God’s kingdom requires changed thinking

21 08 2011

The first recorded words of Jesus in Mark’s gospel crystallize Jesus’ message: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15 NKJV).

“Repent” (Gk. metanoia) means to change your thinking. No matter how lofty or admirable, the way one thinks prior to joining God’s kingdom must be altered. How must thinking change? Jesus clarified, “Believe in the gospel.” Joining the kingdom requires a change of our thoughts to align with the good news in Jesus Christ. Where we did not formerly need Jesus, we now place our trust in Him. Where we formerly held our own explanation of where we came from and why we are here, we now accept God’s revelation on these vital question. Where we formerly lived according to our own common sense, we now submit to the instructions given us by our King Jesus. Where we used to live for ourselves, we now serve others as an expression of our love for God.

All this is done because, having discarded our former way of reasoning, we now “believe,” i.e. we embrace God’s way by faith. Choosing the kingdom should not be construed as a slight alteration or an add-on. No, it is a transference of citizenship from the kingdom of darkness in which all were born, into the kingdom of light into which we can be born again. It is to change from self-reliance to surrender. One cannot reason his way into God’s kingdom, for there is too much mystery in it. One cannot demand certain proofs of God, for the nature of the kingdom consists more of faith in the unseen than evidence of the seen.

Perhaps that is why Jesus said that one must become as a child to enter His kingdom (Mt. 18:3). This is not a dumbing-down of its requirements. Rather, it explains that simple, accepting trust is what clears away the hubris which blocks our view of God. Repentance opens up a panorama of possibilities in living God’s way.


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