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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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SHOULD PEOPLE REPENT

Billy Sunday once observed, "One reason sin flourishes is that it is treated like a cream-puff instead of a rattlesnake." How do you treat sin?  Mae West once said, "When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I've never tried before." What kinds of evils have you tried?  The kinds of things the Bible calls sin may surprise us if we take time to examine them closely.  Take the familiar "works of the flesh" recorded in Galatians 5:19-21 for example- 'adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, reveries, and the like.' Let's see now- adultery, fornication, and murder are sins, but so are hatred, contentions, jealousy, anger, and selfishness.  Tried any of those sins lately?

The Bible delivers a straight-forward, no-nonsense message to sinners.  In a word we are told to repent" (turn) from sin.  Matthew 3:2 tells us John the Baptist came preaching, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" Shortly after John Jesus began to preach and to say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4:17).  Later in His ministry, when Jesus sent out the twelve apostles two by two, Mark 6: 12 says, 'So they went out and preached that people should repent.' In his sermon at Athens, the apostle Paul revealed that repentance is commanded by God- 'God .... now commands all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30).  All people should repent because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  Jesus warns in Luke 13:3 that a failure to repent will bring fatal results to our spiritual lives....... unless you repent you will all likewise perish."

When was the last time you repented?  Author Cornelius Plantinga, 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).  Acts 2:38 still tells those who have never obeyed the gospel- "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." And in Acts 8:22 a person who had been baptized but who had sinned was told, 'Repent, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.' The Bible still teaches that people who sin should repent.  You can't put your sins behind you until you face them.  Do you need to repent?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