In previous blogs I have covered the top ten teachings according to the frequency with which Christ taught (seen on page 133 of the download ‘What on earth have we done with the teachings of Jesus’). Continuing now with Christ’s additional teachings. The next of which is ‘Repent’.
Unbroken fellowship with Him
God is the epitome of Holiness, Goodness and Love. Anything done or said from selfish motives is contrary to God and His selfless nature. It breaks our relationship with Him. We break our relationship with Him. It is in the patient Father’s heart that we turn to Him and seek His forgiveness. Not just once, but often. That we may experience unbroken fellowship with Him and know that peace which passes all understanding.
When Jesus first began His ministry He began to preach, “Repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins, live your life in a way that proves repentance; seek God’s purpose for your life], for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matt 4:17. He had but one message, ‘Repent’. It was a message reinforcing what John the Baptiser had been preaching to prepare the way in the hearts and minds of men and women.
repent and believe [with a deep, abiding trust] in the good news [regarding salvation].” Mark 1:15. It is good news indeed that we can turn from our old ways and be saved into a purposeful life on earth and have the security of everlasting life in the hereafter.
Angelic joy in heaven
I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents Luke 15:10. There is an initial repentance when we first come to truly believe. For this there is Angelic joy in heaven. But we are to make repentance a regular exercise. I have come to experience a chasm between me and the Lord when there has been some indiscretion in my life. I am making a habit to come to the Lord daily and confess where I have spoken out of turn, or acted out of some selfish motive. As we spend time with Him, asking the Holy Spirit to uncover our hidden faults, we are given the grace to repent and then given the grace of forgiveness. It is all a work of the Holy Spirit.
In Romans we are told that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. Romans 2:4 do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
He paid the price for our lives
The Lord does not delay and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Pet 3:9. Christ came to die the most horrific death on a cross – for your sins and mine. He lived a sinless life and so was qualified to pay the price for our sins. He paid the price for our lives. Let us come to the foot of the cross often – seeking His forgiveness and thanking Him for the sacrifice He made.
Henry says – The subject which Christ dwelt upon now – Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The gospel message is the same for all time periods, and the reasons to enforce them the same. For it is the everlasting gospel. Fear God, and by repentance, give honour to Him. Christ came to seek fruit in our lives, the fruits of repentance.
The reason is still the same
Christ had lain in the bosom of the Father and could have preached sublime notions of heavenly things. But he gave the plain old text of ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’. We need to follow with the same message. The reason is still the same. The kingdom of heaven is at hand. We should be so much the more quickened to our duty, as we see the end of days approaching.
As Christians we have all broken the moral law, we are all guilty. We must, therefore, take the benefit of the covenant of grace (the unmerited favour of God). By repentance, we must lament and forsake our sins, and by faith, we must receive the forgiveness of them through Christ our Redeemer.
Repentance will quicken faith
We cannot reform our lives without trusting in the righteousness and grace of Christ. We also cannot think that trusting in Christ will save us without the reformation of our hearts and lives. Christ has joined these two together. They will mutually assist and befriend each other. Repentance will quicken faith, and faith will make repentance fervent.
Christ tells them that God was more pleased with, the penitent broken heart of one of those despised sinners, than all the long prayers which the religious people made, who could not see anything amiss in themselves. It is best not to go astray, but the grace of God is more manifested in the humility of great sinners than in those that never went astray.
To whom much is forgiven will love much
Many times those that have been great sinners before their conversion prove more eminently and zealously good after, of which the Apostle Paul is an example. And so in him, God was greatly glorified, Gal. 1:24 they were glorifying God [as the Author and Source of what had taken place and all that had been accomplished] in me.
They to whom much is forgiven will love much. We are moved with a more effective joy for the recovery of what we had lost than for the continuation of what we had always enjoyed. Such as for health out of sickness than for health without sickness. It is as life from the dead.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
I am Forgiveness Could I withhold forgiveness? I, who am forgiveness personified. I, who live ever to plead for My children I, in whom all things are supplied. I, who told them always When they pray. That they must forgive in their hearts others, there must be no delay. I am God But man I became. So human and yet so Divine Unchanging, always the same. Could I withhold forgiveness? So you see Me as one who would withstand? Do you not see Me as the loving Saviour Always stretching out a helping hand? By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Prayer: Father, I repent before You now of any unconfessed sin in my heart. I long for unbroken intimacy with You. Thank You for Your kindness that leads me to repentance. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.