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The Importance of Repentance
Today, there is such an abundance of leaven within the man-made church system. Out of the many false doctrines that are taught, one of them is that repentance is not a part of the salvation message through Christ. Many have bought into the deceptive teaching that defines repentance without referring to the whole counsel of Scripture to render what it truly means.
Whenever the word 'repent' is brought into a discussion, there is a lot of confusion in properly defining it. One person will believe that it simply means to 'change your mind' derived from the Greek word 'metanoia,' while the another person will firmly state that repentance means a sincere turning away from our carnal self to God and that it is a matter of the mind and heart that leads to an action of moving away from sin.
What definition is correct?
What many fail to understand is that both definitions are correct because repentance incorporates a broader spectrum to its meaning as found within the words of Scripture. If we don’t apply the proper contextual definition, it will lead to adhering to or being deceived into believing one of the many false doctrines in the man-made church system.
The purpose of this article will attempt to clarify the word 'repent' by letting Scripture itself define the word to delineate it in its proper context.
The first problem that often arises in a discussion, or an argument concerning repentance is that the book of John does not even use the word even once; therefore, it is deemed repentance is not required for salvation. The point that the word repentance is not in there is true, but the spirit of repentance is in there.
Also, if the book of John was the only book of the Bible, the claim would be fully valid. However, this is the same tactic of the many cherry-pickers of Scripture verses that isolate texts by themselves without reading the surrounding verses to understand the context. For this reason, many can be easily deceived.
We must always compare Scripture with Scripture, line upon line and precept upon precept. This is a must if we are to discern true doctrine from false.
To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast? For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” – Isaiah 29:9-10
You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, Since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. – Hebrews 5:12-14
It should be no surprise to the discerner of Scripture that many claim to follow the way of Christ, but they have never considered all the counsel of God’s word. Their only counsel is the milk they have been suckling off of from the religious pulpits of church hirelings. They then will zealously claim that they have their own revelation from God, but only use isolated and ambiguous parts of Scripture to prove their doctrine as the truth. Their typical tactics are the most common in promoting just about every false doctrine out there. This common thread ignores the precedent of precept upon precept and line upon line.
Hopefully, we can get to the meat of repentance and chew and digest it (precept upon precept, line upon line) to get a clearer understanding of its importance and rightfully divide the word of truth to discover what it is all about.
The Ministry of Christ
One of the first things we must consider is that when John the Baptist, Christ and the apostles started their ministry of preaching the Gospel, they first called for repentance.
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” - Matthew 3:2
Jesus began to preach, and to say, repent – Matthew 4:17
Repent ye, and believe the gospel – Mark 1:15
And they went out, and preached that men should repent. – Mark 6:12
Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. – Luke 3:13
Ye sorrowed to repentance… For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation – 2 Corinthians 7:9-10
Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins – Acts 2:38
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out – Acts 3:19
But now commandeth all men every where to repent – Acts 17:30
Not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3:9
Even with the witness of these verses, there will still be many who will still zealously state that repentance has nothing to do with salvation. Unfortunately, they have been deceived.
The Order of Repentance
Paul shows us the order of repentance and the results of it in the following passage:
That they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. – Acts 22:20
We can plainly see that what is stated is this verse is that the result of repentance brings forth good fruit as a result of turning to the way of God. If you take a closer look, you will notice the order that repentance is listed in the preceding passage.
- First, we are to repent.
- Second, we are to turn to God
- Third, we are to do works fitting with our repentance
We can't just isolate one of the points and ignore the broader context of repentance.
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. – Revelation 2:15
Notice in this verse that you can't repent separate from works and that it is good works that are a result of repentance.
But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. – Matthew 9:13
Repentance is not only something ones does before salvation, but also is a part of our walk of salvation.
Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. – Matthew 3:8
If we are bearing fruit, it shows that we are truly a believer and walking in obedient faith.
Is it Really that Simple, Just 'Believe?'
People throw around the term 'believe' and 'faith,' but to them it is really a mental assent. We must be careful because Christ does not grant grace to anyone who makes claims to him. Mental assent is the say only crowd, but genuine faith is both saying and doing. Grace is bestowed on those who have pride removed from their hearts and have humbled themselves through the process of repentance.
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” – James 4:6
Christ did not come saying 'believe' for the Kingdom of God is at hand, but said repent! Of course we should believe, but rather true belief incorporates the necessity of repentance as a step in the right direction. The unrepentant hearts of the proud will not have access to the Kingdom of God; therefore, to deny repentance as part of salvation is making a dire mistake.
