Without apology or shame as one of the Lord’s heralds of the Gospel and teacher of the faith rooted in the Bible, I preach God’s requirement of repentance from sin for forgiveness leading to salvation and continued right standing with God. The divine call to repentance from sin clearly asserts and exposes the reality of its presence in every human heart as judged by God (Romans 3:9-20, 23; 1 John 1:8, 10). We expect resistance to the truth of sin guilt from rank sinners that love their sin and refuse to turn from it (John 3:17-20). However, many professing Christians and their leaders resist repentance from sin to include heresies among their reasons to save face.
A quick check with Webster’s Dictionary reveals that the layers of definition attached to the word, “face” includes the consideration of our “standing in the face of others;” our “prestige.” All of us to some degree or another have concern about how others see us. None of us wants to be seen in a bad light or found to be something other than what we say we are. From the example of our forefather, Adam and his wife, Eve--who sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves, hid from God when they heard Him coming and then played the blame game as God inquired about their behavior--we especially have a great difficulty with being found guilty of sin (Genesis 3:6-13).
Since Adam, humanity has reflexively employed all manner of device to deflect away sin guilt rather than simply owning up to it. As little children even, we will immediately lie to avoid consequences and of course, to save face. Of the many Bible characters beyond Adam that acted deceitfully to cover their sin and save face, Saul the first king of Israel is a prime example. Like most folk, Saul wanted to first save face in denying he had sinned at all by disobeying the Lord in the Amalekite mission (1 Samuel 15:18-21). After Samuel gave God’s eternally standing instruction on obedience, Saul finally admitted that he had sinned in disobeying the Lord (1 Samuel 15:22-24).
Here is seen again the difference between godly and worldly sorrow over confessed sin (2 Corinthians 7:8-11). For though Saul admitted he had sinned in disobeying the commandment of the Lord, his heart was not truly repentant as is borne out by his behavior in the rest of what is written of him going forward from this incident. Indeed, immediately after reluctantly admitting he was wrong, once more Saul wanted to save face before the people by having Samuel participate with him in worshipping the Lord. At first Samuel refused understanding the very serious nature and consequence of Saul’s sin and no doubt, his motive (1 Samuel 15:25-26).
When Samuel turned to leave the scene, Saul grabbed hold of his garment and ripped it in the process. This gave rise to Samuel’s affirmation of God’s judgment of Saul symbolized in the tearing away of his garment. After this, Saul confessed again he had sinned, but pleaded with Samuel to “honor me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord your God,” (1 Samuel 15:27-30, NKJV). Saul wanted to diminish the gravity of his sin and consequence by having Samuel make him look like he was still alright with God. Samuel worshipped with Saul for what he knew was the last time and finished his mission (1 Samuel 15:31-35).
I know well the sin and temptation to save face when I have done wrong in now this fifty-eight year old life. Nevertheless, God, a Father exceedingly great above all, has steadfastly insisted of me to own my stuff immediately not to escape consequences and save face, but always to receive His forgiveness! And since this is also biblical, it is the will of God that all men embrace it (Ezekiel 18:20-23; 1 John 1:9). Yet, over the years I have lost count of the number of professing Christians and leaders that have sinned against me or are in sin and have lied to my face or lied in denial about their sin to save face. Proudly refusing to confess and repent from sin to avoid consequences and save face is shamefully common among professing Christians.
Like Saul, many professing Christians and leaders attempt to diminish the gravity of their sin guilt and any consequence in saving face by going on with church worship and activities. This is very evident in churches where the Holy Spirit is not really operating (emotion is not spiritual fire) or welcome (much religious activity does not mask spiritual deadness). Sin not confessed and repented from before God is sin not forgiven and it does not matter who the guilty party is! Therefore, let every son and aspiring strong man of God in the image of Christ continually confess and repent from his sins being more concerned about how God sees you than men (2 Corinthians 5:9-11)! The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, “Who is on the Lord’s side?”
In the aftermath of the blog series the Lord led me to write on obedience, He gave me a word of instruction to rebuke the emotional but false notion among many professing Christians today that being called sons of God is His irrevocable pledge to bring all so named into glory without any regard whatsoever to their lives (James 2:14-26). Persistent disobedience in sin is a deal breaker! Professing Christians are not the first people ever to have familial relation to God (Isaiah 63:16; Hosea 1:10) nor to dishonor Him as Father through sin and be judged (Malachi 1:6-2:9). Or is God the delighted Father of disobedient sons? Not according to the only begotten Son (John 8:37-59).
