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Series: Before I Die I Want To…
This Week: Be on Good Terms with God
TUESDAY– Conviction & Repentance
Today’s Big Point: We’ve got to confront our sinful nature and turn away from it in order to truly turn to God.
There are a lot of teachings out there that preach a “feel-good” gospel where Jesus’ love and forgiveness are highlighted in neon lights. Proponents of the “feelgood” gospel focus non-believers on the free gift of forgiveness and a bright-andshiny heaven. But, what about sin? At what point do we own up to the sin in our lives? Until there is conviction of sin, a person feels no need for a Savior. What is there to be saved from? Before God’s Holy Spirit brings conviction, the sinner thinks, “I’m a pretty decent person. I live a good moral life.” He compares himself with murderers, rapists, child molesters, and the like, and thinks that things must be okay between him and God. But when the Holy Spirit begins to convict the person about sin, righteousness, and judgment, the person begins to see that God will judge not only outward actions, but also every evil thought and every careless word. He judges everyone, not based on a curve of human goodness, but by the perfection of His own holiness.
In Acts 2:38, Peter is not being technical about the sequence of salvation, but rather is viewing repentance and baptism as a package, with baptism being the fruit of repentance. You receive forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit at the point of repentance. Baptism should follow soon after repentance and faith in obedience to Christ as Lord.
What does the Bible say? Acts 2:37 (New Living Translation)
37 Peter’s words pierced their (the crowd) hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
Acts 2:38 (Good News Translation)
38 Peter said to them, Each one of you must turn away from your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven; and you will receive God’s gift, the Holy Spirit.
THINK…Find the answers
In Acts 2:37, Peter is preaching to a crowd of people and sharing the gospel message with them. Once the crowd listened to Peter, they were convicted of their sin. Then, what did they want Peter to tell them?
Acts 2:38 is Peter’s response to the crowd, who were ready to accept Christ for themselves. This verse is often misinterpreted. What are the instructions Peter gave the crowd?
LIVE…What will you do now?
There should be a point in life when you realize the sinful condition of your heart, especially when you realize how holy and perfect God is. That point of realization is known as conviction and it is usually after that point that a person is ready to accept God’s forgiveness for his or her sin. Has this happened for you? If so, how did it happen?
Four elements of repentance:
1. Repentance is not optional for salvation.
2. Repentance means turning from a life of sin to Jesus as Savior and Lord.
3. Repentance requires seeing how Jesus is.
4. Repentance requires being convicted of how terrible our sins are in God’s sight.
Repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin. The thought that a person could knowingly hang onto his sins with one hand while he receives the gift of salvation from a holy God with the other is inconceivable! (adapted from Charles Spurgeon)
Once we are convicted of our sinful condition, we are called to repent or turn away from our sins and turn to God. Repentance occurs at the time when we first place our faith in Christ, but we are also called to turn away from the sin that tries to invade our lives each day.
Once we come to faith in Christ, there will be other times when we should experience conviction of sinful patterns or behaviors. How can you know when you are being convicted of sin in your life?
What do you sense that God is calling you to repent or turn away from?
PRAY…God, what do You want me to know & do? Today’s topic might have been pretty weighty— especially if you are experiencing conviction right now. If so, it is so important that you take time to confess your sin today—acknowledge that you’ve sinned—and then ask God for forgiveness.
Daily Bible Reading Commentary: Ecclesiastes 11-12
11:2 Be generous while there’s plenty, and make friends while time remains, because one never knows when he might need them to return the favor.
11:7-12:8 Solomon crystallizes the book’s message. Death is imminent and with it comes retribution. Enjoyment and judgment, though strange partners, come together in this section because both clamor for man’s deepest commitment. Surprisingly, one does not win out over the other. In a world created for enjoyment but damaged by sin, judgment and enjoyment/pleasure are held in tension. With too much pleasure, judgment stands as a threatening force; with too much judgment, enjoyment suffers. In the final analysis, both are prominent themes of life that are resolved in our relationship to God, the primary issue of life and this book.
11:3-6 The world is full of things we’ve no control over—including God’s purposes.
11:9 “Rejoice…judgment.” The two terms seem to cancel out each other. How can this be explained? Enjoy life but don’t commit iniquity. The balance that’s called for insures that enjoyment isn’t reckless, sinful abandonment. Pleasure is experienced in faith and obedience, for as Solomon has said repeatedly, one can only receive true satisfaction as a gift from God.
12:13-14 Solomon’s final word on the issues raised in this book, as well as life itself, focus on one’s relationship to God. All of the concern for a life under the sun, with its pleasures and uncertainties, was behind Solomon. Such things seemed comparatively irrelevant to him as he faced the end of his life. But death, in spite of the focused attention he’d given it, was not the greatest equalizer. Judgment/ retribution is the real equalizer as Solomon saw it, for God will bring every person’s act to judgment. Unbelievers will stand at the Great White Throne judgment (Rev 20:11-15) and believers before Christ at the Bema judgment (1Co 3:10-15; 2Co 5:9-10). When all is said and done, the certainty and finality of retribution give life the meaning for which David’s oft-times foolish son had been searching.