Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to tell people his message: “Change your hearts and lives, because God’s kingdom is now very near.
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People are sometimes confused about how you end up in the Kingdom of God. On the one hand, we’re told that our salvation is a free gift, not by works but by faith. On the other hand, we’re told we have to repent. So – which one is it?
Our future – yours and mine – depends on getting this right.
We’ve both sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We know that. And the consequence of that is eternal separation from God. But because He loves us so much, He sent Jesus to die on that Cross, to pay the price of our sin that His justice demands. That’s the first part of the Good News. We are saved from that eternal death by God’s grace the moment we put our trust in Jesus.
But the second part of that transaction was that Jesus didn’t stay dead and buried in that tomb. No, He rose again to give us a new life, an eternal life. And His call on our lives, once we’ve trusted in Him, is actually to live out that newness of life.
That’s why He said: Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. But what does that actually mean? Here’s a different translation that explains a lot:
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to tell people his message: “Change your hearts and lives, because God’s kingdom is now very near.”
Repentance is a changed heart which leads to a changed life. So let’s clear up any confusion. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus. All God’s doing, not ours. And we are called to respond to His grace by walking in the newness of life that Jesus won for us when He rose again. It’s not one or the other. It’s both. Always has been, always will be. That’s what it means to be saved.
That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.