Repentance, a discussion on why it is so important
I am now led to write something about repentance to explain why it is so important to keep repenting daily, and not be complacent about it or even in denial. Adam and especially Cain never really repented after their wrong doing. However kings David, Ahab, and Manasseh all did repent of their deeds. Ahab got a delay in one of the judgments that were pronounced against him by Elijah due to Ahab’s wickedness. Here is the scripture for this:
(1Kings 21:28) And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
(1Kings 21:29) "Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son's days I will bring the disaster upon his house."
Here is the story of how Manasseh repented. It did take judgment and captivity but HE did in fact repent
(2Chronicles 33:11) Therefore the LORD brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze and brought him to Babylon.
(2Chronicles 33:12) And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.
(2Chronicles 33:13) He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.
He actually changed his mind and attitude and became somewhat good, after being arguably the most evil king of Judah. He undid a lot of the wickedness he did earlier, but sadly for Judah this repentance came too late and the damage had already been done with his supremely wicked reign earlier.
A very good place in scripture where consequences of repenting, not repenting, and falling away are explained is in Ezekiel 18 it says that everyone will be responsible for their own actions, not of any of their relatives(or friends for that matter)
(Ezekiel 18:20) The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
(Ezekiel 18:21) "But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
(Ezekiel 18:22) None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live.
(Ezekiel 18:23) Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?
(Ezekiel 18:24) But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die.
Verse 30 in the same book and chapter God encourages repentance again
(Ezekiel 18:30) "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin.
In the New Testament John the Baptist first took up the message of repentance
(Matthew 3:1) In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,
(Matthew 3:2) "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Jesus when He came on to the same
(Mark 1:15) and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."
Jesus then states we are all in the same boat, no one is special we all need to repent. He uses two examples in these verses
(Luke 13:2) And he answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?
(Luke 13:3) No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
(Luke 13:4) Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?
(Luke 13:5) No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
Just after the Pentecost the people on hand and asked what they should do and they were told to repent
(Acts 2:37) Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"
(Acts 2:38) And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The same is as true today as it was in the story of Acts. It is vital that we repent each and every day, especially as we get conviction from the Holy Spirit of any sin/wrongdoing that we commit . I do not advise being complacent and brushing this off. It will keep Satan away. It will ensure right standing with God who is ever merciful and not wanting any to perish. It can be the difference that will keep one out of Hell and keep one rapture ready. Also the one warning with letting a sin go, when it is found out, is that a little opening can open the floodgates, and can lead to one falling away. This will not happen all at once but it would be a gradual process that lasts weeks, or more likely months. You go from this mild thing then you do things more often as the temptations get stronger and you can no longer resist them, and it can go until one is totally fallen away, and as one sins their heart will gradually become harder and harder. At the end the state of them can be easily be worse off than at first. I use this scripture of the unclean spirit to illustrate
(Luke 11:24) "When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.'
(Luke 11:25) And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order.
(Luke 11:26) Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first."
When sin enters back into a person, they can become harder and worse off then before they accepted Jesus in the first place, so please do repent when convicted.
Here are two sets of verses from Hebrews to further strengthen that point:
(Hebrews 6:4) For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit,
(Hebrews 6:5) and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come,
(Hebrews 6:6) and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.
(Hebrews 6:7) For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.
(Hebrews 6:8) But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.
(Heb 6:9) Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things--things that belong to salvation.
(Hebrews 10:26) For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
(Hebrews 10:27) but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.
(Hebrews 10:28) Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses.
(Hebrews 10:29) How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?
(Hebrews 10:30) For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people."
(Hebrews 10:31) It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
The last verse states accurately how it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God, when you might have repented beforehand. The verses in Hebrews, I believe shoot down the concept of once saved always saved. I strongly dislike that notion too, for it breeds complacency, laziness, and lukewarm attitudes on the part of people who subscribe in it. They feel they don’t have to repent when they sin, and they also may push aside the conviction of the Holy Spirit when they do, and scoff and mock. We are warned in the bible to NOT grieve the Holy Spirit
(Ephesians 4:30) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
And you DO NOT want to be counted by God as lukewarm, as you will miss or even be spit out of the rapture, even maybe not make heaven if you die before the rapture unless you repent of this condition and all sins as we are so strongly warned in the book of Revelation
(Revelation 3:14) "And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: 'The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.
(Revelation 3:15) "'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!
(Revelation 3:16) So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
(Revelation 3:17) For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
(Revelation 3:18) I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
(Revelation 3:19) Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
(Revelation 3:20) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
(Revelation 3:21) The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.
