Late one night I was up praying, and suddenly I was in the Spirit, with the Lord standing before me in my living room. I could see Him and the natural things of my living room at the same time. He said, "I want to teach you how I teach people".
I knew some of the basics
Mark 4: 33 says He taught them 'as they were able to receive it' - revealing He didn't then nor does He now, overwhelm us with things we are not able to understand nor walk in. And if we aren't ready for a truth, He withholds until we seek Him about it.
A good example of this is the baptism with the Holy Spirit. I was born again at age 16, but within weeks became frustrated over my lack of understanding of the Word and lack of power, but I didn't know anything else. I remember telling the Father one day: "I don't want to seem ungrateful Father, and I don't want to offend you, but is this all there is? I thought there'd be more."
The next day my friend who led me to the Lord started talking to me about the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Up to the day before I hadn't even heard about it, but when she told me I'd be able to be taught by the Lord via the Holy Spirit and enter into a deeper realm, I was ready! He had caused her to wait until I was ready and able to receive information about it. He waited until I asked for more knowledge from Him - He didn't force a new teaching on me.
This night the Lord taught me what sometimes happens when a person doesn't first repent before believing in Him.
John 3: 22-26 tells us John the Baptist is baptizing people in one place...
...and Jesus and His disciples are baptizing people in another place. We are told some of John's disciples were concerned because Jesus was drawing more people than John was, which is where John responded in part: "He must increase; I must decrease."
Chapter 4 starts this way: "So when the Lord learned that the Pharisees had been told that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were), He left Judea and returned again to Galilee. Now He had to go through Samaria."
The Lord said He knew the Pharisees would not follow Him through Samaria, so He used it as a sort of filter so they would be forced to go back to John. It meant they had to return to John and his baptism of repentance. If He had let them, the Pharisees would have followed Jesus without first receiving the baptism of repentance from John.
Every head bowed and every eye closed...
He then started talking about the modern western practice of raising the hand to 'accept Jesus', and how many never repent but go directly to being born again - never truly dealing with their heart about their past sinful life. That is what the Pharisees would have done - followed Jesus without ever having first repented of their sins. They would have held onto their sinful Pharisee way while 'accepting' Jesus - and that isn't right.
The Lord's comment about how people today believe in Him without dealing with their previous life - repentance - means a person comes to the Lord with these past sin issues still present and occupying a place in their heart and lives.
They aren't giving their lives to Jesus, rather they are inviting Jesus into their sinful life. That's backwards.
It means very often because they've not first repented but have gone right to Jesus, they will struggle with sin rather than being able to say 'No sin, I repented of you and have turned another way.' Many have not brought closure to their past life of sin when they come to Jesus, so they are constantly struggling between their former life and their new life in Christ.
Consider the foundational teachings of the faith
As listed in Hebrews 6: 1-2: Repentance from dead works, faith toward God, teaching on baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgement.
Notice the progression from repentance from dead works to the end teaching on judgement. How many of us started with 'faith towards God', then to the baptisms of water and Holy Spirit, then to laying hands on people for healing or prayer, then to looking for heaven - without ever first having repented?
Is it any wonder many struggle with sin? The know deeper things in the Lord, yet still struggle with old sins because they never repented before coming to Jesus.
It's not too late...
It is possible for a person who went right to Jesus without first repenting and coming to terms with their sinful past, to stop where they are right now, and repent of those things - even if that was 10 or 30 years ago. If you never stopped to really look at your sinful past, and repent of it to God the Father, to let that godly sorrow wash over them, then it might be a good thing to do so. And once done, move on.
It can be a simple act over and done with in seconds - that moment you bring to remembrance your sinful past, and out loud tell the Father you repent of those sins - you turn from them in godly sorrow. He leaves the memory of our past with us that we not return to them, as a sort of warning. If not repented of they become temptations. That's how you'll know your heart on the matter. If you repented, the sins of the past are no longer temptations. If you still hold some lust for them in your heart, they will tempt you. Repent, then press toward the mark of the high call in Christ.
In Acts 2: 38 when the people heard Peter's explanation of the day of Pentecost and asked what they needed to do to be saved, Peter said, 'Repent'. He didn't say 'believe', but 'repent' - repentance is the first word of salvation. Without it, a person may struggle with old sins throughout their new walk in Christ. Until next week, blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at email@example.com