What did John’s words above even mean for people back in those days? What do they mean for me – that is, for people now? What does this mean for my evangelistic ministry? (I don’t know why, but I can’t help but to think about evangelism when I think about the above words….. Oh, I do know why, never mind. It’s that “repent” word.)
My prayer for myself, based on these verses is, “God, help me to preach repentance from Godlessness and sin.” But then I wonder, can every believer think of the above verses and understand what they mean, and pray this kind of prayer? I mean, if you can, then, great! By all means, go for it.
But if you can’t, perhaps it’s because you are a believer, but you need help with unbelief. Or maybe you just don’t get it, and you need help with understanding. (I often need help with unbelief and understanding, so that’s why I speculate this way.) And to that end, maybe, then, I can help.
John the Baptist’s words simply mean, “Turn away from sin, and turn to God, who is all around you and right in front of you – he is at hand – and he is Jesus Christ.”
The thing is though, is that we won’t be able to see that the kingdom of heaven, that is, that God, is right in front of us if we keep on being enamored with sin. If we allow ourselves to be enamored with sin, we won’t be able to see God in front of us and we won’t be able to be enamored with God, who is so much more, infinitely more, beautiful and wonderful than sin.
In fact, sin is a fraud, a fake beauty. Sin is a crystal advertised as a diamond. And we won’t be able to see that, though, unless we turn away from sin and fixate on Christ, the real beauty. And so that’s what John means by “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Repent and turn away from the fake beauty and turn and look at and fixate on, the true beauty, who is Jesus Christ.