Our role in life is to share the gospel; to share God’s Good News. However, the opening word of the gospel message is “Repent!” And that word is our first challenge. You see, the good news is only good if people want to be rescued. If they do not think they are sinners, then the good news is just insulting to them.
So today you and I live our “ministry” lives with the tension of wanting to be liked by others while trying to be obedient Proclaimers of God’s good news. Our worldview, if it is driven by our culture, especially the Politically Correct culture, would lead us to make concessions to people in order to be accepted by them. However if you strive for missional living, guided by biblical theology which prioritizes God’s message, then inevitably you will make the majority of people dislike you.
Now it is not our goal to be disliked. But it is our goal to be faithful to the gospel no matter the cost. So where does the problem lie? The message is ultimately our problem because people resent its opening line: Repent! You see, implicit in the gospel is the requirement to repent; that requirement is an unyielding necessity to admit to one’s sins. And very few people welcome that part of the message.
There are two mysterious truths that make up the good news of the salvation message; one is comforting and the other is uncomfortable: the first is that God died to pay for everyone’s sin and the second is that everyone is a sinner. But even though the gospel is a mystery our role is to witness to that mystery. What others think of us does not matter. We are not the point of the gospel. And fortunately in ministry, if our voice should be rejected or silenced other voices will arise; for the power is not in our voice, the power is in the message. That said our role is to still persevere.
Keep these things in mind as we continue with another thought…
You may have heard the question: “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?” But I ask: “Why does God allow good things to happen to bad people and restrains His wrath?” When I speak of “bad people” I am speaking of you and me. Read Luke 13:1-5 and notice verses 3 and 5. Jesus reminds us in that narrative that unless we repent, we will all face the same consequences.
Unfortunately, we have grown accustomed to being told that we are not so bad, that we are not heinous and repugnant before God. However, those who call us to repentance actually do us a tremendous favor. You see, periodically we need leaders like Nehemiah who lovingly contend with us and curse us; who strike some of us and even pull out our hair (Neh. 13:25). Can you imagine a leader like that? Sounds scary, but those who preach a tolerant gospel actually hate our souls. How much more loving are they who propose and declare the narrow gate for us?
A clear-eyed view of human nature should call us to live a lifestyle of repentance. We must live being sorry for our sins and thankful for Jesus’ cleansing blood. Our hearts and minds need to daily turn from the sin that so easily entangles us to the Savior who completely frees us. We need to remember our sinful nature and repent daily. This reminds me of Job who regularly “consecrated his children and offered burnt offerings for them all; for Job said, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned against God in their hearts.’ Thus Job did continually.” (Job 1:5).
God provides us with windows of opportunity to transform our hearts and minds but they are not limitless (Luke 5:6-9).
So let us live a lifestyle of repentance, always conscious and sorry for our shortcomings, and always thankful and amazed at God’s generous mercy which beautifies those who are humble; being grateful for the good things He grants to bad people.