God commands us to repent and to believe. He does not ask, does not invite, or any of these other warm fuzzy ideas that are so popular today.
Even though so many say it, He is not standing at a door knocking.
What He wants is for us to repent and come to Him.
I know that what I am saying is causing people’s hackles to raise, but it is the truth.
Act 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
What is Repentance?
It is a change of mind. We were going one way and now we have turned a full 180 degrees in the opposite direction.
Repentance is not knowing you are a sinner. Repentance is where God opens your eyes to the fact that the littlest of sin breaks you, and breaks your heart. Repentance is the realization that one single sin separates us from a Holy and Just God. Repentance through the Holy Spirit’s conviction makes your sin real, you are disgusted.
It is repentance that causes you to make a choice.
It is through conviction and repentance that God presses upon our hearts that we are sinners. He causes us to wake up and realize that we are lost and we are going to hell.
We are all sinners and there is nothing that we can do to change that.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
The question that we need to be asking ourselves is “are we truly saved?”
In today’s sugar coated churches what is being preached today is not the gospel.
Salvation is not sitting in church on Sunday mornings.
Salvation is not checking some boxes on a 3×5 card.
Salvation is not raising your hand when the pastor asks.
Salvation is not saying some mantra prayer.
Now can all these lead to salvation?
Yes they can. But what these things really lead to is repentance which then leads to salvation.
Here is the scary thing, if you have only checked a card, raised a hand, repeated some mantra, odds are you are not saved.
Sure you go to church, live a good life, and say all the right things.
But until you have come the point where you realize that you are a sinner who is completely lost, you will continue to be lost.
It is only when you come to the realization that you are a sinner in need of a savior. That point where you realize you are truly lost. It is only at that time that you can then ask God to forgive you of your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
There is nothing that you can do, no good works, nothing. There is not one good work that will get you into heaven.
There is only one thing.
The only thing that you are able to do is seek God’s forgiveness and believing upon Jesus Christ to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
See, before you can be saved you need to realize that you are lost and until you come that realization, you will continue to be lost.
Here is God’s promise to us.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
What many people today miss is that to come to that realization, one needs to understand that they are sinners. But not only sinners, they need to understand that it is their sin that is holding them back from a loving father.
It is the Holy Spirit that illuminates our sins to us. It is at that moment that we have the free will to either accept that we are sinners and have remorse over that and repent…
Or we ignore the Holy Spirits convicting voice and harden our hearts till the next time.
That is if there is a next time.
If one continues in their sin, we harden our hearts. It gets harder and harder to hear the Holy Spirits convicting voice.
But here is a fact. Sooner or later the Holy Spirit will stop convicting us and then He will turn us over to a reprobate mind.
Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Easy-Beliefism is Rampant
In scripture it states…
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
In today’s world the word “believe” has changed greatly.
To believe as spoken of in John 3:16 is to fully trust in God. A belief and trust that your very life depends upon it.
Scripture tells us that even the devils believe. In fact do you know that the devils are more pious than us? Yes it is true. They KNOW God and BELIEVE. So much so that they even tremble with respect.
James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
See, even the devils believe, but are they saved?
How many of us tremble with respect?
The seventh chapter of Matthew is the most terrifying chapter in scripture, at least in my opinion.
What many people do not realize is that in chapter seven of Matthew, Christ is talking to us, the believer, the Christian. It is a chapter that warns us to not buy into the easy-beliefism that is taught today.
Matthew 7:22-23 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Many will say to Him “Lord Lord.”
We Christians are the only ones who call Christ Lord.
“We have done this in your name and have done that in your name.”
In the following verse the Galatians are talking to Paul about what they have done.
Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
THEM – “ Hey Paul, well I am circumcised”
PAUL – Yea, so what.”
THEM – “ Well Paul, I am UNcircumcised’
PAUL – “Yea so what, that does not get you into heaven”
Get what Paul is saying?
US – “hey we go to church — we have been baptized – we have raised our hand – we have checked a 3×5 card.”
CHRIST – “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
It is only by grace thru faith. The very act of believing in Him, your life for Him, your all, your faith, your trust, your very being.
You want to understand what it means to really believe?
Here is the definition…
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
That is the definition of belief that John 3:16 talks about.
It is the faith and understanding that you alone can do nothing to get to heaven, it is only through Jesus Christ who paid the price that you will one day be able to be with our heavenly father.
Belief is not the sugar coated “believing” that is preached today.
It is waking up at 3:00 AM in the morning, in a cold sweat realizing that we are all filthy sinners and that all of us fall short of the Glory of God.
It is a belief where you cry out to God and ask, no almost beg because you are so convicted to forgive you of the sins you have committed in light of all that Christ did for you by dying on that cross.
You beg for forgiveness and that He become your savior.
It is at that time that we truly believe, it is at that time we submit our all and say “my life for you God.”
It is at that time that you really understand.
See, we all walk around saying that we are Christians and know Christ.
But in reality that is not the important thing.
What is important is that Christ knows us.
For example, we may all say we know the president. But if we showed up on the front lawn heading into the white house the secret service would tackle us to the ground and take us away.
All this time we are screaming “I know the president! – I know the president!”
It does not matter.
Now, if the president came out of the white house and pointed to you and called you by name, then the secret service would let you be, because he, the president, knows you.
It is the same way being a Christian.
This is why it does not matter what we do, it will not get us into heaven.
