FAITH AND REPENTANCE
All the good things that God has given to us have come to us for Christ’s sake. The forgiveness of our sins has come to us for Christ’s sake. The LORD Jesus took upon himself the punishment of our sin. God’s judgment on sin was fulfilled in Christ. When we approach God through faith in Christ, the Lamb of God that took away our sins – God passes over our sins and listens to us and hears us and answers us. He does this for Christ’s sake.
Sin is not merely a small offence against God. If it were so, Jesus would not have gone through what he went through. Sin is a very big deal to God. Those of us who view it as a small thing are very shallow in our thinking. Sin is an attack upon the moral government of God. It undermines the very foundations of society. If sin were allowed to have its own way, it would reduce everything to anarchy. It would even destroy the governing powers and the Great Ruler himself. God has a massive sphere that he governs – not just man who dwell on this earth. Under him there are countless angels, principalities and powers – and many worlds with intelligent beings. It would be foolish to think that God has made this massive universe, in which we see stars sparkling in the sky at night, without having placed living creatures in them. It is far more reasonable to see this earth as an insignificant speck in the divine dominion of the King of kings. If sin in man’s case were left unpunished, it would soon be known throughout the entire universe, worlds without number and by millions of millions of races of all creatures. This would cause these to sin without impunity. If one race (the human race) had done so, why not all the rest? Sin left unpunished would be a proclamation of universal license to rebel. Probably the worst calamity that could happen is that sin should go unpunished by the Supreme Judge of all creation.
It is his love as well as his holiness and justice that compel the LORD to be very severe in dealing with sin. If God’s justice demands penalty for sin, he himself supplies it in love. For Christ’s sake, God has now forgiven us – since satisfaction has been made to the injured honour of the divine government and justice is satisfied. It is because of what Jesus Christ has done on our behalf that God has forgiven us. For Christ’s sake, we have been forgiven. For Christ’s sake you and I have been forgiven.
When a man believes in Jesus, he is not what he was. He is a changed person altogether. Even his desires change. What he used to like, he now detests. The LORD Jesus has said, “You are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” If you are of the world, there is nothing you can expect except the world’s doom when the LORD Jesus appears. If you find pleasure in the world, you shall meet your condemnation with the world. If you live with the world, then with the world you shall die. Where there is no separation, there is no grace. If we are conformed to this world, where do we get the courage to talk about grace – if there is no difference between us and the world? Faith without works, which shows the difference between a believer and the world – that kind of faith is dead.
I have never said believers are perfect. In fact, I don’t think they are. I know they are not perfect, because I am one of them and I am not perfect as well. However, nearer to Christ and you are far off from sins. Faith in Christ creates a distance between us and sin. But if you love sin, you think little about it and you talk about it as if it’s a minor thing. If you have never humbled yourself before God because of your sins, then you must start afresh. If you pretend to be a child of God, but have never hated the sins which you once loved, then as the LORD lives, you know nothing about being saved. If you have believed, but have never repented of your sins, then beware of your believing. I am not telling any person to repent before coming to Christ – for that is a waste of time. It is impossible. But I am saying, once you have trusted Christ, you cannot remain unrepentant. There is no such a thing as unrepentant believer. The moment a person believes the truth, he repents. Faith and repentance are born together and they grow together in the life of a believer.