A lukewarm Christian will have an unrepentant lifestyle. No one likes the word repent – although I am sure it is basically misunderstood. But, a Christian who is truly a disciple of the Lord Jesus and following Him closely, becoming like Him, is one who sees repentance as a vital and important part of their lifestyle. Taking a spiritual inventory and then repenting when and where needed is a regular occurrence in the life of those who are passionate for Jesus and His Kingdom cause.
Millions of believers worldwide have settled for a faith that comforts them and doesn’t challenge or change them. Settling for a watered-down version of Christianity leaves them the same year after year. This is not new. Two thousand years ago, Paul the apostle wrote two long letters to the most gifted and least mature church, the church at Corinth, to identify the root reason so many people attend church but remain unchanged.
It still happens today, when people say, “We want a version of Christianity that does not command us to repent. It tolerates our lifestyle and also affirms it.” People who think this way don’t exist to glorify God. To them. God exists to grant permission to do whatever they want.
Paul said people basically fall under three types, outlined in 1 Corinthians:
1> People who know God (1 Corinthians 2:12-13) These people are forgiven, filled with the Spirit of God, and beginning to live a God-honouring life.
2> People who don’t know God (1 Corinthians 2:14) These people are disconnected or distant from God.
3> People who know God, but live like they don’t (1 Corinthians 3:1-4) These are “infants in Christ” who require the “milk” of the Word and not “solid food.” They are people of faith; however, they lack faithfulness.
Somehow, Christianity has been corrupted by the wide-spread teaching that the only thing that matters to God is what you believe. Almost all Christian churches require adherence to a statement of faith. That is a good thing, because the Bible is clear: what you believe does matter! But equally important is this: how you live matters to God. And when the way you are living doesn’t match up with what the Bible calls you to, does not match up with your beliefs, God has a one-word solution – repent.
The striking words of Jesus in Revelation say, “Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth” (Revelation 2:16).
Now, really, no one likes the word “repent.” However, I have come to believe that repentance is one of God’s greatest gifts. It is a gift because repentance is the opportunity to…
- Get free from your past! Repentance is God’s invitation to let is grace enable you to let go of your past.
- Change your future! Repentance is God’s invitation to experience His power to change.
- Break bad habits! Repentance is God’s invitation to stop doing wrong and to start living right.
- Heal your image of God and your image of yourself! Repentance is God’s invitation to jettison flawed, destructive thinking and to start building your life on His truth and wisdom.
- Make an impact! repentance is God’s invitation to stop self-centred living and start giving, serving, and caring.
Repentance is one of the great gifts of God, yet it requires humility, because it starts with saying to God, “I am wrong, You are right, and I will submit.” Then a brand new beginning starts! When this becomes a reality then you will no longer be happy or content with lukewarm.