I am sure you also have heard it all before, nothing really new. Statements like, “What’s the big rush? There is plenty time for things like that. My intention is to someday do this, but not right now. There are a lot things I want to be able to do first, and then I will consider what you are telling me. I have to think about it for awhile, I just need more time. The time needs to be right, and this is not the time. I’ll probably get around to it some day, but right now I just can’t. I hope you understand.” If I have heard these delay tactics once, I have heard them a hundred times throughout my life.
It happened not too long ago to my wife when witnessing to a precious woman of the world, and my wife asked her to pray the sinner’s prayer and give her life to Christ. She said with tears flowing down her cheeks, “I just can’t right now.” But if not now, then when? That is the pressing issue that we face in people’s lives again and again.
What are all of these delay comments referring to in the first paragraph? I have heard all of them in my Christian walk, as well as other variations on the same theme – NOT NOW! We are not talking here about further education, or marriage, or making a career change. What all of these by-now familiar clichés are speaking about is making a commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior – repenting of a sinful life and putting one’s total trust in the Lord. And in the midst of all of these postponements, procrastinations, and delays, we hear the Apostle Paul’s urgent words in II Corinthians 6:2,
“…behold, NOW is ‘THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,’ behold, NOW is
THE DAY OF SALVATION.”
Not tomorrow or the day after! In fact, not an hour from now! Not a minute from now! Not a second from now! NOW!!! In the words of the Robin Williams character in the movie The Dead Poets Society,
“CARPE DIEM – SEIZE THE DAY.”
In the movie Williams plays an English teacher who takes his class into the hall to a trophy case. There he shows them pictures of past heroes of the school. “All of these young men were as you are today,” he tells them, “starting life with great promise. All of you will someday be as they are. They are all dead, and so will you be. What do you think they would say to you? Get up close to the glass.” And as the class leans toward the glass of the trophy case, Williams, in a raspy voice, says, “Carpe Diem – Carpe Diem – Seize The Day.”
THE DEVIL’S DELAY THINKING AND TACTICS
The message of the Bible throughout is a NOW MESSAGE. I am reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul in Athens as we read in Acts 17:30,
“…God is NOW declaring to men that all everywhere should repent.”
One senses the burning urgency in the voice of God, and the urgent need of an immediate response. And he explains why in the very next verse, Acts 17:31,
“because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in
righteousness through a Man Whom He has appointed
having furnished proof to all men by raising
Him from the dead.”
Therefore it should not surprise us in the least that Satan is the head coach in “NOT NOW” and “DELAY TACTICS.” He is the “MASTER DELAY TACTICIAN” par excellence. Some of his favorite words in his coaching of people against “SEIZING THE NOW DAY OF SALVATION” are “Later” – “Tomorrow” – “Take Your Time” – “What’s The Big Hurry” – “Hey, Don’t Get Your Lizzy In A Tizzy” etc .etc. All the while instilling the presumptuous and false confidence of a:
And assuring men of the following deception:
“YOU CAN ONE DAY DIE THE DEATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS,
BUT FOR NOW YOU CAN LIVE THE LIFE OF A SINNER.”
In other words:
“YOU CAN HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO.”
His delay schemes are designed to convince the would-be repenter – the sinner who is about to change his mind from anti-God to Pro-God, from anti-Christ to Pro-Christ, from his way of thinking to God’s way of thinking, from MINDSET-ME to MINDSET HIM, from sin to righteousness, that he can put off his decision until later and still go to Heaven. If you will:
“DELAYED REPENTANCE WORKS THE WONDER OF HAVING
THE PLEASURES OF SIN NOW AND THE JOYS
OF HEAVEN LATER.”
“THAT HE CAN LIVE ACCORDING TO THE PRECEPTS OF SATAN
NOW, AND CASH IN ON THE PROMISES OF GOD LATER.”
That is always the tell-tale sign that the devil is at work, and God only knows how he is working overtime in America.
