There’s a young lady who is madly in love with her boyfriend. She wants to be with him all the time. She wants to spend her whole life with him—no matter where it takes them, she wants to be by his side. Then finally the day comes he brings her a velvet box. She’s so excited. He gets on one knee and hands her the box. She is beside herself with excitement and joy. She opens the box and inside is a set of keys. She is very confused and asks him ‘what does this mean?’ He explains he is ready for her to move in and live with him. She asks why just move in? Why not get married? He again explains ‘you are the best woman I’ve ever met, and I don’t want anyone else, but I’m not ready to change my entire life the way you would like if we settle down. I know there are things in my life that aren’t pleasing to you, I don’t want you telling me when to be home or you be worrying when I’m out all the time. I’m not ready to share the money I work for with you just yet. I don’t want the pressure of being a good husband. Living together, I can still have you in my life when I don’t want to feel alone, but I can be free to be me.’
Now how do you think that poor girl would feel? Would she feel loved and cherished? Would she feel he would truly want to share his life with her? Would she be fulfilled and content in this arrangement?
Last week we used The Sand Ceremony of how our lives become one with Jesus Christ when we accept Him. How we die with Him and begin an entirely new life IN HIM. Our two lives become one in the most intimate way from that time forward….NOW DOES THAT SOUND LIKE MARRIAGE OR “JUST LIVING TOGETHER”?
There is an epidemic problem with many who decide to become Christians today. One massively important thing many Christians miss when they decide to follow Christ—something that today feels old and outdated but is something that is literally the center of having a real relationship with Christ. Listen to these verses for a common thread that is a FIRST NECESSITY when coming to Christ.
2 PETER 3:9
We get this idea “repentance” is an old fashion word being yelled by backwoods prophets from the Old Testament of God’s wrath and it has very little to do with the Grace and Mercy that we have been talking about recently. So much so, that some completely neglect the idea they have to repent from or change anything in their lives as a part of accepting Christ as Savior.
They think they have to simply believe He exists, accept His sacrifice, and they’re home free; with no thoughts toward conviction over their own selfishness, no guilt over showing lack of love to others, no brokenness over the sins they have committed, no thoughts or desire to change much about their lives and goals. To believe this means we have no idea who God is, no idea who we truly are, or what He has even come to save us from in the first place! It totally negates everything Christ died for and what He is trying to accomplish in us.
Yes, God has come to save us just as we are today because He loves us dearly, even in our fallen state, because He knows what we were created to be and what we one day can become. We forget He came to us BECAUSE WE ARE IN NEED OF SAVING! We are not ok, we are not acceptable as we are, we are self-focused, self-destructive, unrighteous, pursuing empty goals out of sin and ignorance, and in our current state of mind and heart could never or even want to truly be with a Perfect and Holy God. Jesus did not give up His Throne in Heaven, His royalty, to die a torturous death in humility to save us from something that made us so unacceptable and lost just so we could remain that way. He died so that we might see what true love and righteousness are all about—and change.
To not see the need to change means we truly do not love Him, we do not truly want to be like Him, we just want “fire insurance: and blessings. To understand why this is paramount to God as the starting place for salvation or a relationship with Him, let’s look what repentance really means.
When you look at the deep concept of repentance you will understand it being paramount in your life. Some may realize they may not have truly accepted Christ as scriptures instruct.
Repentance is seeing His love and sacrifice and realizing what He’s done to save you deserves a response in how you live for Him. It’s seeing something awesome and deserving in Jesus that he is worth any and everything He asks of me in His wisdom and love, seeing His selfless way of loving and living is absolutely right and changing the direction of your own ways in response, it’s deciding that you just don’t want forgiveness for your sins, or to find a way around the punishment, but you want to be free of anything that takes Him away or hurts others. You actually want the righteousness you see in Him over your sin. You may still crave sin but you see the destructiveness and selfishness of it all and you want a different life.
