I once shared the Gospel to my colleague at work and mentioned the phrase, ‘you have to make a decision quickly because time is limited’. He was so annoyed by that phrase and said, ‘you Christians use that phrase to put pressure on people. It is your mode of operation and I don’t like it!’ I thought about it later and realised that I was truly telling the truth to my colleague, the issue of repentance needs immediate action.
Christians are called to keep their righteousness garment clean (Revelation 16:15) from worldliness and sin while non-Christians are to repent from their wicked ways (Matthew 3:2). I will tackle each group separately.
To the Christian
Christians that fall into sin, realise it and do nothing about it are exposed to the devil’s trap. However, if the Christian is not aware of his or her mistake, he or she is under grace because God ignores time of ignorance (Acts 17:30). Assuredly I tell you that there are a lot of sins we commit without knowing it. That is why there is no human effort that is good enough to impress God but it is God’s grace through His son Jesus Christ that perfects us. Yet once we know about it, it is our duty to deal with that particular sin. Ephesians 2:8 says, ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God’.
The devil, who is the greatest enemy of Christ and therefore an enemy to Christians, will do everything in his power to kill and destroy (John 10:10) a Christian that happens to live in sin. If the devil can, he will kill such a Christian but at the least, he will let the fallen Christian be publicly despised and humiliated. The devil despised and shamed David at the time David decided to stay at home instead of joining the rest of men at war (2 Samuel 11). On the other hand, the devil’s efforts worked to lead Samson to his untimely death (Judges 13-16). The good news is that both David and Samson realised their mistakes and repented yet for both of them it was too late to avoid the consequences.
Disobedient Christians that are not sensitive to the Holy Spirit call will wind up in hell. The Spirit of God will whisper words of exhortation at every mistaken move but an insensitive Christian will not listen. Most often than not, Christian will take for granted the little things that are humanly ignorable yet they are still sins in the sign of God. For example, over speeding a car, stealing an employer’s time and not paying the television licence. It’s hard to comprehend it that if an over speeding Christian driver were to have an accident, he would die and go to hell. Similarly, a Christian that decides to stay at home and report that he or she is sick without producing a doctor’s note may die and go to hell for that. Lastly, many Christians are trapped in failing to pay their television licences. They have excuses for not paying yet that is not good enough to cleanse their sins when they die. There are many other little sins that are ignored by Christians; it does not matter whether they are pastors, bishops or just believers. All a Christian needs to do to unveil these is to pray for the Holy Spirit guidance.
To the Christian, these things are to be given urgent attention because many Christians are in hell today for ignoring such little things.
To the non-Christian
Time is of essence to the non-Christian because one of two things may happen that will land him or her in hell. Firstly, Jesus may return any time and His return will not be predictable yet it will happen in lightning speed (Matthew 24:26). Secondly, the none-Christian may die before making things right with Jesus (Ecclesiastics 9:5). In both cases, only God knows when either of the two will happen.
The non-Christian that is at the disposal of the devil harms not only his or her body/life but also puts other people’s lives in danger. Non-Christians kill other people. Think of wizards, Boko Haram, ISIS and the Muslim brotherhood. Killing is the devil’s business and he delights in people that kill in numbers. You can imagine the impact it would make if all ISIS would become Christians.
The Christian is therefore forced to declare urgency on the matters of repentance. The person that coverts not only saves himself or herself from being abused by the devil, but others get the Good News of the Gospel through their testimonies and consider Christianity. I would not be fair to my calling if I omit the reality of hell for all those that rebel against God’s will. Hell is eternal and the non-Christian neglects salvation and die in their sins, there will be no other chance to repent beyond the grace but only lament lost repentance opportunities.
Below is a precise highlight of the reasons for telling people to repent as soon as they hear the Good News of the Bible:
- Jesus’ return is at hand but the most likely event for every living person is;
- Death, which is eminent and
- Living in sin is dangerous to the victim and people around them.
The call to sort issues with Christ is not only to non-Christians but also to Christians as already discussed earlier in the post.
May God reveal to us the urgency of sorting things out while its time. Be blessed!