Confusion in God's house is of such an extent in these latter days, many no longer preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ as commanded much less that soul deep repentance from sin and faith in the message is required (Mark 1:14-15). It is impossible to make the Gospel any simpler and easier for people to digest than the way it is plainly stated in the written Word without corrupting it. The same holds true for God's one and only way for already saved folk to get right after we sin. Again, the written Word contains God's simple and easy direction for what a professing Christian that is guilty of sin must do. Without soul deep repentance from sin, there can be no forgiveness for anyone!
So, first, what is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? According to the apostle Paul through whose preaching of the message we Gentile believers exist, the Gospel is "that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures," (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, NKJV). It is not enough to believe Christ died on the cross. One must believe He died "for our sins." It was our sins that separated us from God and condemned us. But Christ, "The Lamb of God" came to endure God's wrath on the cross for our sins and make possible through His blood their removal by forgiveness (Isaiah 53:1-12; John 1:29, 3:13-21, NKJV).
When the New Testament speaks of believing in Christ in the context of salvation, it is not only belief that He is a historical Person, but always with the understanding that men believe the Gospel in which He and His sacrifice are central. Just believing Jesus is a real Person cannot save you. Our faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ centers on His sacrifice to save us from our sins. This faith is preceded by a conviction we are guilty of sin before God and stand in great peril since we have no remedy unless He should act to save us (Isaiah 6:1-7; Romans 7:14-8:1). Leaving sin out as the key issue of the Gospel is another, false gospel and condemns its preachers (Galatians 1:1-10)!
Soul deep repentance is spawned by the exclusive work of the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sins that have offended God and include heretofore refusing to believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ (John 16:5-11). In the midst of guilt, shame and an overwhelming regret accompanied by real sorrow in the depths of the soul, the sinner turns from rebellion against God to Him and His help in the Gospel. Hence, in accord with Christ’s command (Luke 24:46-49), at Pentecost Peter answered the men of Israel in their anguish of sin guilt, "Repent…," (Acts 2:36-39, NKJV); Paul assuming conviction of sin and soul deep repentance as immediate antecedents to faith writes Romans 10:6-17.
After becoming Christians, we continue to sin against God as He foreknew. In His infinite wisdom and unique greatness, God moves in several ways at once to help us from the moment of salvation. Through the Holy Spirit we are set apart as holy and holiness is worked in us daily as an intended lifelong process leading to glory (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). The Father begins to father us with loving instruction and discipline (Hebrews 12:3-11). Among the things we are taught is to reflexively confess and repent from our sins trusting in God’s faithful and just character to forgive us because of the finished sacrifice and continuing advocacy of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 1:5-2:2).
Christians can and many of us do stubbornly resist the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in refusing to confess and repent from our sins. We have varying reasons, but the bottom line is we are loving and preferring our sin to God. The Holy Spirit in grief continues to reach out to us while we shrug Him off in resistance with all manner of deceitful rationalizations and justifications for our sin (Ephesians 4:30). During this time which may be many years, we are certainly in rebellion and not walking by faith. Also, in love the Lord painfully chastens us to the end of finally bringing us around to a “godly sorrow” and soul deep repentance like David (Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 7:9-11, NKJV) leading to a purge of sin from our hearts as Josiah purged Israel if we will (2 Chronicles 34:1-7).
To see such godly sorrow and soul deep repentance among professing Christians currently in rebellion against God, His Word and order is my hope from the heart of God in writing and speaking with directness (Ezekiel 33:1-9). For the immutable God longsuffering and merciful does judge His people though He desires not to (Ezekiel 18:23, 30-32, 33:10-11; Hebrews 10:26-31; Revelation 2:4-5, 14-16, 20-23, 3:1-3, 15-20). Therefore, let the disobedient of God’s house carefully consider that Daniel voiced prayer in soul deep repentance on behalf of his people from the judgment of captivity looking toward restoration (Daniel 9:1-19); not so for you, but eternal disgrace and ruin await unless you repent now (Hebrews 3:7-19, 12:12-17; Revelation 13, 14:8-11, 16:17-19:4)!
