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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Even the Worst of Sinners Can Repent

We all know someone whom we consider to be the least likely to ever follow the Lord. Our candidate for least likely to go to heaven is opposed the Lord. He may think that faith is the belief of the feeble minded. She may believe that Christianity will just make her feel guilty in the lifestyle she would like to live. He may get angry when he hears anything about faith, spewing profanity and a hatred for all things sacred. This person may live a totally depraved life which is so bound for hell that it would take a miracle just to delay the journey.

But, even these people, whom we have called impossible to be saved, can repent and come to the Lord. We simply cannot condemn them to hell. God can still bring them to repentance.

Take Manasseh for example. He rebuilt the high places of pagan worship that his father had torn down. He erected altars to Baal and made Asherah poles of fertility. He burned his own sons as an offering, used fortune tellers, mediums, wizards and participated in sorcery. He carved an idol and placed it in the house of the Lord. He led Judah and the inhabitants to do more evil than those whom the Lord had destroyed before the people of Israel.

God spoke to Manasseh and the people and neither listened to Him.

Certainly, Manasseh sunk the needle on the "Not ever going to come to the Lord" meter. Who could imagine that he would ever repent, but . . .

2 Chronicles 33:11-13 (ESV)
11 Therefore the Lord brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze and brought him to Babylon. 12 And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. 13 He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.

God's mercy is greater than our imagination. He takes the worst of us back into His arms when we repent. He brings calamity upon us just to see us repent. He wants to redeem us more than we can imagine.

I wonder: Do the people who we think will never repent believe that they can never repent?

I have told people they can repent and the Lord will take them as if the had never sinned. One young lady, with tears streaming down her face, said, "I wish I could believe that. I wish I could believe that." She condemned herself because she thought she had passed over a point of no return. She thought that her lifestyle was insurmountable. She didn't know how much grace God has for her.

Two great obstacles keep sinners from repenting. One is the believers who do not think it is possible. The fail to pray for sinners. They do not share the love of Christ with them. They don't like being around sinners and condemn them with their disdain.

The other obstacle is the sinners' belief that God doesn't want them. They believe that they cannot overcome those things which keep them from the Lord. They think that God will never forgive them if they tried to repent. They can't imagine a new life which doesn't include their sins.

Yet, God reaches out. He speaks, but they don't listen. He takes them through a struggle and calls out again.

So, we as believers should be calling out to the Lord to do whatever it takes to see the unlikeliest people in heaven.

Think who would surprise you the most to be seen in heaven. That's the person you should pray for. God still does miracles. God still takes repentant sinners. I know. I am one of them.

1 comment:

Craig Godfrey said...


If God accepts me, He can accept anyone.