(Revelation 3:22) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'"
Note how the scripture encourages the lukewarm to repent and ideally become passionate again for the Lord. There also is another warning verse in Revelation, this time to the Ephesians:
(Revelation 2:5) Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
Sadly the first verses in Revelation 3 may well ring true about some churches today
(Revelation 3:1) "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: 'The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. "'I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
(Revelation 3:2) Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.
(Revelation 3:3) Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.
(Revelation 3:4) Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.
(Revelation 3:5) The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.
(Revelation 3:6) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'
These are dead, not just lukewarm. These are churches where the Holy Spirit is NOT welcome there in any way during the services. I have been to them myself. Largely most of them believe that miracles, tongues prophecy and the other acts of the Holy Spirit have ceased and are no longer for us today. These people are called cessationists and dispensationalists. It seems to me like many but not all denominations of the church believe this. I believe myself as do many others that the gifts of the Spirit are with us today, such as the miracles and so forth. This wrongful belief serves to drive the Holy Spirit out of their church services, and they feel dead as a result. You feel NO Holy Spirit presence in the church whatsoever in church at all, or only the tiniest amount. Of course any of these can be repented of and turn back to the love of Christ.
To sum up it is never more critical in these last days to be in right relationship with God. I strongly suggest asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to you anything at all, anything that is holding you from a right relationship with God, and repent of that as soon as possible to get fully right with him. We all stand ALONE in judgment to God at the end when we die, after death, or after rapture, and nobody will be there to help us (or accuse us). Also please pray this prayer with me, substituting I for we, as need be, if praying this alone:
We repent, O God most merciful; for all our sins;
for every thought that was false or unjust or unclean;
for every word spoken that ought not to have been spoken;
for every deed done that ought not to have been done.
We repent for every deed and word and thought inspired by selfishness,
and for every deed and word and thought inspired by hatred.
We repent most specially for every lustful thought and every lustful action;
for every lie; for all hypocrisy;
for every promise given but not fulfilled,
and for all slander and back-biting.
Most specially also, we repent for every action that has brought ruin to others;
for every word and deed that has given others pain;
and for every wish that pain should befall others.
In your unbounded mercy, we ask you to forgive us, O God,
for all these sins committed by us,
and to forgive us for our constant failures
to think and speak and act according to your will
Again, I want people to be rapture ready so please also prayerfully follow these steps to help you:
1. Make sure that you have received Jesus Christ into your life as your PERSONAL Lord and Saviour.
2. Examine your own heart for any signs of backsliding, worldliness, unwatchfulness, compromising, and lukewarmness.
3. REPENT (Turn COMPLETELY away from sin and turn COMPLETELY around towards Jesus). Sin separates you from God, even as a Christian.
**4. Study end-time Biblical prophecy until you become completely convinced that His Coming is, indeed, AT THE DOOR. This will help keep you from temptation and sin. JESUS IS COMING VERY SOON!!! Lord help me be absolutely convinced YOU ARE at the door!!!!!
5. Do something for the Lord. (Passing out tracts would be a good start.)
6. Examine your priorities, lest the CARES OF THIS LIFE cause YOU to MISS THE RAPTURE, as we are so adamantly WARNED about in Luke 21, and so many other Scriptures.
7. Draw closer to God by praying, reading His Word, attending a fundamental church as often as possible, and surround yourself with a Christian atmosphere (Christian friends, books, music, radio, TV, etc.)
8. PRAY DILIGENTLY. ASK THE LORD TO REVEAL TO YOU ANYTHING IN YOUR LIFE THAT EVEN MIGHT KEEP YOU FROM THE RAPTURE. PRAY THAT THE LORD WOULD GIVE YOU A PEACE, IF YOU ARE READY, AND AN UNREST AND UNEASINESS IN YOUR HEART, IF YOU ARE NOT READY.
9. Listen for His voice and then STAY OPEN TO THE LEADING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
10. Act upon that which the Lord is calling you to do. DO IT NOW BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!
If the Lord has planted the least bit of doubt or uneasiness in your heart, will you swallow your pride and pray this prayer with me:
"Dear Lord, Thank you for preparing a WAY OF ESCAPE from the horrible Tribulation to come. It is my sincere desire to be ready for your Soon Return, so that I can participate in the Rapture. Give me a COMPLETE PEACE IN MY HEART FROM YOU if I am, indeed, ready.
Let there be no false sense of security in my heart concerning my readiness for Your Return. Begin to reveal to me things in my life and in my heart that might keep me from the Rapture. Show me what I need to do to BE READY and then give me the power to act upon that which you show me to do. Draw me away from the world and closer to you every day. Use me in whatever way you can to help others who may not be ready for your Return. Fill me with your peace when I am ready and fill me with YOUR POWER, for victory over sin and temptation, and for effective service for your kingdom. In Jesus' mighty name, Amen