Originally Posted August 30, 2013
In my blog entitled, Whose House? on August 25, 2013 the Holy Spirit led me to write about how God’s Kingdom--His governing rule, authority, will, way and Word--becomes living spiritual reality (as opposed to mere theoretical principle) in the hearts of those that experience the new birth through faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:3-7)! When born again individual believers assemble together, the parenting of God the Father and Lordship of Christ extends into our corporate relations and activity as well.
In other words, as I write in The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, every believer and local church are “supposed to be advanced outposts of” the Kingdom of God extant here and now on earth since the Father and the Son are submitted to as the ruling authorities by them. This is a marvelous thing to us who genuinely experience this spiritual reality in our persons and understand it as the incredible answer to the first part of the type of prayer (Matthew 6:9-10; Luke 11:2) the Lord taught His disciples to pray (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-4).
In contrast to the often written out and showy prayers of hypocrites whose goal it is to be seen and heard by men in order to impress them with their eloquence, the Lord teaches a prayer template that when God answers, powerfully shows He was listening! As sons of God by spiritual new birth, we acknowledge in prayer “our Father” whose governing throne is in Heaven, yet, is brought into our lives. We pray conscious of this truth daily and moment by moment to intentionally affirm for Him as well as ourselves His continuing welcome in our lives as ruling Head since Satan, sin and self do not cease attempting to get us to turn back to them.
We therefore, also purposely hallow or consecrate His name representing the surpassing greatness of His glorious being (take your pick of the exalted biblical names God Himself gives us to describe His Person) in our hearts, minds and lives. ‘“Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is Heaven”’ (Matthew 6:10, NKJV) is not just meant as a petition for future fulfillment, but a very present, right now request for God’s rule to be carried out in our mortal lives as also His meeting of our needs for daily sustenance, forgiveness and deliverances from Satan.
When the mortal sons of God on earth submit to His will, way and Word in seeking to please Him--the heart of every aspiring strong man and great woman of God in the image of Christ, the superior greatness of divine rule in nature (ex. love, joy and peace), character (ex. holiness, righteousness and justice), power and glory to be seen fully when the eternally enduring Kingdom is finally revealed at Christ’s Second Coming, shines out from us now as a foretaste! As is true for the individual sons of the kingdom, so, the local churches they assemble in.
Again, this is what is so diabolical about professing Christians and their churches being selectively, partially and willfully disobedient to God’s Word since they are faithfully reflecting not the reign of God, but that of His enemy, Satan, who is the original rebel and uses their sin to blaspheme God’s name (2 Samuel 12:13-14). Thus, when disobedient professing Christians and their churches reject as of the most basic of biblical instruction, God’s order of creation in the roles and responsibilities of men and women for example, it is a rejection of God’s rule; a siding with the world controlled by Satan and a cause for their blaspheming of His name and Word (Genesis 3:2-4; 1 Samuel 8:1-8; Titus 2:1-5).
If the sons of the Kingdom do not remain true--God is not honored as Father, nor is His name set apart as holy, nor His Kingdom displayed or His will done in that man or church as it is in Heaven; if the churches as advanced Kingdom outposts on earth holding ground until the Kingdom is fully revealed at the appearing of Christ rebel, then finally, what is their value to God (Luke 14:34-35; John 15:4-6; James 4:4-5, 17)? For this reason we pray and labor for repentance fueled revival; we proclaim and teach the strong man of God message bound up in the Word of God uncompromised; we rebuke, we exhort with all urgency since the Judge and King, Jesus Christ is right at the door (2 Timothy 4:1-2; James 5:9b)!
And do not say to yourself in deception, “I am a son of the Kingdom, therefore, I can never be lost; God does not abandon His family.” Hear the Word of the Lord not foolish men with their endless sectarian speculations. We stand as sons of God at present only by faith and the continuing, blazing presence of the Holy Spirit within us (Romans 1:16-17, 3:21-26, 8:1-17; Galatians 3:1-9, 26; Ephesians 1:13-14). But if we willfully embrace sin in disobedience without repentance are we acting in faith?
God does not think so and after much grief, many fruitless rebukes and calls to repentance (Ephesians 4:30; James 4:6-10) as well as the prolonged quenching of the Holy Spirit, He gives such a one over to his way and judges accordingly (Exodus 4:22; Ezekiel 9-10; Luke 13:6-9; Romans 1:18-2:11; 11:13-22; Galatians 5:16-21; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; Hebrews 3:7-19, 6:1-8, 10:26-39). Faithful sons of the Kingdom and aspiring strong men of God in the image of Christ know that only faith displayed in love motivated obedience pleases our Father and stand in it accordingly to the death as all who were before them (Hebrews 11)!
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