Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. Acts 5:31.
Many are confused as to what constitutes the first steps in the work of salvation. Repentance is thought to be a work the sinner must do for himself in order that he may come to Christ. They think that the sinner must procure himself a fitness in order to obtain the blessing of God’s grace. But while it is true that repentance must precede forgiveness, for it is only the broken and contrite heart that is acceptable to God, yet the sinner cannot bring himself to repentance, or prepare himself to come to Christ…. The very first step to Christ is taken through the drawing of the Spirit of God; as man responds to this drawing, he advances toward Christ in order that he may repent….
When before the high priests and Sadducees, Peter clearly presented the fact that repentance is the gift of God. Speaking of Christ, he said, “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Repentance is no less the gift of God than are pardon and justification, and it cannot be experienced except as it is given to the soul by Christ. If we are drawn to Christ, it is through His power and virtue. The grace of contrition comes through Him, and from Him comes justification.
Who is desirous of becoming truly repentant? What must he do? He must come to Jesus, just as he is, without delay. He must believe that the word of Christ is true, and, believing the promise, ask, that he may receive. When sincere desire prompts men to pray, they will not pray in vain. The Lord will fulfill His word, and will give the Holy Spirit to lead to repentance…. With prayer he [the repentant sinner] will mingle faith, and not only believe in but obey the precepts of the law…. He will renounce all habits and associations that tend to draw the heart from God.
The Faith I Live By p. 110
—-Pray for my mom whose retina detached again. M
—-pray for my dad, he’s so sick. Erik
When Eileen was five, we moved to southern Alabama so Ron could go to an avionics college there. After working at a couple of unpleasant jobs, I finally was hired at the local Army base in the Physical Therapy department. I really enjoyed working there. Most of my patients needed only a little ultrasound, massage, and exercises. Some, needed whirlpool treatments. In addition, I had the pleasant task of teaching a pre-natal exercise class and then visiting the maternity ward to give the new mothers post-partum exercises. I liked that most of all as I could cuddle the newborn babies and rock them in the rocking chair.
One day, a new patient arrived in our department. A tiny, two year old girl, who was a victim of child abuse, needed whirlpool treatments for her terribly burned feet. Her father (a sergeant at the base) had placed her feet in a kettle of boiling water while her mother was at work. He, of course, was arrested but never admitted to wrong-doing. However, his story of how the “accident” happened just didn’t ring true. He said that his little daughter had knocked over the bucket of hot water that he was using to mop the kitchen floor. That must have been mighty hot water! Her wounds did not agree with his story, so it was obvious that he was not telling the truth. How true Solomon’s words, “the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.’ Prov 12:10
How often we are like that father in our treatment of one another. How often we “bite and devour one another” with our words just as cruelly as that abusive father boiled his daughter’s feet. (Gal 5:15) How many times we tear one another down by our gossip. The more we repeat it, the larger it grows. James tells us, “the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:5-8
How many times we turn others away by our harshness and lack of love. We may be correct in our beliefs. We may be zealous for the Cause. We may feel that we must exercise control over others’ lives to keep them in line, but force is not God’s way. Our Great Redeemer never forces. He sets before us “life and death, blessing and cursing” and loves us enough to allow us the freedom to choose. Deut 30:19 Moreover, with lovingkindness He draws us to Himself with “bands of love” which is “an everlasting love.” Jer 31:3; Hosea 11:4
Paul explains the importance of our having this same love, without which nothing else matters. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” 1 Cor 13
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” 1 John 4:7 Let us be careful to teach the truth in love, giving others the right to choose for themselves, loving them in spite of some of those choices. Let us “be diligent that [we] may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” by having all our words, actions, and attitudes pleasing in the sight of the One Who loves us so. 2 Peter 3:14