What is the Gospel?
What does it mean to follow Jesus?
What does it mean to be a Christian?
In answering these questions, I’ve heard an array of Christians talk about how it’s all about love and grace, being a good person, or going to church. However, when it comes to following Jesus, there was one message that Jesus preached that I rarely hear people talk about these days. That message is this:
“Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
Or, as John the Baptist put it:
“Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
Why do we neglect to talk about repentance? In all the years that I’ve been around Christians and all sorts of churches, I honestly rarely heard about it. And to clarify, maybe I should say I heard about it, but I didn’t see it put into practice. Or, on the flip side, people emphasize one point over the other.
“Repent of your sins, you terrible sinner!” #TurnOrBurn
Or . . .
“The Kingdom of Heaven is near, bro! Experience God now without changing a thing!” #Hypocrites #TalkingTheTalkWithoutWalkingTheWalk
We need all of Jesus. We need his grace to lead us away from our sin, but it doesn’t end there. The goal of leaving a lifestyle of sin is so that God can empower us with his Spirit so we can boldly proclaim his goodness.
When we repent, Jesus empowers.
I like to use Paul’s analogy in 2 Timothy 2:20-21. He compares us to golden utensils, that, if kept pure and are not blemished by a lifestyle of sin, can be used for special occasions and mighty Kingdom activity. But if we maintain a low life of sin and poor choices, we won’t be able to be empowered in order to accomplish the big plans that God has in mind for us.
So what’s holding you back? What can you turn from today and pursue Jesus instead?
Remember: when we repent, Jesus empowers.