And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do to them; and he did it not. – Jonah 3:10
Right here in this passage, we can specifically see that repentance also means 'to turn.' When the people of Nineveh 'turned from their evil way,' God repented, or 'changed his mind' from punishing them for their sin.
Repentance: Sackcloth and Ashes
When we look at the verses that surround Jonah 3:10 referenced above, the process and context of repentance of the King of Nineveh towards God gives a symbolic and powerful picture of the true meaning of the word.
The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. – Jonah 3:6
This verse gives us a vivid picture of repentance because in the Jewish culture sackcloth and ashes were symbolic of humility. Even Abraham and Jacob understood the meaning.
Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. – Genesis 18:27
Then Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. – Genesis 37:34
Here are a few more that drive home the action of repentance.
When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes… and cried with a loud and a bitter cry… there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes. – Esther 4:1-3
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. – Matthew 11:21
Sackcloth and ashes drive home the symbolic meaning of repentance that was not only a change of mind, but a behavioural change as well. The knowledge that we have sinned against God moral laws is one thing, but having sorrow with a humble heart that leads to walking in truth is what truly puts us back into right standing with God.
A Change of Mind and Heart
True repentance leads to a change of mind and heart. Doing something right with no heart change is not repentance. Our Messiah scolded the religious hypocrites for their 'good' works because he saw their hardened prideful hearts.
You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and plate, that the outside also may be clean. – Matthew 23:26
God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. – 2 Timothy 2:25-26
What Must I do to be Saved?
Some will cherry-pick the following verse and say that all we must do is simple 'believe' without repentance.
And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” – Acts 16:29-31
Now, to simply 'believe' to be saved would be true if all of Scripture was contained in these three verses, but again when we go to the context of the surrounding verses as we see that the jailor was already in the process of repentance before God. That is why Paul did not say, repent! because he was trembling in humility. The jailor did not have a hard prideful heart, but was in a condition of humility. That is why he was ready to receive his Saviour and be saved.
Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” – 1 Peter 5:5
We cannot claim to have the grace of God in our lives through Christ unless we have repentance in humility. The jailor was in a state of repentance by his behaviour; therefore, all he needed from there was Paul to point him in the right direction.
Remember the order?
Let’s take a look again.
That they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. – Acts 22:20
- We are to repent.
- We are to turn to God
- We are to do works fitting with our repentance.
The jailor was at number 2 when Paul stated, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.' He qualified as being truly repentant by his obvious humble state as he, 'came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas.'
How many have been taught 'repentance,' either by defining it with man’s definitions, or completely disregarding it all together as part of salvation?
The pride of carnal religious men defies the doctrine that was stated by our Saviour. They don’t want to deal with the elephant in the room because dealing with sin will not bring in the monetary.
Many say, 'I am righteous by faith' and refer to Galatians 2 and 3 because any reference to repentance they will define as works. Their preconceived notions about repentance as a work of the law are forced into the following passages.
Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. – Galatians 2:16-18
But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. – Galatians 3:22-23
By their interpretation, anyone who believes in repentance are still captive and striving under the works of the law.
Godly Grief and Sorrow
Those who claim that there is no connection between repentance and salvation have seriously fallen into deception. Pastors with paychecks are not going to tell you this stuff. because they have pews and tithing plates to fill.
Have you noticed in the latest headlines that in the institutional church scandals are the norm?
In fact, they are really no big deal to the masses where they worship their hirelings every word. Their mantra is, ‘we all sin don’t we.’ Instead of being disqualified by biblical protocol, they simply 'repent' by their twisted definition and are retuned back to the pulpit. The indoctrinated sheeple raise their false flags of 'grace' thinking that they are showing 'God's love' to the sinner. It is true that the person caught in sin is sorry, but they are just sorry that they got caught. They show their worldly grief in front of the cameras and upon stage, but this is an outward display of worldly grief towards the people, not towards God who requires an outward and inward change.
As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. – 2 Corinthians 7:9-10
True repentance is also about godly sorrow that looks to a Saviour, not to men who offer a worldly redemption found in buildings called churches through false doctrines to attain salvation.
In our godly grief that we have sinned against God, it will lead to repentance that is coupled with an action of faith on our part that leads to being counted as righteousness. The requirements of being offered the free gift of grace through our Saviour will be met.
Yes, grace is a free gift, but Christ does not offer gifts to those who have prideful unrepentant hearts, but to those who are in the spirit of humility towards his Father.
It takes a humble heart to acknowledge our wickedness. A man cannot know that he needs a Saviour unless he realizes that he is in need of saving from his sins. Without having godly sorrow, there will be no desire or believing that there is a need for repentance.
