“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,”
Many think the word repent means “to get your act together” or “go to church” or “fly straight”; as if we could. Repentance requires taking in a whole new point of view; looking at everything in life God’s way. God simply asks us to turn. This is the way we accept His gift. When we do, certain outcomes are promised. If we don’t, or we “turn back”, alternate outcomes are promised.
Let’s imagine ourselves in this situation; Poisonous snakes have bitten everyone, and while we are not dead yet, the prospects do not look good. Suddenly a voice yells out: “We must do something. We must save ourselves!” But how? Various ideas surface such as: “If you run around in frantic activity it will work out the poison!” A few people try this, and die trying. Others, by staring at their bites, go totally berserk into a frenzy of panic. Alternately, some try to convince themselves that they are not bitten, or that the snakes were not poisonous, and form little groups to delude each other while dying. And here’s a person selling “snake oil” which purports to be an antitoxin, but makes people even worse.
We all have been bitten, and sin is coursing through our veins. It will most certainly lead to death. There is only one solution, but it is an offense to our ability to save ourselves.
John 6:40 says, “For my father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life.” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29)
So that’s it my fellow brothers and sisters, we either turn or burn. This is confirmed in Luke 13:3, “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
If we look at our ways with our own sight, or the way of the world, then our sin will begin to make sense to us as we continue to meditate on it, even if the way we are looking is really stupid. With this mind-set, desire will spring up, which is the fuel that will lead us to destruction. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
Any sin would do as an example, but let’s take bitterness. If someone has done evil to us, the more we think about it, the more it will make sense to hate them, to burn with anger, to feel again the hurt. As we focus on the way of revenge, desire takes root and bitterness sets in. And where does this all lead?
James 1:14-15 declares, “But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
Let’s continue to Ezekiel 18:23-31, “Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked?” declares the Sovereign Lord. “Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?… Because he considers all the offenses he has committed and turns away from them, he will surely live; he will not die… Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel?”
We must repent; we must turn or perish. But to what? If we turn to just another of “man’s ways” we have just set our sights down another road to death. Instead, we must find out what God’s will, God’s way, is and turn to that.
If God by His grace reveals something to us that we can turn to, it may not make sense right away. But if we do not allow our eye to flinch as we take in God’s perspective, if we keep staring at it, we will find that it is good, pleasing, and perfect. Beyond “seeming right”, it really is right.
There is a gift of God that goes with repentance. 2 Peter 1:3-4 declares, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
There is also a warning for those who look back; “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their back on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and “A sow that is washed goes back to wallowing in the mud.” (2 Peter 2:21-22)
When at first we hear “repent or perish”, it seems harsh. But as we turn, we see that it is an incredible gift to have something to turn to. If not for God’s love, our only option would be to perish. But the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has appeared. To have the option to turn is sweet indeed. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Scripture of the day: “Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.” ~ Revelation 3:3
Pastor Peter Okereke Jr.
The Living Word Ministries Inc.
Copyright Reserved, 2012.
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