Make way for the King! The King is coming so clean up your town and prepare the roads for his arrival. Matthew in his Gospel quotes from Isaiah “Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight.” The time for repentance is now because the King is coming to inspect all his people and his lands. Take a moment to straighten the roads, the market, your home, and yourself.

In our modern age you can see the local officials preparing the community park or the local government offices to impress the President. Balloons, banners, maybe a marching band would all be on hand. The mayor would ask the local citizens to come out and line the streets. Much of this pomp and circumstance is lost today but the audience in John the Baptist’s day would have understood exactly what he was saying.  

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:2 ESV

Repentance Defined

What does repent mean exactly and what is repentance? In modern terms is means you need to change your ways.

When God Repents

In the Old Testament especially if you use a King James version of the Bible, we see God “repent” but this does not mean that God changed his mind. God can’t change is mind because if he did then he would not be perfect. Repent when God does it means that he is changing how he is going to deal with humanity based on judgments. Repent in these terms means that the time is right or the fulfillment of judgement has reached an actionable point so God changes the terms. Modern translations will say that God relents based on the actions and fulfillment of other promises.

If my people will change their ways then I will relent or repent of judgment is the message from God. Genesis 6 is a famous King James verse where God “repents” that he had ever made man. This does not mean God thinks he made a mistake. This means that the sins of man break God’s heart and he is sorrowful that sin abounds.    

And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. Genesis 6:6 KJV  

And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. Genesis 6:6 ESV  

So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. Genesis 6:6 NLT

When Man Repents

John the Baptist comes out of the wilderness having spent much time with God to prepare the way for Jesus and his message is telling the people to repent because God is on his way. Repentance is the first step in preparing the way for God in your life. The King is coming and if you can’t recognize that the roads are in disrepair, the market is filthy, and your home a disaster then what can be done for you when the King arrives? When the Bible speaks of repentance for men it is speaking of acknowledging that you are a mess and you are not prepared for the King of Kings when he arrives.  

21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” Acts 8:21-23 ESV  

Repentance is an acknowledgment that evil abounds in your life and in your heart. Repent of this love for evil, of this desire to be selfish and self-serving, of the abuse you heap on those around you. Search yourself and repent of the power and influence you seek for your own selfish gain.  

11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:11-12 ESV

Repentance is a First Step  

The King is coming. He will baptize those who repent in Godly sorrow. He will sperate those who repented for real from those who want to continue on in their evil. John the Baptist says the King will “gather his wheat” which are those who are prepared for the King’s arrival. On the other side the King will not keep the chaff. The “chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” which is reference to an eternity in Hell.    

10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 11 For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. 2 Corinthians 7:10-11 ESV

Repentance Leads to Salvation  

Dear reader please take to heart these words. The King of Kings is on his way. We don’t know the exact day or the hour when Christ returns but please know the Church is here to proclaim the good news that the King is on his way. All of the evil and all of the brokenness will be restored. You dear reader must repent of your sin and shame to be counted with the wheat. Repentance is the first step to trusting the work of Jesus on the Cross. Make way for the King!

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  1. The-Way-Forward

    […] Matthew writes that Jesus preached a message of “repentance”. This word in the Bible “Repent” means to reconsider the morality of your life. Jesus preached saying “Repent, for the kingdom […]

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