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Repentance and the Kingdom of God
This theme could be included in some kind of guidance for young Christians or for those who are interested in knowing the basics of being a Christian. This of course offers the question about who are the young Christians? It is actually a way of referring to those who have not grown up as Christians, those who lack formation and scholarship in the themes of Christianity. In the Gospel of Matthew, we see John the Baptist who appears as the spearhead opening the way announcing Jesus. From John many things can be said analyzing his place in relation to Jesus, his ministry, his struggle against a corrupt political system and his role as one who diminishes him to give way to whom deserves the center of all attention. However, I will leave this task for another time and concentrate on what John proposes to his listeners of that time and to us now in these days. In the Gospel of Matthew in chapter three tells us the following:
There are at least three parts of these verses that draw our attention. First. The expression "And In those days." - When we read this sentence we accept it as a statement that refers chronologically to a space of time referring to the moments, the time if you want, in which John lives. However Matthew refers not to the chronological moment but to the theology of the moment, meaning "in this critical moment in the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament," came John the Baptist preaching in the desert of Judea. Matthew in the drafting of this document clearly recognizes the correctness of the moment in which John preaches in the desert the message of repentance. There is no other historical moment in which John the Baptist could have begun his task by making his public message to the nation of Israel. Second. Call to repentance: Matthew 3: 2 And saying, Repent ... In the language in which the document was written, the Greek, repent word is 'metanoeo' in Greek (Strong # 3340) formed from the prefix 'meta' meaning' after and 'noeo' which means 'to think', sets as the fundamental aspect for repentance the result we get after we think. Therefore repentance is a decision that results from a change of our mind, our thinking, which in turn leads to a change of purpose and action. Third. It assures that the Kingdom of God has approached. Verse 2 says:
To begin with we must recognize that the approach of the Kingdom of God is due to the presence of Jesus in the world. Jesus represents, He is, the Kingdom of God. This approach of the Kingdom of God confronted the people of that time and today confronts you and me in an unavoidable way to a decision regarding our recognition of the Kingdom of God in relation to our life. Jesus proclaimed the same message in chapter 4:17
Next, we must visualize that the first call of the Kingdom of God for you and for me is repentance. Notice that the implications of biblical repentance are threefold: 1. Resignation and change of attitude, 2. Submission and desire to learn, and 3. A continuous improvement There is no birth in the kingdom without hearing the call to salvation, renouncing sin and turning from sin to Jesus, to Jesus Christ. This we see clearly in Acts 3:19
There is no growth in the kingdom without obedience to the commandments of Jesus accepting with submission, with the simplicity of a child, what the Word of God teaches us. As James says in 1: 21-25
Finally regarding our relationship to the kingdom, we do not have steady growth, nor fruit as citizens of the kingdom, if we do not intend to accept the correction and guidance of the Holy Spirit. For those who like numerical data from the Scriptures, the term "The Kingdom of God" or "The Kingdom" appears 137 times in the New Testament, about 100 of them during the ministry of Jesus. It is important that we observe that all his teaching and his preaching revolves around this theme. Naturally the question, What does the "Kingdom of God" refer to? is asked often and why not ask? It is not for many a simple idea nor easy to assimilate without the Biblical frame of reference. The Kingdom of God refers to the sovereign rule of God in the universe. He is the King of the heavens.
In the context of the Gospel of Matthew chapter three, it refers to the entrance of the long-awaited Anointed One: the prophesied Messiah, the promised Son of David who would be not only the Savior, the Deliverer and the King of Israel but all mankind. This was promised to "all flesh," to all nations including "Gentiles." All would be recipients of this Hope.
John, declaring that the Kingdom of God has "approached", announces to his hearers that God would overthrow the power and rule of evil both human and belonging to the government of the Enemy. The "kingdom" had come because the King was here. And of course his presence signified a new world of hope for mankind. With this, the whole humanity no longer had to be subject to the empire of the death, as a result of human sin, or to the decadent government of oppressive systems. Not only this, but the kingdom of darkness, the Enemy, would be confronted and death, deprivation, disease and destruction that claimed the power of the Enemy would begin to be defeated. Conclusion Jesus, as the King and Lord, offers the blessing of the government of God, that is, of the Kingdom of God that is available to bring and give LIFE to the whole human experience completely free from the domain of the Enemy, which until today is the Lord of this world.