What I must Do to Be Saved

Meaning of Repentance
The words “repent,” “repentance,” and “repented” are mentioned over 100 times in the Bible. There has been a lot of misunderstanding and confusion over what the word repentance means. When the word “repent” is used in the Word of God in the context of Biblical salvation, it is referring to a truly God-given, Spirit-led change of heart and mind toward God about sin.
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out …” (Acts 3:19).
The greatest need for any sinner is have his sins blotted out, but a man will never have the pardon of sin while he is in love with his sin. There must be a hatred of sin, a loathing of it, a turning from it. Repentance is a revolution in dealing with our attitude and view towards sin and righteousness. Repentance is not something one does with his hands, but it is an inward attitude of the soul. Sin must become, in the eyes of the sinner, exceedingly sinful.
All Sinners Are Condemned
Everyone knows they are not perfect, but for most sinners that is consolation, not condemnation. But the Bible declares all sinners are already condemned:
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:17-18).
The problem is “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom.3:23). Man, in his lost, sinful, condemned state, has failed to glorify God. Until a person becomes personally exceedingly sinful in his own eyes, he will never see his need for repentance. Eph.2:1 says man is spiritually dead; Rom.3:10 and Isa.64:6 tells us no one is righteous before a holy God; Rom.3:19 says all stand guilty and condemned before God; Eph.4:18 declares all sinners are separated from God whose hearts and minds are blinded so that they cannot understand God or the things of God.
Repentance basically involves two facts: the fact of sin and the fact of God’s grace. If a person is not a sinner, he would not need to repent, and if God was not the God of all grace, it would do no good to repent. Repentance implies sin, sorrow for it, and a changed attitude towards God about it.
It should also be stressed that repentance itself is not a human act, but comes only from God (Rom.2:4) — it is a divine gift of God (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Tim. 2:25).
The Nature of Repentance
In true Biblical repentance, there will be three things to occur as God does a work of grace upon the sinner’s heart:
1) Conviction — where sin is admitted. Man must see himself as a lost, ruined, guilty, desperately wicked sinner without hope or help, in danger of hell. In repentance, a lost sinner not only sees himself as a sinner, but he recognizes the fact that he has sinned against a righteous and holy God. The message that Paul preached was: “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). In repentance, there will be confession of sin to God (Psa. 32:5; 51:1-4).
2) Contrition — where sin is abhorred. When one sees himself as he appears before God, he is brought to a place where there is godly sorrow for his sin and hates it altogether.
“For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.” (Psa. 38:18); “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of …” (2 Cor. 7:10).
To hate sin is to love God. In true repentance, there is not only the desire to escape the consequences of sin, but to be rid of sin itself as a thing displeasing to God.
3) Conversion — where sin is abandoned. Repentance involves the forsaking of sin:
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:7); “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Prov. 28:13).
Repentance is not only a heart broken for sin, but also from sin. We must forsake what we would have God forgive.
It should be stressed that it is not enough just to turn away from sin; one must also turn to God for salvation:
“… to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins … should repent and turn to God …” (Acts 26:18,20).
In true repentance, there is conviction, contrition, and conversion as one turns from his sin to Christ for salvation. Salvation is deliverance of a person from his sin, not merely from a sinful environment. Jesus Christ is the Saviour from not only the penalty and punishment of sin, but also the power of sin.
Why Did Jesus Come?
“… I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matt. 9:13).
The reason Jesus came to this earth was to call sinners to repentance. Those who did not see themselves as sinners, deserving God’s wrath, were not candidates for God’s salvation. The sinner must reject his own righteousness, because Jesus did not come to call the righteous, not even the self-righteous. The only way a sinner will come to reject his own righteousness is by coming face to face with his own wickedness. You can take it from the lips of Jesus Himself as a settled issue that He will not call the righteous. Only those to whom it is revealed (by God’s Spirit) that they are lost, depraved, ungodly sinners will respond to the calling of the Saviour in salvation.
All Sinners Commanded To Repent and Believe
Jesus soundly declared the message in His day: “repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Repentance and faith are inseparable and occur simultaneously in a sinner’s heart; you cannot have one without the other. The order as given in the Bible is repentance and faith (Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21; 26:20; 2 Tim. 2:25; Heb. 6:1).
Repentance is turning from sin; and faith is turning to Christ. Repentance comes about through the convicting power of the Spirit of God using the Word of God to cause a change of attitude, action, and affection.
Saving faith is trust in and reliance on the Lord Jesus Christ as one’s personal Lord and Saviour. Saving faith is believing with your heart; it is coming to Christ, receiving Christ, looking to Christ, calling upon Christ to save your soul.
Yes, Jesus said you must repent and believe the gospel, because the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believes (Rom. 1:16). The gospel, the good news for every sinner, is that Christ died on the cross for our sins, as our Substitute, and shed His precious blood to wash away our sins, and arose from the dead on the third day in order that we might have the forgiveness of sins and have eternal life through Him. Salvation of one’s soul is the most important thing in this whole world.
But repentance without faith is nothing more than remorse or regret. And faith without repentance makes Christ nothing more than a fire escape. There must be a work of repentance and faith upon the sinner’s heart before salvation can become a reality. Repentance is caused by the working of the Holy Spirit who takes the Sword of the Spirit and slays the sinner’s self-righteousness, self- goodness, self-decency, self-esteem, and causes him to cry out: “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13) and “what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).

