Tuesday, February 23, 2010

He Preached Repentance

Jesus declares, “My church is a place of shameless, open repentance.”
Indeed, the apostle Paul attests: “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth,
and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou
shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart
that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth
confession is made unto salvation; For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth
on him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 10:8-11).

Simply put, we are brought to salvation through our open confession of
repentance. Jesus states, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners
to repentance” (Matthew 9:13). And, he says, repentance is how we are healed
and restored: “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are
sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke

This is good news. Jesus is telling us, “In my church, everyone is healed
through repentance. It doesn’t matter who you are—the physically broken,
the mentally ill, the spiritually sick. Everyone must come to me the same way.
And all find healing through repentance.

How many churches still open their altars for heart-smitten people to come
forward and repent? How many pastors have stopped giving invitations for this
all-important spiritual work? How many believers have lost all sense of their
need to confess sin?

What is the central message of Christ’s gospel? He makes it plain throughout
the four gospels. He tells us, “Here is what I preach in my church. This is
my message to all sinners.”

“Jesus came…preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The
time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe
the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). This was Jesus’ first recorded message. He
preached repentance!

To some Christians, this may sound like strong language. They may respond,
“Okay, but how strongly did Jesus preach repentance?” Luke answers that in
his gospel. Jesus told his listeners, “Except ye repent, ye shall all
likewise perish” (Luke 13:5).

David Wilkerson

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