- Jesus, having emerged victorious from the temptation in the wilderness, preached: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:15).
- Peter, in the first sermon given at Pentecost: “Repent and be baptised every 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: 38).
- Paul affirmed that “I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:21).
- In his defence before King Agrippa, Paul stressed: “I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God—and prove they have changed by the good things they do” (Acts 26:20).
- Though he was the forerunner to Jesus, John the Baptist preached on repentance: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). He also urged the people to bear fruits in keeping with repentance (Luke 3:8).
- Finally, Christ used an incident to illustrate the fact that, unless we repent, we will all perish. Some Galileans, while offering sacrifices in the temple of Jerusalem, were killed by Pilate soldiers and their blood were mixed with that of the sacrifices at the altar. To those who think that these unfortunate souls must have been great sinners, Christ has this to say: “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:2-3).
The gospel, which offers salvation by grace through faith in Christ’s atoning work at the cross, has all these elements:
- Faith (Ephesians 2:8-9, Acts 16:31, John 1:12)
- Confession with our lips and belief in our heart (Romans 10:9)
- Repentance (Acts 2:38, Acts 20:21)
- Obedience (John 8:11b, John 15:6)
"For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).
“If we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies” (Hebrews 10:26-27).
Concerning what we would like to hear, the choice is ours. Would we choose ear-tickling truths now and face the consequences later? Or choose the harsh truth which saves?
THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS