|Revelation 3:2-3 |
2 Wake up and be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die. For I have not found your works perfect before God.1 [Jesus not only wants works, he wants perfect works. In His messages to the seven churches in Revelation, Jesus mentions to every church how their works are key. These are not works of the law; these works are works of love in obedient faith to the commands you hear as you wait on God. Perfect works are to completely and fully follow His orders, which He told us in Jer 7:23: "Listen to and obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk completely in the ways that I command you, so that it may be well with you."]
3 Remember therefore what you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent.2 If you do not wake up and watch, I will come upon you like a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.
2 Remember therefore what you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. So Jesus tells those who had been doing works as commanded, but not fully and completely, to remember what they have been taught, hold fast in full obedience to those teachings, and repent.
Remember therefore what you have received and heard. Write down the commands you have received from the Lord in a notebook so that you can review them periodically and make sure that you hold fast, and repent, which means to continue firm, strong, and immovable in your repentance.
Do not return to something the Lord has told you to turn from, however long ago He told you. From the Word of the Lord within: "Whatever you overcome and go back into is far harder the second time to overcome." If you receive a command from the Lord to repent from something, or if you are convicted in the Light for something you have been doing, do not disobey that command or ignore that conviction. To have overcome it, is to have stopped it with the Lord's help, which comes when he orders you to do something or when His light convicts you of something, and you obey continually until you have overcome it completely. Then you would have received supernatural help, and if you decide to return to your sin that you had overcome, it is far harder to overcome that sin again.
Stephen Crisp in his letter, THE WILES OF SATAN TO DESTROY YOU, addresses the consequences of returning to a sin that you have been told not to do by the Lord:
One more subtle snare of the enemy in this matter is in my heart to mention, that is to persuade you to do just once what the light has made manifest you should not do, with a purpose afterwards to be more faithful. Oh! Friends, in the name and fear of the Lord, I exhort and warn you all to take heed of this, for this will only prove to be a false confidence; you will find this kind of going out of the guidance of Truth, to be a costly outgoing to you; for if you ever do return, it will be very difficult, and with bitter anguish of soul. Oh! do not tempt the Lord in this manner, for fear that it proves impossible upon your wilfully sinning, to renew or restore you again by repentance; you will have your pottage, but will lose the blessing, though you may seek it with your tears; for while you went out, behold your way became hedged up, and the thorny nature got up in you, and so you are debarred and fenced out from enjoying your former state; sin being entered, death soon follows.
Do not confuse what you have decided to turn from yourself vs. what you have overcome in obedience to what the Lord has convicted you of and/or commanded you to repent from. Fleshly efforts of self often fail, and you are not disobeying the Lord unless He had commanded you to stop something. So if you decided on your own to stop something, then you didn't have His orders or help. Since you didn't have His help, you didn't overcome it, you only abstained from it, and that usually leaves you struggling to not repeat it again. Those efforts are commendable and you should always do your best to abstain from all evil; but if you slip back in weakness, you should not feel you are at major risk to be able to repent again by self-will. You should feel bad that you are so weak that you can't stop doing something, but that should be your motivator to go to Him with sorrow for your weakness with hope for His change that will make you strong enough to overcome it.
Notice! In these chapters of Revelation Jesus is talking to church attendees, not the heathen. Notice! Only a few have walked worthy by not defiling themselves. This flies in the face of Christendom, which is out of touch with the Bible they profess to believe in. Notice! Jesus is severely warning "believers" in the churches of their pending destruction. This does not fit with the widespread gospel of instant grace that is the cornerstone of Protestantism, nor does it fit in with the Roman, Russian, Greek, etc., sects' doctrine of continual Eucharists and Confession to make one acceptable to God.