“Repent” is a word that means many things to many people. To most people it seems like a condemning and accusing word saying “you’re bad and you need to stop sinning.” However, I have Biblical reason to believe “repent” is a good word.
The call to “repent” that John The Baptist proclaimed in the Gospels has always seemed to mean “clean up your act!” By religious standards, I had the impression that John was telling people to stop sinning, change their ways, God is coming to visit! We always thought this meant “turn from your sin” in a way that meant to change your behavior. Yet John also said “repent and believe in the good news!” That was so opposite to what I understood. Now that I have my Grace Glasses on, I re-read and reconsider everything I’ve ever read in the Bible. It’s a whole new book that gives me hope and makes me feel love instead of fear and condemnation. So this John the Baptist message is now bugging me.
John cannot be telling people to stop sinning because Jesus is here. John cannot be telling them to get cleaned up because God’s here and boy is He mad. So what is John saying? Repent means to change. We know we cannot change ourselves. Jesus came to give us the ability to be set free from sin and its consequences. So I asked, what does this mean then? Repent means to change your decision or plan. Moses even asked God to repent from his decision to destroy His people. Exodus 32: 14 And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people. So repent must mean to get ready for a new thing. God has a new way of dealing with us and it’s good.
When you consider the old way, The Law which was impossible for the sin-infected human heart to live by, compared with the new contract, God gives you His Righteousness as a Gift, it’s Good News! So the old thinking was the laws of righteousness and the new way is: 1. God comes to give us the power over sin we need. 2. God offers to dwell inside us, live through us and we become like Him..free! That IS good news! 3. The benefits package in Christ is freedom from all sickness, disease, infirmity and all curses. This does take some preparation and change in thinking. So I’m thinking John was saying, “Repent from the bad news and get ready for some Good News!” Baptism was symbolic and prophetic. It was a physical act to prepare them for letting go of the Old Covenant, and preparing for the Kingdom of God that Jesus was there to teach them.
Somebody gimmie an Amen? It’s so simple, you have to laugh. We need a Grace translation of The Word. Mistranslations have ruined our church. It’s comin! The Kingdom of Heaven is finally here. (It’s been here but we didn’t see it, until now.)