Two famous commands from God give total insight into how we should approach Him for new life – ‘Stand still! Go forward!’ The message is about how to resolve our inner struggles and concerns in calling upon Christ for forgiveness and conversion.
And Moses said unto the people, fear ye not, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will show to you today. Fear ye not, stand still.
And the title is ‘what it means to believe in Christ.’ Now the approach to God, to find him, to know him, is twofold. First of all, I remind you that there has to be repentance. We cannot come to God or approach him without repenting of our sin. And that is meaningful repentance, heartfelt repentance of all that we are, as well as all that we have done. Remember we are sinners in our state and condition. We are saturated with certain things such as pride and so on before God. So repentance, it does not mean going through an inventory of all your sins and everything you’ve ever done. That would be quite impossible. But it does involve meaningful recognition of the fact that we have no rights before God, that we are under his judgment by rights. And we come repenting because we believe that there is mercy with the Lord, because Christ the Saviour has come and suffered and died for sinners who repent and belong to him. Therefore there is mercy and forgiveness. And in the light of that, we come and we acknowledge our need and repent of our sin.
But then I said this was twofold. There’s another aspect of approaching God. And the other aspect is this. We must put our faith in him, our trust in him, and believe in him. These are two quite different things. Now they may seem at first sight a little contradictory. How do they tie together? How do they meet? If I repent of my sin, I do so as an outsider. I see the kingdom of heaven as it were. I wish to be an insider. I desire to be converted, to be received by God, to be changed by him and blessed, to be one who is on that glorious road to heaven, a child of the living God. As an outsider, as it were knocking on the door, I repent of my sin and my need.
But then this faith aspect seems to be something that actually carries me in. I step forward in faith, and I trust him, and I rest my soul upon what Christ has done, and I believe in him. So there almost seems to be a contradiction. I repent as an outsider, and yet I step forward in faith and trust and embrace him and receive him. And I’d like to try to explain these two things very simply tonight.
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