When repentance is removed from the Gospel message, it only follows that true godly grief, shame, sorrow and guilt for our sins will be ignored and deluding those into believing it has no bearing on their eternal state. Many are told that all they have to do is 'believe' in Christ, but at the same time remove the key foundation of his teaching of repentance.
Their prideful no repentance doctrine is self-refuting. They will even tell those who believe in repentance to turn from their supposed 'false' doctrine and believe in their deception instead. The irony is that they are preaching the message of repentance while at the same time denying it. You just have to shake your head sometimes.
It is God’s moral laws that expose men as sinners to point them to Christ. Having godly sorrow for breaking the law will hopefully cause as many as who will listen to seek after the one who offers salvation.
Repentance has not Changed
The definition of repentance is not just a 'change of mind,' as there is more to it as we have already touched on. It is the man-made religious doctrines that try to isolate, or ignore the full scope of repentance.
The preaching of John the Baptist, Christ and the apostles lines up with the same repentance of the Old testament prophets, which is to turn from our carnal ways to God’s ways.
Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more that you are authorized to do.” – Luke 3:12-13
'Collect no more than you are authorized' is about repentance. It is about turning from a course of stealing to walking in integrity. It is a replacement of certain behaviour(s) and replacing them with right ones.
Is turning from one behaviour to another 'works' based salvation if there are requirements first?
When we look at the full counsel of Scripture, repentance is not passive, but requires a response from God, but also a response on our part as well. Repentance is a mutual, or simultaneous action on behalf of ourselves and of God through His Son. It parallels the same kind of action, or responses of the many testaments of healing in the Scriptures where the sick responding by faith by reaching out, or by stretching out their hands towards Christ. This was a response of their obedient faith put into action and the result brought healing in their lives.
When we are called to repent, it is about the responsive action of the individual through belief and obedient faith that enables the person to respond with an action of the heart and mind turning away from our carnal ways. Zacchaeus is a good example of what happened when Christ called him to the faith. He responded by saying that he would repay fourfold all of the people he defrauded.
And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” – Luke 19:8-10
Do you see the amazing simultaneous work of God through His Son coupled with an action of repentance by faith that led to the salvation of Zacchaeus?
Repentance has nothing to do with any ritualistic works of the law to gain salvation, but it is an action of faith by turning the opposite direction one was initially going. Repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin and that is why repentance and faith without works is dead.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand what repentance means in the preceding verses, yet do we really see this type of repentance happening in the lives of people who call themselves Christians today?
Do they really repent where the fruit of it is working in their lives, or are they claiming to follow Christ while still slaves to their sin?
Wherever leaven is not purged, men will decide what 'repentance' means rather than God's word.
Sometimes the go-to concordances and lexicons that define “repentance” cannot be trusted to give full meaning to Biblical words. It is imperative to first allow the Holy Spirit to help you define a particular word in Scripture. As you can see, when you dig into 'precept upon precept and line upon line,' the term repentance can be twisted where it does not fit the testament and witness of letting Scripture define the word. The importance of proper exegesis of Scripture cannot be stressed enough. We do not want to be found guilty of our biased eisegesis into the word because it will promote a dead faith with dead works.
Repentance is not sitting around and letting God clean your life up for you, but it takes some initiative on our part as well. God has given us free-will and we can stop whatever we are doing with His help and turn the other way. Even those who do not have Christ in their lives can clean up their own acts by their own self will, yet people who claim to follow Christ sit back and say that it’s all God’s job to deliver them without any action on their part. All they have they have to do is sit back and 'believe.' Many believe that they cannot truly have victory, but wait in their lounge chair of 'grace' hoping soon to be raptured away from their sins.
When the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, it is time to do some cleaning on our to get our act together and God will also do what he has promised on His part. Authentic obedient faith is an attribute of taking action on our part.
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good – Isaiah 1:16-17
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. – Isaiah 55:7
Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. – 1 John 3:7
There will be no pardon of sins without repentance; otherwise, our faith is dead. Without repentance, we will be robbed of doing God’s will with His anointing here on earth. God is calling all of us to repent so that are hearts may be captured by truth operating in His will for our lives. Delaying repentance will only allow Satan to build strongholds in our minds that bring spiritual decay leading to a reprobate mind.
True forgiveness and freedom comes through repentance and frees the heavy weights from our hearts. The process brings transformation into a person that God wants us to be bringing forth good fruit. Repentance take a lot of courage, but returning to right standing with our Father will bring peace into our lives. Don’t forsake it as being irrelevant.
When we put the Old Testament and New Testament meaning of repentance together, we find the true meaning. It is the changing of the mind and turning around from facing the wrong way by turning 180 degrees and facing the direction of God.
Changing our mind about being on the broad way leading to destruction without getting off it will still lead to destruction.
