“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:15
In just recent days, coronavirus fears spread all over the world. Incidents of Coronavirus reported not only in China where it had originated. Now it has spread worldwide. In some countries, schools are closed for an indefinite time period. People are literally terrified when they hear the news they may have the coronavirus because in most cases it leads to death. A report today says Coronavirus disease cases top 92,000. The total cases as of now in the USA is 60 and total death is 6. Now today a 7th US death is reported.
Beloved, look, there is no guaranty for tomorrow when you live on this planet earth. It could be some kind of virus, natural disaster, or whatever. One day you would breathe your last, most probably without a prior warning or prep time. Bible says people are like a mist that appears in the morning and then vanishes. (James 4:14). That is why Jesus said the dire need to enter into God’s kingdom at your earliest convenience. Jesus said “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Repentance is the prime need of everyone, living everywhere before we face death. Because the entrance into the kingdom of heaven hinges on your repentance and acceptance of good news, the Gospel, according to the words of Jesus and the Bible. Matthew 4:17, Matthew 3:2, Mark 1:15 all records “repent, kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Peter later elaborates on the concept after the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, in his preaching recorded in Acts 2:38. It says, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
First, this tells us repentance in the name of Jesus Christ results in the forgiveness of your sins. Repent means ‘turn around and go another way’. You are traveling in an ungodly way. Now you understood you were wrong in thoughts, attitudes, and actions and decided to travel in another way. That is the way of Jesus. Your decision to go the way of Jesus is sealed by God by baptizing you by the Holy Spirit by which you are added to the church. (Ephesian 1:13, 1st Corinthians 12:12-13) And your willingness to obey the commandment of water baptism publicly displays you are baptized by the Holy Spirit to be united to Jesus Christ and His church. Second, repentance is required for everyone. No one is exempt from repentance. Bible says “all have sinned and fell short of the glory of God.” So we must all repent and accept the good news. Thirdly, when you repent or change your mind, the forgiveness of all your sins and mistakes is available in the name of Jesus Christ. Forgiveness is only available in the name of Jesus Christ. Bible says, “for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Only the name of Jesus Christ. There is no other name or gurus or religious systems or philosophies are appointed to save you from your sins. This is because Jesus is the only one who paid for your sins by his death, burial and resurrection. He carried your sins on his body, went to the cross and shed all his divine and sinless blood to pay ransom for you. Bible says in 1st Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people.” There is no other name and no other mediator between God and mankind. Jesus is the only savior and mediator because He gave himself as a ransom for all people.
You see, all people must repent and accept the good news to enter into God’s kingdom. All people must come to the only one mediator and savior – Jesus Christ to enter into God’s kingdom. Fourthly, it says you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. You need the help of the Holy Spirit to make right and godly decisions. You need Him to comfort, guide, lead and teach you in all things. God gives the Holy Spirit as a gift to all who come repent and come to Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. Fifth, this promise-the promise of forgiveness of your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit- is for you and your children and for all who are far off. This means those who listen to Peter on that day and their children. Moreover, not only them but for all who are far off. For all who live anywhere on the earth and lives at any time in history. Sixth, it says this promise is for all whom the Lord our God will call. What? I thought I would call the name of Jesus for forgiveness. It is true you would call for sure. It is required. Peter brings in here the point of God’s election when it comes to salvation, the forgiveness of sins and the free gift of the Holy Spirit.
Bible always links people the responsibility to respond to God’s loving call in repentance and God’s election or predestination in salvation. Remember, Jesus, said no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them.” John 6:44. You see, salvation, the forgiveness of sins, eternal life is always a divine mystery as Jesus illustrated in John 3.
Many people do not really know how to explain human responsibility to come to Jesus and God’s predestination. I am not different either. I agree it is hard to understand because we are trying to understand the plan of the infinite God with our finite mind. Let me simply say this- if you are elected, and predestined for salvation, the forgiveness of sins and eternal life, God the Father draws you to His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. You would come and accept Jesus as your savior for sure. If you are not pre-destined for salvation and forgiveness of sins, you would not care and would not come to Jesus in repentance. It is that simple. However, you do not come to Jesus today does not mean you will not come and accept Jesus as your savior in the future. As long as you come to Jesus in repentance prior to your death, you have the privilege to enter into God’s kingdom. Human responsibility is there. God’s predestination is also there. You would come if you are elected and pre-destined. You would not come before your death if you are not elected and predestined by God.
Bible clearly states and Jesus stated that those who won’t come to Him would not enter into God’s kingdom and they would be left for another kingdom called the kingdom of darkness or the kingdom of devil and demons. People choice has an eternal impact. I hope you would not deny the offer of the kingdom of heaven from the loving Lord. God loves you. Bible says He is patient toward you and does not want anyone to perish. (2nd Peter 3:9). This is why He sent Jesus to pay for your sins so that He would transfer you from the kingdom of darkness and devil to the kingdom of light, the kingdom of His beloved Son Jesus Christ.