Repenters Must Repent

The history of preachers in the churches of Christ has been that they have been faithful to preach the “plan of salvation” to those who were not converted to Christ. Because of many other churches failure to call on hearers to be baptized perhaps there has at times been an undue emphasis on “baptism” in that plan. As a consequence, people too often were converted to doctrinal baptism but not to Christ. Most certainly it can never be wrong to preach the significance of baptism if you have preached what comes before it and that I fear has been our failure.
Jesus “came into Galilee preaching the gospel of God, and saying...repent and believe in the gospel”. (Mark 1:15) Note that repentance comes before faith. Then in Acts 2:38 we find repentance coming before baptism. Repentance simply makes us very aware of the sinners before God we really are. Belief and baptism has little meaning if we do not repent of our sins.
For over 20 years the Christians in Romania suffered under the iron- fisted, Communist rule of Nicolae Ceausecu. They were subjected to intimidation and harassment. They were ridiculed by being called “repenters”. They finally became like too many Christians today in that they became conformed to the culture rather than to Christ. That is until one preacher in the town of Oradea began to preach an unusual message. He insisted that “the repenters must repent”. He was very specific about the sins they needed to repent of.  They began to take holiness seriously and true revival was experienced. Maybe our pulpits today need to speak plainly  and call for repentance. God’s message for the “lukewarm” church in Laodicea was, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.” (Rev. 3:19)
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