It is unmistakably evidenced by the fact that in the beginning and developing years of our children, the Bible cannot be read, referenced, or resourced in the public schools. But when many of those same children grow up and end up in prison, they are encouraged by prison authorities behind prison bars to read the Bible all they want. Satan doesn’t want them turning to God YOUNG – NOW, but they can do it later when all Hell has already broken loose in their lives. That is always what his delay schemes are designed for.
I am not picking on anyone, but I have seen it again and again at the altars of the church. I have that very clear picture book in my mind of the precious, young high school girls who fall in love and fall into sin, as they compromise their sexual purity. They would not listen to the Word of God, their parents, their pastors, or to the Holy Spirit. Then they get pregnant, and the deadbeat biological fathers leave them and go on their way to the next sexual rendezvous, and there are the single mothers abandoned and all alone.
It isn’t long, and after a few years, even after only a few months later in some instances, that single mothering and parenting and providing challenge their mental and emotional and physical toughness beyond endurance and they come to the altars weary, warn, and broken. That is always the devil’s delay scheme, and that is that you can sow your wild oats now, and get right with God and repent later. It doesn’t work that way, but at the time later seems like Heaven, even though it always turns into Hell.
Then too they feel that they missed out on so much of what really counts, and they live in regret when they finally wake up from the devil’s delusions. You know, like someone receiving a head wound at Pearl Harbor, and then waking up in 1950.
When it comes to people who are on the brink of repenting and believing in Jesus Christ, he will weasel them into thinking about:
“AN AFTER REPENTANCE – A LATER REPENTANCE – A DEFERRED
REPENTANCE -A DELAYED REPENTANCE – WHICH FOR
MOST NEVER COMES.”
He slyly re-enforces the words of Satan to Adam and Eve:
“YOU CAN SIN AND NOT SURELY DIE NOW, AND YOU
CAN REPENT AND SURELY LIVE THEN.”
I am reminded of the story of the pornographic hoarder (hoarders are TV stars these days) who lived in a totally rat-infested sexy-girl house. His family could do nothing with him, and finally the health department entered the picture, because he had thousands of girlie magazines piled in towering stacks to the ceiling. He fought family and authorities for every magazine as he continued to live his life in little pathways between the columns of hell. That is, until one day some of the mountainous piles toppled over, fell on him, and crushed him to death. Delayed housecleaning of smut! An apt illustration indeed!
DIVINE JUDGMENT MAY NOT WAIT
Why is postponed repentance both foolish and fatal, stupid and lethal? Did you ever have the experience that you were speeding with an all-is-well-with-the-world attitude, and suddenly you were pulled over, charged and fined on the spot, before you were even aware that judgment was upon you? There you and I were, sentenced in the very perpetration of the crime with flashing lights announcing it to the whole world. Embarrassing isn’t it? A very sick feeling indeed!
That, however illustrative it may be, is minor when we realize that God is not unaccustomed to striking down sinners in the very heat of their sinning. You know the Korah, Dathan, and Abiram boys don’t you? These rebels rose up in rebellion against God’s appointed leader of His people – Moses, and thereby rose up against God. At the very height of their schism and divisiveness and rebellion we read in Numbers 16:31-33,
“Then it came about as he (Moses) finished speaking all these words
that the ground that was under them (Korah, Dathan, and
Abiram) split open; and the earth opened its mouth and
swallowed them up, and their households, and all the
men who belonged to Korah with their possessions.”
“So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol;
and the earth closed over them, and they perished from
the midst of the assembly.”
“IT IS DUMB AND DEADLY TO DELAY REPENTANCE, SIMPLY
BECAUSE GOD MAY NOT DELAY JUDGMENT.”
I mean to tell you, it was an instant graveside service with opened grave and closed grave all at once. Sure saved on funeral home expenses – God did all the work Himself! Slam dunk! Right while they were sinning in God’s face, God threw tons of dirt in their faces. And before the people knew it, now you see ‘em, now you don’t.
Or again, what about the Bonnie and Clyde team of the New Testament by the names of Ananias and Sapphira? We read about this infamous Dick and Jane couple in Acts 5:1-3? We read about them in these infamous words,
“But a certain man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece
of property, and kept back some of the price for himself, with his
wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he
laid it at the apostles feet.”
