Sunday, March 17, 2024

954. Religion's Well-Meant Bent to Misrepresent How to Repent

John stood in the middle of a river calling for Jewish people to repent—because the kingdom of heaven was at hand—and to be cleansed with water. Although there is no record of the Pharisees being baptized by John, they also were not surprised or shocked by such a cleansing ritual where people would confess their sins ... which was common under the law. However, they were curious as to the motivation and purpose of this one who came from the priestly tribe. The old priests didn't go to the people, the people went to the priest.

After John's arrest, Jesus would go out among the Jewish people saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” But exactly what was it that Jesus was calling for these people to do when He said to repent—these who were under the Mosaic law? If we assume His intent was to get them to stop sinning, He could have simply stated to work harder at keeping the law they were trying to live up to (but constantly failed at doing). Yet we know the law never resulted in reducing sin, but increasing it.

As we've done many times on the podcast over the years, we'll review the meaning of the word repent or repentance from the Greek and provide some specific consistency within the context. To repent is a good thing, but empty religion has defined it in a way that makes it impossible for people to do and only leads to a sin consciousness which Jesus came to free people from.

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