Jesus began his public service with a call to repentance. He said, “The kingdom of God is near, repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Repentance, first and foremost, is an acknowledgement of our moral waywardness; this does not come easily to us. We are blinded by the darkness of ignorance, greed, and pride. Some people claim to be god, and wield their power to abuse lives, and resources of others.
Ideally, we all ought to be moved by self-giving love, and work for the common good of all of God’s creation. However, we often end up taking pride in the power we gain due to our possessions and achievements. We miss the mark of holy living when we do not work for the rights of the downtrodden, champion the oppressed, and take care of God’s creation.
Repentance involves confessing we are separated from the life of God, and acknowledging that without God we are broken vessels which cannot contain water. While repenting, we admit our need for God’s forgiveness to restore our lives into connection with His. The scripture teaches “godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation,” (2 Cor. 7:10). Repentance always brings us to the moment of saying, “I have sinned;” this is a positive sign that God is at work in our lives.
Repentance results in a shift of focus; we now move towards God, and our changed actions reflect the life of Christ. Paul wrote: “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds” (Acts 26:20). Ultimately, God’s grace and kindness leads us to repentance (2 Peter 3:9, Rom. 2:4).
Jesus sacrificed His life for our karma or sins, and “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John. 1: 9). When we obey what Jesus proclaimed, our lives bring forth the sweet fruit of repentance.