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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Perversion of Grace, #5
When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. (Acts 11:18)
The early apostles stressed repentance.
It is repentance that brings us to eternal life.
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: (Acts 17:30)
Repentance is more than belief or feeling sorry for our sins. To repent is to turn away from the world, from sin, and from self-will. To repent is to turn to God, to righteous and holy works and obedience to the Lord. Any conversion experience that does not include the works of repentance does not bring salvation to the believer. It is not enough to believe or be remorseful—or even to confess our sinful state. There must be the works of repentance.
The implication of current teaching is that the citizens of Heaven and Hell are not distinguished by the kind of people they are but by whether or not they profess faith in the fact that Jesus died for their sins and was raised from the dead.
We know that if Jesus comes to an individual and he refuses God's Christ, the judgment of God abides on him. We are not implying we can refuse to bow the knee to the Lord and then please God by our works. We cannot save ourselves by our own righteousness now that God has given His Son to die for our sins on the cross.
However, in our haste to show that man cannot save himself and that God has a grand plan of redemption for us, we have thrown out the proper scriptural balance. We are discounting the value God places on godly behavior. We are forgetting that only those who practice righteousness are accepted of God:
But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. (Acts 10:35)
The Scripture declares plainly that the person who practices unrighteousness will be judged of God whether or not he or she professes faith in Christ.
. . . I will give unto every one of you according to your works. (Revelation 2:23)
It is taught that the judgment of the believer's sins was accomplished on the cross and all that God will judge henceforth is the believer's works of service (meaning he will receive a marvelous reward if he serves God and a lesser reward if he does not). The contemporary doctrine is that the professor of faith in Christ has nothing to fear in the Day of the Lord even though he has neglected to serve Christ during his life on the earth.
The hastiest review of the New Testament writings will make plain that the concept of the lukewarm Christian having nothing to fear is a dreadful corruption of Paul's doctrine of the grace of God in Christ.
And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:30)
We have made the Word of God of none effect by our traditions.
What a perversion of the Gospel of the Kingdom modern Christian teaching is!
To be continued.