“O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24) How many times have you heard this scripture in sermons that justify the sinful nature of a person? Typically it goes like this: “Well even Paul called himself a wretched man, that he’s a sinner. And if Paul was like this, then what can we say about ourselves?” But what is Paul really writing about here? Is this the condition (the condition of a wretched man) of a person who is born again, born from above? Paul is writing about the condition of war, a condition where you are in constant battle between the law (which is good) and sin (which is bad). This is the condition of a person who is under the law. Christ came to free us from the law and from the wretched state, from sin!
How can you transfer from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light? How can you become a real Christian, outside of all the teachings of mankind which bear only death?! The Bible tells us, that there are two kingdoms: the Kingdom of Light and the kingdom of darkness. Believing in this, a person will be aware that he exists outside of God, in the kingdom of darkness, and will surely desire with all his heart and mind to pass into the Kingdom of Light. What steps should he then take? The Lord’s answer: “Repent and believe the Gospel!” (Mark 1:15)
Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and saying, ‘the time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand: REPENT YE, AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL’ (Mark 1:14-15).
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Romans 14:17)
The main purpose of Jesus Christ in His appearance in this world is to preach the Kingdom of God. His appearance in this world is, first of all, evidence that there is actually another, spiritual world, a world having nothing to do with the physical, temporary world. Beginning His ministry in this world, Jesus Christ first said: “the time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand” – then said: “repent ye and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1: 15). The Kingdom of God – this is the GOAL; repentance and faith – the MEANS, by which you can get into this Kingdom!
The Kingdom of Heaven it is not of this world, and has nothing in common with this physical world; it is spiritual, incorruptible, an eternal Kingdom. In Him there are no laws, no rules, no regulations, nor traditions. IT IS DIFFERENT, only One law works in Him: “the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:2). This law has nothing in common with the earthly law; is a Law of the Spirit: “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14). Meaning, nothing earthly: what is allowed, and what is prohibited – as taught by any religion – has no power, has nothing in common with the Kingdom of God. In Him, guidance of the Holy Spirit has strength, power and Life! For this it is necessary to be born of God, which is done by God “of His own will begat He us with the Word of Truth…” (James 1:18).
In order for birth from God to occur according to the Truth, the first step is necessary – it is very important; it is vital that the first step is made accurately. If the first step is done incorrectly, the second, third and further steps cannot be accurate, the direction will be distorted.
If a person has prepared to go somewhere, the goal ahead is clear; the journey/path always starts with the first steps! A person cannot, without making the first steps, make those that follow – immediately appear halfway. And so, the first steps are necessary; if the first steps have been made incorrectly, the goal will not be reached; if the first steps have been made accurately and in the right direction, all the other steps will also be accurate. Of course, a person can make accurate first steps, but then stray. Therefore it is important to always walk accurately; however accuracy of the direction depends fundamentally on the correctness of the first steps.
The First Step On the Path Towards the Kingdom of God is Repentance!
Repentance – is a very serious first step; it is necessary to accomplish accurately. This means: sincere, honest, with complete faith and realization of the matter. It is necessary to accomplish repentance accurately, not religiously: I smoked, drank, etc. – I repent, I will not do it anymore; such repentance is too shallow/superficial, it does not mention/affect the root of sin – the unbelief of the Word of Truth.
Proper repentance is the realization of this world, that it is not in God, and that you need to pass from death to Life, to another World, the Kingdom of God, where there is Life and Truth.
Beginning His ministry, the Lord taught: the Heavenly Kingdom is approaching – Repent and Believe the Gospel (Mark 1:14-15). This means: to have a good understanding of the Heavenly Kingdom; that It exists in reality, that It is Spiritual, not physical, that It has nothing in common with the earthly, physical realm.
Then, have a good understanding of the earthly kingdom, that because of transgression, unbelief of the Truth, God has doomed it to be burned with fire (2 Peter 3:7-14!). Understand and realize this world, that it is compiled and consists of diversified political parties/groups and religions; any religion – is a party/group; any political party/group – is a religion; life of this world – politics; any politics – lies and evil before God. Therefore, it is said: “the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1John 5:19). Jesus Christ came to this world to save those, who so desire, from this kingdom of darkness, evil world, and transfer into His Kingdom (Colossians 1:13, Galatians 1:4). Whoever will believe this, and understand that everything is so, that individual completely turns away from this world; turning thoroughly and completely towards God, while realizing that he is a part of this world, sinful, lives according to a lie; but does not want to perish with this world, instead – wants the salvation of God, prepared by the appearance of Jesus Christ in this world – this is the true repentance!
Next it is necessary to bring works worthy of repentance, as it is written: “bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance” (Matthew 3:8); and “that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance” (Acts 26:20). So what do the works worthy of repentance consist of? – If there are people offended, people to whom evil has been done, who know the new believer and have something against this person; people to whom this individual owes something, which is usually the case: money or any other thing; the believer must go to these people, find them, wherever they may live, repent before them, ask forgiveness, return everything that is owed to them, repay and reconcile with them! There may be some who do not want to talk to nor see this person – this will be their problem, the new believer, for his/her part, must do everything! Everything! – All is forgiven, the believer is cleansed of all the past life; God will not recall anything to him/her.
But what next? Now that there is repentance – the end of fetal development, the person has become a believer, and labor begins. Having repented, this individual made the first accurate step in being born from above of the Holy Spirit; but it is not yet the complete birth itself. After all, the old man still continues. Continuing to live according to the old Adam, the person will sin again and again. Here the second step is important, which needs to be done as correctly and true as the first step; for the entire future accurate path, depends on these steps, – this is very serious and important!
Step Two – Death of the Old Man on Calvary and the Birth from Above
After repentance it is necessary to accept your death with Christ on the Cross. In Christ Adam is crucified before God; in Christ the whole world according to the flesh is crucified (1 Corinthians 15:45-48 = Galatians 6:14-15).
Repentance indicates that the fruit of the New Creation is ripe and ready to be born; the New Creation is ready to appear, where the old has passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17)! Complete birth is associated with the death of the old creature – the old man according to Adam. The death of the old man was accomplished on the Cross with Christ; in Him, in Christ and with Christ, God crucified this whole world of humankind, meaning the fate of this world is solved by the crucifixion of the Lord (Galatians 6:14).
The only question now is: who acknowledges their death with Christ on the Cross? Those who accept Christ’s fate as their own, completely crosses over to the Lord’s side; by faith they accept their crucifixion in Christ, with Christ, accept death to this world and sin, to all lies and evil. Being buried in the Baptism by water with Christ, just as Christ was buried, taken off the Cross, such a person resurrects in spirit by the Power of His Spirit and becomes a New Creature – this is the complete Birth from Above, of God, by the Word of Truth. This includes the conception of the Living seed, the Word of God, fetal development (the so-called incubation period); then the labor itself: REPENTANCE, Baptism by water – which is the completion of birth, when the soul becomes a member of the Body of Christ, having entered into a Covenant with the Lord, giving a lifelong promise to obey and serve the Lord with a good conscience. Death of the old man with Christ and resurrection with Him of a New Creature, so fulfilling the Word:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
So, repentance is the realization of your own perdition along with this world; faith in the accomplished salvation through the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, Who took upon Himself sin of the whole world; in His shed blood – the forgiveness of sins; the turn from this world to God, having called upon the Name of the Lord with the realization of yourself a sinner, with faith in salvation in the shed Blood of the Lord – this is a True repentance according to the teaching of our Lord.