You reading this article: repent!

What was your gut feeling when you read the sentence above? Were you convicted? Did you have a feeling of disgust? Or felt nothing? A couple of years ago, I received an e-mail from a sister. By now I have completely forgotten everything in the e-mail except for the last line – “You shall repent!” The reason that sentence sticks in my mind was that I had quite a strong feeling of disgust when I read it. My thought was: “There are so many nice things she could have written to her brothers and sisters in Christ. Why did she have to ask us to repent? After all, she was writing to Christians who have repented, right?” Today, by the grace of our merciful God, I understand why she said so.

John the Baptist started his ministry by saying: “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”(Matthew 3:2) Our Lord Jesus Himself started His ministry by saying: “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17) After the Lord’s ascension to heaven, one of His closest disciples Peter was inspired to tell people who want to be saved: “Repent…” (Acts 2:38) To His end-time church, the Lord says again: “… and repent.” (Revelation 3:19)

Now you might be thinking “I am a Christian. After all, I repented and then became a follower of Christ, did I not?” Have you repented completely? Let us see what our Lord has to say about this:

“We often sorrow because our evil deeds bring unpleasant consequences to ourselves; but this is not repentance. Real sorrow for sin is the result of the working of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit reveals the ingratitude of the heart that has slighted and grieved the Saviour, and brings us in contrition to the foot of the cross. By every sin Jesus is wounded afresh; and as we look upon Him whom we have pierced, we mourn for the sins that have brought anguish upon Him. Such mourning will lead to the renunciation of sin.” (DA 300.3)

Please think carefully: during the past 24 hours, have you sinned? What I am trying to ask is, during the 24 hours just passed, did you have any angry thoughts (Galatians 5:19-21); did you hate anyone in your heart (Matthew 5:21-24); did you eat too much (Philippians 3:18, 19); did you covet anything (Romans 7:7); did you say anything out of selfishness (James 3:6)? I hope you have noticed that what our Lord requires is not only pureness in words and action, but also pureness of heart. (Hebrews 8:10) You might be thinking “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” (John 6:60) I pray that you who are reading this article would not leave the Lord as so many of His disciples did, for our loving God has given us clear promise and hope – “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

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