It’s The Little Things

by Meagan Davis

Reading Fairy Tales

Fairy tales are probably every little girl’s favorite kind of story. Princess is in distress. Prince rescues Princess. Prince and Princess fall in love. Prince and Princess get married and live happily ever after. I think that a lot of times we have a tendency to read the Old Testament stories like fairy tails. We read them and think, “Oh, that’s nice,” or “Oh, that’s so sad.” But we don’t think about the fact that these stories are true. We don’t realize that these are real people with real feelings. They face the same struggles you face every day!

This semester at school, I’ve been picking up on my study of the five women in the line of Christ. Right now, I have the privilege of studying Bathsheba. Most of you are probably familiar with her story. She was what we would consider David’s biggest sin. But what an amazing story she has! I would challenge you to take are few minutes and think about these questions concerning her life. Don’t look at David and Bathsheba’s story as a fairy tale gone wrong. Think about her emotions as a real woman going through the whole situation. How did it affect her?
     First, read 2 Samuel 11-12 and 1 Kings 1. This covers the whole story!
     Could Bathsheba have stopped David from sinning?
     Could she have at least stood up for what’s right?
     Why did she continue to hide their sin from her husband?
     How did Bathsheba respond when Uriah was killed?
     Did she know that David murdered her husband?
     Soon, she was not just one wife, but one of many wives. How was it living with the other women?
     Was she judged by the other wives?
     What did she go through when she lost her first child?
     How did God restore His relationship with Bathsheba?
     How did she deal with all the family turmoil even after she was forgiven?
     How was Bathsheba blessed in the end?
Looking at Bathsheba’s story in this way gave me a new perspective on how I study Bible characters. Do I see them as real people who are able to make the same decisions and mistakes that I would? Am I too quick to judge them for their wrong actions? Do I understand that these people are not just part of my favorite fairy tale? Am I studying these characters for the real people that they are.

Weaping and Reaping

“Put thou my tears into thy bottle; are they not in thy book?” — Psalm 56:8.

Divine Answer: “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” — Psalm 126:5, 6.

Believer, if thou art now reaping in joy, and singing hymns of triumph, be thankful; but remember that this work belongs more to the next world than the present. Here weeping and rejoicing follow each other, and sorrow will oft find a lodging in the bosom of faith.

For there is no retreat from the field of battle; and thine enemies will not leave thee while thou hast a breath to draw. It is, indeed, needful to be humbled under a sense of misery, so as to sigh, groan, and weep often; and this is the true seed for eternity.

Not a single tear or groan will be lost. They are all in the book of the Lord.

God counts the sorrows of the saints:
Their groans affect his ears;
He has a book for their complaints,
A bottle for their tears.

The Lord can clear the darkest skies,
Can give us day for night:
Make drops of sacred sorrow rise
To rivers of delight.

Let those who sow in sadness wait
Till the fair harvest come;
They shall confess their sheaves are great,
And shout the blessings home.

Tuesday With Karen

The Real Reason?

