May 1 I Saturday
1 Kings 10-11
“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’” —Matthew 3:1-2
What message did John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter and Paul all preach? John “went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3). John’s baptism was accompanied with a message of repentance. When Jesus began His ministry, His first public words in the New Testament were, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matthew 4:17). During Pentecost, Peter stood up and preached; afterwards, the crowd asked him, “What shall we do?” Peter responded, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:37-38). Similarly, in Athens, Paul gave the message, “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter and Paul proclaimed a unified message of repentance. In fact, the command for all people to repent is all-inclusive. Although “repentance” may be a neglected word in contemporary Christianity, it is an indispensable word in New Testament Christianity.
But what does it mean to repent? We tend to associate the idea of repentance with sackcloth, ashes and humiliation. Yet, what does repentance entail? Is repentance something we feel, something we think or something we do? While some of us may say repentance is something we do, repentance is actually something we think. The Greek word for “repent” is metanoeõ, which is a combination of two words: meta meaning “to change” and noeõ meaning “the mind.” Altogether, repentance is essentially the change of mind.
It is possible to feel bad about our sin, especially when someone has found us out, but that is not repentance. It is also possible to weep over our sin because we are fed up with it, but neither is that repentance. Over the years, I have learned from my own ministry that tears are not a reliable indicator of repentance, because we can feel rotten about sin, but not change our mind. Hence, I am more convinced that spiritual experience begins in our thinking. Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (NKJV). The person can change their mind and have very little emotion towards their sin, but they have changed their mind––that is true repentance.
I once saw a slogan outside of a church that said, “You’re not what you think you are, but what you think, you are.” This is why Paul makes the appeal in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” True repentance begins with the change of mind.
Prayer: Dear God, I want to truly repent of my sin. Do not allow me to continue being conformed to the patterns of this world, but please transform me by renewing my mind. Thank You, God.
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