Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
“And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Therefore, repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:17-19). Life is full of choices. We are bombarded with them each and every day. Some choices are weightier than others. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual matters. I talk with people all the time who are struggling with sin. Some are believers, others are not. In either case it always comes down to the same choice—Jesus or Your Sin. When I say sin, I am not referring so much to the day-to-day struggle with sin—we all do that—but I am speaking of that sin which would be described as ongoing willful disobedience. For the unbeliever, this is a matter of urgency. Whether or not they recognize it, eternity is on the line. For the believer it is equally, if not more so, urgent. That is because if one claims to be a believer yet is involved in ongoing willful disobedience with no conviction whatsoever, their salvation is called into question. A believer is continually sensitive to the sin in their life and is in a continual state of confession and repentance (see 1 John 1:5-10).
I was reminded of this recently by someone who informed me they were happy in their sin. I know this is a false statement for two reasons. First of all, the Bible is clear no one is ever happy in sin. Sin robs us of our joy! I’m a living testimony of that. Secondly, if they weren’t under conviction they wouldn’t have brought it up. But rather than deal with the conviction by repenting and turning from their sin, in willful ignorance they continue to embrace it. It is amazing the price people are willing to pay in order to embrace their sin over Christ. Jesus asked, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Matt. 16:26). We could paraphrase that question by saying, “What will it profit a man if he embraces his sin over Jesus?” The answer is simple—it won’t profit him anything and the end result will be the forfeiture of his soul for all eternity. The stakes are enormous. Yet most folks don’t stop to think about this one truth—life is indeed short. Regardless of how long a person lives on this earth, they live forever somewhere—either in the presence of Christ and everything that is good with joys unspeakable or separated from Him, in hell and torment, for all eternity. James tells us, “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).
We have every reason to believe the Bible is true. One of the most powerful and compelling reasons for believing this is that of fulfilled prophecy. Did you know that Bible prophecy is 100 percent accurate, 100 percent of the time? Because Bible prophecy is so specific and accurately fulfilled down to the very letter, the Bible has “WRITTEN BY GOD” stamped all over it. This is why Peter said, “But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled” (Acts 3:18). His point is this: Through fulfilled prophecy, God has declared once and for all that Jesus Christ is the one and only way to salvation (see Acts 4:12). Therefore, you have a choice to make. Will you embrace forgiveness through Jesus Christ or continue to cling to your sin? Remember, the stakes are enormous.
So what is required? Faith that leads to repentance. Peter said, “Therefore, repent and return so that your sins may be wiped away” (Acts 3:19). He’s not speaking about head knowledge here. Many people claim to believe in Jesus yet they are still lost. He is speaking of a heart knowledge—the kind of knowledge that brings about a change. When one exercises this kind of faith, they willfully turn from their sin and embrace Christ. In fact, they throw the sum total of their hope onto Christ. We call this conversion. It is not walking forward at the end of a church service and praying the so called “sinner’s prayer.” It is a total change that takes place on the inside and works its way outward. Paul put it this way: “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:8-10). Notice he tied Jesus as Lord and faith together. When one truly believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, they not only believe He is the one and only way to salvation. They also submit their life to Him in obedience. They choose Christ over their sin. Jesus or your sin—which do you choose?
You are welcome to leave comments and you don't have to necessarily agree with me. However, I expect a civil tone and charitable spirit. We can disagree with one another without being disagreeable. "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt." (Colossians 4:6)
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