Before I go any further, I need to address two words that get a lot of bad press. One is “sin” and the other is “repent”. Wait! Don’t stop reading. Give me a minute.
“Sin” is simply an archery term that means “to miss the mark”. Imagine aiming your bow and arrow at the target, shooting the arrow and missing the target. Someone would yell “sin!” That’s all. You just missed the mark. Thanks to Dave Wilson for that illustration.
“Repent” simply means “to change one’s mind” and “to turn around”. Imagine heading one direction, realizing that you’re heading the wrong the direction, changing your mind and turning around. That’s it. Just turning around. Thanks to Chris Zarbaugh for that illustration.
So, when John the Baptist and Jesus preached, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near” (Matt. 3:2 & 4:17 NLT), they were simply saying, “Turn around, you’re missing the mark. Turn to God. He’s right there waiting for you.” This isn’t a “turn or burn” message. This is a “turn because I love you and I have something beautiful for you” message.
And how beautifully the Apostle Paul puts it in Acts 3:19 (NLT): “Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.” Of course! If we’re turning to God, we’re no longer missing the mark. He is the target. And when we turn to him, we are acknowledging what Jesus did on the cross. He took on all of our sins, all of our “turning away”. All of that was nailed to the cross. Bought and paid for. Redeemed! Gone. Wiped away. The slate is clean.
I love these words from Matt Maher’s “Turn Around”:
“You don’t need to move, Love has come to you, all you gotta do is turn around”
Click here for Part 4