Now that you have seen backsliding as:
- Turning away from God, and
- Turning away from God’s truth
You have also seen how easy it is to be led astray through:
- Lusting after evil
- Spiritual blindness
- Desire for material things
- Pride and a haughty spirit
- Listening to false teachers and preachers
We have also traced the three steps of backsliding as
- Rejecting God’s truth
- Being deceived by Satan’s lie
- Getting involved in immorality
We have also learned that God will test our faith to see if we are totally dependent upon Him. For when all is well, we become ungrateful and begin to trust in ourselves to walk the life of faith. When this happens, we are ready to be tested so that we will se that we are not only saved by faith, but we also must live by faith, for without faith it is impossible to please God!
Let’s just praise the Lord today for the three weeks of our study:
- Memorize 1 Corinthians 15:47
- Meditate upon Psalm 100:1-5
- Personalize Romans 8:38-39
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say;
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
The first word of the gospel is not “love”, or “grace”. The first word of the gospel is “repent”, and from Matthew through Revelation, repentance is an urgent indispensable theme that is kept at the very forefront of the gospel message.
It is impossible to go in two directions at once. We must turn from our way and go Christ’s way or we go our way and do not follow Christ. Most of the scribes, Pharisees, and religious leaders of Christ’s day were intrigued by what He said and amazed by what He did but angered by what He claimed and demanded. But they would not deny themselves, take up their crosses, and follow Him. They enjoyed their righteousness, but it meant nothing to God, for it was worth nothing but filthy rags. But, because they would not repent, they could not believe.
Noe of us has any hope of surpassing the righteousness of the Pharisees if we continue to resist repentance. Holiness cannot prevail in unrepentant persons who are still full of themselves. It does not take repentance to enjoy a form of religion, but repentance is mandatory for all who would live in the power of true godliness.
The doctrine of repentance is of utmost consequence. It deserves your most thoughtful and prayerful consideration. Be cautious not to draw false conclusions merely because the truth is unfamiliar to you. Search out what is said. Compare it carefully with the Word of God. Meditate upon it! Discipline your spirit! Become and earnest student of the Bible! Be a conscientious person who pays close attention to what you study. Read with the fervent prayer that you will not only understand the doctrine of repentance as fully as God Himself makes possible but that you will know experientially all of God’s grace of repentance in your own daily experience.
In every season when the church has known greatness, it has also known faithfulness to all the great doctrines of Scripture. You can be certain that at the forefront of every significant recovery from backsliding that the church has ever known, the doctrine of repentance has been among the precious truths that God has quickened and used. I pray and hope that in His grace this will be true once again. May it be true for you.
Adapted from: “Repentance: The first Word of the Gospel” by Richard Owen Roberts, © 2002
What is true repentance? D.L. Moody wrote:
“Man is born with his back toward God. When He truly repents, he turns right around and faces God. Repentance is a change of mind!”
Actually, the Biblical definition of repentance reflects a drastic change in three areas:
- There is a change of mind about our sin—we see it from God’s perspective and not ours, nor from the moral standards of a sin-sick society.
- There is a change of emotions—we are not only sorry for our sinful actions and how they might have affected our own lives, and the lives of others, but we see how they have offended a holy God, and we are broken hearted.
- There is a change of direction—we stop walking in the ways, philosophies, and patterns of the world, and we start walking in obedience to the Word of God.
The doctrine of repentance BEGINS with our understanding that all sin is abhorrent unto God. Even the slightest variance from His demands or His desires is sufficient to fracture our fellowship with Him and hinder our intimacy with Him. The problem is that in this time of deep moral and spiritual decline, we don’t see some of our actions and attitudes as being sinful.
Even many who claim to be “born-again” believers ask: “What is wrong with that? Everyone else does that!” But, in the words of Richard Owen Roberts, “It is time for alarm! The Lord is so deeply grieved by the lack of moral clarity in today’s church, because of the lack of true preaching of God’s Word, that “He has largely withdrawn from the church and left her to her own devices. The heart cry of God is mort certainly, ‘Return to Me, and I will return to you!’” (Malachi 3:7)
I invite you back tomorrow for DAY TWENTY-TWO of “REDISCOVERING YOUR FIRST LOVE!”