The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ demonstrates God’s great love for humankind. Even so, it also speaks to God’s absolute righteousness and holiness. God’s character is flawless. He doesn’t do anything wrong. He doesn’t even think about doing anything wrong. Therefore, while we may know the story of His love for us, and His desire to be closer to us, we cannot relate to Him very well if we are still sinning. Sin is thus the obstacle that stands between us and God. Jesus didn’t die for us so that we could keep on sinning. Rather, He died for us so that we could stop sinning. Only as we remove sin from our lives can we relate meaningfully to God.
The essence of sin is selfishness. By contrast, the essence of love is selflessness. God is love. Therefore, God is selflessness. We can’t very well relate to a selfless God while remaining selfish. Jesus died and rose again from the dead as Lord of all so that we could have someone else to live for – someone who Himself is selfless and therefore will direct us to live in ways that are beneficial to everyone around us. Some people question whether Jesus Christ is relevant to us today. Who else offers us a plan – and the power – to live by love?
Jesus’ intent, in getting you to turn to Him, is not to get you to go to church. Rather, He wants you to become more like Him. Because He is able to take sinners and make righteous people of out them, He can do so in your case. This is a process and doesn’t happen instantly. Fortunately, He’s patient. Nevertheless, He does mean to change us day by day. He said we should love one another even as He loved us, and He said this refers to everything we think, say, and do. Where can you start? What aspects of your thoughts and behavior are most in need of change? Look to Him and He will make the answer known to you through your conscience. Then you will begin demonstrating His love to those around you.
To “repent” means to change, and specifically to change toward God. God has told us that we must repent; that is, become righteous as God is righteous. This is the process I have been describing. Repentance to righteousness is a path you take, and follow day after day after day. If you stay on this path you will find Him bringing abundant daily portions of peace and joy to your soul. If, on the other hand, you think repentance is unnecessary, or a one-time event, or only necessary for others, you’ll be kidding yourself about having a productive relationship with your Creator and Redeemer. God is loving, but He is also a righteous judge.