Leonard Ravenhill once said, “We don’t preach salvation, we preach forgiveness.” and how right he was. In this time in the world, we only want to focus on the forgiveness and love of Jesus Christ. And while this isn’t a bad thing as a whole (people have to know about His forgiveness and love, after all.) this is a very deadly thing to do. You see, when we focus too much on the forgiveness and never mention repentance, people won’t understand the fact that they have to repent. God won’t forgive you if you are continuing in your sin. The Bible says He won’t even hear your prayers. Never think that you’re somehow above getting a hardened heart. God can not forgive our sins unless we ask Him for salvation, unless we try our best to return from our sins. He will forgive us, for instance, if we make a mistake and then turn from it, He is full of grace! But He can’t forgive someone who doesn’t do anything to try and earn that forgiveness!
I think one of the serious breakdowns in modern evangelism is this: it has offered too much for too little. What we do mostly is offer forgiveness. We need cleansing! There is no true conversion until a man takes up his cross.
God gives us judgement when we don’t repent and turn to Jesus Christ, because He is a holy and righteous God. He can’t look at sin – remember, He couldn’t even look at Jesus when He was on the cross! His own Son, and He couldn’t look at His face. He turned from His Son and let Him die because He had taken those sins on. What makes you think that He will be able to look at us with love and forgive us, sinful, fallible humans, when He couldn’t even look upon Jesus Christ, our Savior?
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Matthew 27:46
God is holy, and He can not look at you, He can not have fellowship with you, unless you are pursuing holiness. Unless you are attempting to live a Christ-like life. No, you won’t be sinless. You will fail. And He accepts that, loves you despite your failure…but you must try!
When we preach this forgiveness and love and we fail to preach about repentance and salvation, we are sending people to Hell! When we tell people to rely on the sinners prayer and not true belief and repentance, we are sending people to Hell! It is time we stop being such cowards – who cares if they call you judgemental if you plant a seed that will one day be watered and grow? Who cares if they call you hateful if you convict them and make them see the light? Who cares if you are hated by this world if you are honoring Jesus?
Do not trifle with the sin that killed your Savior. Do not make make a mistake and fool poor sinners into thinking that they are okay without Christ’s intervention and repentance.
Listen – you don’t need to commit some terrible sin in order to go to Hell. All you must do is go along in your life without Jesus. All you must do is believe that you can somehow be okay in this life and in eternal life without Him. That is all. There are people living in this world who are clueless. Perhaps, they think they’re a good person and will go to Heaven based on works. I pity them, and I am angry at the Christians who allow this thinking to occur without trying to lead them to repentance! Perhaps, they believe that they will go to Heaven despite their homosexual lifestyle, despite their blatant sin, because we told them that God is completely loving and will accept them despite their flaws and doesn’t require repentance! Oh, those poor souls who have been fooled into thinking they have salvation because of us, because of false prophets!
Acts 3:19 – Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
Luke 13:3 – I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Ezekiel 18:21-23 – But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Proverbs 28:13 – He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh [them] shall have mercy.
Revelation 2:5 – Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
I could go on, of course. The Bible says a lot about repentance and the necessity of it. You see, everywhere in scripture, we see God offer forgiveness and mercy and grace, but first, He commands us to turn from our wicked ways! How do we receive salvation? Through His grace, of course. But how can we receive His grace if He can not look upon us in our sinful state?
Acts 2:38 – Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Ephesians says that we are saved by faith, not by our own works. Remember my last post on unfeigned faith – if we have true faith, which is what Jesus requires, we will be striving towards holiness. That is the only way to have true faith and a relationship with God. And in Matthew 7, scripture tells us that we have to do the will of the Father in order to receive salvation. Yes, we may backslide, but we should always return. (And if we don’t, know that God will judge us for that.) Do you think you can do the will of the Father with no repentance? We can’t have a relationship with God without repentance. We can’t do His will if we are also doing Satan’s works on the side.
We no longer talk about sin like we used to. I’m reminded of the Bible verse about how in the last days, people will call evil good, and good evil. We don’t call it like it is anymore. We don’t want to tell others that they are sinning, we don’t want to accept the fact that sin is sin. God doesn’t change, and the things He called sinful in the Bible are still sinful! How will people know to repent if they don’t know what their sin is?
David had one of the most blessed experiences in the world, and the blessedness was that he was miserable about his sin. -Leonard Ravenhill.
Why did King David repent of his sins and turn to God? Because he felt conviction! So how do we expect people to come to Christ or for Christians to experience revival if we hide the truth? If they never feel conviction? Ravenhill also said, years ago, that what this world needs is a big dose of conviction, and once again, he hit the nail right on the head.
We have a great corruption in our churches and in our world. There is a cancer spreading. We have put up with sin for far too long, and now we are so confused (because we let the world influence our church instead of the church influencing the world!) that we don’t even know if homosexuality is a sin, or what bathroom men and women belong in. We don’t know if we should be liberal or conservative, or pro-life or pro-choice. The women in our churches are running around and labeling themselves as feminists, the men are running around and acting like women! Where have the strong Christians gone? Where are the Ravenhill’s and Spurgeon’s and Tozer’s? Where has our hatred of sin gone! We are now so concerned with being accepted in this world that we’ve followed the world and forgotten about Jesus! We are letting the world tell us what our Bible says! We are letting the world tell us “Judge not” and quote scripture out of context and we believe them! Whatever happened to “Thus saith the Lord, God Almighty!” Whatever happened to the strong Christians? We’ve let the world tell us who Jesus is but they do not know Him!! What happened to the Christians who knew Matthew 23 and knew His holiness and His wrath?
What happened to Bible believing Christians?
We’re so far removed from God’s way of doing things– we think a man is a good man if he can draw a crowd these days. Do you know what Finney did? Finney preached sometimes, and the whole congregation got up and walked out on him. That’s a good meeting! He sent them out horrified! I only preach for two reasons these days: either to send people out that door blazing mad at me or blazing with the peace of the Holy Ghost! That’s all! – Leonard Ravenhill.
Here is why I preach. Not because I am a Pastor (good thing I’m not) and it is my profession. Not because I am paid to do it. Not because I like the attention. (Why would I want to receive threats..? Negativity?) But because I am bought by Christ. I know what I was, who I was, where I was going, before Jesus Christ saved me and cleansed me. I have seen first hand what sin does – what drug addiction does. What homosexuality and it’s lifestyle does. What abortion does. I know that sin nailed my Jesus to the cross, and I hate sin. I do not preach this way because I hate people, I preach this way because my God hates sin, and so do I. And if I’m not stepping on toes, I’m doing something wrong.
Fellow preachers, whether you be a pastor, a teacher, or just some stay at home daughter like me – forgiveness isn’t salvation, and you can’t have either one without acknowledging your sins, repenting, and believing on Jesus Christ as your Savior.