Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Meaning of Repentance: Part 2

In the last post, the relationship between repentance and fruit was discussed. This post focus' on repentance and belief: “The time has been fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15). The decisive moment (kairos) had arrived and Jesus was now proclaiming the gospel. This twofold description, repent and believe, is the basis for discipleship in the Synoptic Gospels.

Jesus' call to believe is more than mere intellectual assent (especially in the Fourth Gospel), but is a call to accept the good news AND respond in commitment. This narrative (Mark 1:15) should be understood as paradigmatic for Mark's entire Gospel: every time Jesus is described as teaching or preaching, the desired response is faith and repentance; every time the mystery of the kingdom is discussed, it is to be viewed through repentance and faith (though both are not always mentioned).

For example, when the twelve were sent out (6:7–13), their message was for all to repent (6:12); faith is not mentioned, but implicitly included. So, what is the relationship between faith and repentance? They are inseparable! Pink has said it well: “Repentance is the heart’s acknowledgement of the justice of God’s sentence of condemnation; faith is the heart’s acceptance of the grace and mercy which are extended to us through Christ.” Spurgeon likened them to two spokes on a wheel; debates over which are first are misdirected. Therefore, repentance must lead to faith; faith cannot exist without repentance.


marc said...

Good series Dave! I wonder if the free gracers will sniff you out and have some comments as you move forward on this.

dacroteau said...

I expect to take some heat on this ... but hopefully some of it will be constructive.

By the way, love your site!