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  • Jason Shirley

Goodness of God = Repentance

It seems as though we don’t believe that God’s goodness could ever lead anyone to repent. Most Christians never associate goodness with repentance. Whenever they preach repentance, it is always connected to a message of impending doom and destruction if you don’t. They preach how angry God is, then give the charge to repent. Not only do they not believe, “the goodness of God leads you to repentance,” they don’t believe God believes it either.

Mark 1:14-15 says, “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’” Jesus preached repentance with no mention of the anger and wrath of God. He preached the gospel. The word “gospel” is translated from the Greek word, “euangélion,” which is defined as, a good message. In other words, Jesus came preaching a message of the goodness of God. Then He told them to repent. Most Christians however don’t even know what “repent” means. They think it means “stop sinning.” But Jesus said nothing here about sins. He only preached the good message of the goodness of God that would be present in His kingdom that was now at hand. Then He told them to repent.

The word “repent” is from the Greek word, “metanoéō,” which means, to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider. The people Jesus preached this to already believed in the anger and wrath of God. But Jesus told them, “the kingdom of God, in which His goodness is manifested, is here. Reconsider, think differently. Believe this good message, or good news.”

Then in Mark 1:16 He called some fishermen to follow Him, making the famous statement “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Now if you continue to read to the end of Mark chapter one, and into Mark two, you will see that Jesus then demonstrated what He was talking about. The first thing He did was to cast out an unclean spirit. Then He healed Peter’s mother-in-law. Next, He cleansed a Leper.

Let me summarize what happened here. Jesus came preaching the good new of the kingdom. He told the people to reconsider their previously held beliefs about the anger, wrath and judgement of God, and believe in His goodness. Then He said to some fishermen, “come with me and I’ll show you what I’m talking about.” Then for the next three and half years, (Matthew 9:35) He, “went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” The pattern He established for those fishermen, and for all of us who want to be fishers of men, is to tell the GOOD news, telling them to reconsider their beliefs and believe this good news. Then you give them a reason to believe it by demonstrating it.

God believes and operates by Romans 12:17, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. And 20-21, “Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Coals of fire on the head are not to destroy your enemy, but to purify his mind toward you. (Isaiah 6:6, “Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal [which] he had taken with the tongs from the altar.”)

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