Repent, The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand
Have you ever seen a person standing on busy corner proclaiming “Repent! The kingdom of heaven is at hand”? And have you thought, wow that person is crazy, extreme or radical?
So, what does it even mean?
To repent means to turn away from a particular sin and continue it no more. Repentance is a personal surrender to God over any given sin in our lives.
The kingdom of heaven is at hand is implication that an imminent event is near.
But, what event is near? Does this mean the end times is near? Jesus 2nd coming? That’s what I always assumed it meant.
Let’s look at the context in which this phrase was said:
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’ ” Matthew 3:1-3
Friends, this is a fulfillment of prophecy. John the Baptist’s message was to repent and believe that salvation was coming.
When Jesus says this phrase in Matthew 4:17, He is saying 1. I’m here (Prophecy fulfilled) 2. Repent 3. Believe in the gospel (Jesus is our salvation). (also see Mark 1:15) Now, let’s fast forward to The Great Commission.
The Great Commission
The phrase “Repent, The Kingdom of God is near” could be surrounded by negativity because it’s been improperly used as a form of chastise or condemnation. Standing with a microphone commanding people to repent arguably isn’t the best way to go about sharing the truth.
But, us Christians, we are a vessel of God’s love and we are not sitting on the throne of judgement. The Great Commission says:
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:18-20
Who are we to judge? The scriptures are clear about casting judgement on others. If we are approaching this topic as a judge, we will only chase unbelievers away.
It was my need for a Savior that turned my heart of stone to repentance because someone, in love, led me to seek Christ. It was the work of the Holy Spirit that is still conforming me to Christ.
Christian, we are not going to change anyone; that work belongs to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We ought to be pointing unbelievers to Jesus, teaching the Word of Truth, praying for others and living in a way that honors the Lord and shines His light. That’s our position.
Repent, The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand
The gospel is that God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son to fulfill the righteous demands of the law. He took our place on the cross and paid the penalty of our sin through His death and resurrection. Jesus Christ made a way for sinful man to be reconciled to a Holy God – to experience the forgiveness of sins and have the hope of eternal life in heaven.
We have a choice between God and the world. More on what this means here.
The book of Galatians says “For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”
Our flesh is things like pride, lust, anger, idolatry, the list goes on. But the Spirit is love, peace, joy and goodness. The Spirit and the flesh are contrary to one another and this world says the things of the flesh are good.
We live in a world that is never satisfied and the status quo is so high it’s unattainable. All is vanity and grasping for the wind. You can never catch the wind.
I won’t go into culture issues & what’s wrong with the world today. But this world will never satisfy you or anyone else because we were created for more than this world has to offer.
So, what’s our “out”? Repentance. That’s our out. Repent, The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand.
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As always, I’d love to hear from you on your thoughts on this post down below. If you feel this could bless someone else, please forward it onto them!