Jesus’ message when He began His earthly ministry was Repent! “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'” (Matthew 4:17) And some of His last words to His disciples before He returned to heaven were, “…repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:47)
Yet, many people today act like we don’t have to repent or anything, we can just believe in Him and that is all that is required of us.
The word repent means “to change one’s mind or purpose”. Or to stop going one way and go another. As a commanding officer might yell to his soldiers “ABOUT FACE!”
Yes, salvation is by faith alone, but that faith and true belief in God will cause us to repent of our sins, and change our lives! Jesus entire life here on this earth was teaching His disciples that we as Christians CANNOT go on living the way everyone else does. Look at His words in His sermon on the mount.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-48)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:38-39)
His words were something people had never heard before. Stop living this way – follow me, and and live this way! REPENT!
Charles Spurgeon said, “Repentance is as much a mark of a Christian, as faith is. A very little sin, as the world calls it, is a very great sin to a true Christian.” We cannot go on living like the world, that is sin! We MUST repent of our former lives and live according to the clear teachings of God’s Word!