Repent And Believe
Mark 1:14: Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Acts 16:30: And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they (Paul and his helpers) said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Acts 2:37: Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
In answer to the same question, Paul said repent and Peter said believe. So which is it? Jesus said repent AND believe so it has to be both. If we believe in Jesus we will believe what HE said. If we believe but have not repented, our faith is vain. If we have repented but we have not believed in Jesus, our repentance is vain.
The Bible places another important word and an important phrase in the mix, the word receive and the phrase new creature.
John 1:12: But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
When I received Jesus the radio preacher was preaching on Ephesians 2:8-9.
Ephesians 2:8: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
The Holy Spirit of God had been working on me. I was totally unsatisfied with who I was, with my life and everything I had accomplished. As I was I was unacceptable Him and to myself. I was overwhelmed by my helplessness to change myself or my life and I knew that nothing I would ever accomplish would make me acceptable to myself or to Him. To simply say that I received Jesus would be an oversimplification of what God did for me that day but I say that often. I did not have all the words for it but over the years He has given me the words and I know that they applied to me. When I hear the word believe, I know that I believed. When I hear the word faith, I know I had faith. When I hear the phrase new creature, I know that He made me a new creature. When I hear that He can dwell in my heart, I know that He is dwelling there. When I hear the phrase passed from death unto life, I know that I passed from death unto life. When I hear that believers grow, I know that I have grown and still am. When I hear the word repent, I know that I repented. I repented of who I was, what I was, what I had done. When I hear that we must repent of our sin I know that I repented of my sin. All that I had the words for the day He saved me was that I needed Him to change me and everything about me. I asked Him to do it and I know He did it. Salvation is a multi-faceted work of God on an individual.
I know many individuals who have prayed a prayer to receive Jesus, but give no evidence that the other things are true of them. I wonder if they truly received Jesus. If we have truly received Him, the knowledge of all that He has done for us should grow and our gratitude to Him should grow. Our gratitude to Him for all He has done for us should make us willing to serve Him and give Him our lives. That is not to say that our flesh will not try to take them back. Whenever my flesh takes my life back from the Lord, I need to give it to Him again. Are you willing to serve Him and have you given Him your life?