I received much private feedback regarding yesterday’s post. I think it struck a nerve in many people. There is a tendency to think that just because we are comfortable with the things of God, that we are in a right relationship with God. For example, a man is having an affair for an extended period of time, yet he continues to preach. He begins to separate the fact that truth is what is being effective, not him. His prayer life is definitely destroyed. He does not have a walk with God. It’s impossible. It’s not impossible because God is not accessible. It’s impossible because he cannot be living in sin and walking in fellowship with the Lord.
That is one reason why there’s such an emphasis on public worship in our day. People can live in private sin and have no private relationship with God. By many of their own admission the number one problem in many of these modern churches is that young couples attending them are living together outside of marriage. That is still fornication in case you forgot. However, their consciences are soothed by having a public “relationship” with God. There is no way a public relationship with God can substitute for a private one. However, when your private life is openly disobedient to God, you cannot have a private walk with God. Remember, God did not hide from Adam and Eve; Adam and Eve hid from God. We are not comfortable in a relationship with God when we are in a relationship with our sin.
A confusion some people have is that it is solely up to us to repent. That is not true. The Holy Spirit must convict us in order for us to repent. Repentance without Holy Spirit conviction is not repentance. In other words, there must be conviction before there can be conversion. I came back to God several times under the emotions of self guilt. What I was coming back to were the things of God that I missed. I was not coming back to God. You can come back to church without coming back to God. It is interesting that a person can live in adultery and attend church, as though somehow that makes them a better adulterer. A man I spoke to recently, is doing that very thing. He is looking for a church where he can go, so that his kids are in church. So, let me get this straight. Your kids are watching you live in adultery, but at least you are taking them to church. I wonder which one is influencing them them the most. We are absolutely nuts to think that somehow doing the things of God, while living in open disobedience will turn out for good.
I did not come back to God until the Holy Spirit convicted me of my sin. Then I repented, and my relationship with God, not man, was restored. I believe, that the Holy Spirit does convict when we are in sin. The question is not how long will He convict us; the question is how long will we have a heart, tender enough to be convicted. “He, that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck.” That is what eventually will happen to anyone who continues to live in their sin while ignoring the conviction of the Holy Spirit. How long will you wait before you repent? How long will you risk losing the conviction you now feel? That is a dangerous risk to take.
This is harsh. I am getting down to the nitty-gritty of what it’s all about to be restored. You cannot be restored, until you repent of your sins. That does not mean that you have instant victory over your sins. It means that you have taken steps to forsake the sin as a result of the repentance. Repentance is not forsaking sin. Forsaking sin is the byproduct of repentance. That is a big mistake that people make. If a person had to forsake all sin in order to repent, no one could repent. However, when we repent we begin to forsake our sin. That does not mean the sin does not rear its ugly head from time to time. It means that we begin to battle, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the sin that we once succumbed to in the flesh.
I love the dialogue that came as a result of this article. Some of you need to face the fact that you are living a life of Christianity, but not a life of Christ. You are involved in Godly things, but you are not walking with God. You are comfortable in the trappings of the church, but you are not right with the head of the church, the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Time and time again, you have ignored the conviction of the Holy Spirit while soothing your conscience with activity, rather than repentance. Have I touched a nerve? Perhaps, we all need that nerve to be touched more!