Most if not all of us are aware of the three “R’s” of basic education, as it used to be taught in the schools, before the days of sophistication and modern philosophy. The sad fact is that nowadays the basics are not being taught, with the result that a lot of the students are both illiterate and in most cases cannot even write a proper sentence, or even their own name. They can text on their cell phones, in abbreviated form, but cannot write with a pen or pencil, and most will need a computer or calculating device to add simple numbers. Common sense has mostly disappeared and it is a sad state that is also prevalent in today’s religious circles.
The First “R” – When Peter taught his first sermon in Jerusalem (Acts 2), he was preaching to the Judean people, who were for the most well versed in the religious doctrine of that day, but after they had heard Peter expound the Word and the way of Jesus Christ, they were confused and inquired what they had to do, whereupon Peter emphasized the first requirement of the believer, “REPENT”.
Repentance is what all believers must practice every day. Most believers do not realize that today’s hustle and bustle of everyday life will often bring us in conflict with the perfect will of God. We do things without conscious awareness or intent that are contrary to the ways we ought to live and act. Whether we live it or not, we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God, thus it is imperative that we daily go down on our knees and in repentance ask God for forgiveness. God in His Word has promised that when we walk in His ways He will remember our sins no more. (Jer. 31:34) Repentance not only puts us right with God, it will also give us a clean and joyful heart and our own walk through life will be so much easier. With a joyful heart the sun will shine when it is raining, flowers will bloom where nothing grows and birds will be singing when we think that there is no sound. “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord, his God.” (Psa. 146:5)
The Second “R” – “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord: I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” (Heb. 10:16-18) “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isa. 1:18) So remission of sin is the Second “R”.
Remission of sin is the direct gift of God for a repentive heart. Without that remission we would forever be guilty under the Law regardless of the shed blood of Christ. Our faith is based on the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is so aptly put by Paul in Rom. 5:9 where he states, “Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him:” So dear friends, you can see that through the remission of sin we are saved from the wrath of God by the blood of the Lamb. The blood that was shed for many on Calvary, for the wages of sin is death, and glory be, Christ paid our debt. It was and is a free gift to mankind and a lost world. But in order that we may receive that free gift we must repent of our sinful ways and way of life, for without repentance there can be no remission. Daily we must pray to God, daily we must admit that we erred, and daily we must ask for remission, for we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. And it is when we have daily intercourse with God that the soul and spirit of man can be totally happy and free. “For the law of the spirit of Life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:2) “Stand fast therefore, in the liberty with which Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled with the yoke of bondage.” (Gal. 5:1)
The Third “R” – “For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” (Job 19:25) “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 3:23,24) “In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sin.” (Col. 1:14) It is remarkable, when we consider the depravity and sinful nature of men that so little is required of us to merit the forgiveness of sin and the redemption of our soul from the wages of sin, which is death. It shows the unfathomable and deep founded love that God bears toward us, His children. His was the agony, His was the sacrifice, His was the suffering and His was the blood. All that is asked of us is to repent. It is not much that we have to do, but it does make the difference between life and death. If we love Him and repent we have life, if we don’t repent, we have no redemption and we die in our sins. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) So the Third R is “Redemption”.
We get so much, for so little. How marvelous! We don’t deserve it and yet it is free, free to all, but multitudes refuse to bow to the only name in which is Salvation. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not by yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Eph 2:8) How wonderful it is to know that we serve such a gracious and loving God. How it makes our hearts sing in joy and praise to such a Maker and Redeemer. There is no other like Him. None can match His majesty and grace and no other can generate the joy within our hearts, as can the Lord God of Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ. “Because thou hast been my help, therefore, in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.” (Psa. 63:7)
This brings me to the plus one The Final “R” – “Rejoice”. “My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed.” (Psa. 71:23) “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness.”(Isa. 61:10) Thus if through the simple act of repentance we will experience the remission of sin unto the redemption of our soul then there can be no other reaction in us other than to rejoice and rejoice and rejoice. No other reaction will be possible in a forgiven sinner for the heart will then flow over with gratitude and singing.
“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice.” (Phil. 4:4)