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No "Go Past Repent" Card!

Johann Wolfgang Vo Goethe was a German poet, novelist, dramatist, artist, and politician. He was born in August, 1749 and died in 1832 a few months short of his 83`d birthday. At some point before he departed this life for the next one, he made this general observation about human beings: "People do not mind their faults being spread out before them, but they become impatient if called upon to give them up." I don't know all that I . Von Goethe saw and/or experienced in his time and culture that moved him to reach that conclusion about people. But the quote reminds me of one of King Solomon's more famous and familiar sayings: "That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Try as we might to convince ourselves just how much we have changed and how advanced we have become, human nature changes very little from one generation to the next. One hundred eighty years after Von Goethe's death, people still do not mind their faults being sp -ad out before them. Sometimes they even take care of that themselves — in tell-all books or on Jerry Springer-like TV shows or on facebook or youtube or other social media. The only difference now from on Goethe's day is that many of the things past generations called faults (and even sins) have been sanitized and baptized in legal and politically correct language so that they are no longer viewed as faults or sins. Now they are "choices" and "alternatives" and "liberties" and " personal 'rights." Millions have convinced themselves either that there is no God, or that if there is one, He is a not like the One in the Bible.  You know, the One who set boundaries on moral behavior. The One who revealed moral and spiritual absolutes that are binding on all people of all ages. The One who said don't I take His name in vain or murder or commit adultery or steal or bear false witness or covet — faults and ins that have become ye prevalent and some even very popular in America. It makes some people not only very impatient but also very upset when called upon to give these things up. Do so and you may get ailed all kinds of unloving things— things like unloving, intolerant, judgmental, and even un-Christian!

Be all that as it may, the Bible is not reluctant to spread out our sins before us, nor to ask us to give hem up. The Bible's blunt command to sinners is "repent" (or turn) from sin. Jesus preached repentance Matthew 4:17). He sent His apostles out to preach that "people should repent" (Mark 6:12). At Athens, some really sophisticate. people, Paul announced that "God....now commands all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30). Why should all people everywhere repent? Because "all have sinned and fallen (short of God's glory" (Romans 3:23). That's why Jesus warned, ".. . unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3, 5). Ha e you repented lately? Cornelius Plantiga, Jr., notes, "Recalling and confessing our sin is like taking out the garbage: once is not enough" ("Natural Born Sinners"; Christianity Today, 11/14/94, p 26). Who needs to repent? Sometimes you and I do. Does being told you need to repent upset you? If so, you need I to repent of that! Try tail g God you don't need to repent. But don't expect Him to buy it. The death of God's Son for sinners should convince us no one gets a "go past repent" card. Will you think about it?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