We all love it when God is on our side. We love feel good messages about how God has a plan for us. Recently, a preacher who's been labeled as a "prosperity preacher" repented of such messages, and he's taught them often. The one thing lacking in the "God has a plan for you" sermon is the weight of sin which leads us to repentance at the foot of the Cross. It's, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer called it, Cheap Grace. Many times the teachers we follow that subscribe to the methodology of ONLY preaching "feel good messages" deviate from the word of God and skip over sin. Sin is a messy topic. People don't want to hear about it! I know that I certainly don't. But as many of us with family issues know, not talking about it doesn't solve the problem. You wouldn't let an infection continue in your skin because you hate the cure (or maybe you would, I don't know). You'd see a Doctor, or at the very least go to urgent care to have it treated. Why, then, do we think we can preach grace without repentance of sin? "What's the big deal?" you might ask. "My life's been fine and I love Jesus!" Great! James says "So you believe God is one, GOOD. Even the Demons believe, and tremble" (James 2:19). Grace without repentance is not grace. It's something that puffs us up. It fills us with pride and conceit, which are the antithesis of what God desires. James also says "But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble'" (James 4:6). Pride keeps us from a deep and abundant relationship with God. There is no grace without repentance! Repentance requires a humble heart. Humility is what allows us to sacrificially love God with all we are, and at the same time our neighbor as our self. Pride keeps us from forgiving someone, hoping "they get theirs," and waits for the destruction of Nineveh after God preached a message of repentance (Read Jonah). Pride is cancer, it devours you body and soul. Humility, bowing down before the God of the Universe in surrender and complete and utter submission, gives us access to the Throne of Grace.
Luke 18: 9-14 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”