From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
There seems to be a word left out of our Christian vocabulary and Pastor mentioned it yesterday. We as believers must repent. Growing up I always thought that repenting was just for the annual evangelical service. And some people think that this service is only a tent meeting that happens with a guest speaker, but it isn’t. Throughout the entire Bible you see this message of Repentance. In the Old Testament repentance had to come with a sacrifice but in the New Testament, and even now, we have Christ as our sacrifice; but we still need to repent. It was the message of John the Baptist as he preached in the wilderness. It was the message with which the Lord Jesus commenced, and ended, His ministry. It was the message the apostles preached, and it was the message that birthed churches. It was the message that Paul took with him wherever he went. Repentance is not only one of the forgotten words of our time but it is also one of the most misunderstood, even though the Bible is full of the command to Repent.
Christ called for repentance on a number of occasions and it’s not an option but a full out command. So the question is what is repentance to us? Repentance literally means to changes one’s mind. It is a change of mind that affects a change of will and, in turn, brings about a change of action. In Pastor’s sermon we heard about the need that we have to repent of our sins, even if we are saved, because we are not perfect. In the story of the prodigal son, the son went out and left his home to do his own thing. In time he regretted his decision, but regret doesn’t mean repentance; repentance only occurred when he did something about it. The misunderstanding is that people think repentance is just feeling sorry or being remorseful and that will change them. It’s like Pastor said, and we see in the prodigal son, it’s a broken heart and a confession to God that will change one’s mind. Now repentance isn’t salvation but it does play a role in salvation. As Pastor said yesterday when we come to know the Lord we must repent of our sins, which then starts the relationship. But as humans we always mess up and fail, which means we must continue to repent of our sins as we grow in our relationship with God. This does not mean that we have lost our salvation; on the contrary, this means that we have an active and personal relationship with the Creator of the universe, and that Creator commands us to REPENT!
In Christ’s teachings He often uses language like “for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” This is to be taken literally for the Greek words used mean that this can occur at any moment. This is to say that our focus should not be on this world but on God’s. Where are you storing your treasures? Do you place your treasures in your job, family, car, money, toys, or style of living, or do you focus on the Kingdom and repent of your sins so that you can be in right relationship with God?
A Servant of Christ,