“We behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom, but by the grace of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:12 ESV)
The ways of God are foolishness to this world for one simple reason, he requires a life of faith rather than one of sight. God’s people, the elohim, serve the unseen God rather than the visible mammon. They make decisions based upon God’s will for their next step, not how much money that step will make or how much acclaim that move will bring. The mystery and the perplexity among his people is that they do still need money in order to feed and clothe themselves and their children. Their struggle is to make that money through their individual gifting and faith, not through conniving, planning, and studying the latest marketing strategy. Yet, their challenge is far greater than even “making a living” in this world.
Elohim always remember that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Cor. 5:10). Yes, there is an accounting due to the sons of God, but there is also an accounting due to everyone who names the name of Christ and to everyone who does not. One of the great fallacies of the centuries is that Christians are no longer responsible for their sins because they are now “in Christ” who took their sins upon him. The great truth of the gospel is that in Christ all have been made alive, but this new life brings new accountability, not less.
No longer am I only condemned if I murder someone; now I am condemned if I want to murder someone or if I nurse and harbor hatred in my heart toward someone. Now I am no longer condemned if I commit adultery; now I am judged if I look upon a woman in order to lust and contemplate adultery. No longer must only my actions be perfect; now my thoughts, intents, and desires must be perfect. Jesus said, “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
This is also why Jesus said, “If you do not forgive others, neither will I forgive you.” Oh foolish men who think you have the ticket to heaven! You have nourished hatred within your own hearts by refusing to forgive those you believe have wronged you! You have trampled the grace of God underfoot by failing to have grace toward your brother, your father, your mother, your daughter. You judge everyone else and think you will be raptured in the blink of an eye when doom falls upon the wicked, but you too are wicked and refuse to repent! Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
No one can repent, of course, until they have faith in God. God, the Almighty, the LORD of Hosts, the all sufficient One who IS. God, the Creator, by whom, through whom, and in whom ALL exists. God, who says of Himself, “I AM that I AM!”
We must believe that God exists before we can repent because, as we have seen, we cannot even believe that moral truth exists until then. But, once we believe that God does exist and that He is who He says He is, then we should certainly say to ourselves, “Then I had better do what He says!”
Thus we see that repentance and faith will come to a person virtually simultaneously. When I actually do obtain a faith in God, then I should naturally, as a matter of due course, repent of my dead works, of the many things I do that lead to death, destruction, and shattered lives. But will I repent?
This is the mystery of the gospel, of Elohim, of Melchizedek, of the seeds and the sower, and indeed of all that the Bible calls “salvation.” The reality is that some do hear the truth, believe it, and then repent because of it. But, then, shortly thereafter or even many years later, they refuse to continue in the ways they have learned and return to the ways of the world. Some people go through life thinking they believe in Christ and his words, yet never change any of their sinful behaviors. Others never believe at all and know they don’t believe. And some live a life of faith and repentance, bearing the fruit that can only come of repentance all the days of their lives.
The fact remains that one must believe, must have faith, in God before he can ever repent. “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is hand!” cried both John the Baptist and Jesus the Messiah. Yes, repentance and faith in the King of Heaven together establish the foundation of the Gospel.