“The time is fulfilled… and the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe in the gospel!” (Jesus – Mark 1:15)
Yesterday we broached the subject of repentance in order to properly believe and receive the Kingdom of God. We learned that repentance is not changed behavior, but changed thinking. Jesus calls each of us to a new way of thinking that is necessary to live in the Kingdom of God.
So what was wrong with the old way of thinking? Why was Jesus so adamant that the good, religious people of His day needed to repent and believe?
The religious world into which Jesus came was founded upon the idea that our relationship with God was based on our OWN actions. DO good, and God likes you. But if you don’t DO good – you will have to DO something to get you back into right standing with God. For the people of Jesus’ day, doing good was based upon the Law. And getting right (when you failed to do good) was based on DOing the required sacrifice. It was an endless, perpetual cycle.
Deeply ingrained in religious thinking is this whole pervasive notion that relationship with God is based on human efforts (either doing good or doing the sacrifice). Jesus comes along and declares: “There’s coming a new way of having a relationship with God… and it will have NOTHING to do with human effort. It will all be based on MY efforts (done for you). But to experience the fullness of this new Kingdom, you will have to give up thinking that everything depends on you and your abilities… or your good behavior. Everything in the new Kingdom will be based on ME and My abilities – and My eternal sacrifice, to make everybody right with Me for all of time.”
We need to be reminded… the same declaration applies today.
Most of our Christian struggles stem from our stubborn thinking that our relationship with God is still based on our efforts and abilities at being “good.” The same Jesus that called the people of His day to repentance… also calls us in the same way.
Because true belief follows true repentance – a changed mindset that truly understands that Jesus did it all for us!