“Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” (Heb. 11:25)
“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
While we who have been born-again are indeed to refrain by our own free will the pleasures of this life that we know are sinful, are an offense to the Lord our God, there is a common misconception amongst some who believe that they are to abstain from all pleasures here, and by doing so they believe also that the pleasures they will experience in heaven will be multiplied exponentially.
“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:20)
But if you look around at the world today and at many of those who profess the Lord Jesus Christ as Master, you will see this is not the normal attribute of their lives. Many attempt to live in both the world and on the path to the Kingdom of the Most High at the same time, confessing their sins as often as they eat their next meal, and presupposing on the mercy of the Lord, and that without true repentance.
“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.” Numbers 32:23 flows through their mind, and so, in their own way but not with true conviction or from the depths of their heart, they will employ 1st John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Here is another way to say Luke 13:3, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
“Unless you stop doing that.”
Presupposing on the mercy of the Living God in the mind of man can be a terrible and fateful sin my friends, confessing your sins and then repeating them is not repentance, and can be equated with the works-based ideologies of the Roman Catholic cult, simply repeat this statement several times, step into the booth and speak of your offenses, return each week and repeat the obligation, whilst living your life as before, and all will be forgiven.
Abstain from sin here and you will receive more there, fall into sin here, even unto the point of continuous open rebellion, and as long as you repeat words of repentance, even if you do not stop performing those sins, you will be forgiven.
“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1st Sam. 16:7)
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)
Words spoken from an obligation are not spoken by a broken heart, deeds done in hopes of mercy are not the turning away from sin but are nothing less than an attempt to cover that which is clearly seen and open to Him with whom we have to do.
You cannot lay your hand on the goat, confess your sins, send him off into the wilderness and then go back to your sinful pleasures expecting to be forgiven. You must repent, you must stop doing them. But, if you cease in those sins only in the hopes of receiving greater pleasures in His Kingdom, you have not only missed the point, but have not truly repented.
Will the Almighty forgive you? Yes, but if you are only not repeating those sins in the hope of gaining something for yourself, expect no rewards for your efforts.
If you can understand this short, poorly written letter, then you understand more fully John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
We turn from, we stop repeating, we repent of our sins not in the hope that we will be blessed here in this life with more, not because we hope for more in heaven, not because we fear the chastisement of our Father, but because we love Him.
“And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1st Peter 4:8)
Love for the Lord causes us to repent, then that broken and contrite heart will be mended.