From Morning and Evening:
“Help, Lord!” will suit us living and dying, suffering or laboring, rejoicing or sorrowing.
Jesus, the Redeemer, is altogether ours—and ours forever. All the offices of Christ are held on our behalf. He is king for us, priest for us, and prophet for us. Whenever we read a new title of the Redeemer, let us appropriate Him as ours under that name—as much as under any other.
All His thoughts, emotions, actions, utterances, miracles, and intercessions, were for us. He trod the road of sorrow on our behalf, and has made over to us as his heavenly legacy the full results of all the labors of his life. He is now as much ours as heretofore; and he blushes not to acknowledge himself “our Lord Jesus Christ,” though he is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
If we would find Christ, we must get into communion with His people, we must come to the ordinances with His saints.
Every individual believer is precious in the sight of the Lord, a shepherd would not lose one sheep, nor a jeweler one diamond, nor a mother one child, nor a man one limb of his body, nor will the Lord lose one of His redeemed people. However little we may be, if we are the Lord’s—we may rejoice that we are preserved in Christ Jesus.
Our prayers and efforts cannot make us ready for heaven, apart from the hand of Jesus, who fashions our hearts aright.
From Old Paths, chapter sixteen, Repentance:
I can fancy some one saying, “Is this the Gospel? . . . Are these the glad tidings? Are these the good news of which ministers speak?” “This is a hard saying, who can hear it?” (John 6:60.)
But from whose lips did these words come? They came from the lips of One who loves us with a love that passeth knowledge, even Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
They were spoken by One who so loved us that He left heaven for our sakes,--came down to earth for our sakes,--lived a poor, humble life, for three and thirty years on earth for our sakes,--went to the cross for us, went to the grave for us, and died for our sins. The words that come from lips like these, must surely be words of love.
The words, “Except ye repent, ye shall all perish,” may seem at first sight stern and severe. But they are words of love, and may be the means of delivering precious souls from hell.
There are three things to which I ask attention in considering this text of Scripture. 1. First of all, I will speak of the nature of repentance:--What is it? 2. Secondly, I will speak of the necessity of repentance:--Why is repentance needful? 3. Thirdly, I will speak of the encouragements to repentance:--What is there to lead men to repent?
Repentance is one of the foundation-stones of Christianity. Sixty times, at least, we find repentance spoken of in the New Testament. What was the first doctrine our Lord Jesus Christ preached? We are told, that He said, “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel.” (Mark 1:15.)
We are all born in sin. We naturally love sin. We take to sin, as soon as we can act and think, as the bird takes to flying, and the fish takes to swimming. There never was a child that required schooling or education in order to learn deceitfulness, sensuality, passion, self-will, gluttony, pride, and foolishness. Now when this heart of ours is changed by the Holy Ghost, when this natural love of sin is cast out, then takes place that change which the Word of God calls “repentance.” The man in whom the change is wrought is said to “repent.” He may be called, in one word, a “penitent” man.
It is not safe to deal in general statements, when doctrines of this kind are handled. I will try to take repentance to pieces, and dissect and analyze it before your eyes. (a) True repentance begins with knowledge of sin. The eyes of the penitent man are opened. He sees with dismay and confusion the length and breadth of God’s holy law, and the extent, the enormous extent, of his own transgressions. (b) True repentance goes on to work sorrow for sin. The heart of a penitent man is touched with deep remorse because of his past transgressions. (c) True repentance proceeds, further, to produce in a man confession of sin. The tongue of a penitent man is loosed. He feels he must speak to that God against whom he has sinned. Something within him tells him he must cry to God, and pray to God, and talk with God, about the state of his own soul. (d) True repentance, furthermore, shows itself before the world in a thorough breaking off from sin. The life of a penitent man is altered. (e) True repentance, in the last place, shows itself by producing in the heart a settled habit of deep hatred of all sin.