“But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to
the Holy Spirit, and to keep back some of the
price of the land?”
When they faked bringing the whole profit to the apostles, they lied to the Holy Spirit, and before either of them knew what hit them, they dropped dead with their lie still on their lips. This was not the film Fun With Dick And Jane.It wasn’t that they were just knocked over with some fresh bruises on their bodies that turned purple, which then they had to wear as TRUTH BADGES for a very long time so they wouldn’t forget. No! They were knocked dead, carried out, and buried side by side, partners in crime, partners in equal catastrophic consequence. I guess it was God’s original version of:
“TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES”
Though God is not that much into game shows I am sure.
Lies these days barely make people uncomfortable anymore. But when we read this true story, this Ananias and Sapphira caper, even a little white lie should terrify us. Was future or even present repentance offered to them? Forget it! Show me any satisfactory reason why repentance – changing your mind and heart and turning from sin – should be moved back an inch. And show me any good reason why:
“GOD WON’T DEMAND AN ACCOUNT FOR SIN BEFORE WE
HAVE HARDLY FINISHED ITS COMMISSION?”
THE FUTURE CANNOT BE GUARANTEED
How truly dumb and deadly for a sinner to schedule his repentance when he cannot so much as secure the next moment of his future! How dumb and deadly for sinners and unbelievers to base their future commitment to Christ on the contingencies and uncertainties of time! Quicksand!
Furthermore, how suddenly a terminal stroke from within or a fatal accident from without can incapacitate the strongest person, and end the lives of even the healthiest people. That is to say, even the most muscular stud often cannot CARPE DIEM, because the day is taken from him and he from the day before the day is barely started. The health-food nut has no assurance that he will outsmart and outrun the grim reaper who can still come calling at any moment.
The fact is, no matter how hard someone CARP DIEMS the day, every CARPED DIEM day has to give way to the sovereign and Divinely set day talked about in Hebrews 9:27,
“And inasmuch as is appointed for men to die once and after
this cometh judgment.”
And the fact of the matter is, everyone on the face of the earth stands each day on the brink of either the Grand Canyon or at the foot of Mt. Rushmore. That is to say, on the very edge of going down or going up, and in the former case it is anything but grand, and in the latter case it is much higher than any mountain in the world. In either case, each of us is only a small step away depending on our repentant or unrepentant minds and hearts. Though Satan has convinced the unrepentant and unbelieving masses that one day they shall simply step into nowhere.
A drunk driver has had several drinks before hitting the road, and in his stupor drives another car off the road in which there are two young women. In their attempt to miss him, they wrap their car around a tree and are instantly killed. The drunk never knew what happened. It tragically takes place all the time as the newspaper obituaries give MADD testimony to almost on a daily basis. The next second in our lives is not secure!
“WHO WOULD BE SO CARELESS AND FOOLISH ABOUT HIS ETERNAL FUTURE
WHEN EVEN THE MOST POWERFUL AND POPULAR AMONG US CANNOT
SO MUCH AS GUARANTEE THE VERY MOMENT OF HIS PRESENT?”
But you see that is exactly the point! The strongest and healthiest sinner will often move back his repentance and faith toward God, because his present health and good condition give him the confidence of a long life. What’s the rush, for I have all the time in the world and I am as fit as a fiddle.
Who knows what a day may bring? The Amalekite young man got up in the morning unsuspecting that this would be anything but a usual day. He was not worried about death, nor did he have the slightest idea that he was going to die under the strangest circumstances.
Then he encountered King Saul who had pierced himself through by falling on his own sword but couldn’t finish the job of suicide. He lingered between life and death. Saul asked the Amalekite to finish it for him because he was in such agony, and so as not to allow the approaching enemy to make sport of him and torment him. So he killed Saul then and there upon request. I guess today it would be called a “Mercy Killing“ and an “Act Of Kindness.“
The Amalekite then came to David out of respect for King Saul and said to him in II Samuel 1:10,
“So I stood beside and killed him, because I knew that he could not
live after he had fallen. And I took the crown which was on his
head and the bracelet which was on his arm, and I have
brought them here to my lord.”
