Repentance Begins the Christian Life

“As repentance is the beginning and end of the Christian way of life, the Lord’s Forerunner and Baptist, who was himself the starting point of this approach to living, preached saying,

Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’ (Matt. 3:2).

And the Lord Himself, the perfection of all goodness, said the same in His preaching (Matt. 4:17).

Repentance means

hating sin and

loving virtue,

turning away from evil and

doing good

(cf. Ps. 34:14, 1 Pet. 3:11).

These acts are preceded, however, by condemning ourselves for our faults, being penitent before God, fleeing to Him for refuge with a contrite heart, and casting ourselves into the ocean of His mercy, considering ourselves unworthy to be counted among His sons. As the prodigal son said when he repented,

‘Lord, I am not worthy to be called your son: make me as one of your hired servants’ (cf. Luke 15:19).”

(St. Gregory Palamas, The Homilies, p 489)