Today is the first day in the new church year, and the first Sunday of Advent. During Advent, we prepare to celebrate Christ's birth, and look forward to His second coming.
I often think about what it was like for the chosen people of God to wait for their Messiah. And what they must have thought when John the Baptist came on the scene.
There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. John 1:6-8
John started preaching a message of repentance in advance of Christ's earthly ministry. Those who believed and were baptized must have been so thankful and relieved that the coming of their Messiah was at hand!
Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said,
"THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS,
'MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD,
MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!'"
Now John himself had a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins. Matthew 3:1-6
The message is the same today as it was those thousands of years ago. The kingdom of our God is at hand; although our Messiah has come to pay the price for our sin once and for all, we now wait for Him to come again to Earth to take us home with Him.
We must come to Him with repentant hearts, in thanksgiving for the blood that was spilt on our behalf. His call to repentance truly is a gracious one, and we would do well to answer it.
Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
Let's use every opportunity we have during this Advent season to confess His name to those around us who do not yet know Him, that they might repent and be saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, for the glory of His name.
Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth. Psalm 115:1
Repent, the Kingdom Draweth Night
Words by Anna Hoppe
“Repent, the kingdom draweth nigh,”
The herald of the Lord doth cry.
Ye sinners lost through Adam’s fall,
Will ye not hearken to the call?
Repent! The gracious call believe,
Haste His forgiveness to receive.
The Prince of Life, incarnate Word,
Life and salvation can afford.
Divine Redeemer, glorious King!
Repentant hearts to Thee we bring.
Thy holy blood for us was spilt,
Cleanse us from all the stains of guilt.
Drawn by Thy Spirit, through Thy Word,
Thine invitation have we heard.
In answer to Thy sweet request,
We come to Thee, O Christ, for rest.
Thy pardon, full, complete, and free,
Removes sin’s awful penalty.
Our Father’s love is now restored;
Thou hast redeemed us, dearest Lord.
Let us Thy Name forever bless,
On earth Thy Gospel truth confess,
Till saved by grace, through faith in Thee,
The gates of paradise we see.