What matters is who we know, or better yet, who knows us.
It is at the moment of our salvation that God does a literal miracle in our lives. He recreates us into a new being.
So if we are not truly saved, we are not that new creature.
Just Another Carnal Christian – You Will Know Them By Their Fruits
If you are a new creation, then God will be working in your life changing you from the inside out. Sometime this change is fast, sometimes slow, but we are always changing. What is taking place is that our old fleshly selves are being changed more into the likeness of Christ.
When we are saved / born again we are instantly created a new. This is how Christ knows us.
See if we are not saved, Christ will not know us.
So how do we know we are saved?
Scripture tells us the following…
Matthew 7:16-20 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
If we are saved, we produce good fruit. If we are not saved, then we do not produce good fruit. This is why I say that good things do not come out of bad people. Scripture backs that up. It is by our fruit that we know we are His or not.
Now do we who are saved still sin?
Yea sure we still sin, in fact we sin the moment we wake up till we sleep and even when we sleep we may be having not so good dreams.
So the big question is this, “How do we know we are saved?”
PZ Insider Pastor Mark Thomas told me the following…
What distinguishes a true Christian from a C.I.N.O.? (Christian In Name Only)
In most cases the answer is one word – guilt.
Those who are truly Christians are convicted when they sin and feel guilt whenever they do sin (and we all sin).
Those who aren’t true Christians don’t feel guilt, either because they have quenched the Holy Spirit or because they were never saved in the first place.
In fact, one of the sure ways to find out if you are really saved is how you react to sin.
If you just shrug it off and say “everyone sins”. Then you have problems.
If you hate every sin you have committed and feel guilt every time, you are saved.
So How Do You React When You Sin?
Me, I hate it. Just sitting here writing this causes conviction over things I have done. I hate that all I seem to do is sin. If it isn’t one thing, it is another. An angry or impure thought, a slip of the tongue, an unchristian gesture, a sinful gaze.
I understand when Paul calls himself the chief of all sinners. I am in line right behind him.
I try and try and try, but no matter what I fall from grace. It is a battle that we fight and will continue to fight till the day we are with Him.
But it is His grace that is sufficient for me. It is His loving forgiveness knowing that I will mess up. It is His understanding that I am trying and it is my hope that when the day comes I hear Him say “Enter my kingdom my good and faithful servant.”
I hate that I sin and here I am in the ministry, shouldn’t I be more “holy” or something?
Living a right life in the last days is a minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month journey.
Those of us who are called His children, we need to continue to fight the good fight. Keep pushing forward. Never stop walking up hill, never stop rowing against the current. To stop is to understand that we start slipping backwards towards the world and further from Him.
Do you want to see an example of good fruit? Here is something that a friend send me from a pastor in Zimbabwe…
“I am a disciple of the Messiah.
I will not let up, look back or slow down.
My past is redeemed, my future is secure. I am done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, mundane talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position or popularity.
I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised or rewarded.
My face is set; my goal is sure. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few.
My God is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, delayed or deluded.
I will not flinch in the face of adversity, not negotiate at the table of the enemy or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I am a disciple of the Messiah.
I must go until He comes, speak of all I know of Him and work until He stops me. And when He comes for His own, by the grace of God, He will have no problem recognizing me, because my colors are clear.”
– Unknown Zimbabwean Pastor
How many of us are that sold out for Christ?
How many of us display this sort of fruit?
How many of us burn with this sort of zeal?
Are we one of His?
Will He know us?
Are You One of His?
If Christ came back today, would He know you?
Have you truly believed in Him?
Have you come to a point in your life where the realization of your sin disgusts you and you know that there is nothing that you can do to get to heaven?
Have you come to a point of conviction and turned to Christ asking for real forgiveness?
Would you truly lay down your life, paying the ultimate price, before you renounced Christ?
If you answered NO to any of these, you need to do a check-up from the neck up.
There is a chance that you are not born again and a new creature in Christ.
I know that I would you rather live in a cardboard box and give up everything instead of going back to that old sinful life I once lived.
I look back at what I was and there are times a pit grows in my stomach and I can’t believe the things that I did before I truly committed my life to Him.
If you are not sure that you are one of His, you need to ask the Holy Spirit to do a work in your life. You need to ask forgiveness and repent, believing and trusting in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Before you can be saved, you need to realize that you are first lost.
That lost means that you are going to hell and forever be apart from our loving Father. Hell is the absolute separation from God. But on top of that we will burn for all eternity, never having peace, never having joy. It will be utter misery, pain, suffering and the ultimate in being alone.
That is what will be your destination if you are not saved.
Are you saved?
Christ COMMANDS us to repent so that we can be saved.
Act 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
But Christ also gives us this promise.
1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
I know that you want more.
You thought you prayed a prayer, maybe you raised your hand in church, checked a 3×5 card.
You thought that you were born again.
You bought into easy beliefs which is NOT scriptural no matter what you think or what you may have been told.
If you call yourself Christian and want more, stop right now and give your all to Him. Ask Him to forgive you and cleanse you of all your sins. Submit to Him and ask Him to be your Lord and Savior.
If you honestly believed in Him, you are now a new creation, God will start changing you daily. Walk away from the things of the world and start living your life for Him.
If I can help answer any questions you may have, please feel free to contact me, my wife and I are here to serve.
By Ray Gano
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In His Service,
Ray & Tracye Gano