Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Need to Repent

Today is the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist. His ministry was to call us to repentance preparing the Way of the Lord. It seems in the modern church that repentance is discussed very little. The meaning of the word repent is to have a deep sorrow for ones condition or behavior. The Greek word, 'metanoia' has the sense of changing one's heart or one's mind. Basically, we are to have a profound change in our attitude and behavior. One that turns away from our self-centeredness and toward total dependence on Christ as Lord, the ruler of our lives and savior, the propitiation for our just punishment of eternal damnation. Hence, we must know our condition to know Jesus' position.

In order to bear fruit that is worthy of repentance, we cannot choose to do whatever we like thinking it will be good enough for God. We must understand that we must change and that only God can change us! How often do we think we are alright as it is? Do we have an understanding of ourselves that says that all is not all right with us and One greater than us who is perfect must come into our hearts for our sake. And for our sake must be for the sake of The Kingdom. In other words, the end of our lives must be the beginning of our life for Him who was crucified died, and was buried! To say we believe in God is far different than saying our hard hearts are broken by the Him who died for us. Such a broken heart is necessary for new birth and that can only be done on Jesus' terms. Anything else is by our own initiative disregarding the Other's sovereignty!

Almighty God, by whose providence your servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of your Son our Savior by preaching repentance: Make us so to follow his teaching and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and, following his example, constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth's sake; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.