When preachers talk about repentance, it usually is a sobering moment where the audience is asked to think about the areas in their lives where they need to come clean through confession and repentance. Both of those words are critical in developing a spiritual life. If there is no confession, there is no honesty or awareness of any wrongdoing toward God. If there is no repentance, there is no forgiveness applied to your life.
Recently, I was reading through the Book of Revelation and came across two sections of the Sixteenth Chapter where people would not repent. Here are those two areas I want to call your attention to today:
Revelation 16:9 They were seared by the intense heat, and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.
Revelation 16 10The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in agony 11and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.
Notice that the conditions in which the people on earth are finding themselves in are the middle of the judgment of God. Knowing they cannot hide from this judgment ordeal, one would think they would realize they are in trouble with God and they would take the appropriate action and repent. No, they refuse to repent and continue to suffer God's judgment.
This says to me, that the people at this time will become like the people in Noah’s day … they were beyond the point of return. Jesus told us that the last days would be like the days of Noah, where people were unprepared, unaware, and unknowing that God even existed. Think about that. They had no knowledge of God’s right to rule this world, let alone the right to judge this world. They were totally beyond the scope of ever turning toward God and repenting of their sin. In fact, any repentance would require there would be something to repent from, and since sin was not acknowledged among them, no repentance was required. If you don’t acknowledge any sinful behavior, there is no reason to require repentance. Even in the middle of God's judgment upon the land, there is no acknowledgment of any wrongdoing, and the refusal to change the course of action is faced with more of God's judgment. To me, this attitude of refusing to repent is an indication that evil has overwhelmed the people, and they are beyond the point of no return.
This is an issue few people will discuss today … the point of no return. As messengers of the Gospel, we always believe that people can repent and come to God. Yet we see people at the beginning of time (the flood) and at the end of time (the judgment of God) not taking that opportunity. This point of no return is when God’s grace comes to an end, and the wrath of God is dispersed to those who never repent and are never saved. This point of no return is the arrogance of mankind … deciding they need nothing from anyone, especially God.
I raise this issue because society has already become hardened toward God. There are signs today that no matter what, God will never be an option. Hardness of the heart comes in many ways, but it is the result of going further into unbelief and further away from God. The judgments in the Book of Revelation are the result of the hardness of the heart, an immovable condition of ungodliness that is at the point of no return.
Recently, I was asked, “Why does God have to destroy people through His judgments? The answer is simple, “They cannot and will not ever change. Their evil will remain, and they will never turn from it.”
God’s kingdom that is to come will not tolerate wicked evil people … there is no place for them in paradise. Since they have refused to accept God’s provision of salvation in Jesus Christ, their choice has brought them into the eternal punishment designed for the devil and all who follow him.
Matthew 25:41 Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
God is merciful, He is gracious, He is kind and He is long-suffering. He wants none to perish. The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed but wants everyone to repent.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
So, what should your response be to what you have read today? Consider how many people (including you), need to know Christ. The days ahead will not be kind to our society because the day of hardness is growing. The devil knows his time is short, so he will prepare this world to harden their hearts toward God and promote the freedom of the human spirit to flourish in evil and wicked ways. The longer anyone puts off surrender to Christ, the harder it will become because of the evil in our day. The Apostle Paul knew how evil the days were and admonished his readers to make the best use of time and live for God. It's your choice.
Ephesians 5 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler