In Mt. 3 – John the Baptist told a bunch of religious people: Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. (Matt 3:8 NIV) These religious people looked good on the outside, but there was no real lifechange in them because their hearts were far from God.
The Prophet Isaiah wrote: All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the guilt and sins of us all. (Isa. 53:6 NLT) Following our path instead of God’s is the essence of sin.
In Jesus first sermon, he said to REPENT (of sin – of our lifestyle). To repent means to change your mind & change your direction; to do a 180. It means you choose to change the path you’re on, and turn from living life your way to live life God’s way. It’s not about perfection, it’s about direction. You’ll still make mistakes, but the overall direction of your life will change. The evidence of a real-believer versus a make-believer is genuine life-change that starts in the heart & produces fruit (an evident change in attitude & action that honors God).