Revelation 2:5 “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
When we look back in history, we see God acting with intent and purpose. At very specific times and in very specific ways God has intervened in the affairs of man. It’s easy to read the wisdom of Solomon and be reminded of how there is a time for everything under the sun, but does God’s timing include us as well? It’s one thing to walk in the wisdom of the world but when God’s wisdom shows a specific order of when and how He acts, it gives insight for us in how to live.
The book of Genesis reveals a specific order and timing to Creation. In six days God created the Heavens and the Earth and on the seventh day He rested. The psalmist tells us to number our days as an indication of how they are limited by a certain amount of time. The Lord encouraged Israel by reminding them of the plans He had for them which reveals time and order.
Galatians 4:4 “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law”
The prophets foretold of the coming of the Messiah and so Jesus came at just the right time to redeem mankind. Jesus also talked about the day and hour of His return, even though the angels were unaware of what that hour would be, the timing of His return has been planned from the beginning.
Romans 5:6 “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly”
Paul spoke of the dispensation of grace that marked the church age and a time that is coming when Jesus will unite everything under His authority, things in Heaven and on Earth.
So whether we are referencing the beginning of time or the end of the age, the process of God’s plan for Creation has order, timing, and purpose.
God’s plan for You
Did you know that according to God’s Word, God had a specific time for your arrival and He knows the time for when your days will end?
Psalm 139:16 “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all my days were written in Your book and ordained for me before one of them came to be.”
Not only were your days set in history, there are specific events that happened or will occur as well.
David recognized God’s order, even as it pertained to his enemies.
Psalm 31:14-15 “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!”
Could it be that even though our times are set from beginning to end, what happens between those two events can be changed? It seems to me that the manner by which our lives progress and end can be influenced by the decisions we are allowed to make individually.
We have an opportunity given to us to accept God’s call and follow His way. This offering comes at a time of reasoning when a young man or woman hears the call of God in their lives.
2 Timothy 1:9 “For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.”nlt
The call of God comes at a very specific time in a person’s life. If the call came too early, they may not understand enough to make a reasonable decision. If the call came too late, they might have grown hard from living a life of sin. Sometimes people have to be more prepared than others, like a field that is tilled and made ready for the seed, the heart must be made ready to receive the Word of Truth. The work of preparation is done by God through His servants. An evangelist may come along and share the gospel, while another may illustrate an argument that removes roadblocks in life. Whether it is in the form of discipleship or apologetics, people need to be able to hear the Word without limitations.
There are times in a person’s life when pride is just too obstructive, so God reduces their pride by corrupting the plans they have made on their own. If their pattern of sin leads them to destruction, God might allow that pattern to reach its end, just to show them the hopelessness of their trust in this world.
Psalm 39:4-5 “O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
Some people have near death experiences that remind them of the frailty of life. Others might have a child that causes them to consider the path they are leading.
Whatever the means by which God prepares someone for hearing His Truth, ultimately it is up to the individual to receive that Truth.
I often wonder if what people perceived as God’s call is really more of God’s preparation. I’ve known many people who claim to have accepted Christ, only to see them live their lives in sin after the decision. How can someone claim to love the Lord with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength and continue to offend God by living in habitual sin?
I surmise that people attribute a “belief” in Jesus to salvation without understanding what belief really entails.
1 John 4:15-16 “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”
To abide in Christ is to to not leave, to continue to be present: μετά τίνος (genitive of person), or to maintain unbroken fellowship with God.
People will often have an encounter where they sense a need for God, it may be during a time of personal crisis or after hearing an impassioned sermon. Emotional decisions are not healthy ways of determining a change of course that requires everything.
To follow Christ is to die to oneself. The decision to lay down your life for Christ is not one that should be made quickly. To consider the cost (everything), and then decide that Jesus is worth it, is made by the one who truly is His child. When the heart of a person is sold out for Jesus—He knows it.
Luke 14:26-27 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
When that person recognizes the value of Christ, all else becomes secondary. The answer to God’s call is met with a heart of repentance.
The Time has come.
There is so much preparation that leads a person to come to a belief like this. The work of the Spirit is calculated and wise. He acts when necessary and at other times allows the course of sin to show it’s hopelessness. Whether God leads someone into your path or reveals the shallowness of this world, He will go to the cross to redeem you into His arms.
When the time comes for repentance, the proud have been reduced to ashes, the burdens of this world are laid at the cross, and the heart of the true believer is given to the Savior. The moment of salvation is the greatest, most profound moment that can ever happen in a person’s life.
The ideas a person thinks they know of love have never been fully understood until they’ve experienced the God who embodies love.
Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
The Lord delights over you in gladness, the value He sees in you is far beyond anything you could ever imagine. He knows your failures, He understands your fears, and He still pursues you. You have value and He knows that more than anyone because you are His creation.
The call goes forth—“The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.”
The response to the call is the response of love, admiration, and worship. The realization of God’s abiding holiness, purity, and power leaves the sinner in awe of God’s majesty and grace.
Psalm 51:14-17 “Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.”
Repentance is to change your mind—your mind was set on the world and has now been set on Jesus.
Repentance is a change of the inner man—the nature of sin has been infused with the nature of God’s holiness.
Repentance is a decision of the will—particularly with reference to acceptance of the will of God.
What a person does at the moment of repentance will set their course for eternity. A decision for Christ will lead them on a path that is unlike any journey they’ve ever taken. If God reveals His love and that love is rejected the journey will eventually change into hatred—Either way, their life has been changed forever. You cannot have an encounter with God and not be affected.
The moment of repentance is a moment of sincerity and faith. I hope you are granted the opportunity to know your Creator. Repentance cannot happen without God’s call. If you hear His call, don’t hesitate to respond—there is an eternity of joy to be known.