By Luther Blackmon
Let’s take a fellow who has been taught, and understands his duty to God. He knows that if he is ever to be saved, he must obey the Gospel. But there are some things that stand in the way, right now. Perhaps his job requires that he entertain, and be entertained by certain “big-wigs” in the business world. Most of them drink. So he is expected to be a social drinker and to keep liquor in his home. He must also attend other social functions that are off-limits to Christians. He must keep his job at all costs, he thinks, because of his obligations to his family, so he decides to put off obedience to the Gospel until a convenient season. Like Felix (Acts 24), his convenient season will likely never come. There is no such thing as a convenient season to break with the devil. That’s like trying to find a convenient season to have an eye gouged out or your right arm taken off (Mk. 9:43-47). The truth of the matter is that this fellow’s associates would likely think more of him, and certainly his employer should, if he had enough backbone to just say “NO” to such social obligation (?) as drinking and gambling.
Another fellow is in business for himself. He runs a filling station or a grocery store. He says that his business demands his presence seven days a week, right now, that is. But bye and bye, things will improve and then he can leave the business in the hands of others on the Lord’s day. Then he is going to obey the Gospel, or be restored to duty, whichever his case may demand.
I seriously doubt that such persons as these are aware of the implications of their attitude. In effect, they are saying, “I know I am doing wrong, but I am more concerned with material things just now. However, when my circumstances improve, I am going to do my duty to God.” What I am getting at is this: Each one of these persons, whether alien or erring Christian, knows very well, if he knows the truth, that before he (or she) can get right with God he must repent. The alien who believes in Christ Jesus must repent and be baptized; the erring Christian must repent and pray (Acts 2:38; 8:22). Repentance must be preceded by godly sorrow. That means that one must be deeply and painfully sorry that he has sinned. Repentance isn’t just a word. It is a change of will or determination that one experiences when he is honestly and sincerely convicted by the Word of God, and feels a deep sense of shame and remorse at the knowledge that he has sinned against the God who made him and died for him! Tell me please, how a man or woman can live for years in determined rebellion against God’s laws, saying all the while, “When I get ready, when it pleases me to change, when things can be arranged for my convenience, then, I am going to decide to feel sorry and remorse for what I am now determined to continue doing”??? That’s about the same as a young man’s saying,”I need a cools now, but I can’t afford to become emotionally involved. So I am going to marry today, and ten years from today I’m going to fall in love with my wife.” Repentance, ,like love, cannot be turned on or off like a faucet. The fellow who thinks that he can “use” his wife as a cook and housekeeper for ten years and then fall in love with her, will likely find himself alone long before the ten years have expired. And the person who thinks he can live in sin ten years and then “decide” to repent, may find himself unable to repent.
Truth Magazine XXI: 13, p. 194
March 31, 1977