Read Mt 4.17, Mk 1.14b-15, Lk 4.14b-15
Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
When Jesus preached He included the component of repentance. Repentance means “to turn from sin.” Jesus sees this attitude and action as a necessary part of embracing the Kingdom of His Father. The Apostle Paul brings an even greater degree of understanding as he explains real repentance will lead us to salvation but simple remorse is not enough (2 Cor. 7:9-10).
Sometimes we are reluctant to include repentance as a part of the gospel because we are afraid it sounds like we are saying “good works” are being added. And since salvation is not by works (Eph 2.8-9, Titus 3.5), we feel like turning from ones sins in order receive salvation means that a person had to do something to “earn it.” I see two grave errors in this thinking.
The first is a failure to recognize Jesus as the absolute authority in the Doctrine of Salvation (Heb 12.2). If this is what He preached, then this is what I should be preaching. It was what the Apostles understood as an implied part of their preaching when they were sent out (Mk 6.12). Jesus’ example should be good enough.
The second is rooted in confusion about God’s grace and my responsibility. The Father is the one who brings repentance into my life (Act 11.18, Rom 2.4). God sovereignty leads us to turn from our sins, that is grace. But I have a responsibility to respond to His kindness and change my attitudes and actions. So in my freewill, I repent (Act 26.20). My actions demonstrate the sovereign will of the Father that brings me into this right relationship with Him (Jn 6.44).
Repentance is both a gift and a responsibility. It is present in every true believer and it is a key component of disciplemaking. Preach it! FJ40
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