It Is Time to Get Right with God!

IT'S TIME TO GET RIGHT WITH GOD!

The end of 2020 is near. I hear people expressing hope in the coming New Year. Personally, I don’t think it will be any different unless it is the year of the Lord’s return.

I also hear people making resolutions and saying, “I’m going to get myself together.” What do they mean by that? Assuming that statement means they need to change their thinking and acting, that is a good goal, but it is a vain statement. Without the Lord, we cannot “get ourselves together”. We will quickly tire in our own strength, break our resolution, and return to our old way of thinking and doing. Self-discipline is very hard to accomplish unless we are being taught to control self by the Holy Spirit.

Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age

We are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ and what He did for us. The grace of God is God doing for us and in us what we cannot do ourselves; such as, salvation and living a self-controlled, upright, and godly life in this present age.

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

God has listened to you, helped you, and mercifully saved you. The warning is, “Do not receive the grace of God in vain”. Yield to the grace of God to control your flesh and passions, and to follow Jesus. Unfortunately, many believers will receive His grace in vain and turn away and grow cold in their love for Jesus.

Jesus said in Matthew 24:12-13 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Lawlessness has increased in the world and wickedness is no longer hidden. Sin is flaunted in the media and on the streets. Sinners call it freedom, but in reality they are enslaved by uncontrollable selfishness, rampant sexual perversions, addictions of all kinds, from drugs to pornography to homosexuality and every other possible sin.

Living in the midst of all this lawlessness can discourage us, cause us to react negatively, make us forget our purpose as Christ’s ambassadors, and eventually trigger us to give up the fight and join the crowd.

Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.

The warning is clear. Many who have been on fire for the things of God are going to fall away. They will cease listening to and obeying the Holy Spirit. They will become lukewarm and gradually drift away into a spiritual coldness. They will return to their old fleshly ways. Therefore, we must encourage one another to stay focused on Jesus Christ, be attentive to the Holy Spirit, and endure hardship and persecution to the end.

Some who have backslidden tell themselves, “I can get myself together and get right with the Lord any time I choose. I’m just not ready. I’m not mad at God; I just need time with my friends, time to enjoy myself. I know God is loving and merciful. When I’m ready, I’ll come to him and He will forgive me.” This is a dangerous deception that leads to spiritual coldness and eventually condemnation.

Therefore, if you ever truly loved and followed Jesus but now are lukewarm, or cold and indifferent, the Holy Spirit is speaking to you. He is not saying, “Get yourself together.” He is telling you to come back to the merciful arms of Christ in humility, confession, and brokenness, to receive grace to repent. Then the Holy Spirit will put you together, and conform you to the image of Christ.

The blood of Christ toward sinners will never lose its power to atone for sin, but coldness has a powerful and predictable effect. Spiritual coldness leads to doubt, a strong delusion, a refusal to believe the truth, unrighteous living, and finally to condemnation.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The question is not: Do we still sin after we are saved? Because it is very clear in Scripture that we still do. The real question is: What is our attitude toward sin? Do we mourn and grieve over its presence in our lives? Do we have godly sorrow over it that leads us to brokenness and repentance, or do we tolerate its presence and justify it?

We need to understand our attitude toward sin and disobedience determines the genuineness of our conversion and faith. If we hardened our hearts and justify sin, then what we have is just an empty profession of faith. We don't belong to Christ, for we are not following Christ. We are not saved, for we are still following the devil.

A genuine redeemed child of God hates sin. And whenever he commits one, his soul does not find rest until he acknowledges it before God, seeking genuine repentance, and more grace to forsake it.

Hebrews 3:7-15 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’ As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’” Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

I have talked to once zealous believers who now have hardened hearts. They once walked faithfully with the Lord. They believed His Word, based their lives on Biblical truth, and were totally on fire for Jesus. Then a crisis came. They cried out to God from their desperate need, but their prayers were not answered on their time schedule or in the way they wanted. Discouraged, they accused God of failing them or being non-existent. They quit praying. They quit believing God’s Word and gave into fleshly desires.

I have seen others led away from the Lord by associations with ungodly family and friends. Over time the pleasures of sin hardened their heart, leading to unbelief and falling away from God.

God warns us in these wicked days to “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. You may think you could never harden your heart and fall away, but you are forgetting how easy it is. Unbelief is a subtle sin that begins with doubt about what God says. It starts with Satan’s first question to Eve and he repeats it to us, “Did God really say…?” In other words, you misunderstand what God meant. There is a better way.

Satan questioned whether or not one would die by eating from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He presented a question which seemed innocent but it initiated doubt in God’s Word and His love. Satan not only misquoted God’s command, he spoke in a taunting way. It is the craft of Satan to speak of the Divine law as uncertain or unreasonable in order to tempt people into sin. He aims to make us discontented with our present state, as if it were not as good as it might be.

