Luke 13:3 – “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” NKJV
In considering the Life of Faith and when Jesus died on the Cross He departed this world with the words, “IT IS FINISHED!” That is the very reason the Gospel is not a list of rules but a proclamation! The Gospel means: “Good news!” It is not me coming to you and telling you what you must do in order to achieve it is a proclamation of what has been done! The love of God proclaims IT IS DONE. You have been pardoned now come and receive.
We have to change targets and stop believing the Lie. Thus the first word in the Gospel is REPENT! But, what does repent mean? In the Hebrew and Greek it meant – “A radical change of mind.” It involves a complete rethinking of what we have called life. The entire bent or focus of man has been wrong. It means that we come into agreement with God’s judgment of our lives. It means there is nothing salvageable in our old lives and the only thing left to do is crucify it.
God said, “I love you so much that I took your life, put it on Jesus and killed it.” Now you and I can look at our lives and say, “My life died with Jesus.” Repentance is not simply being sorry and certainly not sorry that you were caught or exposed. Repentance is to ‘radically change your thinking.’ Repentance is to do a ‘180 degree turn’ and head the other direction. It is not turning over a new leaf it is receiving a new life.
Here’s the problem, WE CAN’T CHANGE! Yes I said it. In our selves we cannot change it requires the work of the Spirit of God in our lives to ‘transform us.’ Repentance is not repenting of this or that sin it is repenting of the false life that was inspired of the devil in the Garden of Eden. It is to turn from going the wrong direction to heading the right direction as the Spirit of God leads. It is to do a 180 degree turn not as I heard one preacher waxing eloquent say, “When we repent we do a 360 degree turn!” I sure hope not for that would be going the same direction. Too often attempt ‘reformation’ rather than ‘repentance’ and fail miserably. True repentance says: “I’m finished! I’m wrong and I will continue to be wrong unless you Oh Lord step in and change me.”
It involves a radical change in my thought processes. No wonder the Bible tells us to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. We were created to be filled with God and allow Him to live His life through us. We were created to be indwelt by Him and live in union with Him. Without God we are totally and completely dysfunctional and repentance is saying: “Amen! I agree!”
Repentance is always linked to faith. Remember Jesus said that if we want to enter the kingdom of God we must do so as little children. Imagine having to start all over again! We have to abandon ourselves and trust Him. Faith believes and trusts that God has taken action and achieved my pardon and He now invites me to come and take it. He has opened the way that Christ may live His life inside and through me. I therefore leap into the arms of God and change kingdoms!
That is the reason for baptism. It is announcing, “I am dead!” The old me that was me is no longer me that old me is dead and now I bury him. I have a new life and that new life does not have its source in me it is in Christ so somebody bury me please! The New Birth is the beginning of the process not the be all to end all. Maturity involves discovering the wrong ways to live and discarding them resting in God. Let me illustrate it this way: “Why do you pay a doctor a $100 for one pill?” Actually you don’t. What you do is pay the doctor $100 for the knowledge of all the pills not to give you. We trust the doctor but sometimes have a difficult time trusting God who knows all the ways for us not to go.
Repent! Do an about face and cease going in your own strength and begin walking in His! God bless you as you go through this day!