REPENTANCE: Legal vs. True

Repentance

Grant Swart

If our forgiveness was dependent on what we as sinners could do (or refrain from doing), in order to repent, who would be so bold as to claim that they could achieve it sufficiently as to gain recognition by a perfectly Holy God? Is repentance something we can and should do in order to be saved, or is repentance a gift granted to those who are saved by God?

All too often one hears the instruction issuing forth from religious zealots: “You must repent, you must turn from your sin, you must turn to God, or…!”. In my country, as I suppose it is in many others, many will-worshipping churches have coined a new favourite phrase: “Turn or burn!”, and in some Afrikaans congregations the translated phrase, “Draai of braai”, is bandied about with even more self-righteous enthusiasm. As if it were simply up to the listener to do the turning, and God will have no choice but to accept those who turn!

Those who do not have Christ, hear these warnings and are left terrified by their own inability to do what the preacher expects of them. They have heard the stern instructions, but have no understanding of it, no idea of where to start, or how to go about this seemingly impossible task. How can they turn to God when they do not know Him, do not know where He is, or who He is? How could they possibly repent without God’s help and without the guidance of His Holy Spirit? Continue reading

TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT SALVATION

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Grant Swart

I pray that it is my humble and heartfelt intent to write concerning an earnest directive which believers have been given, and that is, to truthfully pass on to those who do not know the Lord, the liberating and glorious facts concerning the means of salvation which the Gospel proclaims. When we consider all which constitutes the doctrine of salvation in the Gospel, it is impossible to disentangle it from the truth about God, the truth about men, the truth about sin, and the truth about Christ.

So often today the word “salvation” is used in very loose terms, ascribing to it many man-centered, phony ideas and fanciful doctrines which sound reasonable and very appealing to man’s conscience and which man readily accepts. Many of these are simply intended to soothe man’s guilty conscience, and leave him with a false comfort that man himself remains the ‘captain of his soul’ and in control of his eternal destiny. However, biblical truth about salvation is that man is not in any position to determine or secure his own salvation, by means of a decision or by applying his will or effort.

One is not likely to hear from the mouths of most preachers, that man is hopelessly unable to choose to follow God, or to decide to allow God into his life. Contrary to what many billboards around our country proclaim, man cannot, and indeed will never want to, turn back to God, unless he has been called to do so by God. Continue reading

The Lord’s Garden

Lords Garden

by J. C. Ryle

“A garden enclosed is My sister, My spouse.” Song of Solomon 4:12

The Lord Jesus Christ has a garden. It is the company of all who are true believers in Him. They are His garden.

Viewed in one light, believers are Jesus Christ’s SPOUSE. They are all joined to Him by an everlasting covenant that cannot be broken; wedded to Him by the marriage of faith—taken by Him to be His forever, with all their debts and liabilities, with all their faults and imperfections. Their old name is gone—they have no name but that of their Bridegroom. God the Father regards them as one with His dear Son. Satan can lay no charge against them. They are the Lamb’s wife—”My Beloved is mine, and I am His” (Song. 2:16).

Viewed in another light, believers are Christ’s SISTER. They are like Him in many things. They have His Spirit—they love what He loves, and hate what He hates—they count all His members brethren—through Him they have the spirit of adoption, and can say of God, “He is my Father.” Faint indeed is their resemblance to their elder Brother! And still they are like.

Viewed in a third light, believers are Christ’s GARDEN. Let us see how and in what way. Continue reading

WHAT IS IT TO PREACH THE GOSPEL?

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  To preach the gospel is SIMPLY TO DECLARE IT AND DECLARE IT SIMPLY. God never called a preacher to defend the gospel, apologize for the gospel, explain the gospel, or adorn the gospel. It is my job to declare the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4) in such plain, simple terms that its doctrine cannot be mistaken.

 

To preach the gospel is to DECLARE IT AS GOD’S MESSAGE. Our gospel is the gospel of God, not the gospel of the Reformers, the gospel of the Puritans, the gospel of the Calvinists, or even the gospel of the Baptists. If the message I preach to you is just my message, then you may hear it or not hear it without consequence. But if the message I deliver to your soul is God’s message, then you must hear and heed it, or suffer the consequences of ignoring and disobeying God. Continue reading

Heaven Sent Preachers and Man Made Preachers – There is a Difference

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Man Made Preachers today are licensed and ordained by “the church”; Heaven Sent men of old were ordained and sent by God.

Man Made Preachers today go forth armed with degrees and credentials; Heaven Sent men of old went forth anointed by the Holy Spirit.

Man made Preachers today are questioned by committees and hired to preach what the church believes; Heaven Sent men of old came preaching “Thus saith the Lord”.

Man Made Preachers today give themselves to programs, visitation, and church business; Heaven Sent men of old gave themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word.

Man Made Preachers today preach and men are persuaded to move their membership; Heaven Sent men of old preached and, “they were pricked in their hearts and cried, Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

Man Made Preachers today pray while the organ plays softly; Elijah prayed and the fire of God fell.

Man Made Preachers today are afraid that they will offend someone; Paul was afraid that he wouldn’t. If there is no offence, the cross has not been preached. Continue reading