Tuesday, February 19
Scripture: Numbers 5-6, Psalm 22, Acts 26
Acts 26:19–20 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.”
Paul, the apostle of grace, preached “that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.” This was a central part of his message in Athens (Acts 17:30), in Ephesus (Acts 20:21) and everywhere (indicated here in Acts 26:20).
Repentance is first a change of mind (the literal meaning of the Greek word, metanoeo) that results in a change of life. It is associated with turning to God, implying a decisive turn away from sin and toward God. And it results in changed behavior: we demonstrate our repentance by our deeds. In the words of John the Baptist, we must “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8, Luke 3:8).
Repentance is a theme in the preaching of John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter and Paul. But not so much in mine! I’m convicted! The gospel calls for repentance, for change. If I don’t call people to repentance, I’m not preaching the full gospel. I’m leaving out an important note. A gospel without repentance may lead people to think they can continue as they are and simply add a little Jesus to the mix. “I don’t need to change. I’m ok as I am.” This is misleading people. We are sinners who need to repent; we need a thorough change of mind and behavior.
I need to call people to repentance—a thorough change of mind and heart and behavior.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for failing here and help me to preach the full gospel, including the call to repent.