The devil still draws people into his interest, by suggesting to them hard thoughts about God, and false hopes of advantage by sinning. Let us, therefore, always think of God as the best good, and think of sin as the worst evil. It is wise to keep a firm belief in God's Word, and a high respect for it. Then we can resist the devil as Jesus did when He told Satan, “It is written…!”

1 Timothy 4:1-2 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

Many people have already departed from the faith and invented gospels of convenience, prosperity, and self-promotion. The Name of Jesus is proclaimed in these false gospels, but it is another Jesus altogether!

This different Jesus, is a “tolerant” person, who is presented as the essence of human love. He embraces all religions, accommodates same-sex marriages, and declares there is no such thing as good or evil. There are no sinners to this Jesus, and so there is no mention of sin, not even deviant behavior. His message is that you do not need to change because there is nothing wrong with you. There simply is no judgment or wrath in him.

As you might imagine, this is a seductive gospel. And multitudes, especially young people, are caught up in it. This explains why growing numbers of youth accept homosexuality and same-sex marriages. Even many evangelical churches are adopting this seductive gospel to become “relevant” to the world and to increase their attendance.

Galatians 1:6-9 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

The world may cast aside the Bible and reject the real Jesus, God’s own Son. The world will always deny Christ’s resurrection, as well as our own resurrection from the dead by the power of God. The world may also deny there is a Heaven or Hell. But Jesus Himself warned of a literal Hell where there will be weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. He also said that there will be a day of judgment, and He will be the judge.

You see, merely saying there is no God, no Hell, and no Judgment Day does not change the reality of any of these things. What an unimaginable terror it will be to wake up in eternal Hell to find it all to be true.

Furthermore, now is the time to get right with God because Jesus is coming soon. All who believe in Jesus are living according to this expectation. It’s true that no one knows the exact hour when He will return. Jesus Himself said as much. Unfortunately, some think that Jesus may come someday, but not today, nor in their lifetime. Consequently, there is no fear of God, no expectation of judgment.

Jesus warns us about such thinking in Matthew 24:48-51, “But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Regardless, of the day of His coming, the Holy Spirit is calling us to wake up and surrender all to Jesus today! Don’t wait until next year. Hear what the Spirit is saying to you today!

The devil has no claim on you. He did not die for you. It is time for you to get up out of the dust with the Serpent. You are God’s beloved. You belong to Jesus! He has a claim on you. He redeemed you with His blood. But you must come to Him every day. He won’t force you to get up out of the dust. He says, “Rise, and walk.” You must have faith in His Word and rise up!

I exhort you today: Get up from the dust of fleshly pleasures and addictions! Get up from the dust of fear! Get up from the dust of despair! Get up from the dust of unbelief! It is time for you rise up and go to the throne of God to receive mercy, and for grace to repent, and the infilling of the Holy Spirit!

Hebrews 4:14-16 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Now is not the time to get yourself together. Now is the time to go to the throne of grace and get right with God! He will help you overcome your weakness and conform you to the character and image of Christ.

Acts 2:37-38 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

To get right with God, the first act is to repent—turn back to God. Repentance requires a conviction of sin. Like those who heard Peter’s sermon, the convicted sinner feels he is under God’s judgment and is in danger of eternal punishment. Real conviction of sin is followed by godly sorrow, confession of sin, forsaking of sin, and restitution for sin.

Restitution means making right, as far as possible, the wrongs one has done to others. Restitution can be an apology, paying your fines, doing public service, and doing good to those you have hurt. If one is not willing to make restitution, it reflects the insincerity of his repentance. It is doubtful that saving faith and a new birth of Spirit can be received without genuine daily repentance (turning away from sin and turning towards God).

Therefore, in order to enter the life of the Spirit, you must become sick enough of this old self-life to really die to it. Then you are ready to be born again through baptism and be transformed progressively into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

I urge you today, get right with God now! Come to the throne of grace through faith in Jesus. God promises to meet you there. Believe His Word. Ask for God’s grace to repent and find forgiveness and rest for your troubled soul.

If you have already done that, then I must ask you an important question. Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed and were baptized? (Acts 19:2) There is no way to be right with God and to stay right with God without the grace of God, the Holy Spirit abiding in you. We don’t have that ability without Him.

Therefore, I encourage you to ask the Father every day for grace to die to self and to fill you with His Spirit. Don’t attempt to face the world without being filled with the Holy Spirit. We are no match for the deceitfulness of sin, temptation, and the devil without the grace and power of God abiding in us.

Luke 11:13 “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

I say it again, “Now is not the time to get yourself together. Now is not the time to resolve to do better next year. Now is the time to get right with God!” Go to the throne of God, confident in the blood of Jesus for atonement for your sin, and receive mercy for your sin and grace to die to self and live for Jesus.

Do whatever the Holy Spirit is telling you today. Don’t wait for next year.