Matthew 3: 2 (NKJV) “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!”
John the Baptist was a prophet, a man of God, who heard the voice of God and relayed what he heard to the people. It had been 400 years since God had spoken to the people and the first word from the Lord was “repent”. Repent means to turn around. The Kingdom of Heaven is not just the concept of heaven “some day”– it is, instead, the rule and power of God working in our lives. This is why it says “at hand” because we can experience the power of God right now. He can empower us to defeat our self-destructiveness and can empower us to enjoy an abundant life.
All that we have to do to begin experiencing the rule of God in our lives is to “Repent.” But too often people think repentance just means stopping some sort of activity or sin. It can mean that but it is much deeper too. Very simply, to repent means to continually turn from a self-directed life (where you and your emotions rule your life decisions) and turn to a Jesus-directed life (where the principles of His Bible rule your life decisions). This sort of continual giving up control over to the leading of God, through the instructions and guidance we find in His Bible, is repentance and it guarantees us entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.