What do these words mean? You’ve likely heard them if you’re a Christian and even if you’re not, you likely have heard of repentance. Most people associate this with simply stopping your sinful behavior and doing the opposite. They take a look at the ten commandments, the things that they know are wrong and they simply seek to stop doing these.
But the truth of the matter is much deeper than simply stopping your known sinful behavior. Yes, this is a part of it, but to truly repent is to truly turn completely from your way of life and to follow the Truth of the Kingdom of Heaven’s existence.
Jesus, upon baptism for repentance, receipt of the Holy Spirit, and overcoming the temptations of Satan, completed his process of sanctification in the wilderness. At this moment, his ministry truly began and the full power of God had descended upon him and been fully accessible to him to do the will of God
His first words in his ministry after this were simple: Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (Matt 4:17). He then lived his life as an example of what this means. He ushered in this Kingdom at that moment in time by denying himself the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, overcoming the power of Satan and choosing to do only that which God told him to do (John 5:19-21) and speaking what God told him to speak (John 12:49).
Today, we would rather be in love with the world and all it has to offer than to truly repent from it. But the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand for those who would deny themselves, die to their own desires, take up their cross and follow the path that Jesus made, which is to walk the same path that he did.
Jesus Christ died a physical death, as this was the will of God the Father to fulfill the law in heaven and on earth and break the curse of the law over all of those who choose the way. This means, that if you are willing, you will be made clean by choosing to repent and accept the reality of the Kingdom. Not only in thought but in action. To live by faith fully knowing that what the Bible made available to you is how you will live your life from now and forever. Because of His obedience, Jesus was resurrected on the third day proving that there is only life for those who live according to the way.
To live the Kingdom now, is truly to walk as we did in the Garden, hand-in-hand with God, following His Spirit’s guidance fully and through relationship with God the Father in prayer and worship. To do that which the Holy Spirit guides you to do (which is to walk in alignment with the Word of God).
There is no other way. As James proclaims, faith (as in mental faith) without action is dead and is meaningless. It was counted to Abraham as righteousness that he believed God and acted upon that belief.
We all have been given a gift of God and that is grace & mercy, through which Jesus accepted this gift of God and made way for the Spirit of God to do His work through all by submission to God in our lives.
This means that to repent is really to stop seeking your own interests, in every single thing and to do as Jesus did which is to walk by the Spirit of God. No longer do your priorities matter, no longer do your desires matter, but truly walking in repentance is to do as Jesus told us in Matthew 6:33 to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. If we do this, we have the promise that as we walk in obedience all of life’s necessities will be taken care of for us and often it comes in miraculous ways.
For 3.5 years, my wife and I have been walking this path and our lives have become a testimony to the Truth of the Kingdom. We do not work for money, we do not rely on the world’s systems to uphold us. It is truly God who brings us our every source of necessity and even good things that we desire.
This life is not for the faint of heart. It is not for those who would be eager to jump into it and then leave in the middle to go back to the world. Jesus spoke of this in the parable of the sower. Once you’ve made this decision, you are either all in or you are all out. God will have grace for your journey and there will be slip ups as you move along the path but you must continue along the path.
This is the way, the truth and the life that Jesus spoke about that he both became & proclaimed himself to be for all of us and showed us the example by which we should live it. You cannot live by the rules of two Kingdoms because either you will hate one and love the other or serve one and not the other. Jesus said this about not being able to serve God and mammon (money). This was the example of the day he used that remains relevant to this day.
But what Jesus was saying is that eternal life is only available to those who walk in the path of righteousness, by the Spirit of God, and denying themselves to follow the will of God for their lives. Because we have a leader who has done it before and because He has overcome the world through the power of God, we may use Him as protection and can expect Him to help us on our journey, but this does not mean that because Jesus lived it, we do not have to live it too.
And so today, as you’re reading this message, I say to you that you should quit your work for the world. If God did not give you what you have, it is not worthy of the Kingdom. Submit it to Him and follow His guidance to be rid of your worldly nature and He will guide you along the path of righteousness and lead you to the Garden.
This truly is living each day in communion with God, following what He says. Your schedule is not your schedule anymore, you life is not your life anymore, your mission is not your mission anymore but you live for the mission of God for your life. In this, you will have eternal life and you will be led to the Garden. You will know God, He will know you and you will be saved from the coming destruction that is coming upon the world as we speak.
So I say to you again, just as Jesus spoke before, lest you disobey and find yourself living according to your life and miss the Kingdom…repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. There is mercy available for those that do, but judgement coming for those who don’t. God desires mercy and not sacrifice, but you must choose to accept mercy for yourself and begin to walk in accordance with it.
Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. The Spirit of God is alive and well and working today as it has all along. The fulfillment of all things is at hand and so one more time: repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Do this to the Glory of God the Father, who is, who was, and who shall be forevermore. Amen.