Do you know what the first command from Jesus was in His earthly ministry?
The very first thing He preached, which is also a command….
Jesus said, “Rethink”
One might say, “no, He said to repent”.
That is what “repent” means – to re-think, reconsider, think again, change your mind.
What am I to “re-think”?
Rethink, reconsider, change your mind about your sin; sins severity and consequence. Change your mind about God; His sovereignty, His Righteousness, and His Judgment. Pride keeps men from considering the possibility that they have been wrong their whole life; it takes humility to say, “maybe I don’t know as much as I think I know, maybe I have been wrong this entire time.”
When (and if) your mind has been changed to rightly understand your sin, and God’s true character, you are called to believe the Gospel. The Gospel, the Good News, is the innocent dying for the guilty. Jesus’ Blood sacrifice cleansing the unrighteous; redeeming and reconciling those that are enemies of God. We proved to be enemies of God by our rebellion! Rebelling against Him, which is evident by our continued sinning against Him. Rebelling against Him in unbelief. But, for those who trust in Jesus alone to save them from the Wrath they deserve there is forgiveness and eternal life. The innocent Lamb of God slaughtered so you can be released from your debt, so you, the unrighteous, can be made righteous. That is the Gospel.
When (and if) you repent, and believe the Gospel, you are called to be baptized. First we believe, and then we are baptized. Baptism is symbolic of you dying as Christ died. He died “for sin”, you are dying “to sin”. Baptism is symbolic of the “old you” dying with Christ, and just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory and power of the Father, you too are raised; raised from spiritual death to spiritual life. Not as a “get out of hell free card” – but you’ve been raised in order that you might walk in newness of life.
How do we know all of this has happened? How do we know we have “changed our mind” and “believe the Gospel”? We consider ourselves dead to sin! We are new, we walk (live our life) differently. We no longer live for “self”, but instead live for Christ. We no longer seek to gratify ourselves in sin, but instead we deny self, and seek to glorify and exalt our King.
The fear of God is the beginning of knowledge. Fear is a good thing, fear keeps you safe in dangerous situations. If you do not repent in believe the Gospel, you are in the most dangerous place imaginable. God can and will punish all sinners. Sinners will suffer under the wrath of God for eternity. This should strike fear into the heart of everyone. Unfortunately, it does not, because Satan has blinded the minds of non-believers so that they cannot see the Truth. Unless God opens your eyes, you will not see this Truth, fear Him, turn to Him, and be saved. If God has opened your eyes today, know that He crushed His Son under His Wrath – Jesus became sin and was crushed so God can rightly say, as He does in His Word, that He will punish ALL SIN and SINNERS. But, because God is love, this final sacrifice for sin provides a way back for you, the innocent slaughtered for the guilty. God hates sin, so He crushed His Son! God loves you, so He crushed His Son. Because God is Just, if you do not repent and believe the Gospel, He will have to crush you too. Today is the day of salvation, repent and believe the Gospel!