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Believe, repent and do the right thing

Rev. Charles Oppong-Poku | July 20, 2023 | Matthew 21:28-32


For John came to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him. Matthew 21:32 (NIV)


In Matthew 21:28-32, Jesus tells a parable about a man and his two sons, that carries a message about belief, repentance and doing the right thing. The man was the owner of a vineyard. In the agricultural civilization of Israel, vineyards were commonly family businesses. And in Jesus’s parable, this family was in the vineyard-business. The father asks his two sons to go and work in the vineyard. The first son initially refused, but later regretted his decision and went to work. The second son agreed to go but failed to follow through. Neither son was perfect. Both showed disrespect but their offence was shown in different ways. The first son was disrespectful and noncompliant in his initial response to his father, but he then ended up obeying his father’s request. The second son was deceitful when he feigned respect and signalled an intent to obey his father. He disguised his disrespect with the right words, which made his disobedience more hurtful. After lying to his father, the second son did not do what he promised, while the first son repented his disobedience and did what his father asked him to do. Jesus uses this story to illustrate the attitudes of religious leaders who professed righteousness but did not truly obey God's commands.

The key verse (Matthew 21:32), emphasizes that those considered sinful, like tax collectors and prostitutes, who heard the message of repentance, believed in Jesus, and responded positively were entering the kingdom of God before the religious leaders. Repentance involves a genuine change of heart, a turning away from sin, and a turning towards God's will. God, in His grace, welcomes all who repent, regardless of their past mistakes. Jesus' statement about tax collectors and prostitutes entering the kingdom ahead of the religious leaders is a reminder of God's surprising grace. God's love extends to all, and His invitation is open to the broken and the sinful. No one is beyond redemption or excluded from the opportunity to experience God's forgiveness and salvation. True repentance and genuine faith result in a transformed life marked by obedience to God's will.


As we reflect on Matthew 21:28-32, let us be encouraged to embrace a life of faith in Jesus Christ and firm belief in God's promises, genuine repentance, and a commitment to doing the right thing. May we never fall into the trap of self-righteousness but humbly walk with God, producing fruit that testifies to His transforming work in our hearts.


Heavenly Father, grant me Your grace to believe in Your unfailing love and unchanging promises. Fill my heart with genuine repentance and show me the areas of my life where I need to turn away from sin and selfishness. In the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.



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The Baptist Daily Devotional is a collection of God-inspired messages that will help you grow in your faith and walk with Christ. Each day, you will find a scripture passage, a reflection, a prayer and a challenge to apply God's word to your life. The devotional is written by pastors and leaders of the Ghana Baptist Convention, who share their insights and experiences from serving God in various contexts and ministries. For example, you will learn how to trust God in times of trouble, how to share the gospel with others, how to pray effectively, how to deal with temptation, how to handle conflict and more. Whether you are a new believer or a mature Christian, the Baptist Daily Devotional will inspire you, encourage you and equip you to live for God's glory.
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