1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven has come near.” Mt 4:17
This passage comes just after Jesus baptism by John the Baptist and His temptation in the wilderness by the Devil. Jesus hears that John the Baptist has been put in prison and he moves to Galilee and it says he began to preach using the words of verse 17. This happened to be the same message that John the Baptist was preaching, repent because the Kingdom of Heaven has come near. So we say that John’s was a baptism of repentance. Luther’s point was that both Jesus and John were calling people to “a life of repentance” not just an “act of repentance”.
When we take the view of Scripture that Man turned his back on God and broke the relationship that he was created to have. This broken relationship is called “sin”. Not a single act, but a life plan that did not include God. Jesus brought the kingdom of heaven here to earth and called mankind to repent of a life separate from God and turn to a life lived with God. Over the years the church had reduced the call to repent to mean to repent of one individual sin an act done apart from God. So it was “I am sorry that I did that bad thing” rather than “I am sorry that I have been living my life apart from God”.
Dear Father in Heaven, I thank you that you brought heaven near to us in Jesus Your Son. I thank you that you have called me by Your Holy Spirit away from the selfish life that I was living and into a new and glorious life with You. Help me to turn my back on myself and this selfish world and live my life completely for You. In Jesus name, Amen.