Radical Repentance

Mark 1:14,15 says this,

14 Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

If we compare this message from Jesus at the beginning of His ministry in Mark 1:14,15 with John the Baptist’s message at the beginning of his ministry in Matthew 3:2, we see very similar wording in their message.  While Jesus and John both say that we should repent for the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven is at hand, Jesus adds in that, “the time is fulfilled.”  John acted in the role of a forerunner telling the people that God’s kingdom is about to come, whereas Jesus said that the kingdom of God is at hand and the time is fulfilled because He as the Christ has come. He is about call His first disciples to come and follow Him.  He is God, the Son of the King of God’s kingdom who has come to rescue us from the domain of sin, Satan, and death and has transferred us into His own Kingdom (Colossians 1:13,14). God’s Kingdom has come because Jesus the Christ, God’s Messiah, has come to save and deliver us from our sins. 

As a consequence of God’s kingdom coming with the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus, people are called to repent and believe the gospel. Our responsibility is to start by seeking forgiveness, but we cannot stop there. The word repent means to do a complete about-face and to walk in the opposite direction.  The word in Greek literally means “change one’s mind.” Repentance is a radical change of one’s spirit, mind, thought, heart, and the actions which flow from this change.  It is a complete reorientation of a person’s life.

What is so pertinent about the need to repent?  It is that we don’t sin once in a great while, like once a month, or once a quarter.  If we are honest with ourselves, we probably sin every day, and we sin in some ways that we are not even aware that we have sinned.  Thus, the responsibility to repent is something we need to pay attention to daily. 

The other part of Christ’s command is that we are to believe in the Gospel. This also needs to be a daily renewal of our minds to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior, the One who came to reconcile us to God the Father by His life, death, and resurrection.  This is the Good News that we are to believe, the sobering news that the wages of sin is death but also the really good news that the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).

Why is this so essential to understand? Because we are separated from God by those sins and CANNOT ever reconcile ourselves to God the Father by any thing we try to do. We must trust that Christ did enough.  It is ALL about being reconnected into a relationship with our Creator, God the Father, only through Jesus, God’s Son.

May we live and grow in our appreciation that God’s grace brings us into His kingdom through His Son, Jesus Christ, and continue to live in the daily disciplines of repenting and believing in the Good News of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.