Brick # 13: Matthew 4:17

Untitled designFrom that time Jesus began to preach and to say: Repent , for the kingdom of God is at hand,” Matthew 4:17

Note that the admonition here is to “Repent” not to rededicate. You do not find anywhere in the New Testament a command to rededicate your life to Christ. And yet at many of the invitations you will hear given by preachers, in addition to a plea to give your life to Christ you will often hear a plea to rededicate your life to Christ as well. It is NOT a biblical mandate. Rededication seems to be a more palatable plea  to those who have gone astray. It is as if you can tell yourself that I just need to get back on track with God. I need to commit myself again. I need to just do a little better this next time. NO! NO! NO! Rededication is a sure plan for failure – and you will just find yourself doing it again and again and again because you will NEVER do enough to be enough in God’s sight.

The biblical mandate is to “Repent.” To turn away from sin completely; to change your mindset concerning sin and recognize that sin will NEVER satisfy the longings of your heart. It is to have the same sentiment that David had regarding sin when he was confronted with the heinousness of his own transgressions:

Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation… Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation.” Psalm 51:10-14

David was pleading with God to cleanse him and to make him right again. Repentance is about what God does in a heart that yearns to be right with God. Rededication is about what we do when we start to feel a little guilty – it is about feeling better about ourselves and not being made right with God.

Why this Brick is foundational: Jesus does not call us to feel good about ourselves. He calls us to be in right relationship with Him. Repentance is a gospel centered word. Rededication is a self centered word. Repentance is about what God does in us. Rededication is about what we do for ourselves.

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