So Great Salvation [3]   Leave a comment

So Great Salvation

So Great Salvation

So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?” Hebrews 2:3

In the previous post So Great Salvation [2], mentioned was made on the divine awakening made to sinners. These awakenings signs are everywhere, through the media, books, songs and nature. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to wake up from this sinful life because they like their sins and fear the Light (John 3:20). The god of this world has blinded the conscience of sinners.

However, the good soil represents those who were stirred by the awakening signs. Note that the same seed was sown on different soils. The reason it bore no fruits on some hearts resides not in its quality but in the hearts which received it.

We will now move on the next 2 stages of this salvation which are Conviction and Repentance. This is the work of the Spirit and no one else has the authority to do it. In essence, both awakening and conviction aim to make sinners realize their sinfulness and their need of God. The Spirit will bring conviction of sin to those who were awakened by the signs.

And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me.” John 16:8

It is interesting to note there that the #1 sin Jesus mentioned is not debauchery, vices, lies or common sins. The sin is unbelief. The list would be too long if our sins were named one by one. If I believe in Jesus, my sins are forgiven and it would be unnecessary to list down all my sins since they are all wiped off. If I refuse the Son, it implies that all my sins are still there. Faith or unbelief in Jesus is therefore sufficient to determine who will be forgiven and condemned.

When Peter preached, the Jews said: “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Acts 2:37

The Jews were convinced at this instant that they were sinners and looked for a solution. So Peter told them: “Peter replied “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38

God’s law itself makes us aware that we are transgressors and rebels. Now that the sinner realized his sinful heart, he asks anxiously “What will happen to me, what can I do, who will deliver me from this life of sin, I’m wretched and doomed to destruction, what have I done?

Thanks be to God, Jesus is the clear answer to these disturbing questions. Repent and believe in the name of Jesus-Christ and your sins will be forgiven.

Have you ever been convinced of sins to the point you asked yourself “what must I do to be saved from this body of sin“?

Paul said: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:24

If many people in the church are still slave of vices, it is because they did not repent. They did not repent because they were not convinced of how vile these sins were in God’s eyes. Could it be that they have not been convinced of their sins because they have never been awakened?

What was the message of John the Baptist?

 Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near

This is what our Lord Jesus Christ said:

and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Luke 24:47

Preach repentance messenger of God lest the pews be filled with heathen and your name be wiped off from the book of life for entertaining them!

Woe to grace preachers who refuse to preach repentance for fear of offending sinners.

Conviction of sin is not a festive moment for sinners, it is a moment of sorrows and grief that leads the soul to repentance. It is a grace of God to be able to repent.

do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.” Romans 2:2

But these sorrows are temporary since forgiveness follows repentance.

Paul even required repentance in the church. He did not use velvet gloves with them. This is what he said:

I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while.Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.” 2 Cor 7:8-11

It hurts when sin is being dealt with. Surgical operations are tough for a while but unless it is done there cannot be any expectation of health improvement. It is the kind of repentance God requires. What grace preachers teach are at best worldly sorrows but not repentance. These worldly sorrows results in spiritual death and not life since it makes people believe they are forgiven. It is like soothing the pain caused by cancerous cells through pain killers without actually dealing with it. Repentance is finishing once for all with sins that enslave. The result of repentance brings life but not everyone wants to repent because of their pride. It is a painful decision that many refuse to take because of the potential change of life that will incur. Fear of what people will say also make people refuse to repent. Genuine repentance does not look at what people will say. The soul who repents knows that the One he offended is God Almighty and approval of man no longer counts.

Basically, in order for repentance to occur, sinners need to be convinced of what they did wrong. I have seen with my eyes children who thought they were saved from their sins because they repeated a prayer of repentance taught by a minister. Oh what has the church done! We have excluded the Holy Spirit from the salvation of these souls! Only the Spirit can convince the soul of sin and bring it to repentance. How then can there be genuine repentance if there has been no conviction of sin? How can conviction of sin occur apart from the work of the Spirit? Preachers have not been given this divine authority to convince people of sin, this is the work of the Spirit. Servants of God are to preach God’s Word and let the Spirit make the soul born again. We do not understand how a soul is born again. It is a mystery Jesus said.

Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” John 3:6-8

God called us to preach the gospel and make disciples (Mat 28). Paul planted seeds through evangelism and Apollos did the follow up. But who made the seed turn to a plant? It was God the Holy Spirit who intervened in the middle and made this miracle of new birth. It was Him who brought people to repentance.

I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.” 1 Cor 3:5

Let us preach repentance nothing more, nothing less. God’s Word is powerful enough to quicken the soul of man. The Spirit will make the seed sown grow, convict sinners of sin, bring souls to repentance and do the miracle of the new birth. Through all the stages of this So Great Salvation, the Spirit is actively at work.

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Posted January 6, 2014 by Cedric in Theology

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