I realized recently that a big hole in the liberal Christian conception of the Gospel concerns the need for repentance. They imagine there is no such need. When I made the statement, which I took to be non-controversial, that Jesus dined with sinners for the purpose of bringing them to repentance, someone went so far as to say that I was preaching some other Gospel than the one he believed in.
I would love to write a long dissertation on the concept of repentance and its place in the Gospel, but alas time is scarce. So I thought I would just toss something off whenever I come across something that’s apropos.
In my daily Bible reading I came across the following:
The foreigner who has given his allegiance to the LORD must not say,
‘The LORD will exclude me from his people.’
The eunuch must not say,
‘I am naught but a barren tree.’
These are the words of the LORD:
The eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
who choose to do my will
and hold fast to my covenant,
will receive from me something better than sons and daughters,
a memorial and a name in my own house and within my walls;
I shall give them everlasting renown,
an imperishable name.
So too with the foreigners who give their allegiance to me,
to minister to me and love my name
and become my servants,
all who keep the sabbath unprofaned
and hold fast to my covenant:
these I shall bring to my holy hill
and give them joy in my house of prayer.
Their offerings and sacrifices
will be acceptable on my altar;
for my house will be called
a house of prayer for all nations.
Those who will receive joy on the Lord’s holy hill, are those who do his will, keep the sabbath and hold fast to his covenant.
“Cry loudly, do not hold back;
Raise your voice like a trumpet,
And declare to My people their transgression
And to the house of Jacob their sins.
“Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways,
As a nation that has done righteousness
And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God.
They ask Me for just decisions,
They delight in the nearness of God.
‘Why have we fasted and You do not see?
Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not [a]notice?’
Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire,
And drive hard all your workers.
“If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot
From doing your own pleasure on My holy day,
And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable,
And honor it, desisting from your own ways,
From seeking your own pleasure
And speaking your own word,
Then you will take delight in the Lord,
And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Isaiah 58:1-3, 13-14.
First they ask, Why does the Lord not hear us? And his answer: Because you seek your own pleasure rather than doing what I command. If you desist from seeking your own pleasure and speaking your own word on my holy sabbath, then you will enjoy the Lord’s favor.
Basic stuff, but apparently it needs to be said.