Day 2: Thursday, March 3
First Three Days of Lent: “Be Transformed in Christ”
“Repent and Believe”
Scripture from Matthew and Acts.
(John the Baptist’s Message) In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matt. 3)
(Jesus’ Message) 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heav- en has come near.” (Matt. 4)
(Pentecost Message) 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, ev- ery one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2)
(Peter’s Message) 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, say- ing that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.” (Acts 3)
How are we “Transformed in Christ” and shaped to be more like Him?
Jesus repeated John the Baptist’s central message: “Repent and believe!” Jesus’ disciples contin- ued with the same. It is a theme central to our faith. Martin Luther said the entire life of a follower of Jesus is one of repentance and faith. Repentance is more than an action; this is a position of the heart. Daily, we examine ourselves to find what is not Christ-like. What ways have we not loved God with our whole heart? What ways have we not loved those around us as ourselves? In other words, “How have we not been Christ-like?” We talk about it to God. We repent, which means to “turn around” or “change our mind.” We are turning away from our sin and trusting what God can do. He forgives for the sake of Jesus as He fills us with the likeness of Christ.
How do you see this “Truth that Transforms” working in your life?
The following is an application story written by Rod White. After you read it, ask yourself the same question. “How do I see this ‘Truth that Transforms’ working in my life?
For years, I lived under the delusion I was a good enough person or at least better than some. I didn’t have any false idols in my home, I hadn’t killed anyone, etc. I ranked sin and justified my “little” sins as not a big deal. My measuring stick was all wrong. I was looking in the mirror or at my neighbor, not at our perfect Lord.
It took a long time for the Holy Spirit to convince me of the severity of sin, mine included. My sin is the price Jesus had to pay on the cross. That made me think about every sin as being one more cracking of the guard’s whip, one more slap in the face, one more insult, one more nail that our Savior had to endure to pay the price for my sin.
Of course, I still slip up and I still sin, but now it’s a detour and not my usual path. I now speak a little slower and think a little longer. Does what I’m about to say or do need to be said or done? Is it helpful to me or the person I’m with, and is it glorifying to God?
When we repent, we must be humble enough to acknowledge we are sinners and willing to be obedient and turn from sin. We can be released from sin as our master and replace it with a hum- ble heart wanting to serve God and others. We are able to confidently turn toward Jesus knowing that even while we were God’s enemy, Jesus paid the price for our sin. It is completed.