Son, and Holy Spirit
Repentance: Door of Mercy
Do you know that you have been found guilty of sin by a Holy God, and sentenced to death? If sinful man is to escape this eternal death and be eternally saved, he must receive God's mercy. Mercy in this respect is God withholding from us the penalty which we deserve. But God does not bestow His mercy on people without condition, even though salvation is free, without price, and cannot be earned. The condition upon which God grants mercy is repentance.
John the Baptist came preaching the Word of God and his message was simple and powerful, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2). Jesus, the Son of God, began His ministry with the same message: "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4:17). Repentance is a requisite of salvation, as Peter the apostle said, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19). Through repentance, the door of mercy is opened and salvation obtained.
All Have Sinned
In our world, there are multitudes of people, and in many ways, we are different one from another. However, this message we all share: 'For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). And listen further, 'There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10). God spoke through His Prophet Isaiah and said, 'All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way" (Isaiah 53:6).
Do you notice the central thought of these scriptures? "All have strayed." 'None righteous." "All have sinned." Wouldn't this also include you? Your soul, your life belongs to God. The man or woman, who does not recognize God as the master of his life, is in disobedience and sin. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4).
Your sins have separated you from God. You feel a longing inside that you can't explain. You may feel forsaken and that God doesn't hear. The reason is pointed out by God, "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities (sins) have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear" (Isaiah 59:1, 2). Again, 'The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
As you think of your life and your sins, think also about God. God is without sin; therefore, He is holy, righteous, and just. God says sin must be judged: 'For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:14).
There is a great gulf between you and God. Unless we find the way which spans that gulf between a holy God and sinful man, you shall die an eternal death! (Luke 16:26). But listen, there is a way there is hope for you!
Jesus Opens the Door
While it is true God has decreed a judgment of death upon sin, He is also a God of love. "God is love" (I John 4:16). God loves you, friend, even though you are living in sin. His love has made a way for you to be saved (John 3:16). God will carry out His judgment on sin, and if this justice would be meted out to man, he would instantly die: Therefore God, not willing that any should perish, sent His son Jesus to take the penalty of our sins that we may live. The Bible says: "Behold ... the goodness and severity of God" (Romans 11:22). The goodness of God desired to save man but His judgment demanded sentence.
Jesus came to this world for the express purpose of redeeming our souls. He was holy, without sin, the spotless Lamb of God. God's love ' for us was proven when He took our sins, our guilt, and the wages of death, and put them upon Jesus. Behold His goodness! Then as Jesus obeyed the will of His Father, He received the wages of our sins. Jesus was now made sin in our place (2 Corinthians 5:21). He was crucified on a cross. For six hours, I've endured the pain and agony until the wages of our sins were paid, and then Jesus expired. Behold the severity of God.
Repentance, Our Part
Can you see that as Jesus died for you, He also died because of your sins? Who really crucified Jesus? Were only the Jewish rulers, or Pilate, or the Roman soldiers responsible?
Peter the apostle preached a sermon one-day to a multitude of people numbering thousands. Peter's message was right to the point "Him, (Jesus) being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" (Acts 2:23). Friend, look to Jesus, the One who was crucified, and acknowledge your guilt and participation in His death!
True repentance begins as you ponder in your heart that fearful scene. By the power of the Spirit of God, you will realize that you should have died rather than Jesus. But Jesus took your place! As this realization breaks into your heart, it will bring a sorrow and regret for sin. To think that one has caused the death of another is indeed a fearful matter, especially when it was the very Son of God. Souls that catch this vision repent of their guilt with tears and confess their sins.
As we think of the judgment of God being poured out on Jesus, and knowing it was we who deserved death, we cry out, 'God be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13). This is the first work of repentance. As repentance continues, it accomplishes a complete turning away from our former ways of sin to the ways of God. The person who has been washed clean of his evil ways will then turn to heavenly things. This, briefly, is the work of repentance as it is wrought by God in the heart of all those who will come to Him. He then will know peace, happiness, and security.
Finally, repentance results in a deep appreciation and loyalty to Christ and God's will. When we were doomed to die with no way out, Christ said, 'Come unto me ... and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). 'We love him, because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19).
Repentance: A Godly Sorrow For Sin
Sinfulness is universal. We have inherited a selfish, ungodly nature that separates us from God. It is important that we recognize our sinfulness and repent of our committed sins.
The Grace That Is Costly And Yet Is Free
When Jesus said, "Take up your cross and follow me", he was really saying, "Come with me and die!" Any attempt to follow Christ on the basis of partial commitment is trying to buy heaven with only casual discipleship.
Access to God
Becoming a true Christian has enormous consequences.
Relationships are changed; we are given privileges, we look at life differently;
our resources are inexhaustible. How do we receive all of this?
A Powerful Lesson on Forgiveness
Forgiveness is not an option for human beings.
Forgiveness is essential for our health as individuals and necessary
if we are to live together.
Source: Gospel Tract And Bible Society, Moundridge, Kansas, U.S.A.