Back To Basics Transcript

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Repentance From Dead Works (9)


For the past ten weeks, we have been on a journey, back to the basics of the Christian faith; which is basically, a study of the foundational principles upon which anyone who is a Christian should base his life and livelihood. Just like the alphabets and numerals form the basis for our everyday transactions in life, these Christian foundational principles form the basis for everything a Christian does. For instance, if you dont know how to count, you can be cheated when you go to the market to make purchases; the same goes, when you dont know how to perform simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Also, if you cant spell, it will be difficult for you to send an sms or fill out a bank teller intelligibly, neither will you be able to keep your bank account private, because you will always be needing someone to withdraw money from your account for you, and can be easily defrauded. In the same way, when a person is ignorant of the foundational principles of the Christian faith, it will be, to all intents and purposes, impossible for him or her to function as a Christian. And though you may be a church goer, you will be illiterate in the things of the kingdom of God. In 2 Timothy 3:6-7 of The Amplified Bible, some women are described as loaded down with [the burden of their] sins [and easily] swayed and led away by various evil desires and seductive impulses forever inquiring and getting information, but are never able to arrive at a recognition and the knowledge of the Truth. These are the kind of people who go from place to place seeking deliverance but never are delivered because they continue to commit sin, and want to be told that there is nothing wrong with what they are doing!

So far, we have been looking at the first of six Christian fundamentalsrepentance from dead worksand we have zeroed in on repentance; the discussion on dead works will be at a later time. We have seen that some people would rather blame others for their sins, than repent; and that what some other people call repentance is false, since, their confession is only to avoid Gods judgment. True repentance is about acknowledging from the heart that you have indeed sinned against God, confessing such sins before God, and then turning away completely from a lifestyle of sin unto a life of righteousness!

The parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-24 is a classic of what true repentance entails. The prodigal son, by an act of God, was brought back to his senses, and acknowledged before his father that he had sinned. Such an act of God which aims at bringing a person who is sinning to his senses, and then, to repentance, could take the form of a prolonged sickness, an impactful personal tragedy or disaster, a prison conviction, and similar occurrences. In this way, God helps men to come to the realization of their sinful state, so that they can repent and be forgiven, and thereafter live as God wants them to. For some, one incidence of unpleasantness can bring them to their senses; while for some other people, repentance may not come until after they have experienced an avalanche of mishaps. Unfortunately still, not everyone who experiences such acts of God come to their senses, and sees the need to repent of their sins. So, God devised another means of helping man through the Holy Spirit.

In John 16:8-11, Jesus tells us that when the Holy Spirit comes he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. Gods other means of helping man to come to his senses, and turn to Him in repentance, is by reproving him of sin, righteousness, and judgment; and this is the work of the Holy Spirit. The word translated reprove commonly means, to demonstrate by argument, to prove, to persuade anyone to take a course of action by presenting supporting reasons. Hence, to reprove is to convince someone of his wrong doing, particularly, to convince of crime. Therefore, this passage of scripture is actually telling us that it is work of the Holy Spirit to convince or convict the world of sin. In other words, the Spirit of God will reveal or open up the truth of God to the minds of men enough to convince them without dispute, that they have sinned, and need Gods forgiveness. Therefore, God seeks to convince people of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, so as to bring them to the place of repentance before Him. Let us probe further into the nature of divine conviction, which brings men to repentance.

There are two sides to conviction: the presentation of truth, and the acceptance of truth that has been presented. When these two are in agreement, a person is said to be convinced or fully persuaded about the truth that has been presented. However, sometimes, the presentation of truth does not always lead to acceptance by the person to whom the truth has been presented; therefore, the individual is not convinced about the truth! But not being convinced about truth does not mean that what is being said is not truth. Conviction and truth go togethertruth always convicts! But sometimes, though a person has been told the truth, his resistance to truth will make him not to be convinced that what he has been told is truth, and so he rejects the verdict that he is a sinner. But what does God say? In Isaiah 1:18, God said, Come now let us reason together though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow; though they be as red like crimson, they shall be as wool. God is asking the sinner to present his case (his strong arguments), and He is prepared to hear them out. He is saying to the sinner: What do you have to say before me to defend your sinful lifestyle? After you are done telling Me, I will bring forth My irrefutable arguments that will subdue your worries and concerns. Hence, no matter how horrible you think your sins are, God is willing to hear you out, and wipe them all out!

If you are trying to understand God through the way the world system operates, you will miss Him; but if you seek God in His prescribed way, He will be found by you. In the world system, admitting to a crime always ends in being punished; so, men go all out to defend themselves to avoid punishment, even when they are glaringly at fault. But with God, admitting that you are a sinner is the surest way to obtain freedom from sin and its destructive influence. In Luke 15:21-24, we read about the repentance of the prodigal son, and his fathers response: I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. In this parable, the prodigal son represents the picture of a person (male or female, young or old) who has lost his way in life, is steep in sin, and removed from God; while the father of the prodigal son is a picture of God. Friend, the result of a sinner or backslider who is convinced that he has sinned, and, out of a genuine heart, repents before God, is that God forgives him unconditionally, and welcomes him into His kingdom! This is the testimony of the thief who was crucified at the right hand of Jesus on the cross. His admission of guilt and repentance secured him direct entry into Paradise, that same night, with Jesus. The story can be found in Luke 23:39-43: And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. How different the ways of God are from the ways of men. The very thing that people try to avoid, by refusing to admit their guilt, is the very same thing they end up getting. The thief who did not want to die, but be freed without admitting his guilt, was the one who ended up perishing, while the thief who was convinced that he was deserving of his punishment as a result of his crimes, was the one who entered into paradise in eternity!

The truth is, when a man has truly been convinced that what he had been doing is sin, he will not only acknowledge it as sin and admit his guilt, but he will also repent of his sinfulness before God. Unfortunately, not many people readily agree that they are sinning, neither do they admit their guilt of sin; as a result, they continue in their sinful ways, and sadly bring upon themselves, Gods sentence of eternal damnation in hell! But when a man admits his guilt of sin and repents, God forgives, pardons, and frees him from the sentence of eternal damnation. When the prodigal son was convicted and convinced of his sinfulness, he returned home and confessed to his father. This is the true nature of convictionit always results in the convicted person taking the right step towards repentance! When, in 2 Samuel 12:1-14, God confronted King David about his sin in the form of a parable, David said soberly, I have sinned against the LORD. This is the action of someone who has indeed been convicted of sin.

The bible says in Proverbs 28:13, He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Whether or not you prosper with God will depend to a large extent on whether or not you have confessed your sins! In Psalm 32:1-5, the Psalmist declared: Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered [that is, by God]. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah [Selah an insertion in some Psalms that indicates to the hearer, to meditate or contemplate what has just been said]. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. Friend, the Psalmist says that when he was hiding his sins (that is, not admitting that he had sinned, but rather made excuses for them), there was rottenness in his bonesno joy, no peace, sickness, diseases, etc.! However, when he acknowledged his sins and confessed them before God, he received Gods forgiveness. Like the father of the prodigal son, God has been waiting, and is still waiting for all who are living in sin, whether or not they attend church, to come and repent. For as long as you are hiding your sins from God; for as long as you refuse to accept Gods conviction that what you are doing is sin, you will remain with rottenness in your bones; a rottenness which eats you up within, even though you may disguise it with an I dont care attitude. If you have been convicted and are convinced of your sinfulness, then, acknowledge and confess it before God; not merely before men, and your sins will all be taken away, and you will experience a release in your soul, bringing joy to your heart, even this instant! Repent now and be saved!

Let us pray!