Obviously he did what he did out of pity and mercy, or else why would he come to David and put himself in jeopardy if he was in fact a ruthless, premeditated, brutal murderer? He came to report the death of the King, and did so to honor and respect him.
But the Amalekite man’s day was about to take a most abrupt and fatal turn, as if it had not been unusual enough already. David said to the man in II Samuel 12:14,
“How is it that you were not afraid to stretch out your hand
against the Lord’s anointed?”
No mention of Saul’s request and the man’s obliging him. And before he could answer or say a word in his own defense, David ordered one of his men to kill him, and the Amalekite was struck down and died on the spot. No appearance before a military tribunal. No trial by law. No date set for a court trial. He had no opportunity to ask for mercy or seek forgiveness. It was over and so was he. Not a typical day by any means!
“HE DOESN’T WANT TO MISS A MINUTE OF THE GOOD LIFE, AND THE
NEXT MINUTE HIS ENTIRE LIFE HAS GONE MISSING.”
After all, every airplane looks the same, and how could anyone know, except by Divine revelation, that they are about to board a fatally defective one? I would suppose that if God opened up to men His book of eternal decrees, and revealed to men their deaths already Divinely set at such a day and hour, they would live it up and enjoy the present for all their worth, and then set apart a strategic day to repent and make their peace with God just before the end.
But God gives that privilege to no man with exact specificity. If God did that, knowing human nature, the vast majority of men would live it up according to the flesh, and then become spiritual in the last moments. God will not allow that because it would make a mockery out of Him, righteousness, and justice.
CONTINUANCE IN SIN HARDENS HEARTS
A woman was dying of AIDS. The visiting pastor attempted to comfort her to no avail. “I am lost,” she said, “I ruined my life and every life around me. Now I go painfully to Hell. There is no hope for me.”
The pastor saw a framed picture of a pretty girl on the dresser. “Who is she,” he asked. The woman brightened, “She is my daughter, the one beautiful thing in my life.” The pastor then asked, “And would you help her if she was in trouble, or made a mistake? Would you forgive her? Would you still love her?” “Of course I would,” cried the woman, “I would do anything for her! Why do you ask such a question?” The pastor responded, “Because I want you to know that God has a picture of you on His dresser in Heaven.”
How wonderful indeed! But the problem comes when we delay repentance of our sinful lives, for the longer we wait, the SENSUS DIVINATUS – THE SENSE OF GOD IN THE HEART – that every human is born with gets fainter and fainter until our hearts are calloused and our consciences seared. God may have our pictures on His Heavenly dresser, but the picture of God in our hearts is gone. Delayed repentance has erased it and it is no longer visible or discernible like an old faded photograph.
Think of it this way! I am sure that you have heard of the couplet “Bosom Buddies.” It is best defined in the film Shawshank Redemption when the warden says to Red about his buddy Andy who has escaped and disappeared, “You are as thick as thieves you are.” If you will, the longer the human heart and sin fellowship together, “They become as thick as thieves they do.” The more familiar and fraternal they become.
And then, the stronger the familiarity and fraternity between sin and the human mind and heart, the harder it becomes to separate them. And the longer the friendship between the sinner and sin continues, the sinner will find more and more that he has less and less desire and strength in his heart to say to sin, “I have changed my mind, and I don’t want you in my life any longer, I want God.”
It all kind of reminds me of the fella who smokes two packs of cigarettes a day and has been found to have lung cancer. The doctor tells him that if he continues to smoke he will die, but in fact, he goes on smoking the same as before. If you will:
“THE HOOKED SMOKER JUST HAS TO REACH FOR HIS FAMILIAR FRIEND
NAMED NICOTINE, JUST AS THE HOOKED SINNER JUST HAS TO
REACH FOR HIS FAMILIAR FRIEND NAMED SIN.”
