What Repentance Is #2

IF you take seriously the Biblical concept of “repentance” (and humbly, I think you should), it changes your understanding of a lot of Jesus and John the Baptizer’s statements about repentance.

Both of them make the statement a key part of their preaching and teaching. Each of them use a variation of “Repent, for the kingdom of God is here.”

When I was growing up, I always heard that taught as “Confess your sins, believe in Jesus as your savior, and follow his teaching.”

(Actually, if I’m being honest, I wasn’t ALWAYS taught the part about “follow his teaching.” Often, they stopped after the “believe in Jesus” part. Once everyone could assume I was going to heaven, I guess that was enough.)

But based on the idea of repentance as changing your mind, your understanding, a better translation of these statements is probably closer to, “The Kingdom—God’s ruling reign—is happening RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW through Jesus. Change the way you perceive the world; things don’t work the way you think they do.”

Then, after that, you can fill in the details of the Gospels and Jesus’ life and teaching, his death and resurrection:

  • Right where you are at, whether you are a spiritual winner or loser, your are BLESSED
  • The first will be last
  • Jesus believes in you: if he calls you to the water, you can do it (in other words, you’re capable of MUCH more than you think you are)
  • The rich and powerful do not have a corner on “the good life”
  • God is present EVERYWHERE
  • You don’t have to “get your act together” BEFORE Jesus will fellowship with you
  • Suffering does NOT mean that God has abandoned you
  • Suffering is a mechanism for growth and change
  • Suffering can be redemptive
  • Suffering—even unto death—leads to resurrection

The Kingdom is here in and through Jesus’ presence. Change your conception of reality.

“Repent”, indeed.