Sunday, March 11, 2012

Williams on the Need for Repentance

“I was persuaded and am, that God's way is first to turn a soul from its idols, both of heart, worship, and conversation, before it is capable of worship to the true and living God...” Roger Williams

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” I John 5:21

When we place something before God in our lives, we are guilty of idolatry. God should have preeminence in our heart. He should hold a superior position to all things in our lives.

Go back with me to when Roger William lived, in the 17th Century. He first dwelt among the Puritans, who excommunicated him primarily because of his position on baptism. Mr. Williams had put God first in his life, and God blessed him. He then went and dwelt honorably amongst the Indians.

An easier chose would have been to drop his convictions and live “peaceably” among the Puritans. Isn’t that what we would do today? Often by conforming to the organizations we associate with, we demonstrate that we love man and man’s praise more than God.

The Apostle Paul struggled with the constant barrage of words spoken against his right to apostleship. In his letter to the churches of Galatia, Paul sought to defend himself, and in so doing he reveals the preeminence of Christ in his life. This is what he says in Galatians 1:10:

“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

The praise of men would not be an idol in the heart of Paul.

If the Holy Spirit has convicted us of holding something above God in our lives, what should we do? Repent, i.e. turn away from it. Here are Jesus’ words on the matter:

“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Matthew 10:37-39

Have you laid down everything in order to pick up your cross and follow Jesus? Have you repented from the idols you’ve set up and have come to worship in truth the One True and Living God?

5 comments:

  1. I'm not familiar with the baptism issue that got him ousted from the Puritans, but to go and witness to the Indians... one has to think God placed him where He chose him to be. :)

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  2. Great thoughts, Lynn. This reminds me of one of my heroes, George Whitefield, who said, "There must be a deep conviction before you can be brought out of your self-righteousness, it is the last idol taken out of your heart." That is certainly how it was with me. Even writing used to be an idol in my life. Thankfully, through His mercy and grace, it is no longer.

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  3. Thank you, Lynn--I'm always astounded by what these people went through to pursue the Lord's direction for their lives.

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  4. This is such a deep post. Thank you for sharing.

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