Let our response be…
An Easter Reflection on Repentance and Faith
In the past 40 days that we have spent celebrating the season of Lent and the start of Easter, we have learned a few important things about our Christian life. We have learned that God loves us (as He gave His only son to die for our sake), we have learned who Jesus Christ is (the son of the Living God, our brother, the One who died for our sins), and we learned what it truly means to be a Christian (to live a faith-filled life by accepting a relationship with God, which He initiated with us).
God has done all these things for us and we have talked about it and reflected on it through the Gospels for the past weeks. But today, as we celebrate our first week of new life, we are finally being called by God to act.
In Mark 1:14-15, Jesus stressed the importance of this by saying… “The time has come, the kingdom of God is at hand. Change your ways and believe the Good News.”
Our response is composed of two actions… to repent AND to have faith. They need to go together, side by side. We cannot have one without the other.
We need to repent, that is, to change our lives. And we need to believe in the gospel, that is, to have faith in Jesus and the message He brings.
The Greek word for repentance is “metanoia”, which literary means a change of mind. It is a significant change in the way you live your life: dropping an old set of ideals and values and adopting new ones. More specifically, repentance means a turning away from sin, evil, wrongdoing and running your own life. It is turning to a life of obedience to God and having Jesus as your example in life.
Faith is belief in the gospel, which is the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. Faith is both belief in the messenger, Jesus, and in the message that He brings. Faith means not just believing with our minds that Jesus is the Savior, but believing with our hearts that He is our personal Savior.
To just reform our lives is an inadequate response to God.
We can’t change our lives, especially those habitual ways that are deeply part of who we are, if we don’t believe in God’s plan and promise. We might be able to change for a time, but without faith in God we will continue to weaken and find ourselves stumbling on the same road. And that is why we need to believe.
To simply believe without doing anything is also inadequate.
Faith necessarily needs to be connected to morality. In other words, faith without works is dead. We need to seek ways to be better Christians, thus, having a deeper relationship with Christ.
God loves us no matter how many times we fall. We can’t focus on the sin or on how many times we have let Him down. Truth of the matter is, He is God and He is our Father. And because He is both, He has the ability to love us unconditionally and forever…regardless. And He has chosen to do so.
Let us change our old ways and have Faith in Him. Let our decision be based on His love, which is the ultimate truth. Let our strength to resist temptations and sin come from Him. Let us prove to ourselves that He loves us…let us seek Him and let our response be… repentance and faith.
Hear the truth about God’s love…