Thursday, 23 December 2021
“…Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” -Matthew 3:2
Our reading begins with the reference to John the Baptist, a forerunner to Jesus, preparing the way for Him, as foretold by the prophets. He came to show the real Saviour- Jesus Christ, to the world. He started preaching, “Repent, the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Jesus came and started preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven- Mark 1:15: “The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand Repent and believe in the gospel.”
The Gospel which shows us how to be saved has “Repentance” as one of its principal tenets.
What is the meaning of Repentance?
Repentance means change of one’s mind with a willingness to reflect the same in one’s lifestyle. So if someone repents, his/her mind has been changed in the sense, his/her desire is not toward sin anymore but to avoid sin and to seek to live a holy life. The urge to repent comes from within when we realize, “God’s kindness is meant to lead us to repentance” (Romans 2:4). Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation (2Cor.7:10). This kind of sorrow is the pain we feel when we realize that sin in our lives has caused us to move away from God our Father who loves us deeply, which in turn leads us to taking the right actions in life to seek Him. Such a person begins to hate the sin he committed and seeks God earnestly to atone for it! The process starts with God and ends with God but we have a part to cooperate with His grace and mercy shown to us!
Repentance will not save a person but it is a step towards salvation. It is impossible to place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior without first reckoning who He is and what He has done. For many it brings a change in their mind on their perception of Christ! Christ is invited into one’s life as Saviour and Lord. As his/her Lord, Christ takes the reins of his/her life directing it according to His good plan for him/her. This brings transformation in one’s life through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
One must repent and trust in Christ without which he/she cannot be saved and then bring forth the fruit of repentance which is a changed life! When John came “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:4) he also stated that those who truly have repented must “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matt 3:8). The very fact that John proclaimed repentance underlines its importance and the evidence of bearing fruit befitting salvation. Paul reminds us in Philippians 2:12 to continue to work out our Salvation with trembling and fear.
A time to reflect: Have you repented of your sins, confessed them, forsaken (or turned away from) them, and then trusted in Christ? For one who has repented and believed in the gospel, is saved - born again into God’s Kingdom (John 3:5). Without first repenting and putting your faith in Jesus Christ, no one will enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus says “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36).
Let us pray: Almighty God, I repent of my sin and receive Christ into my life. Accept me into Your Kingdom. Keep me Lord, from presumptuous sin- let them have no dominion over me so that I shall be blameless before You. In Jesus’ name I pray Amen.