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Becoming a Member of the Church – Sylvanus Godspower
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Step One: Repentance

   “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matthew 3:1 to 2 NKJV).

   Repentance is the change of mind, the former way of thinking, which will cause man to bitterly regret his past life and gradually build a defensive wall of resistance against sin (Romans 12:2). In truth, repentance is absolutely the first step on the path of redemption.

   The first and the second Books of Samuel give an illuminating insight into the matter of repentance, as they provide a thorough account of how King Saul and King David repented from their transgressions. These records clearly illustrate two kinds of repentance and the one which is well-pleasing to God. As indicated in these records, the two kings, Saul and David had equally sinned and transgressed God’s commandments. Both of them acknowledged their sins, pleaded for forgiveness, and bowed before the Lord; yet, one was pardoned while the other was not, one was reconciled with his Master while the other was cast away.

   Jonah 4:2b exhibits God’s attitude towards our sins. It says, “For I knew that You are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and [when sinners turn to You and meet Your conditions] You revoke the [sentence of] evil against them,” (AMPC). This shows that no matter how great a person’s sin is, once he genuinely repents and turns to God from a pure heart, the Lord will wipe them away and relent from executing the judgement that is due to his deeds. The question here is, why then is King David pardoned while King Saul castaway since they have all repented? Does it mean that God is a respecter of persons? No, not at all! It is noteworthy that David was accepted by reason of the great significant difference between how he repented and how Saul repented. For this reason, although David’s iniquities seem greater than that of Saul’s, he was forgiven while Saul was rejected though he also pleaded for mercy.

   Let us now gaze into the great difference between how King David repented when he sinned and how King Saul also repented from his sins.

The Repentance of King Saul

   Reading Scriptures: First Samuel 13:8 to 15, 15:10 to 31, 24:4 to 21, 26:17 to 21

   First Samuel 13:1 to 15 provides a record of King Saul’s first error in his kingship. As indicated in the record, the Philistines gathered together to fight against Israel. The number of their chariots was thirty thousand, their horsemen were six thousand and their infantry were as numerous as the sand on the seashore. These caused the men of Israel to tremble; therefore they hide in caves, in thickets, in holes, in pits, and many other places. Saul was in Gilgal and all who followed him also trembled because of the Philistines. It happened that Saul waited seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him to do before he should go out to the battle. However, Samuel delayed his coming until all those around Saul began to scatter from him.  This compelled King Saul to offer a burnt offering by himself; something which was not lawful for him to do. So it was that as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, Samuel came.

   In Numbers 16:40, the Lord said explicitly, “…No outsider, who is not of the descendants of Aaron, should draw near to burn incense before the Lord…” (ESV). This verse points out that nobody, irrespective of the person’s social status and rank is permitted to offer sacrifices in the presence of the Lord apart from the descendants of Aaron. This means that it is not right for King Saul to offer an offering by his own accord no matter how difficult was the situation on the ground.

   Verse 11 of First Samuel chapter 13 make mention that Samuel asked Saul upon meeting him, “What have you done?” This simple but powerful question is meant to quicken Saul’s heart to regain consciousness of his lawlessness which could lead him to repentance. I perceive that Saul knew what Samuel meant by asking him such a question; however, instead of him to repent and turn to God, he rather gave a lot of tangible excuses for his lawless deed and whitewashed it.



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