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.”—–Mark 1:14-15
“Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”—–Acts 17:30-31
So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh — for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.—–Romans 8:12-13
At the heart of the Gospel is the concept of repentance. Today, some proclaim a Gospel that invites people to put their faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins, which is true and good, but it seems more rare to hear the connection between forgiveness of sins and true repentance. Without true repentance there cannot be real faith.
Everything we believe and do hinges upon getting the Gospel right. If we don’t get this foundation right, than everything else we believe and/or do will follow. Maybe that is why it seems there are so many differing beliefs and practices in our world, let alone within “Christianity” today. We must be diligent to preserve that which is true and eliminate all else.
The 3 passages quoted above reflect part of which is central to understanding and believing in Jesus. This concept of repentance and having a lifestyle according to God’s Way seems to be optional in today’s world of tolerance and acceptance. Some seek to share a gospel which is all-inclusive of embracing people and their sins while at the same time sharing a message of forgiveness of those same sins. This should not be and cannot be if we are to truly be called followers of Jesus.
Real faith in Jesus is knowing our place before God. Each of us must get to the place of knowing and seeing all of our sin before God. Our sin separates us from the very being of God and as it says in Romans 6 that sin leads to death. Even in the Old Testament, people needed to sacrifice animals in order to make atonement for their sin. The animals however, we merely a reminder of sin, and in order to fulfill the requirements to atone for sin, Jesus was sent as a perfect and sinless sacrifice to make full atonement for all the sins of mankind. Jesus’ death and resurrection paved the way for all mankind to have the opportunity to trust in Jesus as their Savior, but not without cost.
The cost for each of us in following Jesus is to repent of our own selfish ways and adjust our lives to living according to God’s Way. We can no longer embrace “our” way, but must begin putting our sinful ways behind us. We can no longer believe or do what we “think” is right, but only that which is right in God’s eyes. We find this as we read and study all of the Bible.
As I said earlier, the 3 passages above only reflect a part of the whole Gospel. Even those first 4 books of the New Testament which we call “The Gospels” are only a fraction of the whole Gospel. In a day where we desire quick updates from things such as Facebook, Twitter, and Text Messages, for example, it seems many just want a quick fix for the Gospel. There is truly no quick fix to the Gospel, but rather putting our faith in Jesus and committing to having a lifestyle that follows. I would also go far as to say that to truly understand the whole Gospel we each must be committed to reading and studying all 66 books of the Bible continually throughout our lives. That way, we will be able to know and understand all of God’s Way and purpose.
The Gospel is also filled with great hope. Those that earnestly trust in Jesus as their Savior from their sins are offered the gift of eternal life with God. Not that each of us always live up to God’s Way, but we do have this assurance from Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” God’s grace covers all of our sin, that even when we have fallen short of God’s Way, we are saved by God’s grace and faith in Him alone. It is with this hope we look forward spending all eternity with the Lord.
So the question must be asked, “Have each of us really come to true repentance and faith in Jesus??” If not, I would ask you to consider today putting your faith and hope in Jesus. Spend some time reflecting on how you have lived apart from God and His Way. Pray and ask God to forgive you for all of your sins and make the commitment to Him that you will begin to trust in Him and begin adjusting your life to following Him.
You will not be disappointed!! God loves each of us more than we can even fathom and wants what is good for our lives. It is when we each come humbly before God and confess our sins, that He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins cleansing us from all unrighteousness.
If you would like to talk more about what it means to follow Jesus or have more questions, feel free to go to our church’s website listed below. May you be blessed as you fully follow Jesus!!