We read in Psalm 97:10,
“Hate evil, you who love the Lord….”
The principles involved are these:
“THOSE WHO LOVE THE LORD WILL HATE EVIL.”
“THOSE WHO LOVE EVIL WILL HATE THE LORD.”
“IT IS JUST AS DIFFICULT TO SEPARATE YOURSELF FROM SIN THAT YOU
HAVE GROWN TO LOVE, AS IT IS TO SEPARATE YOURSELF FROM
CHRIST WHOM YOU HAVE GROWN TO LOVE.”
The key word is GROWN, for the longer you fellowship with sin the more you grow in love for it, even as the more you fellowship with Christ the more you grow in love for Him.
Let’s be honest and totally blunt about it:
“IF I FIND THAT I SCARCE HAVE THE POWER OR THE DESIRE TO CHANGE
MY MIND AND TURN AWAY FROM SIN AND TO GOD IN THE PRESENT,
WHERE DO I GET THE IDEA THAT I WILL HAVE THE POWER AND
DESIRE IN THE FUTURE TO TURN AWAY FROM SIN WHEN
SIN AND I HAVE BECOME LONGSTANDING
This is huge!!! To be totally up front and blunt about it:
“THE LONGER SIN BECOMES LIFE’S FAMILIAR COURSE, THE MORE THAT MUD
LOOKS AND TASTES LIKE CHOCOLATE CAKE. AND AFTER ALL, WHO
CAN DAY AFTER DAY TURN DOWN CHOCOLATE-MUD CAKE,
ESPECIALLY WHEN SATAN SERVES IT A LA MODE
WITH NEW AND MORE DELICIOUS SIN?”
“I CAN ALWAYS GO ON A CRASH SIN DIET TOMORROW, WHICH I HAVE
BEEN SAYING ON A THOUSAND YESTERDAYS.”
You see, every child is born wanting what is wrong, wanting what is not theirs. The little one wants only what is on someone else’s plate. And even that food loses its desirability the moment it reaches the air space above his or her own plate. Next, when you make them eat what is on their own plate, all they want to do is escape, leap down onto the floor, and scurry away to their dens.
And the longer they get their own way, the more they don’t want to give it up. That is how it works, and repentance is giving up the right to think “MY WAY” and thinking only “GOD’S WAY.” That becomes more and more difficult as the years go by.
And then comes the horrible state in which the sinner can no longer repent, and he becomes CONFIRMED IN EVIL. Yes, you heard right – CONFIRMED IN THE STATE OF SIN. I have been in the presence of such people who, as the strange saying puts it, are now “HELL-BENT FOR LEATHER.” Of course, HELL is the awful result and destination of the unrepented of sinful life. HELL-BENT means the absolute resolve and determination – the bent of mind – to stay on sin’s much traveled trail. And HELL-BENT FOR LEATHER means the whip used to give incentive to the black horse of sin to run faster and faster in pursuit of more and more sin.
By the way, when someone is unrepentant and after a long course in sin becomes CONFIRMED IN SIN, he has come as close to being like Satan as he can get. For you see, Satan is the ultimate example of being unable to repent – CONFIRMED IN SIN. Church history’s theologians had a shocking and terrifying phrase for Satan’s lot in life both temporally and eternally. It went like this:
“CONFIRMATUS IN SUMMA MALITIA.”
“CONFIRMED IN THE HIGHEST EVIL.”
Oh yes, Satan believes and knows that God exists. The Bible makes that clear in James 2:19 where we read,
“You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also
believe and tremble.”
Oh yes, Satan believes and knows that God is and that God is one God, and his belief shakes him like leaves fluttering in the wind. It scares the daylights out of him. Now get this, though believing that God is and that God is one, yet Satan constantly sins and defies God, and causes others to sin and defy God with determined resolve and unalterable purpose. Not only that, but he knows that he shall tormented in hell to the utmost extent, and yet he sins to the utmost extent too. He has too. He hates God and loves sin so much, that he has CONFIRMED HIMSELF IN HIS MISERABLE AND HELLISH COURSE.
