Have I truly turned from my sin and been baptized in Christ, so that I will one day inherit eternal life?
14After John was put into prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"
Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
INSIGHT: You won’t hear this offensive word in many churches today, but the first recorded public word by John the Baptist and Jesus Christ was repent. The true gospel starts with understanding our sinful condition and our desperate need for forgiveness. If you skip this step because your church was too soft to tell you the truth, you may have come to Christ for the wrong reasons and in the end it will count for nothing. Even coming to Christ because you desire the love of the Father is perverted in His eyes, if it’s not done so with the understanding that you need to first be forgiven. God did not send Jesus primarily to kiss us on the cheek and to be lovey dovey. He sent Jesus to save us from eternal separation from Him in hell, first. Then we can be reconciled to Him in love and Spirit.
If you run all the bases in baseball and slide into home plate, but you forget to touch first base, you are out! First base with God is repentance. Repentance is not just feeling sorry for one’s sins. Godly sorrow leads to repentance. It is a radical and deliberate turning away from sin, and a turning to God, which results in moral and ethical change and action. When we repent, Christ offers forgiveness of our past sins and we are no longer in spiritual debt to God. Christ then empowers us by His Spirit, enabling us to avoid living in any sin. We may still occasionally stumble into a sin, but we will hate the sin. We won't be able to continue in sin, if we are truly born again, and if we have not seared our conscience through repeated rebellion.