*A Desperate Necessity
Casting down…every high thing…bringing every thought…to the obedience of Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5 NKJV
An accurate view of the nature of repentance and faith in believers is needed in order to avoid the mischief of the opinion that we have no need for further change. For, “they that are whole need not a physician.” If we think we are quite made whole already, there is no room to seek further healing.
On the contrary, a deep conviction that we are not yet whole constrains us to groan for a full deliverance to Him that is mighty to save—to implore that he will:
Break off the yoke of inbred sin and fully set my spirit free!
I cannot rest till pure within, till I am wholly lost in Thee.
An accurate view of this repentance and this faith, coupled with a deep conviction of our demerit and our guilt, is absolutely necessary in order to our seeing the true value of the atoning blood. We need such in order to sense that we need this as much after we are justified as we ever did before—to know that:
He ever lives above for us to intercede–
His all-atoning love, His precious blood, to plead.
Lastly, an accurate view of the repentance and faith of believers brings a deep conviction of our utter helplessness to retain anything we have received, by which we are brought to magnify Him, so that every temper, thought, word, and work is brought to the obedience of Christ.
*From How to Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.
In this sixty-eighth lesson on prayer, Wesley talks about the Big-3 of the Christian walk: conviction, repentance, and faith. These form the seedbed from which seeds of grace and sanctification germinate and grow in our hearts.
William Booth, a Wesleyan and founder of the Salvation Army, wrote at the end of the nineteenth century, “The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell.” The danger has not changed and, in fact, has intensified as we look toward the third decade of the twenty-first century. Booth also said that, “The greatness of the man’s power is the measure of his surrender.” This also has not changed.
Lutheran pastor and anti-Nazi theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his The Cost of Discipleship, wrote, “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
The apostle Peter, writing in his second epistle, comes against cheap, lukewarm faith in saying,
“5Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you” (2 Pet. 1:5-11 NASB).
Wesley ends the lesson with, “Lastly, an accurate view of the repentance and faith of believers brings a deep conviction of our utter helplessness to retain anything we have received, by which we are brought to magnify Him, so that every temper, thought, word, and work is brought to the obedience of Christ.”