“Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand” – if the message Jesus preached while he was on the earth had a main title, this was it.
In the natural, we understand what a grace period means, for example if an individual or business acquires a loan, they can be given a time period at the start of the loan repayment period to wait before they make the first payment, this is the grace period. Usually the duration of grace is agreed between the lender and the borrower and has a defined beginning and end date.
Similarly, according to the Bible, believers in Jesus Christ are now living in a period of grace that started when Jesus Christ came to the earth– grace and truth came by Christ Jesus – John 1:17. Grace is usually defined by religious scholars as God’s unmerited favour and by which he does not count our sins against us. Therefore, we could say, believers are living in a time period of non-repayment of sins (in that sense).
However, this is not a natural or worldly grace period in the fact that the end date is not known. Just as Jesus taught – “No one knows the day or the hour”- Mathew 24:36. In addition to this, should one die in their sin without accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and saviour then they have totally missed the unimaginable, wondrous and eternal benefits of this grace period.
I see it now, Jesus came preaching, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at near” – Mathew 3:2 and we also read in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” What this tells me, is that a loving and good God sent his son into this world in exchange for my sins and to offer me access. An access that comes through repentance and believing on the Lord Jesus. This is called being born again with a promise of eternity – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16.
What can one do to obtain these promises, this free gift of salvation? According to Romans 10:9 – “If you declare with your mouth that “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” And in the words of Peter from Acts 2 when he addressed the crowd that had labelled him and the disciples drunks - “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
This grace period is available at no cost to everybody. However, soon the Lord Jesus Christ will return at an hour unknown even to the angels in heaven (Mark 13:32), and that will be the end of the period of the dispensation of grace. For the believer, let us keep our lamps full of oil as we wait for the second coming of the Lord. For the non-believer, turn from your ways, believe on Jesus, and be baptised. Save your soul from the destruction that will come on this world (2 Peter 3:10 1 Thessalonians 5:3). Jesus Christ – is the way, the truth and the life.
2 Peter 3:11-14
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
2000 plus years of grace reveals a loving, merciful and compassionate God.