Love, Acceptance & Repentance | Pastor William Bedsole
We live in a day where people are hurting. People are looking for a place to belong. They’re looking for a place where they fit in. Thank God, as believers, the Bible says we are accepted in the beloved. We, who were sometimes afar off and alienated from the life of God, are reconciled back to God. He made a way where there was no way.
Whenever we hear the good news of Jesus Christ, we have an option. To embrace it or reject it. If we accept it, repent and receive Jesus as our Lord & Saviour, then we are saved. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16)
When we come to God, He accepts us just as we are and we don’t need to clean our life up prior to coming to him. But by accepting Christ, we give Him permission to not leave us in the same state we once were. Sometimes we talk so much about acceptance, but we cannot separate it from something else called repentance. When Jesus started His earthly ministry, He preached, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Today, the same call sounds forth to a lost and dying world; “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”
The Bible declares that the goodness of God leads us to repentance. Because of His great love and seeing how good He is, it should cause us to repent. To repent means – “to have a change of mind and purpose. It is a turning away from evil and sin.” Repentance is literally a ripping away of sin. It is not just a mental agreement; it’s a heart change. That’s why many people today don’t even talk about repentance. It’s not fun nor popular and sure isn’t politically correct.
We live in a day where the word “sin” is archaic. It’s more commonly referred to as “problems” “issues” or “personal preferences”. The real problem is that people aren’t recognizing things as sin, therefore they are not getting the sin out of their lives, which separates them from God.
Many like to say that “Jesus preached love & acceptance.” No, He actually preached repentance and obedience. To repent means that one moment you’re going one way and another moment you’re going another. People like to believe that they are loved and accepted by God, but they don’t feel motivated to change and walk away from sin. Love and acceptance can truly only come with having a repentant heart. In fact, when you tell people what God’s Word says in regards to sin, they think you are being judgmental and harsh. Many will say, “Where is your love?” But the truth is, is that God loves us so much that we don’t have to stay stuck in sin. And the Good News is, though I can’t change myself, He can change me radically.
People may read this and say, “Brother, don’t be religious.” or “Don’t be legalistic.” But the truth is, is that there is no freedom in sin, only slavery and bondage. The Bible says, “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.” (John 8:36) Some people may say, “Don’t tell me that. I just want to hear about grace.” Yes, we do thank God for the grace of God! However, grace doesn’t mean what a lot of people think. To many, it’s a license to sin. Grace, however, is His divine enablement to live according to His plan and precepts through the power of the mighty Holy Spirit.
So, never look at repentance as something negative. It’s a gift God has given us so we can experience His love, acceptance, grace, and mercy. And when God deals with you always be quick to repent. It’s the best and safest way to live, always keeping yourself close to Him.