Our lives have value and meaning and purpose, but we can only truly understand this within the context of God’s overall plans for the world. Unfortunately, all of us live like we are in charge of the direction and purpose of our lives. We attempt to find our significance and morality apart from God’s story. However, this pursuit is more than simply individualism–it is rebellion. We can continue in this way our entire lives, discover a purpose for life, and even experience a measure of success and happiness, but in the end we are only eroding the very foundation of what gives us significance. As a result, we alienate ourselves from God and experience an increasing emptiness and spiritual death.
God offers us Himself in order to reconcile our broken relationship with Him by forgiving our sin and cleansing us from unrighteousness and to provide the meaning and significance for which we long. This offer demands a response. Indifference or procrastination is nothing short of rejection, but full acceptance results in a new life and intimate fellowship with God.
We respond to God’s offer with both repentance and faith. Repentance involves recognizing our sin problem and separation from God and turning from it with disgust. Faith completes our repentance by turning to the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ as our only means of forgiveness from God. Repentance and faith are partners in our response of salvation. Repentance without faith leads to self-righteousness and morality. Faith without repentance leads to license and hypocrisy. Both repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ are needed for salvation.
God’s offer of salvation is more than a one time transaction of forgiveness. Instead, we are invited into an ongoing relationship with God by becoming disciples, or followers of Jesus Christ. When we repent of sin and turn to Jesus by faith, we become new people with new desires and abilities and identify ourselves with Jesus by being baptized. The Holy Spirit moves into our lives, empowering us to fight sin and obey God, and gifting us to serve others. Not only is our relationship with God restored, but our relationship with other people changes so that we now desire to gather with other followers of Jesus in local churches. We also are sent out to serve the world and tell everyone about the salvation of God offered through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
John 3:1-8, Acts 2:37-47, Romans 10:9-13, 2 Corinthians 5:11-21, Galatians 2:15-21
Francis Chan: The Cost of Following Jesus
David Platt: What the Gospel Demands
Mark Driscoll: What Repentance is Not
David Platt: Repentance and Faith