And then we come to this remarkable truth, and that is because Satan believes in God and is confirmed in rot, therefore:
“THE WORST SINNERS ARE NOT ALWAYS ATHEISTS.”
GOD MAY GIVE YOU UP
This perhaps is the most frightening reason why delayed repentance is so terribly dumb and deadly. You see, Jesus Christ tells us in John 15:5,
“…for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
That means also that we can’t REPENT without HIS HELP. When you determine to repent, that is, change your mind and turn your back on sin, self, and Satan, and turn your mind and heart to God, you and I would not be able to make that new life 180 degree turn unless God pours His grace into us. In fact, if He would suspend His grace infusion into our minds and hearts, true repentance would be aborted, and we could never be born again.
And if we continue to resist the Holy Spirit of grace, our hearts will become harder and harder until they turn into ROCKS. ROCKHARD! GRANITE! BOULDERS! And there comes the time that we can become out and out ROCKHEADS and ROCKHEARTS.
This is exactly what happened to King Pharaoh of Egypt. God clobbered this guy and his people ten times to get him and them to repent. But each time God struck ROCKHEADED and ROCKHEARTED PHARAOH, the Bible tells us that he hardened his heart more and more, as in Exodus 8:15,
“…he hardened his heart….”
And Exodus 8:32,
“But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also….”
And Exodus 9:34,
“…he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his servants.”
Yes you’re right, you have heard of ROCKY I, ROCKY II, ROCKY III and ROCKY IV? I mean still to this day, here a Rocky, there a Rocky, everywhere a Rocky Rocky. Well then, King Pharaoh became ROCKY FOREVER, as His heart against God and for sin became unalterably and impenetrably ROCKSET, so God threw him on the ROCK PILE. It would seem that then:
“NOT EVEN THE IMMEDIATE, CRUNCHING BLOWS OF GOD’S OMNIPOTENCE THAT
STRUCK THE ROCK AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN COULD CHANGE HIS
MIND, AND BRING TEARS OF REPENTANCE AND CONTRITION
FLOWING OUT OF THE ROCK.”
“IT HAD JUST THE OPPOSITE EFFECT, AS DELAYED AND REFUSED REPENTANCE
DID NOT MAKE HIS HEART AND MIND SOFTER AND SOFTER, BUT INSTEAD
IT MADE OLD CEMENT-HEAD PHARAOH HARDER AND HARDER.”
So finally God said, “Well then, nuts with it! Pharaoh, you will no longer disgrace My grace. You have reached the point of no return.” So we read in Exodus 9:12,
“…and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart.”
“GOD WITHDREW HIS GRACE, AND OLE ROCKHEADED PHARAOH
CAME TO THAT AWFUL CONFIRMED STATE OF IMPENITENCE.”
There was also that generation of Israelites who came to the same place and condition, as we read in Psalm 81:11,
“But my people did not listen to my voice: and Israel did
not obey me.”
They summarily and completely refused God’s call to repentance. So what then happened is recorded in Psalm 81:12,
“So I (the Lord) gave them over (gave them up) to the stubbornness of
their heart, to walk in their own devices.”
And again we read of God giving up those who over and over refuse to repent and turn their minds, hearts, and lives back to God. We read the words of the rebellious and stubborn sinner in Deuteronomy 29:19,
“…I have peace though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart….”
And the Lord says about such a cocky and defiant and sneering sinner in Deuteronomy 29:20,
“The Lord shall never be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of
the Lord and His jealousy will burn against him, and every curse
which is written in this book will rest on him, and the Lord
will blot out his name from under heaven.”
There are some funny adds on TV these days called “Messing With Sasquatch.” Ole Sasquatch should not be messed with if you know what’s good for you. He’ll drop kick you through the goals posts of life, and toss an anaconda into your RV. It is all done of course in fun and jest, but it surely is riveting. As a matter of fact, after degrading and making fun of ole Sas, most everyone who watches the ads is on the side of Sas and feels he has every right to get even.
