John the Baptist was God’s “messenger” who would “… prepare the way of the LORD.” “Now after John was put in prison …” Jesus was saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.” (See “The Gospel” on page 2.)
What does “repentance” or “repent” mean? It means to turn around, stop running from God toward your sin, start running toward God for your salvation.
Was I being repentant when I threw all my paraphernalia away and a few weeks later bought more stuff to aid me in seeing myself as a woman? In 1 Kings 18, Elijah the prophet asked the people of Israel, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” I faltered between two opinions … I was a man who had doubts about God’s love … and James 1 says, “… he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind … he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” How many times did my loving wife need to forgive me? What about my loving Heavenly Father?
What I was struggling with was “… the sin which so easily ensnares [me] …” Hebrews 12:1 But, the Apostle Paul, in 2 Timothy 2, says, “… if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth.” What I needed was for God to “grant repentance” to me. I prayed earnestly for that and I also prayed that Jesus would tear down “the female idol” inside (see “The Female Idol”) … which He eventually did, to His honor and glory. As David says in Psalm 40, “He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.”
For the past seven years, I have not turned back to the sin which so easily entangled me. God has granted me true and lasting repentance. I am no longer doubting God’s love for me, demonstrated through the gift of His dear Son, Jesus. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 In Ezekiel 14 the prophet says, “Thus says the Lord GOD: “Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations.”
The Doctrine of Repentance, Thomas Watson, Puritan Paperbacks
What is Repentance?, R.C. Sproul, Crucial Questions, Reformation Trust