Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
– 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
There are in essence four stages in the Christian life. These four stages are represented by these four words: Repent! Receive! Remade! Reward! Let me explain. The first stage in one’s journey to heaven begins with the word repent. When John the Baptist and Jesus began their preaching ministries, they began with this word, repent. Repent simply means to agree with God that you are a sinner and that you desire to turn away from your sin and follow Jesus. However, in order to repent one must recognize and acknowledge that he or she is a sinner. Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God!” The Bible makes it abundantly clear that we are all sinners. You should be able to find yourself in the list above. Have you ever looked at a woman lustfully? Have you ever worshiped something other than God? Have you ever slandered someone else by gossip? Have you ever taken something that didn’t belong to you? If you answer any of these questions in the affirmative, then you have just qualified as a sinner in the eyes of God. Once you recognize your sin, confess it to God and ask Him to help you turn away from it. This is what it means to repent.
Spiritually speaking, repentance occurs simultaneously with the receiving of Jesus into one’s heart by faith. John 1:12 states, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Receiving and believing, in essence, mean the same thing. Jesus does not force himself into any person’s life. You must receive Him by faith. When you truly believe IN Him, then you receive Him into your heart. In that moment, the Holy Spirit indwells you (Ephesians 1:13-14). This is what it means to be “born again’” (John 3:3-5). By the way, no one is born a child of God in spite of what you may have heard in church. You become a child of God when, and only when, you receive Jesus into your heart by faith (John 1:12).
And here is the really good news. Once you have repented and received Jesus into your heart by faith, God remakes you into a brand new person. You get to start all over again in your new life in Christ. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” As the Scripture says above, when you are truly in Christ that implies and means that you have been washed, sanctified and justified. God has declared you righteous in His sight and that can never be changed.
Finally, as a new person in Christ you have the joy of anticipating your coming reward in heaven. Paul writes in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing. Repent! Receive! Remade! Reward! I hope and pray you are on this path to heaven where you will spend eternity with Jesus!