What about “Messing With God?” I wonder if those same people would side with God against those who make fun of and sneer at Him in rebellion and hatred, and would agree with Him and His anaconda-like judgments against those who trifle with and delay repentance for another time.
I believe the following reasons are why God gives them up and withdraws His grace and forgiveness:
FIRST, because it is guilt kicking at Divine mercy, sinners walking over and stomping upon Divine pardon, and it slights repentance which alone is that which can stand between the sinner and certain destruction.
SECOND, because delayed repentance shows that the sinner does not view repentance as his holy duty to God, but rather as an expedient way at the last moment to dig himself out of trouble. He one day may repent not because it is pleasing to God, but because it pleases his flesh and gives it more time to sinfully indulge.
THIRD, because the delayer hears God’s command to repent, but overrules it with his own sinful desires. He has changed his god, and though he confesses a God, yet he in fact worships himself.
There are several severe repentance deficits these days that I know grieve the Holy Spirit, and therefore grieve me.
FIRST, the complete silencing today in the church of the primary command of the Christian Gospel, and that is “REPENT.” Sinners today are following after a fictitious Christ in many churches who will give them prosperity and purpose. They bite on him with the lure of riches and success being dangled before their mouths Sunday after Sunday, and it finally sinks deep into their wide open sucking lips.
Unbelievers and the godless today are not being commanded to change their minds and lives from self, sin, and Satan to Christ, forgiveness, and righteousness. Not from me to Him, but rather from poverty to riches, and from plodding to purpose! They simply will go to Hell rich and purposeful and not to Heaven penitent and pure.
The bloody issues of sin, sorrow, and the Cross of Christ have been demoted, and in their place a materialistic and sensual religion of mammon and sensation has taken over. I see it everywhere I go, and we end up with a counterfeit gospel and a fake salvation.
SECOND, I am so pained in my heart to see many never being brought to true repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, but only to a surface acknowledgement of “MY GOODNESS, AFTER ALL, WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES.” Come now, just admit it, and now let’s get to the good stuff. All of the while the pews are filled with rotting hearts, lives, marriages, and families that are never fully turned around from corruption to Christ.
All the while they put on a religious front, but they don’t understand why their insides and outsides continue to be in crisis and calamity and corruption. It reminds me of David and all of his private wailing and crying, his broken bones and mournful days, as well as sleepless nights. The pathetic man laments in the Psalms how his inner wounds stink and are corrupt because of his foolishness. He is the Bible’s show-and-tell of how hiding sin and delayed repentance is dumb and deadly.
David’s sin and guilt festered and smelled because of the deferred cure – REPENTANCE. It is most commonly agreed that it was nearly a year that David’s mind and hearted lay marinating in adultery and murder. It was only when a “Prophet of Repentance” by the name of Nathan came to David and laid the wood to his conscience – THOU ART THE MAN – that David broke and confessed and turned from his wicked ways.
THIRD, because of a benign, deficient repentance being preached these days, I see so many even after having gone to church for many years, eventually ending up calcified and deformed, and on the rock pile of impenetrable hardness. Suddenly the true sin-hardened self emerges, and what appeared to be a sweet, sensitive child of God, now turns ugly and hard on the rock pile of the shockingly unreachable and impenetrable. Never fully formed and beautiful children of God after all, but simply religious thalidomide adults who are severely deformed because of the deadly drugs of surface religion and shallow repentance being fed to them in modern churches.
You may be familiar with the history of Michelangelo and how he attempted forty-four statues but finished only fourteen of them. Some of the best know of them that made it to completed formation and stunning stature are David In Florence Square, the Pieta, and Moses to mention a few.
But the thirty that didn’t make it can also be seen in a museum in Italy – large chunks of marble out of which and on which are only an elbow, a wrist, a leg, a thigh, a knee, a calf, a foot, and even some toes. But the full intended personage is locked up forever in hard marble and will never come forth. Like unrepentant sinners with a touch of religion, all of them frozen inside never realizing the fullness, beauty, purity, and tenderness in Christ. God help us to preach Biblical Repentance! Amen!