Happy New Year! Think of it, a brand New Year with no mistakes in it!  As we step into this New Year I am thinking about “How do we step away from the “OLD” and into the “NEW”?  So for our first article I want to begin with the “first works” that Jesus preached about.

“Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4: 17

When Jesus came preaching the good news of the gospel, He said to the people, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” What did Jesus mean by this?

Jesus was saying change your mind and come My way turn around and go a different direction. Come into the kingdom of heaven.  He was offering life to the people of His day, but for them to receive it (and this point is so important), they had to repent-or change their will. They had to choose God’s way of doing and being right.

That’s what repentance is. It’s not just being sorry for something you’ve done, or sorrowful over a situation.   It means changing your mind.  It means changing your will-changing your direction.

On a side note: People will ask, “Do people have to confess they are sinners before they can receive salvation?”  Well the answer is to receive anything from God before you will turn toward God there will always be a recognition that you need to change your path and you will recognize that your path is going nowhere.  In other words you have recognition that you need a change to begin with.  Unless you have that recognition you will not make or see any changes to your life.  This by the way is the very purpose for the Holy Spirit’s ministry here on earth. The scripture reveals:

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  Of sin, because they believe not on me;  Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;  Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.  John 16:7-11 KJV

So repentance means changing your will and changing your direction.  It’s choosing God and His way it’s a return to obedience.

When we sin and miss the mark, to make things right, we have to repent.  Jesus then forgives us of our sins and we are cleansed by His blood (l John 1:7, 9). He is our advocate with our heavenly Father.

Romans 2:4   says the goodness of God leads men to repentance. If you’ve never been born again, repent and confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  Make Jesus the Lord of your life right now and begin to move in God’s direction.

If you are a believer, repentance includes choosing to obey God.  It is turning back to God’s ways when you realize you’ve sinned and missed the mark.  As a Spirit-filled Christian, you know deep down inside what God wants you to do.  Now, you may not want to do it, but that knowing is on the inside of you.

When you repent, you not only ask for forgiveness, but you put away from yourself that which displeases God.  It includes submitting to doing something God has asked you to do.  It’s turning from the direction you’ve been going, and turning to the direction God told you to go.

I don’t care what you’ve done … or what you may do in the future … whether you are a believer or not, if you repent, God will forgive you and receive you.  You will be cleansed and made new by the blood of Jesus. You can live a life of obedience to Him.

Don’t condemn yourself, or live a life full of guilt. Just repent! That’s all you have to do. Just ask God for forgiveness and go the other way.  Go toward God in that area of your life.

So this New Year we can start fresh and new Let’s begin this year turning from our ways ti His Way.  Let’s begin this year turning toward God. I thank God we have been given a new day and a new way!  God Bless You!