Repent and Believe.
Repent. Well that word has got a lot of baggage. It has virtually been manifested into a literally club used to beat people over the head. We’ve been conditioned (brainwashed?) like Pavlov’s dog to hear that word and begin to cringe in guilt and shame; or bow up and resist the humiliation of admitting we are somehow wrong, or somehow offended somebody (or some god).
But this is mostly because we have a misunderstanding of God, ourselves and what repentance is.
First off, God. As I talked a little bit about in “Dancing King”, Jesus is the eternal dancing God that dances with the Father and the Son. For eternity they have been revolving gracefully, graciously and lovingly around each other forever. When Jesus came to us he essentially invited us to join The Three in the divine dance.
But what about us? We were scooped up off the dance floor and given legs to dance with the King. But we keep going back to our old dance partners, giving them our adoration, love and rhythm.
So repentance is the continual wooing of God that melts our hearts to see that we are cheating on our True Dance Partner. Repentance is literally to “Change Your Thinking.” Repentance is seeing and admitting that we are believing in a different gospel (Gospel is “the good news that a king has come and won”). “Sin” means that I am believing (followed by my “doing”) in something besides Jesus. I’m not dancing with the one that brung me. To repent is to re-callibrate my beliefs. To admit that I am believing wrong, and then to begin to believe the Truth.
That’s why Jesus begins his sermon here with “Repent and Believe.” They go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. Repentance is not “say you are sorry for doing something bad” but agreeing with God that you have believed a false gospel, and then believe the Truth that God is your hope; that he has scooped you up off the floor and now says “This is my son, whom I love and in him I am well pleased.”