Jesus was preceded in His 3 year earthly ministry by a powerful prophet, the “voice crying in the wilderness”, John the Baptist. John was called to prepare the way for Jesus. The preparation was powerfully simple; John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Today, repentance from sins is a basic tenant of receiving Jesus and eternal life. The writer of Hebrews refers to repentance from dead works as foundational. To believers at Corinth who are caught up in sinful acts and lifestyles, Paul expresses the need for repentant hearts.
Often, repentance is viewed in relation to regret or sorrow. Paul writes about godly sorrow that leads to repentance. Repentance in the Bible carries the idea of turning around, a change of heart, attitude, and therefore, behavior. A heart that is repentant is a heart that is pliable before the Lord. It is a heart that is prepared to hear the word of the Lord. This was the preparation that was made by John. As the people repented, their hearts were prepared to receive the good news of Jesus Christ. Along with this repentance came baptism. Baptism is an outward symbol of death and new life. As someone is submerged under water the person they were dies, and as they come up out of the water, they rise up as a new creation, a new person. A baptism of repentance is a death to the old behavior and sin, and a new life with a changed heart. The baptism of a new believer is a baptism of death to self and unrighteous, a death with Jesus, and a raising with new life and salvation in Jesus Christ.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we have been baptized into a new hope in Jesus Christ, but the Bible says we are also transformed from glory to glory. As we continue to learn and obey the voice of God, we repent of old lifestyles, ungodly ways of thinking, and dead works. It is this spirit of being open to God changing our direction and actions that invites God to continually move in our lives and transform us to reveal more of Christ’s life in us. Today, may you be encouraged by the Lord’s voice in your life, and may your heart be open and ready to change and repent before the mighty hand of God.