Author: Monica Koch
After Malachi there was no prophet until John the Baptist came. He appeared first in the wilderness of Judea. This was not an uninhabited desert, but a part of the country not thickly peopled, nor much enclosed. No place is so remote as to shut us out from the visits of Divine grace. No matter where you are, if it is unto you to come to Christ, YHVH will reach you, no matter where you are; no matter how deep you are lying in addictions, fornication, lies and deceit, He will get a hold of you.
The doctrine he preached was repentance; “Repent ye.” The word here used, implies a total alteration in the mind, a change in the judgment, disposition, and affections, another and a better bias of the soul. Consider your ways, change your minds: you have thought amiss; think again, and think aright. Rom 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Renewing of our minds only take place when we spend time in the presence of the Most High God. Not just reading His Word, but implementing His Word in our lives.
James 1:21-25 “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. (22) But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (23) For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: (24) For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. (25) But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
True penitents have other thoughts of God and Christ, sin and holiness, of this world and the other, than they had. The change of the mind produces a change of the way. That is gospel repentance, which flows from a sight of Christ, from a sense of His love, and from hopes of pardon and forgiveness through Him. It is a great encouragement to us to repent; repent, for your sins shall be pardoned upon your repentance. Return to God in a way of duty, and He will, through Christ, return unto you in the way of mercy.
It is still as necessary to repent and humble ourselves, to prepare the way of the Lord, as it was then. There is a great deal to be done, to make way for Christ into a soul, and nothing is more needful than the discovery of sin, and a conviction that we cannot be saved by our own righteousness.
True repentance will cause us to hunger to know Him who saved us and that we can become more like Him, in His image (resemblance / to shade) and likeness (thinking / model / way of doing). We will thirst to be all He is, not just in actions but in thoughts as well. A complete rendering of the soul unto Him – mind, will and emotions.
The way of sin and Satan is a crooked way; but to prepare a way for Christ, the paths must be made straight, Heb. 12:13 “And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.”
Leaders ought themselves to live a serious life, a life of self-denial, and contempt of the world. By giving others this example, John made way for Christ. Many came to John's baptism, but few kept to the profession they made.
Repentance is not a goose-bump experience. It is a choice of the will to place itself under subjection to Christ. People repenting not by choice of will, tend to slide back not long after the goose-bump experience have faded. They use the excuse that it did not work for them; or God never came through for them in one way or the other, neglecting their own responsibility in the relationship with Him.
But with the choice of will, comes the responsibility of growing in a relationship with the LORD. Do not neglect this part or soon you will find yourself back where you were and in most cases worse than you once were.
Heb 6:4-6 “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, (5) And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, (6) If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”