“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.’” – Mark 1:14-15 (RSV)
This is the first thing spoken by Jesus in what is arguably the oldest of the New Testament texts. The original Greek says that the opportune time (the right moment) is completed (is supplied) and that the Kingdom of God is in immediate imminence!
The only requirements, as it says in many biblical translations, are repentance and belief in the gospel (Good News). And this is true so far as it comes to belief or trust in the Good News preached by Jesus Christ. But when it comes to the original Greek word for what was translated as repentance it is a completely different story.
The Greek word that has been translated as repentance is “metanoeó” a word meaning: a complete change of mind. What the Word of God is saying is: be completely changed in your thinking after having heard the Good News.
There is no need for repentance in the essence of what the word actually means: sorrow, regret and remorse. In fact the Bible goes so far as to warn us against sorrow, regret and remorse in the story of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus:
“When Judas, his betrayer, saw that he was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders…” – Matthew 27:3 (RSV)
The word translated as “repented” in this sentence is not the same as in Mark 1:15. Rather it is the Greek word “metamelomai” which means painful sorrow and which does not lead to a true change of mind, but simply down the path to even more sorrow, condemnation, regret and as in Judas case: death.
Praise be to God for delivering us from sorrow, condemnation, regret and death through Jesus Christ and the Good News preached by the Son of God!
The right moment is supplied and the Kingdom of God is in immediate imminence, trust in the Good News of Jesus Christ and be completely changed in your thinking after having heard the Good News!
“Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2 (RSV)
Stay in the complete renewal of your mind by being in the Word of God and you will prove to yourself what the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God is for your life.
To stay in the Word of God is a work of God and a pleasure for His children who have been called by Him. We are not to see it as an obligation in the sense of school work or trying to please God by reading the Word of God; rather it is a pleasure to be in His Word and knowing what it is that the Good News actually means.
If you have come so far as to search for these words and you are reading this right now, you can be assured that God is for you and that He has called you!
“ You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” – John 15:16 (RSV)
Then what is the Good News?
The Good News is that God has delivered us from our sins, from a life of not knowing God, from a life of not knowing ourselves nor our true purposes in life.
God has a purpose for us all, and for us to be able to accomplish this purpose we have to be free from sin. Now sin is a translation of the Greek “hamartia” meaning failure or missing of the mark. Missing the mark of what? Missing the mark of being in God’s presence and within His Grace which shows us who we truly are and what we are to do.
“He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” – Colossians 1:13-14 (RSV)
Mankind has been in the grip of sin, of failure, of struggling to survive, of condemnation, of oppression, of depression, of fear, of not knowing God, of unconsciousness even of death ever since its original separation from God through Adam.
“Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned…” – Romans 5:12 (RSV)
Yet we are saved from all this and more through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead!
“But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.” – Romans 5:15 (RSV)
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – II Corinthians 5:21 (RSV)
“And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him.” – Colossians 2:13-15 (RSV)
So the Good News that Jesus came to preach and to accomplish is in its essence about bringing us back to God by a total renewal of our minds through His Word, and a deep and intimate knowledge of what Jesus has done for us. By being in His Word we share in His Grace and our true purposes in life are revealed to us and our desires are purified.
We no longer have to struggle to survive, we longer have to live in condemnation, we no longer have to be oppressed nor do we have to fear anything anymore.
Not only that, but God goes so far as to give us this promise:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 (RSV)
The Good News is broader, higher and deeper than any man can explain at any moment of time! But when an individual experiences the Good News for the first time through revelation, there is no going back to the old self that was living in fear and failure.
“We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.” – Romans 6:6 (RSV)
Let us dwell into the depths of the Word of God and let us be brought up to the heights of salvation by a constant renewal of our minds. Let us find God and dwell in Him by experience so that we may know our purposes in life; so that we may know how to celebrate His glory and enjoy all that He has promised us.
Welcome to Burning Bush University!
The degree is already given to you at the start of class thanks to what Jesus Christ has accomplished for you on the cross and by His resurrection from the dead!
But the class never ends; the class is life, the class is a celebration of getting to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, and in receiving all the glories bestowed on us!
Welcome to a new life…