As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'” John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Mark 1:2-4 ESV
We see John “preparing the way”, proclaiming a baptism of repentance — and that Jesus did not do away with the message of repentance but expanded it.
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Matthew 4:17 ESV
Look at how John himself contrasts the baptisms of water, spirit, and fire:
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Matthew 3:11-12 ESV
Repentance is seeing the error in our own ways and turning to go a different way. But how blind is a person who justifies and excuses and accepts and continues in his own sin? And how blind is a person who doesn’t even think he is sinning?
Many are blind who do not look and examine themselves. And many are blind who look, see, and do not repent — who see their ways but do not accept the error in them. They might acknowledge that it is called sin, but not accept that “the wages of sin are death” and “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish”.
And true repentance isn’t a one time event where a preacher scared us enough to get us to accept John’s baptism of water so that we could return to our hellish ways — like a fool who goes to a car wash once and months later sues the car wash when his car is dirty again. No, the grace and mercy of God’s extending forgiveness is meant for a deeper purpose:
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
Romans 2:4 ESV
Do we see how kind He has been towards us?
Do we believe what He says about the presson of sin?
Cam we both admit wotrh our mouths and accept in our hearts and minds the roots of our own ways and choose to walk in The Way?
Yes, this is His will being done on earth as it is in heaven, that people like you and I should humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways.
And beloved, He delivers us to the freedom of walking in a different way — not just by our own consciousness of our error (this isn’t just weak philosophy and dead religion), but by the supernatural strength of His Holy Spirit according in us.
Lord, I can be willful, foolish, and even blind at times. I am sorry, and I see the error of my ways. Help me, Lord. You are mighty even when I have proven myself weak. Thank you. Amen.