by Mike Ratliff
O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth? You have struck them down, but they felt no anguish; you have consumed them, but they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to repent. (Jeremiah 5:3 ESV)
Obstinate refusal to bow the knee to the Lordship of Christ is not always apparent or observable in professing Christians. Unlike men such as the late George Carlin, their rebellion is often shrouded in ceremonies, religiosity, morality, good works, and the like. They may have been convicted to repent, but instead of doing so they remain turned from God as they pursue their own way of placating their conscience. This is attempting to be a Christian on ones own terms.
George Carlin was among those who honestly declare that they will never quit their sinful ways. However, there are other people who have promised to repent, but have not done so. Others, such as formatlists, mere professors, and hypocrites, have a form of godliness, but it is only a show. Therefore, there are people who have heard the truth, have heard the Gospel, yet they refuse to repent. Even though this may disturb us, we must come to grips with the fact that there will be untold numbers of people who will not repent and be saved.
This obstinate refusal to repent reveals much about the unregenerate heart. The unregenerate have an intense love of sin. They prefer their sin to any promise they have heard about eternity with Christ in Heaven. The do not love God or His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ no matter how much they profess to do so. If they cling to their sin then they prove that they love it far more than they love God. In their rejection of Him they reveal that they actually despise God and prove it by rejecting His counsel, His command, and even Himself. They actually resolve to continue in evil. They make plans around their sin, hoping to feed their insatiable desire to feed their flesh. They refuse to repent.
The unregenerate person has no concept of the difference between them and a genuine Christian. They see a regenerate person being Christlike and it incites within them negative emotions that evolve even unto hate. Why? This is the the divisiveness of Christ becoming manifest in the lives of His people.
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:19 ESV)
From this unregenerate heart that hates God, our Lord Jesus Christ, and those chosen out of the world, we see actual attributes therein that drive the person to adamantly stay turned from God. For example, they are full of self-conceit. This blinds them into believing they are already ‘good enough.’ Others reveal an attitude of sheer recklessness. These refuse to consider their own best interests. They resolve to be a trifler. Death and hell and Heaven are to them as only distractions to sport with.
The unregenerate heart has an intense dislike of holiness. This is actually the core issue. The man or woman or child that is untouched by the grace of God cannot endure humility, self-denial, and obedience to God. When confronted with sin and the call to repent they weigh the pleasures of the present with the promise of an eternal life with the Lord. Unless God regenerates their hearts they will never chose the latter, but will always prefer the former.
Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5,6, & 7) lays out the Christlike, godly nature that He has and will grow and build within those who are His. None of us will ever see 100% sanctification in this life, but we are called to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, to become living sacrifices by being transformed through the renewal of our minds, to be spirit-filled as we pray continually and submit to our spouses, and our friends, and to love our enemies and pray for them. We are commanded to abide in Christ. This is what we are called to do and to become, but one of the main excuses the ungodly use when called to repent is that they see the visible Church and see the inconsistencies and hypocrisy and the cakes half-baked and they want no part of it.
Therefore, we must pray for our churches and the pastors and leadership over them. We must pray for wholesale repentance and a return to intentional, God glorifying preaching of the Word, worship, and discipleship. This must be done from the focus of God’s Sovereignty and Holiness and our humble devotion and love for Him. We must pray for God’s people to have their spiritual blindness cut away by our Lord so they can see their sin and repent. Let us pray for Christians all over this world to repent and become intentionally devout, holy, humble, and obedient. Let us pray that we will not be man-pleasers or become afraid of men. Instead, let us plead with God that we become wise, discerning, and bold as we share the gospel with all who will hear. O’ Lord, make us intentionally godly as you cleanse us of manifesting decided ungodliness.
Soli Deo Gloria