While Jesus made a way for you to be right with God, you still must respond to what He has done. How should you respond? Jesus made it very clear in His first recorded sermon. (Mark 1.15 NIV) says, “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” In this short statement, Jesus proclaimed that the kingdom of God and the promised Messiah had come. Now people are called to respond in two ways.
What is repentance?
First, Jesus said “repent.” Repentance means to simply change your mind and change your direction. A repenting person is aware of his or her sin and is broken over it. (Psalm 38.18 NLT) says, “But I confess my sins; I am deeply sorry for what I have done.”
Instead of blaming others, minimizing, or excusing, a repentant person is broken over the sin and willingly turns from it. Repentance also means that you see the direction you are going on that wayward road, and you make a conscious decision to turn off of it and leave your old lifestyle behind to follow the leadership of Jesus and obey Him.
You can’t follow Jesus and keep going your way. Jesus calls us to be His disciples, walk as He walked and join Him in His mission. (1 John 2.6 NIV) says, “Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.” Repentance means turning the corner and acknowledging Jesus as the forgiver and leader of your life.
What does it mean to believe in Jesus?
Jesus also said we respond to all He has done by believing in Him. The Apostle Paul told a Philippian jailer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved,” (Acts 16.31 NIV). To “believe in the Lord Jesus” means to believe that Jesus is who He claimed to be and that He has done what He claimed to do. It means acknowledging Jesus as the Son of God, who died in your place, was buried and rose again in power.
Believing also means that you act on what you believe to be true. To believe in Jesus involves a decision to place your trust and hope in Him alone for your forgiveness and your eternity. No longer are you trusting in your own efforts, good works or religious practice to save you. You are trusting in Jesus alone and His work on the cross. (Romans 10.9 NLT) states, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is
Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”