Sunday, July 24, 2016

"Coming as you are" to God does imply a changed heart

"Coming as you are" to God does imply a changed heart (and a changed life will follow with God's intervention in response to your "calling upon his name" - Romans 10:13). Conversion means "change" in every field or area of life, but in coming to God who sends the call for conversion, we suppose we can remain our good old self (so we think). And religions of men will cater to those who want to hear flattering words about themselves that make them so shine in their perceived goodness that their need of salvation almost passes as an add-on to the "good life" or "best life now" they think they are living for the Lord, while they are dead in their trespasses and sins, having not repented (Ephesians 2:1 is still fully in the present tense for them).

2 Timothy 2:19
Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knows those who are his. And, Let every one that names the name of Christ depart from unrighteousness.

The very act of coming to Him implies a change has happened in your heart's motives. You come to Him broken... In the softness of your brokenness, you are fully agreeing with the truth that you have sinned/disobeyed God, that God's wrath is presently on you (John 3:36) and that you need a Savior. Whether it's tiredness with sin (Matthew 11:28) or a thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6) that is fueling your zeal to go to God for salvation and to walk in his ways, a change must have happened that triggered such a great move on your part to seek to be reconciled with God (2 Corinthians 5:20). You will then see a "great move of God" towards you also.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8). Repentance is nothing short of what the prodigal son did (Luke 15:11-32). He heard his conscience, came to his senses and had a change of heart. Now his misery continued until He was fully restored into his father's arms, but when he was received back home, it was restoration for him.

Psalm 23:3
He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness (not sin still!) for his name's sake.

The parable of the prodigal son is a very plain parable. But too often we (as unconverted/lost) will fail to see ourselves as that prodigal son or daughter and miss the word that was to feed us. The devil comes and snatches it out of our hearts (Luke 8:12). That is, if we do get any such word in the first place in our churches and "Christian" TV programs this day!

Luke 15:7
...there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

You are to go to God with a contrite heart (Psalm 51:17), with godly sorrow over your sins (2 Corinthians 7:10), your offenses against Him, who has shown you his love (John 3:16 / Romans 5:6-8) that you have neither deserved nor responded to. You come clean with God, like this tax-collector who said: ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ (Luke 18:13). He went home justified (Luke 18:14), that means God had mercy on him and he was made right with God. He did not continue his life as once a sinner, always a sinner (meaning "rebel" / "wicked" / "enemy of God" - that's what sinner means throughout the bible; read Psalm 1 and identify who of two kinds of people you are). He was made righteous and not by some explanation that the Father started seeing him through a "see-through" Jesus that theologians have invented. [See "The Myth of the Imputed Righteousness of Christ", it's helpful:] He was cleaned up for good and expected to keep himself in the love of God by continuing in a life of obedience to God (John 15:10)! That is the true mark of coming into a relationship with God and being filled with his Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 5:32; 1 John 4:13). Sin afterwards is plain unfaithfulness, and as long as grace is available, those who are "adulterers" and "adulteresses" are called to repent (James 4:6-10; 1 John 2:1-2). What you come to God "as is" with is your brokenness:

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise." (Psalm 51:17)

What that means is that you need a repentant heart with sorrow in it over your sins that have kept you separated from God (Isaiah 59:2)! No tough guy or strong woman who appears before God should expect to get anything from Him. You come as you are in your brokenness, that's it. But your rebellion that makes you stand in your sin and speak whatever is on your mind to God, you need to crush it before it causes you to be crushed (Proverbs 16:18; Proverbs 28:13; Isaiah 1:28; Luke 13:1-5).

Matthew 21:44
And whoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

Don't venture yourself nor be misled by anyone to reject that stone (Jesus) - Matthew 21:42.

You make a choice to fear and love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength (Mark 12:30), and that is to be obedient to Him (John 14:15), if truly his word of truth has touched you (and not some re-packaged motivational message to please the masses). God demands humility and true repentance with hatred for your sins. You need to see eye to eye with God about sin, and only then when your heart and God's heart are united can you honestly plead guilty and ask for God to forgive you your own personal sins against Him. You have no chance before that to really leave sin behind, not only in practice, but first in your heart also that is purified.

