One of the beautiful facets of God’s love is His patience with His children.
For example, He goes out of his way to ensure that everyone spends eternity with Him in the Holy City. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 NKJV)
And how important is repentance? “When Jesus heard it, He said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.’" (Mark 2:17)
Repentance is at the very heart of our salvation. We are saved by grace, but we shall be judged by our works (Revelation 20:12).
We all struggle with sin. As a lay minister and counselor this truth is brought to my attention almost daily. Sometimes a sin is so strong it grabs hold of a person and will not let go. While true, that’s not an excuse, because God does not accept excuses, as every person on earth has a cross to bear. The issue is not the sin or temptation, but how we respond to His grace and mercy. If we love Him we respond with loving obedience, no matter how difficult.
Over the years I have had many sincere people come to me for help with their sin. Most of them respond to the Word of God and get their lives in order.
But there is a segment of the population who “work” on their failings by talking about them. While that’s a good start, it can never be the end result of our free will. Using a business axiom in a spiritual sense, “The bottom-line is the bottom-line.” And the bottom-line regarding repentance is this; if we fail to heed God’s warnings, we cannot join Him in the Holy City. That’s a bottom-line no one should even consider facing. Thankfully, God is patient. Notwithstanding, there is a point where repentance is no longer possible.
I cannot tell you how difficult it is to help some people understand that God’s tolerance is not to be presumed or exploited. He will not be used.
Beyond the boundaries of secular thinking lies the spiritual truth that says no one is promised tomorrow. “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14)
No one knows when his time is up. You may, for example, think you have time to quit an adulterous affair, and perhaps that’s true. But what if you don’t? What if you die while still having an affair? Here’s what you have to look forward to - you will not inherit the Kingdom of God (I Corinthians 6:9-10).
Feel you have time, because you’re too young to die? Without being flip, regardless of your age, a number of people younger than you pass everyday.
The obvious point is, while we struggle with our sin, we cannot let it determine our spiritual fate. We need to get right with God - now. As hard as that may be, it is nothing compared to an eternity in darkness.
There is another important aspect of putting off repentance that hardly anyone ever mentions. While God is longsuffering, He has limits. “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,” (Hebrews 10:26). Has anyone ever told you that? Probably not, as it is a truth few, even devout Christians and/or churches, like to speak about.
The world wants a God who has no guard rails. Society wants to believe the untruth that says we can do our own thing, no matter how vile, and still spend eternity with Jesus. That’s a message everyone can get behind. But it’s not true. It’s a damnable lie.
If we know we’re sinning, we have to stop doing what we’re doing, as if we don’t there no longer remains a sacrifice for our sins, not even the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. And without His blood washing us clean, we are rightfully doomed.
No matter how we look at this subject, we’re playing Russian-roulette with our soul when we don’t immediately make right that which we have made wrong.
Too many of us think we have time to get right with God, but we don’t. We might not have until tomorrow. And even if we do, we may have forfeited being saved for eternity for whatever sin we willfully refuse to turn from today.
Jesus came to save us; He endured unspeakable pain to save us; He literally went to hell to save us….not tomorrow, but today.
Ed Mrkvicka is an award winning Christian author, lay minister, and lifelong Bible student.
His newest book, “The Prayer Promise of Christ,” has just been named Christian Book of the Year by Books & Authors.net.
His web site is located at: www.EdwardFMrkvickaJr.com