The Command To Repent - Mark 1:4
The Command To Repent - Mark 1:4
John the Baptist came preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins (Mark 1:4). Such preaching was directed to Israel, to those who believed in God. Their problem was the age-old problem of SIN. They believed in God and yet they sinned. The answer and solution to their problem was Jesus. The good news about Jesus included the command to repent.
After being baptized by John and declared to be the Son of God by the Father, Jesus began preaching saying: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15). He stated that “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). He denounced “the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes” (Matt. 11:20-21). He would later say to other Jews: “I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). The apostles, having been commissioned by Jesus to preach to Israel, “went out and proclaimed that people should repent” (Mark 6:12). Jesus reveals that “there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10). Even later, after His death and resurrection, He commissioned the apostles telling them “that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47).
When Peter preached the first gospel message after the resurrection of Jesus, he responded to those who were pricked in their heart: “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). He proclaimed in his second sermon that the people were to “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19). Concerning Jesus, he said “God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31)
The disciples justified Peter’s preaching to and baptizing the Gentiles of Cornelius’s house saying that “to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life” (Acts 11:18). When Paul encountered the gentiles, who did NOT believe in God, he informed them that “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Luke summarized Paul’s life saying he “declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance” (Acts 26:20).
· If you don’t believe in God, the message is to repent and turn to God.
· If you believe in God, the message is to repent and believe in the gospel.
· If you have believed and been baptized and then have sinned, the command is to ‘repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you (Acts 8:22).
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). As Paul wrote to the Jews: Do you not know “that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4). Well, do you not know that?