|Vol. 2, No. 6||Page 9||June 2000|
A Tribute to Bible Teachers
To those who teach God’s Word to the young, I offer this tribute.
May God bless you for all the hours spent in study of the Word. You are the one who sparked that flame of excitement. Little hands held out a paper, saying, “Look, Mommy. I learned about Jesus today.”
As the years went by, the flame grew brighter. Boring things like learning the books of the Bible became lively games in your class. “Teacher” knew all the Bible answers. You set an example I could be proud to have my children follow.
The time of decision came. You taught the truth, urging my children to “count the cost.” You shared my joy when one was baptized at an early age, as well as my concern for the one who waited for his own right time.
Then there were more hours of study devoted to teaching the deeper doctrinal matters. Instruction on Christian character impressed the importance of letting their lights shine brightly.
Soon they will have children of their own. Bible class teacher, don’t quit now! Another generation awaits like candles. God be with you as you strike another match.
What causes a person to want to repent? This is a good question for pondering in light of our responsibility to persuade men to turn to the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:11). Repenting is, indeed, turning, changing direction, doing an about face. It is spiritual in nature but necessarily effects our practical behavior. The drunk realizes his exclusion from the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21) and gives up his mind-numbing practice. The backbiter ceases to speak stabbing words and speaks what is good for edification. These are examples of repentance, but the question remains, what causes a person to want to change?
Guilt. One phenomenon that separates man, made in God’s image, from beasts is that of conscience. Men and women feel remorse when they’ve done something they feel is wrong. True, the conscience needs trained for sensitivity and guidance by revelation, not just feelings. It is possible to be sincere about a belief, but still wrong (cf. Romans 10:1-3). However, conscience is implanted within man (cf. Romans 2:14-15) and he feels badly when his course is defined by objective wrongdoing. The guilt can be ignored, causing one’s conscience to become hardened (cf. 1 Timothy 4:2). Preferably, it can motivate one to repent. Then, he can seek the forgiveness of the Lord through obedience to his commands, and begin a new life of guilt-free service (Romans 6:3-6). In answering our question, “What causes a person to want to repent?” then, we are led to an ensuing question: “What causes one to realize and deal positively with his guilt?”
Preaching. The main answer to this question lies in the preaching of the Word of God. It is living and powerful (Hebrews 4:12) and will not return void (Isaiah 55:11). Without it, salvation is impossible (Romans 1:16). In preaching, there are two valid elements that would motivate one to repent. One is fear. Paul cited “the terror of the Lord” in judgment as his motivation to persuade men (2 Corinthians 5:10-11). The other is goodness. When one considers all that God has done for him, shouldn’t he be motivated out of love to be a worker for the Lord? Paul asked pointedly: “Or do you despise the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)
Repentance is one step in God’s great plan of salvation.
Yet, it is all-encompassing. It is a change of lifestyle and submission
of one’s will. What motivates a man to repent? Surely, the freedom from
guilt, fear of judgment, and gratitude for God’s goodness is enough. If
these motivations are spurned, what, indeed, is left?