But now, is the picture of repentance complete? Can I leave the subject here, and go on? I cannot do it. There remains yet one thing behind which ought never to be forgotten. True repentance, such as I have just described, is never alone in the heart of any man. It always has a companion, a blessed companion. It is always accompanied by lively faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Take heed that your repentance be a business of your heart. It is not a grave face, or a sanctimonious countenance, or a round of self-imposed austerities,--it is not this alone which makes up true repentance towards God. Take heed that your repentance be a repentance whereto you turn to God. Take heed that your repentance be a repentance attended by a thorough forsaking of sin. Take heed, above all things, that your repentance be closely bound up with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. See that your convictions be convictions which never rest. except at the foot of the cross whereon Jesus Christ died.
I pass on now to the second point which I proposed to handle. I will consider the necessity of repentance. Why is repentance needful? All born of the seed of Adam,--all, without exception, need repentance toward God.
Why is such tremendously strong language used about this necessity? What are the reasons, what the causes, why repentance is so needful? For one thing, without repentance there is no forgiveness of sins.
The Lord Jesus Christ is ready to pity, pardon, relieve, cleanse, wash, sanctify, and fit for heaven. But the Lord Jesus Christ desires to see a man hate the sins that he wishes to be forgiven.
Without repentance there is no happiness in the life that now is. There may be high spirits, excitement, laughter and merriment, so long as health is good, and money is in the pocket. But these things are not solid happiness.
Heaven is a prepared place, and they who go to heaven must be a prepared people. Our hearts must be in tune for the employments of heaven, or else heaven itself would be a miserable abode.
No one ever reached heaven without “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Let no man ever persuade you that any religion deserves to be called the Gospel, in which repentance toward God has not a most prominent place. A Gospel, indeed! That is no Gospel in which repentance is not a principal thing.--A Gospel! It is the Gospel of man, but not of God. A Gospel! It comes from earth, but not from heaven.--A Gospel! It is not the Gospel at all; it is rank antinomianism, and nothing else.
So long as you hug your sins, and cleave to your sins, and will have your sins, so long you may talk as you please about the Gospel, but your sins are not forgiven.
Christ is a Saviour from sin, not a Saviour for man in sin. If a man will have his sins, the day will come when that merciful Saviour will say to him, “Depart from Me, thou worker of iniquity! depart into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41.)
I make my solemn protest against those modem delusions, “that all men shall go to heaven at last, that it matters not how you live,--that whether you are holy or unholy it does not signify, that whether you are godless or God-fearing, it is all the same thing,--that all at length will get to heaven.”
I cannot find such teaching in the Bible. I find the Bible contradicting it flatly. However speciously this new idea may be propounded, and however plausibly it may be defended, it cannot stand the test of the Word of God.
Heaven is the place to which God’s people shall go. But for those who are impenitent and unbelieving, and will not come to Christ, for such the Bible says, plainly and unmistakably, there remains nothing but hell.
I come now to the third and last thing of which I promised to speak. I will consider the encouragement there is to repentance. What is there to lead a man to repent? I know how slow man is to give up sin. You might as well tell him to cut off a right hand, or pluck out a right eye, or cut off a right foot, as tell him to part with his darling sins
At first they are all like cobwebs. At last they are iron chains. I know the power of pride, and that “fear of man that bringeth a snare.”
There are things in the Word of God which ought to nerve every heart, and arouse every one to repent without delay. (a) Hear, for one thing, what a gracious Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ is. I place Him first and foremost, as the great argument, to encourage a man to repentance I say to every doubting soul, Look at Christ, think of Christ. (b) Hear, for another thing, what glorious promises the Word of God contains. It is written: “Whosoever confesseth and forsaketh his sins shall find mercy.” (c) Hear, for another thing, what gracious declarations the Word of God contains: “When the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.” (d) Hear, for another thing, what marvellous parables our Lord Jesus spoke upon this subject. (e) Hear, lastly, what wonderful examples there are in the Word of God, of God’s mercy and kindness to penitent men.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible