Read Acts Chapter 3
Ac 3:26 When God raised up His Servant, He sent Him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”
Ac 5:31 God exalted Him to His own right hand as Prince and Savior that He might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.
There are many, many scriptures which call mankind to repentance. With the doctrine of hyper-grace running rampant throughout Christian circles today, we cannot be reminded too often what the real meaning of true grace is. These verses don’t answer that question, but they surely do let us know what real grace is NOT. It is not forgiveness combined with a license to continue sinning. I know; we’ve covered this subject many times already this year. I’m sorry; it is constantly on my mind.
In both of these verses, it is very clear that mankind must have a repentant heart in order to receive God’s grace. It’s not that repentance saves us, but it surely is a part of the process. These verses not only teach us that Jesus requires repentance of us, they also indicate to that even our repentance is a gift from God. In the Chapter 3 verse, it states that one of the blessings we receive from Christ is a heart of repentance. Another blessing is that Christ turns us from our wicked ways. If a man has no smidgen of desire or willingness to turn from his wicked ways, it is unlikely that he has met Christ. More than likely he has met an “angel of light.”
2Co 11:14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
The verse from Acts Chapter 5 also repeats the idea that forgiveness and repentance go hand in hand. Our Savior gives to us BOTH repentance AND forgiveness. When we receive one, we also receive the other. They are inseparable. There are no scriptures which show that man can receive forgiveness without repentance. The theme of repentance is everywhere in His word. It is God’s call to mankind; repent and believe.
Cain’s offering was rejected by God because his heart was not right with God. He was unwilling to repent. Even when confronted by the Lord over Abel’s death, he remained unrepentant. When the Israelites brought guilt offerings, it was understood that their offerings were evidence of their repentance. Further, the Old Testament has numerous examples of situations where God rejected offerings because they were not brought to the altar with a resolve to turn away from disobedience. They were bringing their offerings with no admission of guilt; it was brought only as a ritual sacrificial offering, something which they only did because it was required of them.
Those who believe they can worship God and at the same time hold on to their transgressions are doing the same thing the Israelites did. They are bringing an offering which will be rejected. There is no forgiveness without repentance. Some say this is a message of hate. It is the opposite – it is the epitome of love. It breaks my heart to see so many men and women merrily rolling down the wrong road. I would much rather tell men that they can do whatever they wish and Christ will love and forgive them for anything they do. That just would not be biblical, and anyone who presents a message contrary to God’s word is delivering a false message.
I will discontinue this kind of message when the Lord allows. May it be soon! He has consistently shown me scriptures which repeat the repentance requirement over the past several months. Until very recently, I had not noticed these two, although I have read them numerous times.
Prayer: Lord, when will You quit showing me these kinds of verses? It is not fun – actually it breaks my heart. Father, please open the eyes and ears of all men and women who are deceived. Don’t allow anyone to remain blind to Your truths. And give me the ability to cope with the sadness that I feel.