Repentance is no more a meritorious work than its counterpart, faith. It is an inward response. Genuine repentance pleads with the Lord to forgive and deliver from the burden of sin and the fear of judgment and hell. It is the attitude of the publican who, fearful of even looking toward heaven, smote his breast and cried, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” (Luke 18:13). Repentance is not merely behavior reform. But because true repentance involves a change of heart and purpose, it inevitably results in a change of behavior.
The ongoing cultural situations, especially concerning the Confederate statues, are frustrating and we should do what we can to preserve our history. But for us as Christians, let’s not lose our perspective and focus and allow frustration and anger to overtake what our true identity is and what our true mission is. Im speaking to myself first and foremost. This clip from John MacArthur says it well.
Scripture speaks with absolute, unmistakable clarity on these vital issues:
(1) Sinners are utterly helpless to redeem themselves or to contribute anything meritorious toward their own salvation (Rom 8:7-8).
(2) God is sovereign in the exercise of His saving Will (Eph 1:4-5).
(3) Christ died as a substitute who bore the full weight of God’s wrath on behalf of His people, and his atoning work is efficacious for their salvation (Isa. 53:5).
(4) God’s saving purpose cannot be thwarted (John 6:37), meaning none of Christ’s true sheep will ever be lost (John 10:27-29). That is because
(5) God assures the perseverance of His elect (Jude 24; Phil 1:6; 1 Peter 1:5).
Those are the five points of Calvinism. I believe them not because of their historical pedigree, but because that is what Scripture teaches.
The god of religious tolerance is not the God of the Bible. It is Satan who doesn’t care what we believe—or how sincerely we believe it—as long as we don’t believe God’s Word. To portray God as tolerant of all forms of worship is to deny the God of Scripture. After all, this was His first commandment: “I am the Lord your God. . . . You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:2–3).
If we believe the Bible, we cannot concede that other religions might be true as well. Christianity, if true at all, is exclusively true. Inherent in the claims of Christ is the assertion that He alone offers truth—and all religious systems that deviate from His truth are false (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
Of course, such a view contradicts the relativistic values of modern culture. Pluralism and diversity have been enshrined as higher virtues than truth itself. We’re not supposed to say our beliefs are right and all others are wrong. That is regarded as backward, outmoded, discourteous. In other words, we’re not really supposed to believe our religious beliefs; we’re only allowed to hold them as personal preferences.
These are not new issues; the church has waged an ongoing struggle over these very matters at least since the turn of the century. This very same appeal for broad-mindedness in religious standards and beliefs has always been at the heart of the agenda of theological liberalism; indeed, it is precisely what the term liberal originally meant. What is new about today’s appeals for tolerance is that they come from within the evangelical camp.
Preachers are men—that’s all. And men are not perfect, so there is no hope of perfection in the ministry.
If God could not use poor instruments and feeble voices, He couldn’t make music. Abraham was guilty of duplicity, yet he became the man of faith and the friend of God. Moses was a man of stuttering speech and a quick temper, yet he was the one chosen to lead a nation, to represent them before God, and to receive His law and deliver it to them. David was guilty of adultery, conspiracy, murder, and unfaithfulness as a husband and father, but he repented and was regarded as a man after God’s own heart. He was also the greatest songwriter of all history. We still sing the songs of this “sweet singer of Israel.” Elijah ran from Jezebel, pleading for euthanasia, but this same Elijah defied Ahab and all the prophets of Baal, and heard the still small voice of God at Horeb. In the midst of the heavenly vision, Isaiah said, “I am a man with a dirty mouth; I live among people with dirty mouths. I’m certainly useless to you, O God.” But when he had been cleansed, he said, “Here am I; send me,” and God said, “Go.” Peter was another clay pot, the leader and spokesman of the twelve apostles, but he denied his Lord with oaths and curses, and even had the audacity to correct the Lord. However, he was restored by the compassion of Jesus in the midst of his disobedience, and was enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit to speak with such force on the day of Pentecost as to be the agent by which God orchestrated the great introduction of the church. John the apostle expected to be praised by Jesus for refusing to allow a man not of their company to cast out demons in the name of the Lord. Likewise, he and his brother James wanted to call down fire from heaven and burn up a Samaritan village, and they sent their mother to ask that they might be given the chief places in the kingdom. Yet John became the beloved disciple, the apostle of love, the eagle who soared to great heights. He became, it seems, the apostle who pierced the deepest into the mystery of the incarnation.