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Devotional - week of January 30, 2011


REPENTANCE

   

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”  Matthew 3:1-2

 

From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  Matthew 4:17

 

Often repentance is described as “turning away from sin.” However, both John the Baptist and Jesus began their ministry saying “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. As we have often heard, the word repent means to change the mind.

 

In Matthew 5:21-48, Jesus mentions six things that his followers were to change their minds about. Jesus begins this series with:

 

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”  Matthew 5:21-22

 

The kingdom of God came ushering in an entirely new understanding of life and the law. Followers of Jesus had to change their minds. They had to repent.

 

Romans 6:11-13 reveals that living in the kingdom of God is living a life of continual repentance.

 

The second and third of the five commands for living by grace tell us to reject living out of our own point of view—dead to sin. The fourth and fifth commands tell us to live out of God’s point of view—alive to God.

 

When throughout the day, we realize we have relapsed into trusting in our own wisdom and strength, we are to change our minds—repent—and live out of God’s wisdom and strength.