The most common accounting terminology speaks of being in the red or in the black. When an account is in the red, it is overdrawn. When an account is in the black, it has more money than zero. It has a surplus so to speak. Bill Johnson, Pastor of Bethel church in Redding, California coined the terms repentance in the red and repentance in the black. Most religious folk usually just think of repentance as repentance in the red.
John the Baptist primarily dealt with repentance in the red. Repentance from sin. You know…turn or burn…get the sin out. When someone sins, they go in the red with God so to speak. They are overdrawn. As one repents they come back into the black. We understand John’s preaching of repentance, but don’t understand its link to the kingdom. The drive to sin in many ways is linked to the survival curse of humanity. The desire to steal is rooted in survival. I do not have enough; I need yours. Greed and hoarding says, “I might need this later on.” Coveting says, “I want what you have because I might need it to survive.” Murder… “I am threatened by you.” Breaking the sabbath… “I need that extra time to labor or I might not survive.” Unbelief says things I can’t see don’t help me survive. Lying… “this new set of facts make my survival easier.” The list goes on and on. I need your wife…I need to control you… I need more food at this meal…I need more sleep…or I might not survive. The cure for sin is to change our operating system. To move from survival to life. To change the way we think. That is why repentance is accompanied by the message of the kingdom. A new way of life calls for a new operating system.
Jesus added to John’s messages. He added “repentance in the black” to the message. There is more to repentance than just changing how we think about sin. Repentance continually modifies our thinking to kingdom thinking. Once we are out of sin, we need to know how to truly live life, raise our families, expand our businesses, enhance our relationships, manage our resources, wield our influence, carry out our ministries, deploy our gifts. The call of Jesus is not only to change our thinking about our sin, but to change our thinking about every aspect of life. He calls us to do this violently and forcefully within the context of our own life (Matthew 11:12). This violent and disruptive change in thinking I’ve dubbed as mind spinning. Jesus invites us to spin our minds around how to really live.
Jesus beckons everyone to conform our operating system around the reality of absolute life in contrast to mere survival. Jesus calls everyone to live out of the image of God that was placed upon man at the creation. This new operating system returns ones thinking to the pre-fall state of the garden. Without this “repentance in the black” ones thinking will fall back to fearful survival and existence.
You can change your thinking (repentance) and center your mental processes on the eternal Kingdom that is within hands reach and is coming in power on this earth. For the full impact of this Kingdom to truly be revealed you must repent, not solely from negative behavior (sin), but from the base desire to just survive. You must change your thinking to how this Kingdom affects every area of your life. This continual mind spinning is repentance in the black.
A New Book is Coming!!!
After almost 8 years my second book will be coming out soon. The good news is if you enjoyed these thoughts, they’re excerpts from my upcoming book that’s in the process of being published now. Hopefully it will be out by Christmas, but more realistically by March.
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