Martin Luther said…

When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said "Repent", He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance (First of Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses posted on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517)

Matthew 4: 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

I have seen notice boards at churches with the words of John 3:3 written in large letters: “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

This is a statement of Jesus, not the command. If someone is not born from above, we will not see the kingdom of heaven. John writes in his first chapter of his gospel that this new birth is not a choice that I make. It is not something that happens naturally. He gives us the right to be children of God, children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God (1:13).  The spirit comes to us and makes us something that we are not by nature or choice, children of God!

Some people call themselves “born again Christians”.  They do this because there are many people calling themselves Christians these days, but there is no commitment to the Lord. It is just to be associated with a church in cases of emergency. However, all Christians are born again. If we are not born from above, we simply are not children of God.  Born again Christians are indeed “freaks”, because the Lord made us new people. We live differently. We look at reality differently. We turn to the Lord every day. We receive Jesus Christ every day.

Jesus' first sermon begins this way. He declares that the kingdom of God is at hand. He wants people to see that he is the representative of this kingdom. In Jesus, we stand before God's claim upon our lives. If we call ourselves Christians, we should ask ourselves regularly if our lives correspond with the ideals of the kingdom of the Lord.  Is it clear from my life that Jesus Christ is my king?  If it is not the case, we should return to the Lord. Repentance is the way in which we answer to the miracle of the new life that God gives to us.

Lord, I return to you again today, because you have made me new by your Spirit. Amen.