What does it mean to repent? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
In Matthew, shortly after the baptism, Jesus is going around the area of Israel telling people everywhere to repent. After all, the Kingdom of God is at hand as is said in Mark. So what is Jesus telling the people to do with this?
Often, we think it means that Jesus is telling people to turn from their sins and accept Him as their Lord and savior. In an individualistic culture, that makes sense. He means something else though. What is He asking for is loyalty. He is the Messiah of Israel and is asking people to show that they are loyal to Him.
The message of the Kingdom of God includes the forgiveness of sins, but it is not limited to that. The message is about God in Christ and not about us. The emphasis on the Kingdom is not what God does for us, but rather it is what we do for God.
When we repent, we are really saying that we are in the wrong and Jesus is in the right and we are going to be loyal to Jesus. We realize that as Paul says, we are not our own but we are bought with a price. We belong to God in Jesus.
The closest parallel I can make is to a political campaign. Jesus is in essence going around asking people to choose Him as the Messiah of Israel. Of course, Jesus knows that this will not happen ultimately, but He still makes the offer.
Repentance is then realizing that God is proclaiming Himself king through Jesus and that we are to submit to Him. This entails forgiveness for we have to admit that we are in the wrong and God is in the right and come and side with Him. God will then pronounce us to be in the right. If God is our king through Jesus then, then we are to remain loyal to Him.
This is certainly eschatological. After all, the pronouncement of God’s king has ramifications for today. One of the main points of Preterism is that we are not waiting for Jesus to be the king. Jesus is already the king. We do evangelism to spread the message of king Jesus.
When you see a call to repent in the Bible, it is much more than just you. It is about the message that Jesus is King and we are to live in submission to Him. His kingship is not waiting for 2,000 or so years though. He is king right now. We are to submit to Him right now.
In other words….