“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
You must repent, because God is perfectly holy, and He is love. We were created to know Him. But you and I have a problem called sin that separates us from God. Because of your sin, you deserve an eternity of punishment in hell, where there is no joy, but only torment.
Jesus Christ is God's Son, who came in the flesh and gave His life for you on the cross, in order to pay the penalty for your sin. He did that, because He loves you with an everlasting love. Someone needed to pay the price for our sin, and He was the only One qualified to do so, since He was sinless. He wants you to have a relationship with Him, and live with Him forever in heaven. He doesn't want you to perish on account of your sin. But He will not repent of your sin for you. You must do this yourself.
If you repent, it means you turn from your sin by changing your mind completely about it. You cannot repent unless the Holy Spirit convicts you of your sinful condition. It is His role to convince you of your sinful predicament. So if you do not feel convicted, you should cry out to God, and ask the Lord to reveal to you the true nature of the sinful state you are in. Then I suggest you read His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew's gospel, chapters 5 - 7, as well as His Sermon on the Plain in Luke's gospel, chapter 6. As you read, ask Him for true contrition for sin and to bring you to sincere repentance.
Once He does that, then you should take as long as necessary to repent of all your sins. I recommend repenting for every sin you have ever committed from the youngest age you can remember until the present, and repent by confessing each one specifically to the Lord, turning away from it, and asking the Lord to forgive you. Repent also in general for the sins you cannot remember. For one person, that could be an hour, and for someone else it could take longer. Others may repent in a moment of time. The important thing is that you respond to that conviction from the Holy Spirit, and pray through completely until you have an assurance of your salvation. Ask the Lord to cleanse you. Receive His cleansing and forgiveness.
Then surrender your whole life to Him, committing to live for righteousness for the rest of your days. After that you should invite Jesus to come live inside your heart, and take up His rightful place on the throne there.
To believe in Jesus means to put all your trust in Him to save you. If you trust Him to save you, then you will ask Him to forgive your sin and invite Him to come and live inside your heart. Please pray this prayer out loud to God from your heart:
I have sinned against you.
I want forgiveness for all my sins.
I believe that Jesus died on the cross for me and rose again.
Father, I give you my life to do with as you wish. I want Jesus Christ to come into my life and into my heart. This I ask in Jesus' name. Amen.
When I gave my life to Jesus, I simply read a sinner's prayer from the back of a gospel tract, while sitting in a chair in my military barracks room. My friend who led me to Christ was standing behind me with his hand on my shoulder. I did not repent for every single sin individually, and I didn't shed any tears. However, I prayed with sincerity from my heart to God, confessing with my mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believing in my heart that God raised Him from the dead.
This means we need to confess what we believe. If you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord of your life, you must confess Him publicly. Here's how to do it. Confess your belief in Christ publicly by stating your answer to the following question out loud to someone: "Who do you say Jesus is?" Tell someone who you believe Jesus is! Tell them that you have given your life to Jesus. Once you have repented, placed your trust in Jesus, and confessed Him publicly, you will have entered into a covenant with Him and be a new person!
This is how you become a child of God and enter into a relationship with the Lord. Now cultivate that relationship. It’s absolutely essential that you produce the fruit of repentance! I cannot emphasize this enough. This means you need to show by your actions that you really have changed your mind, and that Jesus Christ is now Lord of your whole life. Otherwise your repentance will only be an emotion or a good intention that did not result in a change in your actions.
After you have repented and believed in Jesus Christ, confessing Him publicly, one of the things you should seek to do as soon as possible is to be water baptized in His name. When the people came to the apostle Peter, asking what they should do, Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Act 2:38). In addition to being water baptized, you should also ask the Lord to baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
Like any other personal relationship, this one requires you to spend time with Him in order for it to grow more intimate. So spend time daily, seeking the Lord, calling upon Jesus' name, repenting of any sin in your life, talking to Him and listening to His voice. Read His Word, the Bible, in order to see what God wants for your life and all the wonderful promises He has given you. Join with other loving believers who believe the Bible and preach the good news of salvation in Jesus alone, and find a place of service in that loving community. Be sure and share the good news of Jesus with those who don’t know Him, and live faithfully for the Lord all your life.
Once you have given your life to the Lord, please contact me to let me know by leaving a comment on this page. I invite you to attend Doulos Training School.
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
Author's Note: For other blogs about coming to know Jesus, please see Entering the Kingdom of God, Knowing the Lord, Holy Washings - Part I, All Things Are New!, The Loving God Who Bids Us Come, By Faith Alone, By Grace Alone, Christ Alone, and Where Will You Go When You Die? I also recommend my article, The Name of Jesus.
For more helpful information on how to grow in God, please see Baptized with the Spirit, Being a Witness for Christ, Salvation with Fear and Trembling, and my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.