John came preaching a doctrine of Repentance. The world he experienced was so different from God’s intentions that, without a change of direction, God’s children would continue to travel away from God instead of experiencing the reality of His Kingdom. Repentance is not a sorrowful expression of regret; rather it is a realignment of understanding based on the Scripture. The Jewish people built a religion founded upon the understanding of taught theology. The problem was the teacher’s interpretations were self centered rather than Holy Spirit inspired and, without a change in thinking, the Jewish people would not be open to the ministry of Jesus.
I am convinced there needs to be another period of repentance. For what we are witnessing today is a similarity to the era of John. Much of our understanding of Biblical truth is based upon our traditional interpretations. The Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees are very much alive today. We must once again gather at the Jordon River and resolve to rethink and reconsider what is Truth.
When Paul encountered a group of believers in Ephesus, he found a gathering of only 12 men. He asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit. Their response was they had not even heard there was a Holy Spirit! Paul pressed them by asking about their water baptism. They said they had experienced John’s baptism. Paul realized that John’s baptism had opened the door to Truth, but no one was there to teach them the Truth. Those 12 men were ready to receive and all that was needed was for Word to be taught to them. Paul told them about Jesus and they were baptized in Jesus’ name. This baptism was a symbolism of dying to one’s self and living for the one who died for them. (Acts 19: 1-7)
Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) Jesus said He was the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6) He is the “new” way. He is the “real” truth. He is the “abundant” life. For us to experience this reality, we must understand how God brings it to life. Once we decide to accept God’s Word, the door to the Kingdom of God stands before us. No one can come to the acceptance of Jesus Christ except God draws him. (John 6:44) The Scripture also points out that no one can come to the Father except through Jesus. (John 14:6) Salvation is not coming to God through a conscious mental acknowledgement; rather it is through God’s direct involvement in bringing man into the knowledge of Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God. When we realize and accept what Jesus has done for us, we in turn can come to God with the realization that He is our Heavenly Father. Salvation comes from the heart, not the head. Many people confess their knowledge of God, but their heart is far from God. Many people are drawn to Jesus through emotion and as a result are governed by their feelings. Feelings become the barometer of their faith. Luke-warmness comes upon them as their “spiritual” life experiences the high and low tides of life.
As we become true believers, the Holy Spirit dwells within us and will continue to guide us into all Truth. He will never speak of Himself, but He will share with us whatever He hears from God. He will also show us things to come. ( John 16:13) He will give us the power to represent the Kingdom of God and to be witnesses to those who do not know Him. ( Acts 1:8) How simple the message, yet how hidden and complicated we have made it.
Read more articles by paul hoffmaster or search for articles on the same topic or others.