The real reason Christmas ever really began,

Is because Christ came down, to live as a man;

It was part of God’s plan in showing us His love,

In sending Christ to us, to live & shed His blood!

The real reason Christmas remains a great day,

Is to celebrate our Jesus being born as a babe;

God sent down His only begotten Son,

To provide our salvation by all He’d done!?

The real reason Christmas, to us, was given,

Is because of God’s love up in Heaven;

He sent His only Son to die on Calvary’s cross,

Paying for our sins, so no man would be lost!

Jesus is the reason Christmas started years ago,

The greatest gift given for us to come to know;

If He hadn’t been sent to the manger as a babe,

This holiday would have nothing to celebrate!

12-10-18

I Heard the Bells

I Heard the Bells on
Christmas Day

I heard the bells on Christmas Day, their old familiar carols play—On Christmas Day, 1863, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, wrote this poem. It was later set to music written by an Englishman, John Calkin, and soon became a favorite hymn in Europe and America.

After several years of great personal tragedy as well as despair over the Civil War that was tearing apart the country he loved, Longfellow wrote about the joys of the season. Then as he came to the third stanza he was stopped by the thought of the condition of his beloved country. The Civil War was in full swing. The Battle of Gettysburg was not more than six months past.  Days looked dark, and he probably asked himself the question, “How can the last phrase of those stanzas—peace on earth, good will to men—to be true in this war-torn country, where brother fights against brother and father against son?”

But he kept writing and . . . then, as every Christian should do, he turned his thoughts to the one who solves all problems.

The original poem included 2 stanzas that show his despair over the Civil War, but most versions today do not include them.

It’s The Little Things

 by Meagan Davis
Watching Airplanes
The little 6-year-old girl stood at the clear glass panels. Her nose was pressed against the glass. The window fogged up around her face. She rubbed her tiny hands over the panel, removing the condensation that had collected there. A plane descended from the white, puffy clouds. She spun around, barely containing her excitement, and rushed to the woman sitting across the aisle.

“Mommy! Mommy! Is that one Daddy’s plane?” Her big, blue eyes sparkled in anticipation.

Mommy said, “No, sweetie. Just keep watching.”

The girl’s blue eyes lost their glimmer. She’d been waiting for so long. It seemed like forever. Was forever ever going to end?

She made her way back to the window and pressed her face into the glass. Plane after plane landed. Every time she saw a new one she would run over and ask, “Mommy, is that one Daddy’s plane?”

Mommy always said, “Just keep watching.”

Eventually, she decided not to leave the window. She just watched…and watched…and watched. Forever was lasting forever, she thought. I didn’t know that it would take this long.

She watched the sky go from birhg and blue to dark and black. The stars twinkled in the sky. She watched carefully to see which ones were blinking. Mommy told her that she had to watch closely so she could tell which ones were the airplanes. It was hard to tell because they all looked so much alike!

She watched for hours.

A hand landed on the girl’s shoulder. She spun around in shock. She looked at his boots, brown and tough, his light brown uniform. Slowly, she lifted her eyes and saw his familiar face.

“Daddy!” The little girl squealed and leaped into her father’s arms.

Daddy held her close and buried his face in her hair. Tears streamed down the little girl’s face.

“I’ve waited for you for so long.”

“I’m here now, baby,” he whispers. “I’m here.”

Now, the moral of the story is this: Just like the little girl, we should always be watching. Jesus is going to return one day. Do you wait in anticipation for the day that He will return and take you home? Will you be this happy to see your heavenly Father?

Tuesday With Karen

by Karen Icenhour
Merry Christmas
 
Merry Christmas is wonderful to proclaim,
 
Especially because it holds His dear name;
 
Removing His name is foolish & absurd,
 
Reducing the worth, so it’s not a word!
 
Yielded to the perfection in God’s plan,
 
Christ laid in a manger when He became a man,
 
He was sent from Heaven to be our Lord,
 
Redeeming our life from sin forever more.
 
It’s Christ who’s the reason Christmas began,
 
Salvation He provides to the soul of man;
 
Taking Christ from Christmas would make a mess,
 
Meaning there’d be no path to righteousness.
 
And He was born as our Redeemer from Heaven,
 
So we’ll say “Merry Christmas!” as long as we’re living!

