In the days of our Lord, many of his disciples forsake him. John records it this way: “From this time many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him” (Jn 6:66). Whatever opportunity they might have had for sharing His suffering, they forfeited. Whatever blessing might have come to them as a result of following Him, they threw away. Their materialistic minds could not grasp the meaning of His teaching concerning the bread of life, their faith in him was not strong enough to overcome their ignorance. So they turned away and they never came back.
This is the way it happens more often than not. How many people have you ever known who walked with the Lord, enjoyed the forgiveness of sins, felt the protecting arm of love about them, and then turned back to walk in sin and indifference, who ever came back to stay? I am referring to the man or woman who knowing the truth turns back to the weak and beggarly elements of the world because he prefers the world to the company of Christ and His people. They seldom come back to stay. This is the person the Hebrew writer refers to when he said, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance . . .” (Heb. 6:4-6). Paul does not say that it is impossible for them to repent, but that it is impossible to get them to repent.
The Bible says that repentance is brought about by godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:10). “Godly sorrow works repentance . . .” Until a person is brought to a realization of the nature of his sins against Almighty God, and finds in his heart a genuine regret and sorrow for those sins, he has not repented. A man might have any number of reasons to be sorry for the way he has lived, but that is not the sorrow that leads to repentance. Repentance is born in the human heart only when that person is convicted of the damning, filthiness, and ugliness of sin in his life, and is willing to forsake it and turn back to God. Consider Moses who forsake the pleasures of Pharaoh’s house: “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Heb 11:24,25).
The person who thinks he can live in sin and plan to repent at some future date either does not know what repentance is or he thinks that God is a fool. God never accepted a sickly sacrifice to be offered unto him, nor will he accept the worst part of our life in lieu of eternal life. “And if you offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto your governor; will he be pleased with you, or accept you favorably? says the Lord of hosts” (Mal 1:8).
God wants the best part of our life to be devoted strictly to him. Consider the presumption of a man who says, “I am having so much fun living in sin now, that I simply will not give it up. Some day in the future I will decide to be deeply sorrowful for what I am doing now”. The man who sets a future date to repent will find when that time comes that “there is no place in his heart for repentance.” This applies to the man in the world who has not obeyed the gospel as well as the one who is a backslider. God is not a servant that He should stand and wait for you to eat your fill at the devil’s table and throw Him your scraps. Turn before it is everlasting too late. Be as the wise man who said, “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them” (Eccl 12:1). Repent from your heart today and let it not be half-hearted. “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you (Acts 8:22).