Many in the world celebrate Christmas; however, I sometimes wonder how many remind themselves of why Jesus came into the world. Often, we may say, yes, we know. A reminder is a vital aspect of our lives. Jesus came into the world for one reason: to make it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins and go to heaven when we die. Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). This forgiveness is not automatic. We must ask for it. It is free, but there is a condition: Repentance. Sadly, only a few churches today emphasize this crucial requirement. Often, I think about how very pleasing it is for the devil to see humans forget about sin and its ability to destroy marriages, families, churches, ministries, and even society.
The forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist, preached repentance: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matthew 3:2). Elsewhere, we are told that he went about “preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3). When Jesus started his ministry, he did the same. We are told, ‘Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matthew 4:17). They both called people to repent.
Sin and repentance are essential to the Gospel. When Jesus sent out His apostles in pairs to spread the good news of salvation, we are told: “They went out and preached that people should repent” (Mark 6:12). After Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to the apostles and told them, “Repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47).
On the Day of Pentecost, Peter, before a crowd, said: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
The Book of Revelation is the last book of the Bible with the final things in the process. Here too, Jesus is urging his church, “Be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19).
Jesus has revealed to us the Truth about sin and the need for repentance, without which we cannot pursue a life filled with God’s sanctifying grace. We are all sinners. We all need God’s grace and mercy. We all need to be reminded of sin and repentance, essential to salvation’s message. It is here that when the realization sets in that we all are fallen and need repentance, we then appreciate the grace bestowed: “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12). May we abide and share the message of grace and ‘repentance from sin.’