A fierce love following hard after God will always be attended by an equally ferocious hatred for sin.
The doctrine of free grace has been somewhat watered down by the modern western church to a fluffy teaching that turns a blind eye to sin and excuses the sinner without any requirement to change.
While I wholeheartedly agree that the broad boundaries of grace are far beyond anything we could reasonably expect or imagine, the Scriptures nowhere teach that sin is acceptable within or outside the church.
The message of the kingdom begins with not with the word believe. The starting point is a line in the sand called “repent”.
"Repent, and believe the gospel."
Go, and sin no more!
Without holiness no man will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).
If we want to see God move in the manner we desire it will undoubtedly require a depth of consecration to His purposes and His Person that burns the chaff from our lives in a most uncomfortable way.
Repentance is not a message often preached nowadays. Being faced with our lukewarmness, challenged to not only applaud Jesus but rather lay down our life for Him, is not one that readily fits with our manic me-centered society.
“Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” (Hebrews 12:4 KJV)
This suggests a stringent and aggressive dealing with the besetting habits of the old life, and a ferocious taking hold of the new.
Many old saints speak of praying through with great heartbreaking supplication to a definite experience of sanctification. Like other watershed moments in their walk with God they speak of a defining moment where Christ so took hold of their heart that the very power of sin was utterly vanquished in their life.
For most of us, and I am the chief, the penalty of sin has been majestically and finally declared void through the precious blood of Jesus, but we still struggle with the power that sin sometimes exerts over our flesh. I believe that both sin's penalty and power were taken care of at the cross, but it is for us to take hold with fervency if we want to live in the reality of this Truth.
Instead, men often prefer to live in the realms of empty confession. It is one thing to say, “I am holy”. It is quite another to live holy. Yes, indeed, righteousness is accounted to us through the sacrificial substitution of Christ, but dear brothers, the legal standing we now enjoy must bud and blossom into a radically distinct life of difference. Christian men are not supposed to blend in. Our very lives should be a reproach to the ways of the world around us, and t0 any half-hearted bloodless christianity (small ‘c’).
At heart, repentance is a call to close communion with God.
“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 KJV)
The grace and goodness of our God invites us to turn away from sin, not continue in an endless cycle of sin > guilt > repent > sin > guilt > repent ad infinitum.
The process, if repentance is deep and genuine will be sin > repent. Period.
Fierce men hold themselves to account
If we genuinely want to see the world turn to God, surely we should be turning first.
How can we call others to forsake the world if we ourselves are still in bed with the world.
How can we reprove the adultery of the masses, if the church is still courting whorish affections for this present age and its attractions.
Regardless of what others may think or the doctrines they might throw in my face to convince me that comfortable, cross-less Christianity is acceptable to our Father, I will never relent in my own pursuit of purity.
I believe at the deepest level repentance is required at the core of our being. Our first steps into the Kingdom are afforded through repentance and faith, but as we walk forward the requirement on our manhood increases.
A baby might soil the carpet without reproach, but a full grown man in a diaper is shameful.
Our great Father is not only our Comforter, He is our Corrector and our Chastiser.
The following portion is worthy of a full reading:
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Hebrews 12:5–11 KJV)
A full son of the house will be trained by the Master. His heavy hand of correction will purge every son so we might bear more fruit.
I personally invite the Spirit of repentance to search my heart.
I do not want to carry contraband into the Kingdom life I seek to live. How sad it is when hidden sin is brought to light for all the world to see.
Before public exposure is necessary, how much better to fall on our faces before Papa privately, and allow Him to deal with our prideful and presumptuous ways.
Do you think Daddy really likes our parades and pretenses? Will we not all one day stand before the One whose eyes search all things? Will our works and the motives that prompted them not be tried by fire?
This, friend, is a day of preparation, and repentance is central.
Every significant move of God through the centuries has been marked by a deep undoing of God’s people first, and then a glorious decent of God’s conviction upon the world.
Let’s not wait until God corners us in the shining light of his fearful glory before we hang our shame on the cross and pass to a new and cleaner life. Do it now. Take your compromises, your competitiveness, your critical spirt, your filthy tongue and unbelieving heart, and lay them honestly before the only One who can sweep them away and usher in a new creation.
Like a crawling bug breaking from the limits of its cocoon and taking colorful flight, rise to your metamorphosis.
A new and fully formed man in Christ Jesus!