Summary: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel”. (Mark 1:15)
Theme: Repent and believe in the Good News
Jesus began his public ministry with a call to repent and believe in the gospel. Repentance is a frequently abused word. Many people equate repentance with being sorry or with regret or remorse. Repentance goes further as it accepts the Word of God and leads one to turn to and believe in Christ. Christ has the power to change the way you think when you yield to Him. A robber can claim to be sorry for a crime he has committed but continue to commit the same crime because he has not changed his mind about crime. He is only sorry because he has been caught but finds nothing wrong with the crime he has committed. True repentance acknowledges God’s Word concerning sin and yields to Christ to change his mind and begin a life of acceptable behaviour pleasing to the Lord. Repentance is the first response to the gospel that God demands. Nothing else can come before it and nothing else can take its place. Repent and believe in the good news.
Man was created in the image and likeness of God with a godly nature. When Adam yielded to sin he died and lost God’s image and likeness and with it his godly nature. All of us have inherited Adams sinful nature for in Adam “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). Christ came to restore our godly nature. He gave His life to save us from destruction. Our salvation does not depend on anything we have done but on what Christ has done for “By grace are we saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God”. (Eph. 2:8) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”. (John 3:16) Christ died to give us eternal life “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. (Rom 6:23) “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. For whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God”. (John 3:17-18)
The good news is the gospel of grace. We are saved from eternal damnation as sinners because of the grace of God. The sacrifice of Christ gives life for “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ all will be made alive”. (1Co 15:22) Salvation is only a free gift because Jesus Christ paid the full price for sin. It does not cost us anything but it cost God all He had, His only Son. Jesus Christ took our place and bore the full judgement of God on sin so that we could take His place. In Christ you are forgiven and have eternal life with God. God wants you to believe that He loves you and the proof of this love is that He put His own Son on the cross in your place of judgment.
The good news of the grace of God has the power to change the way we think. It does this to expose sin and make us see our need for a Saviour. This change of mind cannot be attributed to us but to God. All that we can do is to accept God’s view on sin. Hearing the good news changes our minds and helps us understand that sin is our real problem and that we can do nothing to save ourselves apart from Christ. Christ is the one who changes the way we think and reveals our need for a Saviour to deal with sin. Christ has already dealt with sin and all we have to do is accept His offer to be our Saviour.
Christ can only be our Saviour when we rely on Him and obey Him.
Repentance changes the way we think about God. As sinners we are not capable of thinking about God and His ways the right way. Only Christ can correct our way of thinking. When the Lord sent Jonah to warn the people of Nineveh of impending judgement he refused to go. He refused to go because his mind was made up. He was not going to do anything that would help the people of Nineveh because of their evil ways. He was not responsible for changing his mind but God. Without God he would never have changed his mind and gone to Nineveh. Jonah’s preaching led to a revival in Nineveh and the city was saved. Without God we can never change our minds concerning Christ. We need to hear the Word of God to change our minds and be saved just as the people of Nineveh believed God when they heard the preaching of His word and were saved. The good news has the power to change lives and save people from destruction.