Real Repentance 33

Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 “Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; 9 and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.

God never makes any man what he should be, without first making him know what he is. O God, take the veil from my heart; take the world, take pride, take self out of my heart, and write there all they laws, I beseech thee. (Thomas Adam, Private Thoughts on Religion)

I received a magazine called SBCLIFE in the last day or two. There was a large heading that said GREAT AWAKENING and then “SBC Messengers Pray for US, World.” The reporter quoted several men and their words calling for people to pray, seek racial reconciliation, and to ask for an awakening or revival. As I read the report, and without knowing how many other things were said and went on, I was struck by the lack of recognition of what revival really is and what it would take. It seemed as if people thought God had to send it but it was almost as if He needed them to do things for Him to send revival. What a striking contrast to the statement of Thomas Adam above who recognized that God must make us what we should be.

The SBC is not in trouble because of racism or because of the many things listed, though one man did speak of pride which is a problem, it is in trouble because it has cast true theology behind its back and has focused on business models for church growth. The SBC is in trouble because it is looking to men and works for its help rather than God. Indeed it appeared to be giving lip service to God sending revival, but until men repent of thinking that God is waiting on them to get right in some way before He sends revival these men are clueless as to the nature of true revival.

I would argue that until there is a true working of God in the hearts of men in the SBC and they seek true repentance from God so that they will turn from their wicked ways of church growth and the wicked theology of Arminianism and Pelagianism, their works of prayer will have no effect but that of bringing a greater hardening upon their hearts. While one man gave lip service to the idea that we are like the Pharisees in our day, and that very well may be true, it is like the Pharisees to think that if we can do certain things then God will respond by giving us revival. That is another thought that men must seek the Lord to repent of.

Some will think that this as lacking graciousness or winsomeness, but the article and the actions and words of those in the SBC reveal a severe lack of the awareness of God, the reality and truth of grace, and the true nature of repentance. We don’t get to pick and choose what God would have us repent from, and we have no power to do anything to move God to send true revival. In accordance with the truth of Matthew 3:7-9, we can say “you brood of vipers, who told you that you could seek revival?” But again, “and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.” God does not need the SBC and God does not need for them to do anything so that He will send revival. God only needs Himself to send revival. God only needs Himself to regenerate lost souls.

It is utterly vital that all things flow from the sovereignty of God and the free-grace of God rather than from the religious words and works of men. The article in the SBC magazine, if an accurate portrayal, revealed a great ignorance of the sovereignty of God and the free-grace of God. Men should not strive to work up repentance in themselves from the things they think are so bad, they should seek the Lord to be shown what they need to repent of and then seek Him to work that repentance in them. While they are speaking of racial reconciliation, they need to know the truth of free-grace so that they may know what it means to be reconciled to God. Racial reconciliation is not true repentance in and of itself and repentance from that on the surface cannot move God to show revival. True racial reconciliation can only happen in Christ and by grace, but it never, ever moves God to bring revival. Neither will all the works and prayers of men move God to bring an awakening or revival. Revival comes by grace alone which Christ alone can work in us and it is that grace which works true repentance in us. Revival or perhaps God’s working in His people to bring revival results in true repentance, but we must never, ever even sound like we believe that we can move God to send revival by what we do. We can do nothing spiritual but what we receive first.

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