Return to Repentance

Posted by Pastor Les on

Years ago, the sermons in evangelical churches were often described as “hellfire and brimstone” – “hell is hot and you better get right with God or you are going there.” Whether it was a reaction to criticism or compassion kicking in, the emphasis became, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” The hellfire spoke little if any of God’s grace in redemption. The love of God said little about our sinfulness and hopelessness apart from God. I’m not sure where we are today. We are not talking much about either. God’s love for sinners has been edited to “God loves me because I am so loveable.” And since there is such an emphasis on “me”, there is no room for repentance. But repentance has always been a significant piece in redemption. John’s message was “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Jesus’ message was the same. So, too, was the message of the Apostles. In my understanding, repentance is the first response of a heart that is regenerated. If that’s not there, neither is regeneration. I am not suggesting preachers return to a steady diet of hellfire, but we must not eliminate the call to repentance. Those who will not repent will perish.

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