Friday, August 31, 2012

The Call to Repentance... It's Not What You Think!

"Repentance" has become considered to be such an ugly and judgmental word in today's culture.
People on street corners hold signs that say "The end is near!" and they yell "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!" Well, that certainly worked 2,000 years ago when John the Baptist did it... but today? Today, passersby are either offended, annoyed, confused, oblivious or desensitized to it. Most don't have the theological background that the Jews did two millenia ago to fully understand the meaning behind the words. Even some Christians, including myself, who understand the theology and "get" the terminology, have at one point or another looked at these "street-corner prophets" like they are possibly being over-zealous or possibly even judgmental, as if they have condemned us before even asking our name!

This method of trying to get others to come to Christ might just be too abrasive and I'm not sure if it's a good tactic to use in a society that already has so much NOISE.

The Word says that God speaks to us in a still, small voice, and maybe those on the street-corners need to take a quieter, more gentle approach in getting us to see our need for repentance.

When they keep yelling "Repent! Repent! Repent!" people may take it to mean: "You must change who you are before God will accept you! If you don't change your wicked ways, then Jesus will not love you!"


I hope this is not what is on their hearts as they yell "Repent!", and I don't really believe it is, because that is not what God's Word says! Jesus loves everyone no matter your circumstance and He wants you to COME AS YOU ARE - broken, sinful, and dirty. He wants you to come to the foot of the Cross, with ALL your sinful ways, and He wants you to lay all of that at His feet so that He can make you whole, righteous and spotless!

Don't even think about trying to change anything in your life in order to come to Jesus, because you will never, ever - no matter what you do, or how hard you try - you will never be "good enough"! But the good news is, He wants you anyway! He is already knocking at your door, even amidst your sinful life. Like the song "Love Me" by JJ Heller, Jesus says to us "I will love you for you. Not for what you have done or who you will become."

Repenting is looking the other way... Looking away from yourself and looking toward the Cross. 

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that, just like there is "saving faith", that there is a certain degree of repentence necessary for you to turn your heart to Jesus... a degree of "turning" necessary... (or maybe it's just a small amount of faith?) Nevertheless, when your heart has been changed by the Cross and your mind is being continuously renewed by Christ, you will find yourself repenting of various things (i.e., turning away from them)... but only after we come to have faith in Jesus can we have an honest and fruitful repentance.

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