You just don’t feel sorry or embarrassed, or fearful. You desire not to be what you are anymore. You don’t make excuses for the way you are. You simply take responsibility as a sinner and change. It’s seeing life so differently that you feel a complete change in your purpose and meaning. You don’t want the same life, goals, pleasures as before. A truly repentant and changed heart doesn’t “have to” but “wants to” use your time, energy, gifts, money, and life on something bigger and more worthy. It is a desire and joy, not a burden or requirement, because you want to join with everything you have with the One you love. It means we are no longer to be served but to serve others, accept we don’t know best and give up control of our lives to Him. It means ‘I’m not ashamed of the One who saved me’, it is saying that ‘my God does not like and can not accept my life as it is anymore so how can I possibly hold onto it any longer?’
Baptism is one of the most powerful pictures of our covenant with Christ. It’s an exact picture of repentance—dying to my old ways and rising a new person. Did you actually do that at salvation? Look at the radical differences at those who accepted Christ in scriptures: Paul went from a well-off, powerful, respected leader, to become hated, homeless, a hunted lover of God; the disciples didn’t just leave their careers, but changed their entire focus and goal for their lives. Millions left religions, families, jobs, countries, lifestyles, all because He was more important than the life they had lived. So, they repented and turned from it and changed everything. Repentance doesn’t necessarily mean you will have to leave or change anything physically: MARK 5:18-19. After he was healed, he was ready to go anywhere with Jesus, but Jesus told him to “to stay right where you are and let the world that knew you before see your repentant life.”
If Jesus wasn’t serious about repenting and turning from your old life why did He purposely run so many away from following Him who were not willing to change. How many would He turn away today?
Have you repented? If your life has continued on as before you gave yourself to Christ if you live the same life just with a little Jesus thrown in, did you really change? Did you really die to your old life? Or did you just sign up for “fire insurance” and benefits? Who are you focused about pleasing right now, Him or self? If you are still selfish, still focused on your own life, still unloving, uninterested and annoyed at others as you have always been? Still wanting to be in complete control of your life and everyone around you? Have you died to self? Have you been repentant about anything?
Real repentance means ending that sin you’re doing rather than hiding it or justifying it. Leaving that lifestyle or that person that is not of God. Being at church or bible study every chance you get to worship Him and love His people. Seeking His will for your career or abilities for life. Loving and serving others rather than avoiding, controlling, ridiculing or mistreating them.
IF YOUR LIFE DOES NOT REFLECT A PASSION FOR HIM AND A RADICAL CHANGE IN HOW YOU VIEW LIFE AND PEOPLE YOU PROBABLY HAVE NOT REPENTED OF ANYTHING.
Most of you will be called as the man in the graveyard to stay where you are and show the world your repentant life, but if we’re truly repentant and obedient some would be called to a totally different and new life: a change in job, lifestyle, significant other, or friends. A ministry position, here or abroad.
Always ask yourself if the change is stemming from a new uncontrollable love for Him or a desire to lift self up in a new way.
So many come to Christ today as though they are doing Him a favor by blessing Him with their decision to let Him save them. Saying a little prayer and living the exact same life but feeling saved because the “belief” Jesus is real. For anyone that says I got saved but didn’t feel a thing you are not understanding who He is, because at the very least you should be feeling an overwhelming desire to please Him in every way. At the very least you should be excitedly asking Him what changes you need to make to please Him. At the very least, be anxious to see what plans He has for you that you don’t know about.
2 CORINTHIANS 7:10-11
God is not interested in those that already feel as if they’re holy, just and good right where they are, because He knows that’s a lie and He knows that means you love self more than Him or even truth. So, if you are more interested in making Him accept your sin than changing to please Him, then you don’t want Him, and you can stay where you are.
If you see the love, humility, sacrifice, and perseverance He has for winning us as His own; if you understand just how selfish and hurtful you are and how much further you’d go into sin if left to yourself—then you are ready to repent; ready to love Him as He loves you; ready for His gift. Jesus does not give boxes with keys in them, only boxes with rings. Jesus wants a bride not a live in. He wants total commitment total togetherness, and that requires a lot of repentance and change from someone who was previously married to this world.
If you have lived a half-hearted life for Christ, wanting everything while changing little or nothing, He is worth so much more; He loves you so much more; He deserves so much more.
Truly accept His ring. Become His, and then repent of everything that would hurt Him or drive you apart.
What do you need to repent of? Have you truly repented of anything since believing in Him?
If not, you still have not taken the first and most important step to knowing Him intimately!
Looking for something specific? Use our search bar below