The Reason Real Repentance Is So Rare These Days
The only thing worse is when preachers in expensive suits--men who don't look like wild-eyed maniacs--deliver the same message of impending judgment and expect conversions. The only difference between preachers in pulpits and those on street corners is that most sophisticated preachers speak of sin in terms of a nebulous and wicked 'society' or 'culture' rather than shouting at a specific person as he walks down the sidewalk. The spirit and message are the same. The message of God's wrath on the 'unrepentant' homosexual, drug addict, adulterer, alcoholic, and other named sinners never leads to change in any of them.
True repentance springs from God's goodness. The Bible tells us this. "It is the goodness of God that leads to repentance" (Romans 2:4).
When Law is constantly proclaimed in an effort for God's judgment and man's crimes to meet in the court of conscious, no true repentance will ever be produced. Sorrow, maybe, but no repentance. Regret, possibly, but no true repentance. Judgment proclaimed always leads people to flee from God, never toward God.
Evangelical, saving repentance springs from a believing view of a reconciled God in the face of Jesus Christ, and the incredible good news that God has an eternal love for sinners. Repentance and faith go hand in hand, for it is "repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21). God's love for sinners in sending His Son, and the Son's finished work on behalf of sinners, contain both the spirit and message (grace and truth) that lead sinners to repentance toward God and faith toward Christ. These two things are never produced until the spirit in the messenger is one of love toward sinners and the message is one of God's goodness in Christ toward sinners.
If your organization is known more for the sins they're against and the message of God's judgment on unrepentant sinners, then right there is the reason why there are decreasing conversions.
Next time you feel tempted to clap and cheer at a convention for a thunderous message against 'homosexuals,' and 'transsexuals,' and other 'sexual sinners,' or a diatribe against alcohol and drug abuse, or a proclamation of God's judgment against our nation for the moral decay in Hollywood, or God's wrath on our culture due to the break-up of the traditional family, maybe you ought to sit on your hands.
We must regain the message of the goodness and grace of God toward sinners and begin to focus like a laser on the gospel and forsake our infatuation with Law and judgment or we will never see a turnaround in the numbers of people saved.