you “just as you are”!
If you would like more information regarding the “traditions” of this world’s Christianity, enroll today in our series, “Traditional Christian Doctrines”.