The Bible tells us that prior to the beginning of Christ's ministry, "there came a man, sent from God, whose name was John" (John 1:6). John the Baptist was sent from God. His baptism of REPENTANCE was not the last event of the old covenant to be completed; it was the FIRST event, the ground breaker, of the NEW COVENANT. John was sent by God as a forerunner to Christ's ministry. His unique purpose was to immerse Israel into an attitude of repentance (Acts 19:4). He was called to go before Christ. His task was to "prepare" and "make ready the way of the Lord" (Mark 1:2-3).
The apostle Paul illuminates for the New Covenant Believer the road to repentance:
1. Romans 6:11 - "Likewise you also, recon yourselves to be dead indeeed to sin..."
2. Ephesians 4:23-24 "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye PUT ON the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." (We have to put on walking in the Spirit.) ie. We make the decision each day to be led by our spirit rather than our soul (mind, will, and emotions). We walk with our spirit being led by the Holy Spirit."
3. Ephesians 6:17 - "And take...the sword of the Spirt, which is the word of God." (to give us empowerment against the adversary when temptation appears)
Some measure of repentance always precedes the implementation of Gods calling on a persons life. To "prepare" and "make ready" is the purpose of repentance. Let us be sure we understand: John's repentance did not merely make men sorry, it made men ready.
True repentance is to turn over the soil of the heart for a new planting of directives from God. It is a vital aspect in the overall sphere of spiritual maturity. To truly change your mind takes time and effort. John's command to the Jews was to "bear fruit in keeping with your repentance" (Matthew 3:8).You must constantly seek to understand what God wants you to become (your destiny). (Matthew 7:7)
Jesus said, "Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent" (Revelation 3:19). It is not God's wrath that speaks to us of repentance; it is His lovingkindness.
We have been promised, "He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6). As long as we desire to be like Him, His rebuke will be a door into His presence and our DESTINY in Christ. When we get a vision from God, we step out to do something with it. We are not like the wicked and lazy servant who can't see beyond himself. (Matthew 25:24-30)