O Lord , who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly
and does what is right
and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
and does no evil to his neighbor,
nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
but who honors those who fear the Lord ;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.
Psalm 15:1-5 ESV
Can we see some of the words about His followers:
Blameless, righteous, truth, heart, keep oaths, lend
Can we also see some of the words about His enemies:
Slander, wrong, slur, vile, accept bribes
And can’t we agree that we know what is right from what is wrong? Can’t we agree that we have the opportunity to make choices each day between doing right or doing wrong?
And deciding to do right instead of deciding to do wrong has a name in scripture, and it is called repentance. It is a step that is taken in a new direction, it is a turning away from our old path as we decide to turn to a life seeking the Lord’s purpose and direction for our lives.
Yes, our deciding to change direction is the beginning of our journey and not the end. Because if repentance under our own power was out goal – if fighting against these old urges to keep them under control and in compliance with the law was all that we had to rely on, wouldn’t everyone turn back from the burdensome curse of the law?
And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all.
Acts 19:1-7 ESV
We can see that there is more than just repentance. We can see that there is more than just putting on an outward mask of compliance while wrestling to keep our carnal nature hidden under the wraps of religious exercise. That is not a place of peace, but one of fear, because how could those living that way “speak the truth from their hearts” while still meeting all of the other descriptions of a believer?
You see, it takes a divine intervention, not just our own turning in repentance.
Yes, it requires or repentance AS WELL, so please do not misunderstand me to be justifying grace as a license to sin. I expect that some itchy ears will seek out the false teacher they desire if that is the message they seek. But I pray that you would instead remain to hear the truth (even if it proves uncomfortable and convicting) that I share with you from the Word of God rightly divided and Holy Spirit led.
There is a point at which repentance shifts from striving against our old nature into a life of praise and worship to God for what He has done and is doing in our lives. That shift comes when we are made a new creation through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
And I encourage you not to get hung up on which spiritual gifts you have and which you do not, whether you speak in tongues or you do not, whether you prophesy or you do not, whether the Holy Spirit fell on you like Paul on the Damascus Road, or whether you received it from the laying on of hands like these disciples at Ephesus, or whether you were born with it and grew in it like John the Baptist – because we each are different parts of the body of Christ with our own callings, seasons, and purposes. But I do encourage you to test yourself to see whether or not you are walking in the Spirit and living the life of one “who may dwell in” His sanctuary, “who may live on” His holy mountain.
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Romans 8:12-17 ESV
We have much to celebrate, child of God! We have such a great reason to celebrate in praise and worship over what the Lord has done for us!
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24 ESV