Jesus Calls Us to Faith and Repentance
Open Your Bible
Psalm 51:1-19, Joel 2:12-13, Mark 1:14-15, Romans 5:1-2, Romans 10:9-10
BY Guest Writer
Scripture Reading: Psalm 51:1-19, Joel 2:12-13, Mark 1:14-15, Romans 5:1-2, Romans 10:9-10
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near.
Repent and believe the good news!”
– Mark 1:15
Repent and believe.
Of all the important words used to tell the gospel story, these are the two I’ve struggled to truly understand. Here in Mark 1, Jesus is calling us to repent and believe, but too many times I’ve interpreted His words as “grovel and behave.” Or really, Get your junk together, Kara, and then go out and do the work God has called you to.
Sometimes it’s easier for me to fall in line with the idea of God’s justice than it is to trust and receive His love for me. To trust Him, I have to be vulnerable, my heart and mind laid bare before Him. And yet to even begin to understand God’s gift of salvation, I have to understand my need for it, my need for Him.
In all of Scripture, David’s words in Psalm 51 have to be some of the most vulnerable, self-aware, and unguarded. Many of us know this part of David’s story and the impetus of this psalm—how he lusted after Bathsheba, bedded her and committed adultery with her, and then had her husband Uriah, his friend and confidante, murdered (2 Samuel 11–12). David left behind an enormous amount of suffering in the wake of his desire, and this psalm proves his awareness of his sin. But in the midst of all that relational wreckage, he confesses to the Lord: “Against you—you alone—I have sinned and done this evil in your sight” (vv. 3–4).
David is grieving his sin before his Maker. He knows he is utterly lost and in need of God’s forgiveness when he prays, “God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” The earthly king is asking God to restore what’s been lost: the joy and peace that can only be found in right relationship with God (vv. 10–12).
Our sin grieves God, and it should grieve us, too. For those who don’t trust Jesus for salvation, sin separates them from an eternity with God. For those who do trust in Him, their salvation is secure, but sin can still prevent them from experiencing an abundant, vibrant relationship with God now, on this side of heaven.
Like David, we all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory and perfection. But this is the good news: we’re not called to live perfect lives. Jesus already did that for us! His righteousness is ours if we believe and trust in Him (Romans 3:23;10:9–10). We are called to continuous repentance, to keep turning away from our sin and the false promises of this world, and to turn back to God with all our heart (Joel 2:12).
If you’re anything like me, there have been times when you’ve struggled to believe you’re truly forgiven and radically loved (Zephaniah 3:17). You’ve heard the righteous rebuke in Jesus’s call to repent, but perhaps not the loving invitation to turn back to Him, and to continue coming back—not because your salvation isn’t secure, but because He knows our rebellious hearts keep us from knowing and enjoying His presence today.
The time has come! Jesus—Immanuel, “God with us”—has come near. Repent and return to Him. And then keep turning back to Him. Believe the good news is true, and that it’s true for you.
Kara Gause is an editor for She Reads Truth and happily resides in Nashville, Tennessee. She’s married to one swell fella and mother to a set of delightfully spirited twin girls. Sunsets, snow cones, and cinema are near and dear to her heart, as is anything or anyone who reminds her of God’s goodness.