Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand;
repent and believe in the gospel.’ (Mark 1:14-15)
These are the very first words of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of Mark, and they came at the beginning of His public ministry.
What does it mean to repent?
The word “repent” means to change your mind about something – to change it to the point that you change your behavior to be in line with your new belief.
When Jesus said to repent and believe in the gospel, what does that mean?
Repentance, in context, means to change your wrong conceptions about God and believe the truth about Him. We have many wrong conceptions about God, here are a few of them:
“God is against me.”
The truth is that He loves you and gave His life for you when He died on the cross as a sacrifice for sin.
“God is okay with my sin.”
The truth is that God hates sin: it offends His holiness and hurts those He loves. He hates sin the way a parent whose child is killed by a drunken driver hates drunk driving.
“I will earn my way into God’s love with my good works.”
The truth is that we cannot earn God’s love. In the Bible, good works are never the basis of our relationship with God but rather the result of our relationship with God.
These examples and countless others are wrong thoughts about God that we need to forsake so that we can receive and believe the truth of the Gospel.
So, what is the Gospel?
People are sinful.
There is no getting around it. Every person on the planet is born in sin: “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
People are lost.
Because of our sin, we are separated from God. All are sinners and cannot do anything to save themselves. No amount of “religious” activities or adherence to a moral code can save us. We still fall way short.
God so loves us that He gave His Son.
It starts with the fact that God loves us. There is only one remedy for our sinful state: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Christ died for our sins.
Christ not only had to come into the world, but He had to die. The Bible says that, “without the shedding of blood, there is not forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). What is so amazing is that Jesus died for you and me long before we even thought much about HIm or our sinful states. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Christ rose from the dead.
After Jesus died on the corss, He was raised to life on the third day. This proves He defeated death and broke its hold on all of us. Jesus’ resurrection means there is eternal life for those who accepts His wonderful invitation. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, n one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Jesus wants a personal relationship with you.
You no longer have to be a prisoner of sin. Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32) All it takes is a willing heart to start putting your trust in Christ and to stop trying to fix your life on your own (which never works – though most of us have tried!).
How do I believe the Gospel and receive Jesus Christ as my Savior?
Pray to receive Christ.
The Bible says, “For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Acts 2:21)
That’s right, it all starts with a simple prayer:
Heavenly Father, I confess that I am a sinner. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I repent of my sins and ask your forgiveness. I believe Jesus is the Son of God and by His sacrifices, the penalty of my sins are fully paid. From this day forward, I trust in Jesus and Him along for my salvation. I make Him Lord and Savior of my life. I pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.
If you have genuinely prayed that prayer, God has heard you and you are on your way to a wonderful new life in Christ! But the journey has only just begun. If you don’t have a Bible, get one from us. We want to help you grow. The Gospel of John is a great place to start your reading. Also, find a good, Bible-believing church – one that teaches from the Word of God and worships in spirit and truth (John 4:23). And pray every day – ask God to help you be all you can be for Him.
If you’re in the area, we’d certainly invite you to one of our locations for a visit, If you’d like more information, want to request a Bible or would like to share your Gospel experience, please email us – we’d love to hear from you!