“From that time on, Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near (Matt. 3:2).”
Imagine that you have a warm, juicy, raw piece of steak on the table getting ready to be placed on the grill to eat. In order to protect it from being eaten, you put a short enough chain around your dog’s collar to keep him from jumping on the table. What do you think the dog will do? He will immediately run toward that sweet aroma and use all his energy to rip or bite off that chain from his neck, and in no time, devour the steak.
Often times as Christians, we put chains of safeguards to prevent us from satiating our sinful desires. It is wise to have accountability, google safe search on your internet, curfews, and sketchy places that you avoid. However, if you haven’t been born-again, died to your old nature, and been given the mind of Christ, you will eventually give in to your lusts. In the illustration above, what’s the only true way to prevent the dog from eating the steak? To completely change his will or desire.
There is a major difference between preventing yourself from sinning and having a change of mind toward sin. Let’s briefly discuss what Jesus meant in this passage by the term repentance. Repentance is a misunderstood term that is used widely by Christians. Some argue its “turning from sin,” but this is not the biblical definition of repentance. In the Bible, the Greek word (metanoia) is where we get our English word for metamorphous or “change”. The Scripture teaches that when one repents, they have a change of mind that leads to a change of action.
The apostle Paul declared in Acts 26:20 that he preached so people would repent, turn to God, and prove their repentance by their deeds. Does this mean that repentance is a work we do to earn salvation? Absolutely not. No one can repent and come to God unless God grants it (Jn 6:44; Acts 5:31; 11:18). All of salvation, including repentance and faith, is a result of God opening our eyes and changing our deceitful hearts to trust and obey Him. Only when God changes our will are we able to have a true repentant heart that leads to godliness. If you haven’t put your trust in Jesus, I pray you would do that today! God bless.