James 4:8
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

When you come to God that way, or "accept Christ", whatever you call it these days, only if you do it that way which God has ordained, can you truly be set free from sin and not look back because you have come to know the truth (John 8:31-32) and know that there is nothing good behind sin. Then you understand the love of God for what it is. John 3:16 is serious salvation business, not a cliché to hide behind and to suppress a reality you do not truly want (freedom from sin/total surrender to God's will out of love).

2 Timothy 2:15
Make every effort to present yourself approved to God, an unashamed workman who accurately handles the word of truth.

1 John 3:7
Little children, let no one deceive you: The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as Christ is righteous.

The call to "Go, and sin no more" (John 8:11) is implied every time forgiveness is granted. Ask any judge in a human court (and God is a more excellent and just judge than man!) Otherwise, what's the point of being set free from sin if it's to continue making a practice of sin, that is, choosing the broad path to destruction? (Matthew 7:13)

When you recognize you are a criminal before God (you are convicted of your sins/you experience conviction of sin), then salvation makes sense. When you get the bad news (the wages of sin is death - Romans 6:23), the Good News (the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord - Romans 6:23) makes much more sense, doesn't it? But today we barely get the bad news or actually believe it. So we get many flavors of "good news" to play with, that are no good news at all (Galatians 1:7 warns). But there is only one way to salvation and that is the truth (John 14:6)!

You go to God to receive forgiveness for your sins and make peace with Him (as one who turns around and surrenders, no longer wanting to be his enemy - John 15:14 tells you what makes you a friend of God). You don't go to Him to get an endorsement of the life you have lived or that you want to continue living for yourself. You are giving Him your whole life! So someone with an "impenitent heart" (Romans 2:5) needs not apply. That person has not and cannot come to God with that heart. Though he/she can be active in some kind of organized religion or church, that person will not know God's grace. For He resists the rebellious and proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5; James 4:6). Only the latter can see the transforming power of God's grace (Titus 2:11-14!) as they come to Him and they will receive a brand new heart also that doesn't need to be broken in surrender to be in full agreement with God, but rather it is a heart that reflects God's own heart, and that rejoices in humble submission to his will as an expression of love towards Him. The person with that new heart will joyfully and steadfastly follow God's ways of righteousness (not sin) and worship Him as He wants to be worshiped, in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).

The truth is that God will not give you a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26) if the old one is not broken (ex: Acts 2:37; Psalm 51:17), leading you to repentance with godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Then "all things become new" will start to manifest in all areas of your life as the promised Holy Spirit comes to you and sanctifies you.

Ezekiel 36:26
And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.

Have you been heartbroken over your sins for having offended Father God? If you hear his voice today, do not harden your hearts (Hebrews 3:15). Sin is indeed a serious matter and it took the life of God's Son to be offered in sacrifice to pay the price for sins and make reconciliation with Him possible! If you ever saw eye to eye with God regarding sin, then there is only one outcome when He says "Go, and sin no more" (John 8:11). You don't slip in and out of sin ( like you're still not sure if its wages is death or not, like an unbeliever who says in his heart that there is no God. No, you fear Him and you keep yourself (1 John 5:18) with all the grace you have been given to do just that (Titus 2:11-14).

We who have been redeemed from death and the power of Satan (Acts 26:18) cannot continue to sin so that grace may abound, God forbid! (Romans 6:1-2; Galatians 2:17; 1 John 3:8-9) If you do not understand what you have been redeemed from, it is time to get serious about your salvation. Seek the truth about the Good News that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

James 4:8
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
↓ ↑
Matthew 5:8
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

John 14:15-21
15. If you love me, keep my commandments. 16. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you. 18. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19. Yet a little while, and the world sees me no more; but you see me: because I live, you shall live also. 20. At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21. He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.


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