First, let’s always remember that salvation is by the grace of God alone. Only God can forgive sins and declare a sinner justified. Because that is true, some have claimed that repentance is a work and it cannot be any part of our salvation.
Secular Definition of Repentance
Repentance is the activity of reviewing one’s actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs. It generally involves a commitment to personal change and resolving to live a more responsible and humane life.¹
Repentance: deep sorrow, compunction, or contrition for a past sin, wrongdoing, or the like. Regret for any past action.²
Repentance — a turning away from sin, disobedience, or rebellion and a turning back to God (Matt. 9:13; Luke 5:32). [Unger’s Bible Dictionary https://bit.ly/3nOaggT, Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary https://bit.ly/3FEMF8u]
In a more general sense, repentance means a change of mind (Gen. 6:6–7) or a feeling of remorse or regret for past conduct (Matt. 27:3). [Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, https://bit.ly/3FEMF8u]
True repentance is a “godly sorrow” for sin, an act of turning around and going in the opposite direction. This type of repentance leads to a fundamental change in a person’s relationship to God. [http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/repentance]
Repentance, also called penitence, is the God-granted attitude of having sorrow for personal sin and the turning away from it towards a new life. [http://www.theopedia.com/Repentance]
Repentance and Faith
Trusting in Christ involves turning from self and turning to Christ. That is repentance.
Theologian and Apologist Norman Geisler (1932-2019) illustrated this with, “Faith and repentance are inseparable, in the same way that the command to come here cannot be fulfilled without leaving there.” [https://www.bibles.net/topic/what-is-repentance/]
We are Called to Come to Jesus
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Coming to Christ begins with His calling us, but it also involves an action our part. It’s a choice we make in our hearts and minds to turn from our self-sufficiency and put our trust in Jesus. That’s biblical repentance — a turning from self to Jesus. And, it’s not an outward work. Rather, it is an inward desire of the heart.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:10)
Coming to Christ involves a turning from darkness to light. That turning is biblical repentance. Paul understood this well. He was commissioned to turn (epistrepho) people, to convert (epistrepho) people. This is not salvation. This is a preparation of the heart for coming in faith to Christ.
Acts 26:17-18 . . .I [Jesus Christ] send thee [Paul], To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Coming to Christ involves a turning from the old so one can come to Christ and be made new.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Is repentance REQUIRED for salvation?
We’ve established that repentance is a turning — from self and to Christ. It precedes salvation. And, It prepares the heart to believe and trust in Jesus. And it is the heart God judges.
Rom 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Old Covenant Repentance vs New Covenant Repentance
God told the people of Israel repeatedly to remember who He is, to repent of sin, and to return to Him. The people of Israel were not redeemed by the blood of Jesus, they were only sanctified by the blood of animal sacrifices. And they repeatedly forgot their God and wandered far from Him into grievous sin. Repentance was an important part of their returning to a right relationship with God.
The same is true under the New Covenant. Repentance was an important part of our coming to Christ. And it remains an important part of our communion with Christ. We must continue to turn from the darkness of sin and turn to the Light of Christ.
Repentance is important and necessary. While it is not part of our being saved — because salvation (regeneration) is by the grace of God alone– repentance does prepare the heart to come to trusting faith in Jesus.
Thank God that you turned from sin and self and turned your heart, in trusting faith, to Jesus. Always remember that repentance is an ongoing way of life for the Christian. We all continue to sin and we are to confess our sin and turn our faces to look upon Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) and turn our heart’s affection toward Him (Philippians 3:20, Colossians 3:2). Our God is loving, gracious, and faithful to cleanse us from all sin. (1 John 1:9)
Be Ready Always...
to give a reason for the Hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15). When you can’t share the gospel with your words, share it by leaving tracts that tell people about God's grace.
When leaving a tract, always be diligent to pray for the short gospel message. Pray that it be found by someone who is in need of Jesus’ saving grace, and pray that the person will have a tender heart and open ears to receive the gift Jesus desires to give them.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, even a small tract can help in turning a broken, sinful person from darkness to light.