(As the Lord has led, I am going to take some time off from my joyful labor in the Word this upcoming Sunday for Labor Day. May your Labor Day be pleasant and restful! My next new post--Lord willing--will appear on Tuesday, September 2nd).
In the midst of the steadily increasing rebellion of the world and many professing Christians in their churches where loyalty to Christ is wickedly equivocated with and measured by the mandated deeds of manmade Christianity the religion, I rejoice to write to the Church. These are the faithful saints, aspiring strong men and great women of God that in obedience to Scripture conduct themselves righteously before and make up the "church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth," (1 Timothy 3:15, NKJV). Hallelujah! As there has always been since men came to be on the earth, so, there is now a remnant standing faithful and remaining true to God.
To this remnant scattered across the globe in churches large and small, seen and unseen; some for now serving in lives of abundance, others persecuted, on the run, in hiding, hungry, thirsty and enduring unjust incarceration, I write as God has given unction to encourage us. He, who foretold the character and major trends of these latter days through Israel's prophets, Christ and His apostles and prophets for our benefit among His reasons, has not forgotten us who cling to Him in earnest, persevering faith. Think on it deeply: we are "the church of the living God" that has been brought together through faith in Christ to be of God's household and family (Ephesians 2:11-22, 3:14-21).
On the earth now and forever we stand as the singular pillar and foundational ground of the truth--Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord who declared without apology: "I am the way, the truth (emphasis mine), and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me," (John 14:6, NKJV). We have been tasked to proclaim the Gospel and witness about Him until He returns (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). He warned us that His coming would be preceded by great upheaval among men (to include hatred and persecution of us) and in the creation. These are intensifying birth pains leading to the unprecedented paradigm shift of the arriving Kingdom of God in Christ (Luke 21:7-28)!
We must not grow weary at this moment since the travails foretold for the Church in these latter days has really only just begun. God has permitted that the violent hatred and persecution experienced by our brothers and sisters in only certain parts of the world today, shall become the experience of all before the Lord's return (Matthew 24:9; Mark 13:13; Luke 21:17). Why? Because we are identified and one with Christ. Since the world hates the Lord, they hate us too (John 15:18-25, 17:20-23). The Father has also ordained that as Christ suffered for us, so, we are privileged to suffer for His cause in the Gospel (Acts 14:21-22; Philippians 1:27-30; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12).
Such biblical talk is folly to those now participating in the escalating, foretold "falling away" from the faith seen in the rebellion against God's Word and order among many professing Christians in their churches (2 Thessalonians 2:3, NKJV). For this reason, we call for soul deep repentance among these rebels and petition our God for the fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit so urgently needed to revive even those hearts growing weary and discouraged within the ranks of the faithful. The Spirit's reviving fire will renew the persevering resolve of the faithful to endure and also re-energize our efforts to fulfill our part in the Gospel's global proclamation (Matthew 24:13-14).
A Christian music group called Rend Collective captured in a catchy, upbeat 2012 song entitled, Build Your Kingdom Here, what should be the yearning heart of every professing Christian that understands our need for revival at this hour. The words of the first verse are: Come set Your rule and reign in our hearts again. Increase in us we pray; unveil why we're made. Come set our hearts ablaze with hope like wild fire in our very souls. Holy Spirit invade us now. The first chorus is: We are Your church; we need your power in us. The second and third choruses respectively are: We are Your church; we pray revive and We are Your church; we are the hope on earth.
We are "the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth!" Revived in the Spirit's fire, the Church armed with the Holy Scripture is the world's last mortal human source of hope to hear of the grace and mercy of God proclaimed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:14-16; Philippians 2:13-16; Revelation 14:6-7). Though impostor, religionist, rebel and apostate Christians betray us to the death; though the whole world hate and seek to destroy our numbers from the earth, a blessed faithful remnant will yet stand strong to the very end testifying to the awesome greatness of our God (Matthew 5:10-12; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 14:8-13, 16:12-16)! The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
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