I have a friend named Jim in my home town that I shared the gospel with several years ago. At first he was confused about Christianity to such a degree that he wasn’t even sure who Jesus was. He is highly intellectual and couldn’t see how God could make Jesus the only way to salvation. He would reason, “How could God allow good human beings who have another religion to perish and go to hell?” I talked to him several times and eventually asked him to read the gospel of John so that he could see that the loopholes he was trying to find in the person of Jesus Christ and the gospel just aren’t there.
Finally, the light came on and he began to understand that there was no other way to God except through Jesus. Still, he struggled with the need to change his lifestyle saying things like, “Nothing is broken in my life. Nothing needs fixing.” He believed that the guiding principle of his life to do good to others was enough. In other words, although he now believed that Jesus was the Son of God, that He shed His blood for his sins, that He was raised from the dead, he was not yet convicted of his sins. What if I had told Jim: “Don’t worry about your sins, Jim. Jesus paid for it all. Just receive God’s payment and confess Jesus, and you’ll be saved.” That is the common gospel you hear in the marketplace of Christianity today. It is a travesty and the root of where the axe needs to be laid.
I’ll tell you what would’ve happened if I preached this version of the gospel to Jim. By ministering a false comfort to him and rushing him to a decision to pray a prayer of salvation when conviction wasn’t working, deception would’ve been birthed in his life. He would’ve believed he was saved without really being saved. This is what has been done with multitudes of sinners everywhere, and that is the key reason why such a small percentage of them continue to walk with the Lord and bear fruit after supposedly receiving Jesus. We think we can bypass the cross and use other methods to bring people to salvation, and in so doing we become guilty of preaching another gospel and leaving so many in deception.
The more I talked to Jim the more I began to locate the root of his problem. He felt he would be unhappy with a different lifestyle than the one he had. His lifestyle included regular Friday or Saturday night parties at his house where he and his friends would drink booze and carry on until the wee hours of the morning. That’s what the Holy Spirit was pressing and putting his finger on. So now there was conviction, but Jim was resisting the Holy Spirit in the process. It was all an issue of repentance and surrender.
DESTRUCTIVE MINDSET: SERVING GOD IS NO FUN
There is a destructive mindset in carnal professing Christians today that is at the root of this great deception and keeps them from going “all in” for Jesus.
They believe that there can be no real enjoyment in life if they stop sinning and pursuing happiness and carnal pleasures. They honestly believe that life would be a killjoy if they repented. These people do not seem to realize that the person who has truly repented has no desire to sin, and that the grace of God changes a person’s desires and empowers him to live for Christ. It is an inward transformation. That’s the miracle of salvation. Once truly saved, serving Jesus becomes a great joy to the earnest believer.
I dare to say that if the desire to sin is still in the heart of a professing Christian then he has not yet tasted of the real salvation. New life has not yet begun. Regeneration has not taken place.
Listen to the voice of one of the great revivalists of the past:
“Christianity does not make the believer unhappy by keeping him away from the sinful things he loved because the believer has changed his opinion on those things.” —Charles G. Finney
Finney defined repentance as a change of the ultimate preference or choice of the soul and of action. He taught that repentance is a change of will, feeling and of life in respect toward God. Finney believed that true repentance involves more of the person’s will and conscience than his natural feelings. Feelings are involuntary and have no moral character except what they derive from the action and the will. He would admonish sinners to submit and commit their entire being to God at once, obey their conscience and the feelings would soon follow (for more on this theme refer to the following books: The Real Gospel, The Real Salvation and The Real Jesus).
The spirit of repentance is the missing ingredient in much of the American church and in our society that will save us and restore the glory of the Lord in our lives, our churches, and in our land.
NOTE: Our books and articles are forerunners to the move of God and personal holiness. The fire of God and the fear of God is attached to them. If you feel like this article is valuable, please use the social media buttons below to share it. Also, this ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who believe in the mandate and message of revival that this ministry carries. If this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help?
Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.