6 February 2022

In the light of the above statement, we would be addressing three issues in particular although there may be more. These three issues are very significant for us as believers; if we fail to realise that they feature in our conversion and continue to do so in our Christian journey until the end, we may end up ‘spiritually damaged’ and even become spiritual ‘casualties’ in our Christian lives.

REPENTANCE

Repentance is often not mentioned or looked at intently among Christians and even in churches. We become preoccupied with stirring congregational excitement, finding and honing gifts and skill, providing interesting programs and plans. As believers, it is in order to praise God, give thanks and make requests daily but we fail to realise that we need to repent daily, Repentance on a daily basis is as basic to holiness as any. It reminds us and keeps us aware that facing, forsaking, and fighting sins is a constant task. The more one grows in holy living, the more sin one will find in the attitudes of one’s own heart, needing to be dealt with in repentance. The thoroughness of our daily repentance is the real index of the quality of our devotion to God.

The lack of daily repentance will be reflected in our moral casualness and unconcern as to whether we please God in our daily lives – this is in itself evil, and certainly, God is displeased at being disregarded in this way. Unthankfulness and unlove toward God are as culpable in His sight as are any forms of untruthfulness and unrighteousness in dealing with our fellow humans – this becomes prominent in the absence of daily repentance before God. We should not indulge in unhealthy introspection but daily, we should come before God and ask Him to help us examine ourselves and to make right what is wrong in His sight. This is to be a daily spiritual exercise that keeps us on the good and narrow path in the eyes of our Master. Sin, both of omission and of commission, in motive, aim, thought, desire, wish, and fantasy even if not in outward action, is a daily event in the lives of Christians; regular repentance hence becomes necessary.

FAITH

Faith is the means not only of entering into relationship with God but also of maintaining that relationship and of confirming that relationship on the day of judgement. It is not faith itself that has this power; it is because faith connects the believer to Christ, in whose vindication the believer shares (1 Tim. 3:16).
God tells us merely as much as He sees we need to know for our life of faith; some problems are left unsolved to teach us a humble trust in Him. Faith helps us the believers to accept God’s assurance that it is reasonable to take His Word and believe that He has spoken the truth, although we may not fully comprehend all that He has said. It is not for us to stop believing because we lack understanding but to believe in order that we may understand.
We must affirm that our faith is in Jesus Christ; He is the object of our faith. My faith in Christ is God’s own gift to me, given in virtue of Christ’s death for me. Christ’s death for me guarantees my preservation to glory; Christ’s death for me is my sole ground of hope before God; Christ’s death for me constrains me to trust, to worship, to love and to serve – it is the measure and pledge of the love of the Father and the Son to me.
If we truly appreciate what faith in Christ involves, then, even in times of conflicts, distress and pain, we need not lose hope and we can rest in God’s assurance and faithfulness in the midst of difficult circumstances, for God the Father and Christ the Son change not; God is the same, yesterday, today and forever, and we can depend entirely on Him and His promises.

GRACE

We know that grace is God’s undeserved favour to man. God, in His grace towards a believer, treats him, though guilty, as if he had never sinned. The believer’s position in grace is explained, not by anything in himself, but by the will of God. Every step in the process of the Christian life is due to grace; in other words, grace is operative throughout the life of a Christian and the growth of a believer is a growth in grace.
God’s work of regeneration is the first foundation of growth in grace. Growth in grace means going on from there; it is the living out, maturing, and ripening of what God wrought in us when He turned us to Himself. Justification is by grace. Regeneration and justification – that is, our pardon and acceptance by God – are two facts which go together. Our growth in grace is growth within the overall growth of the body; Christians grow in a context of fellowship, not apart from that context.
We must take note that our growth in grace is known by the way we behave under pressure, when times of testing and temptation come, when the heat is on and there is a crisis. Then our reaction and behaviour show whether we have been growing in grace or not. During times of suffering, times of pressure, let us realise that such times can break us or make us; God, in His wisdom, has allowed times of suffering to mould us, like gold is refined by fire. It is to make us more and more like our Lord Jesus and to prepare us for the eternal dwelling He has prepared for us. We need the grace of God throughout our pilgrim journey to be ready for our eternal destiny.
Growth in grace means, among other things, that you are becoming more richly and robustly human than you were before. That is what it means to be changed from one degree of glory to another, so that more and more you will bear the image of Jesus Christ, the perfect man (2 Cor. 3:18).

As we live in the last days, the period between the first and second coming of our Lord Jesus, and as we approach the end-times, the enemy would seek to destroy us. He can hurt us in so many ways and if we neglect to practise daily repentance and if we fail to exercise faith in God, our walk with God can be shaken and compromised as the enemy throws the darts of doubt and unbelief and distorts truth and promotes deception, immorality and presumption. If we constantly remember that we are saved by grace through faith, then we can nurture positively the spirit of thankfulness, gratitude and humility, knowing that there is nothing good in ourselves and we cannot behave as if God is indebted to us and we deserve all that is due to us from Him. The reality is that we are deserving of hell and condemnation; but God’s grace ‘lifts us up’ to be united with Christ, to be adopted as God’s children, to share the inheritance and the glory of the Son of God and to reign with Him in eternity. There is no room for us to be proud or to boast – humility, contriteness and gratitude must be the order of the day everyday of our lives.