Merriam Webster defines the word REPENT as follows:
intransitive verb
1 : to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life
2 a : to feel regret or contrition b : to change one’s mind
transitive verb
1 : to cause to feel regret or contrition
2 : to feel sorrow, regret, or contrition for
— reypentyer

To repent is way more weighty than being sorry, or even simply regretting, although that’s part of it. The response to the regret has to a be a determined turning, and change of ways. A pulled over speeding driver can be sorry, and even regret his actions. But getting back into the car and squealing off does not equal repentance.

Preaching repentance is not preaching condemnation. Jesus made it very clear, in John 3, that condemnation was already in the world, having been let in by mankind’s sin. It is not the result of preaching repentance. It is the purpose why we are called to preach repentance:

John 3:19 (NKJ)
19 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Just as Righteous God judged Israel for their sin in the wilderness by sending destruction among them unless they made the active choice to gaze upon Moses as he lifted up his staff of life, in like manner God through Jesus was (and is) providing another, greater and more complete atonement, in the lifting up of His Son on the cross.

John 3:14 (NKJ)
14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

It’s good to understand the scriptures that OUR LORD HIMSELF referenced:
Num 21:5-9 (NKJ)
5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.”
6 So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.
7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
8 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.”
9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

With that in mind, let’s now look at John 3:14-18 (NKJ)
14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
15 “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

I, along with others wiser than myself, believe that the SO in GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD is not a “how much” SO. It is an “in like manner” SO.
One more time, in that light:
John 3:14-18 (NKJ)
14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so (IN LIKE MANNER) must the Son of Man be lifted up,
15 “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

The issue for the world, then and still, is that it needs people who will preach repentance from sin. THAT is the message of the gospel. We do not, and ought not, preach condemnation. Heaven forbid. It is an evil trap of religiosity to try to condemn men into repentance. And we don’t have to go that route. The presence of the Holy Spirit in us, when we walk in obedience to the Spirit and do things the way we’re supposed to do them, and when we say things the way we’re supposed to say them, will convict people of their sins.

Here’s the beginning of John the Baptist’s preaching ministry :
Matt 3:1-2 (NKJ)
1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,
2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

Here’s the beginning of Jesus’ preaching ministry:
Matt 4:17 (NKJ)
17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Here’s the beginning of Peter’s preaching ministry:
Acts 2:37-38 (NKJ)
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Paul said he warned every man (Colossians 1:28).

I detect a thread here. The full gospel is truly the only gospel.

“But it’s the goodness of God that leads to repentance”, you will say.
Correct. It will lead directly to repentance. And while we’re quoting Paul out of Romans, we would do well to look at the verse we often hear recited, alone, as the mantra for a softer-than-biblical gospel message. It comes from Romans 2, as Paul is dealing with hypocrites in the church – people acting pious while judging others for their sin.

Rom 2:1-11 (NKJ)
1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things.
3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?
4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds”:
7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;
8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness– indignation and wrath,
9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek;
10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
11 For there is no partiality with God.

Level playing field, says God. Sin, and you will get judged, believer as well as non-believer. Yes – it is truly God’s goodness that convicts all of sin, and makes a way for us to come to a place of contrition and repentance, but we better come to that place. God’s goodness is not an alternative for His judgment and wrath. God’s goodness is to warn, and then convict, so that people might repent and be forgiven, and avoid His just action against sin.

That is the gospel.

The world in its sin is condemned already. In love, God provided the amazing sacrifice of Perfect Jesus for all of mankind’s sins, so that we need not foolishly try to pay the price ourselves. But the choice remains each man’s choice, and in love we are charged with offering each man that choice. That’s what Jesus did.

Luke 13:1-5 (NKJ)
1 There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?
3 “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
4 “Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?
5 “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

Up until the time that the church preaches the whole gospel, and nothing but the gospel, we will not live up to our calling, and we will not see the revival that the Lord has planned for the world in these last days.

Mike Bickle ( states that the upcoming, severely trying times of tribulation, the intense and purposeful troubling of all things on earth by God, is best described as God using (I’m paraphrasing here) “the least severe means to get men to repent, without completely over-riding their free will”.

Now, if you’ve been falsely taught that man does not have a free will, and all that God wants to happen will simply happen, then the whole concept of repentance gets sort of goofy. After all, if you’re going to end up accomplishing God’s predestined will for your life no matter how you live, then, hey, go for it. The Word of God clearly tells us it is not God’s will that any perish, but that all come to repentance. All. But all won’t come to repentance because most will choose to exercise their free will to rebel. And meanwhile, the goodness of God cries out to mankind, crying out through His obedient sons and daughters who will not water down the gospel into something non-offensive.

The gospel is intended to be offensive. It is purposeful in offending the flesh, the intellect, the pride, and rebellion of man. It is warring against a condemned world, and I believe the true gospel is warring against a dumbed down, non-offensive, sanitized church message.

And in that warfare, the tip of the spear says: “repent”. John, Jesus, Peter and Paul said repent. If repentance was their message and the gospel spread effectively with signs and wonders following, what ought our message be, in love, and Spirit led?

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About ez3728

I am a believer in Jesus - that He is the One and Only Messiah of the world. I believe the Bible is the perfect and complete Word of God, and that God is absolutely competent and capable of keeping His Word perfect, undefiled, and uncorrupted. Jesus was born Jewish. So was I. He lived a perfect life, and is worshiped. I live an imperfect life, and I worship Him.
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