“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
Here, in Mark’s inspired record of the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry, we discover a few words that are important to our understanding of Jesus’ mission and message. I’ll explain a little about a few words that can be misunderstood and misapplied today.
The “Gospel” means the “Good News” that the “time” had been “fulfilled”; that is, the period of preparation was complete and the significant moment for God to fulfill His promise of a Savior had arrived.
The “Kingdom of God”, or the spiritual rule of God in the hearts of His people, had arrived in the person of His Son Jesus.
Most importantly, I want to discuss Jesus’ commands to “Repent” and “Believe”, which can be thought of as 2 sides of the coil of Salvation.
‘Repent’ is from the Greek ‘Meta’ (or ‘change’) and ‘Noia’ (or ‘mind’). To Repent is to ‘change your mind’ about serving one’s self, sin, the world, etc. and deciding to serve God instead. Repentance leads to the turning away from our former way of life and turning to Jesus and His Way.
To ‘Believe’ literally means to ‘Trust’, ‘Put faith in’ or ‘Commit to.’
Being converted to Christ, which can be likened to a marriage ceremony, is having one’s mind changed about, and saying “no” to, everyone and everything else, and committing to, and saying “yes” to Jesus.
Both of these responses (Repentance and Faith – the two sides of the coin of Salvation) are not actions we can perform by ourselves, they are gifts from God (see 2 Timothy 2:24-26 and Ephesians 2:8-9 for starters).
I invite you to explore these words further and re-read the passage above with clearer understanding. Then, I invite you to pray for God to grant you the gifts of repentance and faith, for the first time or at a deeper level than ever before. Then, enjoy the ‘abundant life’ Jesus offers you!
In His love,
Pastor Tim Sir