Jesus began His earthly ministry with these two commands: “Repent and believe the gospel!” He knew that in order to believe the gospel, we must change our minds about false beliefs and accept the truth. This often is not an easy step.
God calls out to us to change our views about ourselves: everyone thinks he or she is good enough for God, but that is false. God expects us to change our views about how to deal with sin: most of us think our “good” must be greater on a scale than our “bad,” and that is enough.
He also calls us to change our views about God: many doubt if He even exists. He demands that we change our views about His Son: many accept that He was only a good example to follow, but God expects us to believe that He personally came into the world to receive the just punishment for all our sins.
And He expects us to change our views about God’s word: it is trustworthy and means what it says about us. If we have to trust sources outside of ourselves for these critical views of reality, then understanding what God says in His word is vital.
Unconverted people must change their views (repent) about their own goodness and recognize their personal sinfulness (“for all have sinned”; Rom 3:23).
Then they are commanded to believe—-in the present–tense command—-meaning they must “continually be believing or trusting” in Jesus. He expects us to always trust His word. We face a continual, conscious decision to discard our opinions of reality or false cultural views and accept God’s perspective.
The gospel (lit. “good news”) gives the sinner the option to trust that God’s plan is perfect and true. God declared that the only way for us to find forgiveness is to accept that God’s wrath against sin is satisfied by Christ’s death on the cross.
God Himself had to provide the perfect sacrifice to be punished in our place (“God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sins, so that we could be made right with God through Christ”; 2 Cor 5:21NLT). A completed act of payment cannot be repeated or repaid—-only accepted thankfully.
The sinner is thus totally in debt to Christ for His offer of forgiveness and full acceptance. We are called to change from trusting ourselves (our own goodness) to totally trusting in God’s gracious forgiveness through Christ. Such gracious forgiveness is offered to anyone who repents and believes. Give Him your thanks.
“Thank You, Lord. I do not have to be perfect or even good enough for Your acceptance, because I fail so miserably. I trust You with all my heart.”
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