 

Easier said than done

2 Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”

When we look at Israel and the Mosaic Law, we tend to think that the Jews performed poorly. All they had to do was be obedient to some basic laws, and God would bless them beyond measure. Yet they might say the same about us. With the Holy Spirit living in us, we have only to live in love toward God and man and God will bless us spiritually beyond measure. While human frailty is glaring in both systems, the work of God is being accomplished nevertheless. God’s message is carried in earthen vessels, “jars of clay” so that in eternity the glory of the redeemed will go to God and not to man.

It’s The Little Things

By Meagan Davis

Appearance Isn’t Everything

She flipped her beautiful, straight locks in my face. She batted her long, luscious eyelashes my way. She glanced at me covered in a tanned, flawless complexion. Walking through a cosmetic store this past weekend, this is the face that pulled me in. And she can be summed up in one word: fake.

This woman, she is the face of the world. She calls out to us, screaming that we have to look like her. You’re not skinny enough. You’re not beautiful enough. Your skin is not right. Your hair is too big. You will never get anywhere in this life. She yells out her lies. But where exactly is she trying to get?
Proverbs 31:10 – Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. 
External Beauty is temporary. Internal beauty is eternal. We have come to put so much emphasis on the outward appearance that we have disregarded the importance of the internal appearance. So, what if you have the latest fashions if your God is not pleased by your clothing choices every day? Are you clothing yourself in hot dresses or humility? Are you covering your face with a rejuvenating concealer and a pearly white smile or with a renewed countenance of the joy found in Christ? Is your hair straightened out smoothly or is your hidden life simply a secret you hope no one finds out? Could we possibly be hiding the fact that we are falling apart inside by fixing up our outward appearance?
I want to challenge you to look past your own outward beauty (because you are beautiful just the way God made you; see Psalm 139:14) and search your heart for the flaws that are there. Because this is so much more important than just the outward appearance. Pretty character is always more beautiful than a pretty face.

 

Dusty roads

God wants you to be covered with dust.

Sounds weird, huh? Actually, it’s an ancient Jewish blessing that people would say young men chosen to be disciples. See, the idea was that they were supposed to mimic/follow their teacher/Rabbi so closely that they would end up covered in the dust from their sandals.

In the first century education was of upmost importance. The highest aim was to become a Rabbi, but it was a long and difficult process. Boys started studying at the synagogue by the age of five, all training, hoping, dreaming that one day they would be the teacher, the Rabbi.

At age fourteen, after nine years of studying, the best of the students would have the entire Old Testament memorized (first five books). Can you imagine? But fourteen was very important because this was the age that a boy could approach a Rabbi and ask to become their disciple. If the Rabbi thought they were smart enough, he would agree to an interview. During which time the Rabbi would grill the young teen on all the theology, often using what seemed like trick questions. If the boy was found fitting, the Rabbi would say they could be their disciple, after which time the boy would leave everything (family, home, any profession) and follow the Rabbi in every movement for the rest of his life. But the Rabbis were picky, they couldn’t accept someone they didn’t think couldn’t make it.

Sadly, not many boys got their dream. It was normal for a Rabbi to only choose one or two disciples. After which time, the rest of the boys would be told that they were done learning and needed to go home and learn their family trade.

Now comes the interesting stuff. Remember Jesus’ twelve disciples? They would have gone through this same education as children. At the age of fourteen they would have sought out the Rabbi they most wanted to be paired with. Know what? The Rabbi’s rejected all of the twelve. That’s why Jesus finds them fishing, banking, doctoring, and working in the law. See, the twelve had been told they weren’t good enough and had already been dismissed to go back to their family and find a job. They weren’t the best of the best. They were losers. Rejects.

When Jesus approaches Andrew and Simon/Peter on the shore and asked them to follow him, they toss down their nets immediately. Why? Because someone was finally telling them they were worth it. That they were wanted. These men were most likely in their late teens and early twenties, and thought their opportunity to follow a Rabbi was a ship long sailed.

Jesus is walking down the beach toward you. He asks you to follow his every move. Live exactly how He lived. Can you do it? He believes you can, or He wouldn’t ask you. He won’t reject you, in fact, He’s chosen you.

May you follow Christ so closely that you end up covered with the dust of his feet.