Sometimes the Bible tells us that we need to believe in Jesus (John 3:16). Sometimes the Bible tells us we need to repent and believe. Jesus summarized His teaching this way, “… The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15 ESV) Jesus is not contradicting Himself. He is clarifying that to believe in Him is a personal act that reorders your relationships.
Marriage is a relationship of trust and faith and believing in each other that reorders our relationships. To truly open myself up to Louise and know her and have her open up to me and know me – for this to happen I need “to forsake all others.” I need to stop all “wrong loves” and put all other relationships in the perspective of my marriage to Louise. It is the same with becoming a Christian – having Jesus come into my life as Saviour and Lord. I need to stop all “wrong loves” and “wrong actions” and then re-order all my other relationships in light of my relationship with Jesus Christ. The biblical word “believe” tells this. Saying “repent and believe” just makes matters clearer.
To repent involves at least two things. First of all it involves saying, “This is wrong and I am sorry that I did it.” In becoming a Christian you say, “It is wrong that I have lived my life apart from you God and I am sorry for living this way.” Secondly, repentance implies saying, “Never again.” This means you repudiate what is wrong. In becoming a Christian, you say, “Dear Lord, I never want to live apart from you again.”
‘Believing’ in Jesus involves at least two things. First it involves inviting Jesus into your life as Saviour and Lord. Picture yourself as a house. Jesus is standing at your front door knocking. Believing in Jesus means you go to the door of your life, open the door and then say to Jesus, “Jesus, please come in as my Saviour and Lord.” The second aspect of believing is giving permission. So you not only open the door to your life and invite Jesus in as Saviour and Lord, you also give Him permission. You say something like, “Jesus, please come into my life and make yourself at home. In fact, please do more than this. I give You the full run of my life. I withhold nothing. Please make any and every change.”
Under the mercy,