Stony Ground

Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone as we are convicted by God’s Holy Spirit through the Spirit mediated preaching of His Word, the Holy Scriptures, the Bible, that we are sinners who deserve nothing but eternal damnation in fiery hell.  Without that conviction the necessity of salvation becomes only a nicety, a way for us to improve our lives and get what we want out of this world.  These are the individuals who are the stony ground hearers who have the seed sown, but when persecution or tribulation for the Word’s sake interrupts their pleasant life agendas they reject their profession of faith in Jesus Christ.

But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that hears the word, and anon with joy receives it; (21) Yet hath he not root in himself, but endures for a while: for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, by and by he is offended. Matthew 13:20-21 

These are the ones who never repented of their sins when they heard about Jesus Christ.  They were not partakers of the deep work of convicting salvation wrought in hearts through the Holy Spirit.

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.  (8)  And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  (9)  Of sin, because they believe not on Me; Of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more;  (11)  Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.  John 16:7-11 

Repentance is necessary to salvation.  Without genuine repentance there is no salvation.  Salvation, God’s gracious gift given to us is realized only when we believe that Jesus Christ died upon the cross for our sins, that He was buried, and that He rose again from the dead the third day.  Without the firm conviction that we are sinners there is no reason to believe that Jesus Christ died upon the cross for our sins.  Without the God given knowledge that we have transgressed His law and stand guilty before Him as wicked law breakers justly damned to suffer eternally in the Lake of Fire, there is no reason to trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Then said the Jews, Will He kill Himself? because He saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come.  (23)  And He said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.  (24)  I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.  (25)  Then said they unto Him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.  (26)  I have many things to say and to judge of you: but He that sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him. John 8:22-26

Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, Who takes away the sins of the world, which He did when He died upon the cross for our sins.  How could we ever think that anyone can come to Him without seeing their sin, repenting of it and believing in Him?

And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. 1John 4:14 

The next day John saw Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29

Repentance was taught by Jesus and His apostles and prophets.  Repentance with faith is taught by God throughout the New Testament.   Repentance is also taught in the Old Testament.  How many times did God command His people to turn from their wicked ways so that He could relent of the punishment He had in store for them?  Here are verses from the Old Testament in which God exhorts His people the Israelites through His prophets to repent so that He can spare them from judgment.

Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;  (15)  If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.  (16)  None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.  Ezekiel 33:14-16 

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;  (17)  Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.  (18)  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.  (19)  If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:  (20)  But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.  Isaiah 1:16-20 

Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near:  (7)  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.  (8)  For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD.  Isaiah 55:6-8

Godly behavior attends God given salvation.  Godly behavior comes from hearts that have been broken over sin, turned away from it and desire to live to God’s glory. Godly behavior is always from beginning to end exhorted from God’s Word.  Godly behavior will only come from those who have repented of their sin and put their faith in Jesus Christ.  Within the New Testament are many verses teaching the godly doctrine of repentance.  It is good and wise to start with the very words of our loving Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,  (15)  And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Mark 1:14-15

There were present at that season some that told Him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.  (2)  And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things?  (3)  I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.  (4)  Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?  (5)  I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.  (6)  He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.  (7)  Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?  (8)  And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: (9)  And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.  Luke 13:1-9 

And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  (47)  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  (48)  And ye are witnesses of these things.  (49)  And, behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.  Luke 24:46-49

Jesus Christ preached repentance and belief in the gospel.  He warned all of the need to repent, and indicated that repentance was a fruit of genuine salvation in the parable that He taught in Luke chapter thirteen.  He also commanded His apostles to preach repentance and remission of sins to all nations because of His death upon the cross and resurrection from the dead.  Without repentance genuine belief in the gospel is impossible.  The apostles obeyed Christ’s commandment and so preached repentance of sins and belief in the gospel for the remission of sins.

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  (39)  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.  (40)  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.  Acts 2:38-40

But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled.  (19)  Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; (20) And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: (21) Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began…. (26) Unto you first God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.  Acts 3:18-21 & Acts 3:26

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,  (9)  If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;  (10)  Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand here before you whole.  (11)  This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.  (12)  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.  Act 4:8-12 

Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life…. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.  (30)  The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.  (31)  Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.  (32)  And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.  Acts 5:20 & Acts 5:29-32

Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,  (13)  At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.  (14)  And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.  (15)  And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.  (16)  But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;  (17)  Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,  (18)  To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me.  (19)  Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:  (20)  But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. Acts 26:12-20 

The apostles obeyed Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, and preached faith and repentance.  Some have said this repentance is a change of mind about Jesus Christ, which is true.  However, this change of mind regarding Jesus Christ means that we recognize Him as the Savior sent into the world to save us from sin, Satan, and eternal damnation.  This change of mind means that we realize we need Jesus Christ as our Savior because we have willfully and without provocation broken God’s Holy law continuously and so have brought upon ourselves His just judgment because of our hateful rebellion against Him.  This enmity that exists between God and sinners is because of wicked deeds continuously habituated by willful sinners.  This isn’t an oops I made a mistake occurrence.  Since it is our sin, taught as willful transgression of His Holy law, that separates us from Holy God, and Jesus Christ died to take away our sins, then it is of necessity that we repent of that sin.  It is of necessity that we follow the example that God has recorded for us in His Holy Word, the example of Paul, turning from breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, to a minister of the gospel in which he continuously risked his life as God’s ambassador to sinners.  It is of necessity that we obey God’s word which exhorts us to repent, turn to God and do works that become repentance.

God continues to exhort us to repentance through His apostle Paul, in the epistles that He has graciously given to us in His Holy, inspired, inerrant, infallible, preserved Word, the Bible.  There are two more passages that I want to share from the Scriptures in which God exhorts us to a life of repentance.  Repentance is that part of the gospel which demonstrates our salvation through bearing its fruit.

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,  (18)  Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:  (19)  Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.  (20)  But ye have not so learned Christ;  (21)  If so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:  (22)  That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;  (23)  And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;  (24)  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.  Ephesians 4:17-24

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,  (12)  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;  (13)  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;  (14)  Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.  (15)  These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.  Titus 2:11-15

As Jesus Christ has instructed us through His Word and by His Holy Spirit, let us throw off the works of darkness and put on the light of righteous living for His glory.  May we as His people whom He has redeemed from all iniquity and purified for Himself to live zealously for His good pleasure, pursue good works.  May our repentance from wickedness demonstrate our belief in the gospel and that we belong to God our Father through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.  May we be that good soil that bears much fruit for the kingdom of God.  Amen!

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  (2)  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  (3)  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  (4)  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.  (5)  Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:  (6)  For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:  (7)  In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.  Colossians 3:1-7

Heavenly Father for Your Son’s sake we have forsaken and continue to forsake willful disobedience and wickedness and we continuously pursue righteousness and faith along with those who call upon our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ out of a pure heart.  May our lives glorify You.  Amen! 

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