I remember as a kid growing up that the timer in the oven would not always turn on automatically as it was supposed to do. Sunday roasts would sometimes be a ‘little late’ because when we got home from church the oven had not started to cook. It was not a big problem but it was a problem that was good to discover before we started to serve lunch… especially if we happened to have guests for lunch.
It is best to find out something is wrong before it is too and this is the exact reason why God calls people to preach the gospel (and he does not just mean in sermons in church). The gospel reminds us that something is wrong in our relationship with God and it tells us before whilst the problem can still be fixed and before it is too late.
The Biblical gospel teaches us that we are out of step with God and bound for hell by virtue of being born. We don’t have to do anything to inherit hell. But we do have to accept the gift of forgiveness to inherit eternal life with God in Heaven. Turning back to God begins when we realise that our relationship with God is crook. That we are not plugged in to the God of Heaven and Earth. This was why Jesus commenced His earthly ministry with the words “repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”
My dad tells the story of being saved one day when he turned down a major one way street in an overseas country when he saw the sign TURN BACK YOU ARE GOING THE WRONG WAY! He could have been angry that the City Council put up such an offensive sign in the street but he wasn’t since it saved him from an awful accident or real embarrassment.
It is because God loves us he calls on us to REPENT, (that is the same as saying go back you are going the wrong way) and that is why Christians should be keen to call on people to repent. Because of their love for others.
God wants us to enjoy His Heavenly banquet with him forever, He doesn’t want us embarrassed and excluded from His presence on judgement day. That is why he calls on us to repent. It will be too late on that Day or the day of our death to change our mind and repent.
How good it is to find out now that there is something radically wrong. How wonderful to find out that there is a wonderful solution – Jesus who took the heat of God’s judgement in our place. How good it is to turn to Him and find in Him pardon and peace.