The PRISONER OF THE LORD
June 2013 – Volume VII, No.6
A Church of God of Forrest City, AR Publication
P.O. Box 1001 Forrest City, AR 72336 870-633-2234
Written by Brother Robert Mitchell Edited by Pastor James Jennings
This is the "first death" on the road to salvation. The reason that I used the term "first death" is because this is where God has to humble your heart and you can see a better way of living. You may lack, however, the power, and understanding, and knowledge of how to receive it. So, as it is stated in Romans 10:9-10, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Your new life begins when you die out to your old life of sin (by repenting of all of your sins and believing that God has forgiven you), and say hello to the new life in Jesus Christ. True salvation gives you a better way of seeing things and a different way of how you look on life and see the world around you. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Repentance must come from the heart, and it must be genuine. In a little boy's kitchen, whom we will call Todd, is a clear glass jar on the counter that is full of cookies. Six-year-old Todd is determined to have a cookie. When his mom walks into the kitchen, a few minutes later, she finds the boy standing on the counter with one arm still in the cookie jar -- and chewing fast. The first words out of his mouth are, "I'm sorry." He is obviously sorry that mom caught him, and he's unhappy about the punishment that he expects to receive. But, Todd is probably not actually feeling remorseful (truly sorry) for eating the cookies. He simply got caught!
Believers and non-believers sometimes approach confession and repentance the same way. In what is thought of as "prayer," people get comfortable confessing and expecting forgiveness. Sorrow usually accompanies the admission of guilt, and feelings of shame and remorse are labeled as "repentance." What you must ask yourself is why are you ashamed? Too often guilt has shallow roots.
You're sorry to have been caught or sad over the consequences of your actions. At times, you are upset that you failed to live up to your own standards of good behavior. But, genuine repentance goes deeper than self-reproach. It involves a sense of grief over having wronged God by sinning against Him. Remorse is not the end of the story. Children of God, and those children to be, want to please their heavenly father, not grieve him. So, a man or woman who is truly repenting will feel driven to make a lasting change in attitude and behavior. The choice will be made to FORSAKE all sins and practice OBEDIENCE to all of God's Word. In response to true REPENTANCE, the HOLY SPIRIT pours his POWER and STRENGTH into the new believer, and his or her belief is strong enough to stand against Satan's temptations. In Acts 2nd Chapter, Peter left thousands of listeners asking the same question, "What shall we do?" The apostle's response was (and still is) simple - "Repent, and...be baptized of your sins." (Acts 2:38) As a result, 3,000 people were added to their numbers that day (verse 41)!
Both happen simultaneously. Yet, many people mistakenly believe they must change their way of living (repentance) before they can make a faith decision for the Savior. Repentance does not mean that you must completely change your ways and "clean yourself up" so you can then receive Christ as Lord. There should actually be no delay or separation between repentance and faith. If you're holding off on a decision for Christ until you think you are "ready" or "worthy," you're waiting in vain. Jesus is ready to receive you right now, and HE will clean you up AFTER you receive him. AFTER you receive him through faith and repentance, you will be given the power -- His power to truly become the person you were created to be. Wisdom will be given from God's Word that you will be able to recognize how faith, confession, and repentance are all necessary tools for beginning an intimate relationship with the Lord.
You need to believe that Jesus forgives your sins, which leads you to confess all of your wrongs to Him and turn away (repent) from them so that you will not continue to grieve your Father, Lord God. If one tool is ignored, the remaining two cannot complete the job of building a successful Christian life.
Faith means believing that God has forgiven you of all of your sins and He meets your needs, but it doesn't imply that you should be passive. The life of faith causes works of praying, obeying, serving, and keeping our hearts clear of sin. True repentance means living away from (separated from or free from) sin through the power of the Holy Spirit. Please realize that sin must be abandoned because it grieves God; otherwise, you will lose your fellowship with him. Remember, FORSAKE all sins and practice OBEDIENCE to all of God's Word.
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SCRIPTURE FOR THE MONTH
Romans 5:18 (KJV)
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.