Coming Back To The Lord
There are many Christians who have wandered away from the Lord. We have so much to gain by being faithful to the Lord. Jesus says in John 14:1-3, "In My Father’s house are many mansions and I go to prepare a place for you." Also we read in Revelation 21:4 concerning heaven, "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Heaven will be a great place beyond our wildest dreams. There are no words that can describe how wonderful heaven will be. And it will last forever and ever, time without end. I certainly want to go there and I know you do too.
By going to heaven we will not have to go to eternal punishment in Hell. Hell will be a horrible place. Jesus says in Mark 9:43-48, "If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched." We know that our hand itself will not cause us to sin but Jesus is telling us that what ever it is in our life that is going to cause us to be lost, to correct it so we will not be eternally lost in hell.
We have so much to gain by obeying God, but we have so much to loose by not obeying Him. God wants to save us so much that as John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" to die for us. This took great love for God to do this for us. And as we read in 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." The Lord doesn’t want you, me, or anyone else to be lost, and if we have wandered away He wants us to come back to Him in repentance. He has already paid the price for our sins by taking our punishment. He is eager and ready to save us.
In Luke 15:11-24 Jesus tells a parable which illustrates how God longs for us to return to Him if we have wandered away in sin. The parable tells of a son who took his inheritance and went away from his father into a far country and wasted his inheritance in riotous living. He became destitute and hired out to feed pigs. He became so hungry he even wanted to eat what the pigs ate. He decided to go back to his father and hire out as one of his hired servants. Verse 20 says, "And he arose and came back to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him." In this parable the father represents God. Christ gave us this parable to show how anxious God is to have us come back if we have wandered away from him in sin. God will run to us with open arms if we will only come back to Him.
In James 5:19 we read, "Brethren if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins." Here we see we can come back which will result in our soul being saved from an eternal death in Hell and the multitude of our sins will be covered and forgiven.
Satan wants us to believe, that once we have fallen away, there is no way back. But this is not true. In Luke 15:7 Jesus says, "I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance." Then Jesus continues in verse 10 saying, "Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." When we repent and come back all of heaven rejoices.
God only forgives those who are His children. We become a child of God when we are baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins so we can be saved (Galatians 3:26-27). God’s law of pardon for us after we become His children is to repent, confess our sins and to pray for our forgiveness. In 1 John 1:9 we read, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Notice it says that He will cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. From the above scriptures we see that we first of all need to repent of our past sins and unfaithfulness to God. We need to make up our mind that we are going to give up all sinful practices for which we have been guilty and that we are going to faithfully attend the worship services of the Lord's church, the church of Christ.
Now this doesn’t mean that we will never sin again. As His children we have the promise in 1 John 1:7, "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." This verse gives us a lot of encouragement and comfort. It tells us that we must walk in the light. In other words we must be trying our best to follow His word in our daily living. It next says that we must "have fellowship with one another". We must be in fellowship with the brethren in the local congregation of the church of Christ. If we are doing this, the verse says, "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sins". The cleansing from all sins is a continuing action. But as we try to live the Christian life and commit sin from time to time, the blood of Christ will continue to cleanse us from ALL sins we commit if we repent. But for this continual cleansing of our sins to take place so we can remain saved, we must be walking in the light and having fellowship one with another.
If you have wandered away, God is waiting for you to come back to Him. He dearly wants you to come back. So please make up your mind that from this day forward you are going to give up the sin in your life and live for Him. Find a congregation of the church of Christ in your area where you plan to faithfully attend worship. Go forward during the invitation and confess that you have sinned and that you have not been faithful in your worship of God. Ask the brethren there to pray for you and tell them you want to be a member there. Become involved in the worship and the work of the church there. Then live faithfully to God the rest of your life so that you can go to heaven when this life is over. As our Lord says in Revelation 2:10 says, "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."