Have you ever seen the guy with the sign that says “Repent for the end is near?” Or seen a sign on the front lawn of a church saying the same? There are many in my nation and in several of the nations where I minister regularly. They are a really strange mixture of wrong theology and a totally screwed up understanding of what God was and is doing.
Jesus came and preached “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe the good news.” (Mark 1:15 NRSV).
Jesus did not say repent for you are about to die and need to get things right before hopefully going to Heaven. He said to repent because the kingdom, the Way, the rule of God is near and right here and now – available to all who want it. He said that repentance was the way to enter into the Kingdom and become involved in this new world order and everything that Jesus was planning to do. Jesus was inviting people to leave their self-centered way of thinking (repent means to change the way you think) and their egocentric approach to life and join with Him in a partnership to help bring about His way of love and life in this world.
In other words, I repent not because the end is near, but because the beginning is here, and I want to be a part of it. Christ’s message of the Kingdom and of our response of repentance was not just a command to regret our past, but an invitation to help bring about a new future. Become involved today!