repent and believe

This past Friday I found myself journaling through Matthew 4:12-17, Mark 1:14-15 and Luke 13:5 … my greatest focus seemed to settle in on the passage from Mark …

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”  Mark 1:14-15 (ESV)

Four key points that jumped out at me …

  • The time is fulfilled … or perhaps a bit more succinctly … prophecy is fulfilled by Jesus’ arrival in this time
  • The kingdom of God is at hand … wherever the kingdom is … the King draws near in advance.
  • Repent … I’ll drill down on that in a minute
  • Believe in the gospel … believe IN Christ Jesus!

I stand absolutely amazed at how much theology and power Jesus packs in those 18 words!

Here is what I wrote in my journal regarding ‘repent’

“Repent involves (from a biblical perspective) a turning from something and a turning to something.  We turn from self and sin and we turn to Jesus! (aka repent and believe)  The most important aspect is that we are turning to Jesus … because it is only in that turning that His transforming power enables us to turn from self and sin.”

The error many people make is that they think they must clean themselves up before they come to Jesus … a task with man that is absolutely impossible.  But don’t be too quick to blame the person who has come to that conclusion … unfortunately that is about the only conclusion they can arrive at based on the self-righteous religious message they either one … get from misguided church-goers and their pastors … or two … get through distorted translations whispered in their ears by the devil and demons.

Paul does an incredible job of explaining the dilemma … the internal battle we all struggle with …

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.  Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.  So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.  So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.  For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being,  but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.  Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  Romans 7:15-25a (ESV)

Apart from Jesus we are powerless in the battle with sin and death … note what Jesus taught about belief …

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.  John 6:40 (ESV)

Believe IN Christ Jesus, inherit eternal life, and rise up on the last day … this is the will of our heavenly Father.

This must have been a message the Lord wanted me to hear this weekend … at the close of Saturday evening worship we studied the following …

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  Titus 3:3-7 (ESV)

Read and re-read the passage above … what a wonderful reminder in the entire passage.  Oftentimes after walking with Christ a spell, we forget our origins … we bask in our newfound righteousness … a righteousness found only IN Christ Jesus, not ourselves.  I truly believe that being reminded of our origins from time to time make us a bit more diligent and compassionate about our evangelism and outreach.  And the bolded words offer such a beautiful reminder of the truth

God our Savior aka Jesus Christ our Savior …

When God’s loving kindness appeared …

He saved us  …

According to God’s mercy …

By the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit …

A Holy Spirit poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ …

Justified by God’s grace …

Heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

If any words ever deserved an AMEN

My hope … my prayer … for each person that passes this way … that if you have never heard the still small voice of God … that you would now hear that divine voice of the Heavenly Father whispering in your ears and convicting your soul, “Repent and believe.”

And if indeed you sense that God prompt … and you are indeed convicted to respond … tell Him … we call that conversation prayer … the following may give you an idea of what you would like to say or something similar … there is no magic in these words … the miracle is in what you’re hearing, how you’ll respond and what Christ Jesus is ready and willing to do IN and THRU you.  Consider …

Father in Heaven, I know that I have lived for myself instead of you.  I have sinned against you.  But I believe Jesus died for my sin.  So I confess my sin and ask you to forgive me.  I bow to you as LORD of my life.  Help me to live for you from this day forward.  In Jesus Name, Amen.
(Prayer used by 12Stone Church this past weekend)

If this has indeed been your moment of Truth, welcome to the kingdom of God.

I would love to hear about it!

For everyone else, take a moment to re-read and re-consider Titus 3:3-7 above and take a moment to remember … and thank the One who’s saving you!

Bernie

About bwebbjr

A grandfather, father, husband, man, and a child of God who is following Christ Jesus and working out his salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work IN me, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). I dodged my first bullet with cancer when a cancerous polyp was removed in a sigmoid colectomy surgery in August 2007. Four years later, in the midst of a second colectomy surgery we discovered I had Stage IV metastatic colon cancer. Rather than colectomy surgery I had colostomy surgery, which now means the colostomy bag is a part of my everyday life ... with the emphasis on life. God has given us a peace beyond understanding as my wife and I have traveled this journey. By the grace of God I am blessed to be a 6 plus year cancer survivor aka warrior. In writing, I am often wrestling with my own personal struggles and beliefs and in the midst God leads me to a lesson He wants me to learn ... or sometimes He simply touches me in the revelation of Himself. My hope is that the result you see here might touch your heart and glorify God. And let me be clear ... I am not the only one with something to say. Please join in the conversation sharing your faith, your cancer experiences, etc. I would love to hear from you. Bernie
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4 Responses to repent and believe

  1. jimdavenport says:

    Bernie, I shared this post with my Facebook friends. Love the method and the message. God Bless you as you continue to serve Him! Jim

  2. You make an excellent point. We can’t clean ourselves up; if we could, there would be no place for the sacrificial and vicarious death of the Lamb of God. And so it is true with repentance also, don’t you think? If as fallen and spiritually dead people, we could change our minds about sin and it’s Solution, we could save ourselves just by thinking or willing it. Repentance, like faith, must then also be a gift from God.

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