And they went out and proclaimed that people should repent.The Christian message begins with a call for sinners to repent of their sin and turn to God by faith. That’s always been the case. When Jesus began his ministry after being baptized by John, he began by commanding repentance. He said, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15). Without repentance there is no Gospel.
Sadly, much of today’s preaching skips over repentance as if it were an unnecessary addition to the Gospel. Since Christ came to save people, so the thinking goes, let’s just tell them about Christ and his love, and urge them to put their trust in Him. “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,” they say, “so pray this prayer and ask Jesus into your heart and you can be saved.”
The problem with such a message is that it falls far short of the biblical Gospel, and thus it cannot save. ‘Salvation’ you see, implies rescue from something. I’m in danger of some terrible fate. I need to be rescued from it. But what does the modern gospel offer, to save me from missing “God’s wonderful plan for my life?” Maybe I have plans of my own? Is that all there is to it? I think most people would be willing to take their chances if there is nothing more to the Gospel than that!
But the biblical Gospel begins with a warning. “You have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”, and “the wages of your sin is death.” It’s not just that you might “miss God’s best.” You are a rebel sinner who’s sin has put you under the wrath of God. You’ve set ourselves against God and His right to rule over this universe. Thus the danger you are in is that you will perish under His righteous wrath when He pours it out against all who stand against Him. No, your only hope is to turn from your sin and embrace by faith the Savior God has sent to bear His wrath for you – Jesus Christ His only Son. So repent and believe the good news that God saves sinners who turn and trust in Him!
Soli Deo Gloria