What is true repentance? Many people think, as long as they don’t assault or curse others but can be tolerant and patient, can expend and work for the Lord and have good deeds, then they have true repentance and can be raptured into the heavenly kingdom when the Lord returns. But is this really the case? The Pharisees practiced good behavior, and they taught the Jewish people in the temple and traveled over land and sea to spread the gospel. But when the Lord Jesus did His work, they condemned and blasphemed Him and crucified Him. It can be seen that external good behavior does not mean true repentance.
God says, “Changes in nothing more than behavior are unsustainable. If there is no alteration in people’s life disposition, then sooner or later their wicked side will show itself. Because the source of the changes in their behavior is fervor, coupled with some work by the Holy Spirit at the time, it is extremely easy for them to become fervent, or to show kindness for a time. As the unbelievers say, “Doing one good deed is easy, what’s hard is doing a lifetime of good deeds.” People are incapable of doing good deeds their whole life. Their behavior is directed by the life; whatever their life is, so is their behavior, and only that which is revealed naturally represents the life, and one’s nature. Things that are fake cannot last. When God works to save man, it is not to adorn man with good behavior—God’s work is in order to change people’s dispositions, to make them reborn into new people. … Behaving well is not the same as obeying God, much less does it equal being compatible with Christ. Changes in behavior are based on doctrine, and born of fervor—they are not based on the true knowledge of God, or upon the truth, much less do they rest on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Even though there are times when some of what people do is directed by the Holy Spirit, this is not the expression of the life, much less is it the same as knowing God; no matter how good a person’s behavior, it does not prove that they obey God, or that they put the truth into practice. Behavioral changes are a momentary illusion, they are the manifestation of zealousness, and they are not the expression of the life. …”
We can see that the external good deeds are people’s momentary enthusiasm and cannot last. Once God’s work doesn’t fit with their ideas, people can still resist God. So, this is not true repentance. Such people are not qualified to enter the kingdom of God. Just as the Lord Jesus said,“Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant stays not in the house for ever: but the Son stays ever” (John 8:34-35).
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