Jesus' first recorded message is in Mark 1:15. He said, "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" And that simple message completely changed the world! The word "repent" has two possible meanings. One meaning says "change your behavior", and the other meaning says, "change your way of thinking". As I have been studying Luke's gospel in light of the parable of the two sons in chapter 15 as well as other passages, I have become more and more convinced that it is more important that we change our way of thinking than that we change our behavior! What do you think?
(Read Romans 4:1-25)
What did Abraham discover? And how did his discovery change the world? Abraham discovered that God cares more about faith than about works (or good behavior) because "Abraham believed God and He credited it to him as righteousness." This is radical stuff!
Look at verse 13 especially, "It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith."
This same discovery impacts our relationship with God as well. Look at verses 23-24, "The words 'it was credited to him' were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness - for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead." And then these words are applied in verse 25, "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification."
So righteousness comes by faith in Jesus Christ and not by good behavior, therefore it is more important that we change our way of thinking than that we change our behavior! What do you think? What are the implications of this? How does it shape the way you see yourself, others, and the world?