Saturday Sermon: Do you need to repent?
"And the times of this ignorance God winked at but now commandeth all men every where to repent," Acts 17:30.
Repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of lifestyle. It is such an integral part of God's plan of salvation that no one has ever become a Christian without it.
The Gospel cannot be preached without preaching that men must turn from their sin (Matthew 3:2 and 4:17; Mark 6:12; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; Acts 26:20).
Baptism removes the guilt of sin and places us into Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:27), but it is repentance that removes the practice of sin.
The Gospel exposes our state before becoming a Christian with a simple yet powerful term - sinner. Man is a sinner. I know that this is not a popular teaching, but the Bible declares none-the-less that we have all sinned (Rom. 3:23). Jesus came to call sinners to repentance.
It cannot be denied that it takes great humility to say "Father I have sinned. I am sorry for the way I have lived. I want to change my life and live for you." It is no easy task to deny self, glorify God and keep His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
The truth of the matter is God cannot help people who think they are all right. He cannot transform those who think they need no change. One comment from Jesus seems to sum it up, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance," Luke 5:32.
While some picture God as a mean, tyrant judge who is eager to punish, the Bible teaches differently, "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways," Ezekiel 33:11.
It is true that because of His holy and just nature, God must punish the wicked (Psalm 89:14, Nahum 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). But, it is also true that He takes no pleasure in doing so. Our Creator has declared that He would prefer to see each of us come to repentance (Acts 17:30). God is listening. He is waiting for His creation, which He made in His own image, to repent, "I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, what have I done?" Jer. 8:6.
Will you humble yourself today?
Clay Bond is a licensed minister with the Midtown Church of Christ.