Jesus is the Reason this Ministry Exists
At Reasons for Hope* Jesus, we are committed to equipping, encouraging, and empowering Christians to know Jesus better, love Him more, and share their faith. We also reach the lost through our Salvation Page.
With your support, we can continue to provide valuable resources and engaging content. Please join us in our mission by donating today. Your generous contribution helps us expand our outreach of sharing biblical truths and hope in Jesus. Thank you for your kindness and for being an integral part of our mission.
***A Hidden Message in Psalm 23?***
Hidden in the six verses of Psalm 23 are 11 names for Jesus. When you subscribe to our newsletter, we’ll send you The Names of God in Psalm 23 PDF that reveals all 11 names and Scripture verses of comfort and hope (link will be sent in your confirmation email).
A Room with a View of Eternity—The Last Will & Testament of Jesus Christ Take a seat at the Master's table. Learn about the riches He gives to all who are His. This book will bless and encourage you, give you hope, and help you live in the joy of your salvation and the riches of Christ that are yours.
The Top Ten Got Questions? in 2022
- The Meaning of NUMBERS in the Bible?
- Was Jesus CRUCIFIED on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?
- Did The Wise Men Arrive 12 DAYS AFTER JESUS’ BIRTH? Or Was It Much Later?
- How long did JOB SUFFER?
- What is the Significance of the Wise Men's THREE GIFTS? And were they kings?
- How are the Shepherd’s ROD and STAFF Different?
- Which Old Testament Book Did JESUS QUOTE most often?
- The Meaning of COLORS in the Bible?
- ONLY ONE LIFE, Twill Soon Be Past – by C.T. Studd (1860 – 1931)
- How was Jesus Like a Worm? What’s the CRIMSON (OR SCARLET) WORM in Psalm 22?
More Popular Got Questions
- Did Jesus Fight Satan to Take Back the KEYS of Death and Hell?
- How Did the Wise Men Know This Was the Messiah and KNOW TO FOLLOW HIS STAR?
- What do the 12 stones UNDER the JORDAN River mean? (Joshua 4)
- Jesus' Last Days TIMELINE: The Cross and The Crucifixion
- How Many MIRACLES Did Jesus Do?
- Is Leonard Cohen’s “HALLELUJAH” a Christian Song?
- Where did OT Saints go at death? ABRAHAM'S BOSOM?
- SIN, INIQUITY, TRANSGRESSION? How are they different?
- What are the NAMES of JEHOVAH Hidden in Psalm 23?
- Jesus in the Gospels: What are the Four Different Presentations of Jesus?
- If BAPTIZED as an Infant, Do I Need to Be Re-Baptized?
- Why Did God Create Man Knowing MAN WOULD SIN?
- What Did Jesus Say About HEAVEN (and HELL)?
- What are the “I Will ” STATEMENTS of Satan, God, and Jesus?
- Was MARY a LEVITE Making Jesus both a Priest and King?
- Why Was a RAM SACRIFICED in Genesis 22 Instead of a Lamb?
- Is Satan’s Real Name LUCIFER?
- Can Jews go to Heaven without knowing Jesus?
TOP TEN Videos from Reasons for Hope* Jesus
- Memorial Day BAGPIPES TRIBUTE: Amazing Grace
- RISE AND SHINE and Give God the Glory, Glory!
- WERE YOU THERE When They Crucified My Lord?
- PAUL HARVEY: THE BIRDCAGE
- PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: A SOLDIER'S PLEDGE
- Hark! the Herald Angels Sing -- CHARLIE BROWN Christmas
- JOHN WAYNE ~ WHY I LOVE AMERICA
- Jimmy Stewart - Nativity Scene Prayer: Mr. Krueger's Christmas
- THE LEGEND OF THE CANDY CANE - A Christmas Story to Share
- Not by Might, Not by Power, But BY MY SPIRIT says the Lord (Zechariah 4:6)
- Erwin Lutzer - We Will Not Be SILENCED