Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952)
To His servants Christ gave commandment "that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His Name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 24:47). "Beginning at Jerusalem" not because of any dispensational reason, but because grace would commence with the most unlikely and unworthy ones. But O how little repentance is being preached today, even by those claiming to be the true servants of God. "Believe, Believe, only believe" is being sounded forth widely, but where is the voice now being lifted up in the wilderness crying "repent!" Are not the claims of God to be pressed upon men, and their utter and awful failure to meet those claims, before we tell them of His grace? And what are the claims of God upon every human creature? Are they not summed up in, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart." Is He not entitled to this? Can He ever demand less? Is He not infinitely worthy of being loved? And is not that love to be expressed by obedience, by complete subjection to Him, by seeking to please Him in all things? And is not the failure of fallen man to meet this righteous demand of God that which constitutes the very "sinfulness of sin"? Is it not that, so far from having been in subjection to God's will and having sought His pleasure, man has turned aside to his own way and sought only to please himself? And is it not the first duty of God's servants to expound and explain this solemn fact, pressing it on the consciences of their hearers?
Does not the Old Testament precede the New? Does not the ministry of John the Baptist precede that of Christ? Does not Romans 1:18 to 3:20 precede Romans 3:21-26? Does not repentance toward God precede faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ? Certainly it does; but where does it do so in the preaching of present-day evangelists? None can truly believe in Christ until their hearts are broken before God through a deep realization of the awfulness of their condition in His sight. The ground must be plowed before it can receive the seed. To preach the finished work of Christ to those who have little or no realization of their awful condition before Him—that is, the consciousness that the whole of their life has consisted of self-pleasing, to the utterly ignoring of God—is only to cast pearls before swine.
And what will be the effect? What is the effect the world over? This: those who have never been convicted by the Holy Spirit will cordially assent to the letter of the Gospel, receive the Word with joy, accept Christ as their personal Savior, and go to swell the crowd of those having a form of godliness, but who are total strangers to a supernatural, conscience-plowing, contrite heart-giving, and transforming power.
Proverbs 28:13, Isaiah 55:7, Acts 3:19 are just as much a part of God's Word as is John 3:16, yet none would ever discover it from what he now hears, even in the Gospel halls. O my brethren in the ministry, preach repentance if you would honor God, discharge your responsibility, and be faithful unto the souls of your hearers. Suppose it makes you to be unpopular: what of that—if you receive Christ's well done in that Day!