When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said “Repent,” he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance.
Most of us know the story. On October 31, 1517: Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. This act became the spark that led to the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. We know that the theses criticized the selling of indulgences (a grant by the Pope of remission of punishment in purgatory still due for sins after absolution); but did you know that Luther’s very first thesis dealt with repentance? (see the quote above)
Luther put it first because it is first. Once God plants faith in our hearts, our first reaction is to repent, because we see how unworthy we are and how badly we need a Savior. According to Luther it also comes last, because we need to keep our need before us constantly; as soon as we forget that we are sinners, we fall into the worst sin of all — believing we are able to be our own God and save ourselves through our own accomplishments.
What does it mean to live our entire life in repentance? I think that could be the topic of another post. Lutheran ladies, what do you think?