Changing our mind about being on the broad way and getting off of it by changing our direction and getting onto the narrow way will lead to life.
Scripture clarifies the importance of the meaning repentance and the necessity of the true Gospel message that needs to be preached today.
Repent in Both the OT and NT
nacham - נחם
shub - שׁוּב
metanoia - μετάνοια
to regret, or feel sorry
to return or turn back
change your mind or think differently
Repentance in Broader Context
The Greek word ‘metanoia’ (noun), ‘metanoeo’ (verb) can be broken down into two parts: ‘meta,’ to change, or alter and ‘nous,’ meaning mind. Putting these two terms together gives the meaning of repentance as ‘a change of mind.’
However, there is also more to it as well.
By simply looking at how a word breaks down in Hebrew, or in the Greek is not all that we must know about a particular word and how it is used in Scripture. We need to understand more than its simple breakdown into component parts in the original language to establish its fullest or broadest contextual meaning.
One of the key passages is Matthew 3 is when John the Baptist declares,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” - Matthew 3:2
Also, to 'produce fruit’ means that the changed mind includes a change that is noticeable.
‘But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.’ - Matthew 3:7-8
Though the verb ‘metanoeo’ is often explained etymologically as ‘to change one’s mind,’ or ‘to be sorry for something,’ this rendering does not offer the full scope of repentance. Repentance is not a merely intellectual change of mind, mental assent, mere grief, but a radical transformation of the entire person where there is fundamental turnaround, not only of mind, but also in action that that results in the ‘fruit in keeping with repentance.’
To have an intellectual understanding of repentance does not play a huge rule in the New Testament, but rather the decision by the whole man to turn around is stressed.
There are many passages in Scripture where repent does not appear, but the thought of repentance is clearly present.
‘Unless you turn (straphete) and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’ - Matthew 18:3
‘So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce (apotassetai) all that he has cannot be my disciple’ - Luke 14:33.
There are two Greek verbs, ‘metanoeo’ and ‘epistrepho’ that appear alongside each other in Acts.
Repent (metanoēsate) therefore, and turn back (epistrepsate), that your sins may be blotted out – Acts 3:19
The same two verbs appear with the common noun ‘metanoia’ in Acts 26:20.
But declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent (metanoein) and turn (epistrepsate) to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance – Acts 26:20
The Greek word ‘metamelomai’ refers to an internal shift and that is why ‘metanoeo’ and ‘metanoia’ are defined in terms of a change of mind. However, although ‘metanoeo’ can refer to a change in inner disposition, repentance is also connected to a change in external activity as in the following verses.
Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. - Acts 8:22
I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged. - 2 Corinthians 12:21
Repent and do the things you did at first. - Revelation 2:5
I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. - Revelation 2:21-22
The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood – idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts. - Revelation 9:20-21
They refused to repent of what they had done. - Revelation 16:11
Also, by looking at Zechariah 1:1-6 and Acts 26:16-20, repentance in these two passages is presented as a return to God and away from that which is contrary to God. This would mean that repentance also involves a shift in behaviours. In this case, repentance means to a turn, or return to faithful relationship with God from a former state of estrangement.
Therefore say to them, Thus declares the LORD of hosts: return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. - Zechariah 1:3
The importance and key to understanding repentance in its fullness in both the Old and New Testament is not the zealous focus on the meaning. This will create tunnel vision unless we also take into account the many examples, exhortations and commands concerning repentance also found in Scripture as well.
The greater context of repentance is found in the the passages that communicate the theological context in the various words, images and stories related to repentance in Scripture.
'Repentance' is Found in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
The meaning of words are important, but was of greater importance is the context and implication of the words used in Scripture.
As Christ told the parable of the Prodigal Son, there are some important points to consider in the sequence of events that took place.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! - Luke 15:17
From this verse we can see that the son was in the process of changing his mind, but it also followed with an action.
I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. - Luke 15:18
His repentance started in the heart and mind, then led to a right course of action. Repentance was demonstrated by going to his Father.
And he arose and came to his father. - Luke 15:20
Works should follow our faith if we are truly saved by faith showing that repentance and consequently our salvation in Christ is genuine.
There are those who want to maintain tunnel vision and say that repentance means solely a 'change of mind.' Anything that broadens the scope of the meaning is deemed salvation by 'works.' However, it is a failure to emphasize the whole picture. It is true that repentance is a gift from God, but He commands it. It is not forced on anyone because it is a gift. This gift is the opportunity to take advantage of something while you still can. This is how we should understand it to be.
It is a false notion to think that repentance is something that God causes all together and does not require our cooperation as well. This is not 'salvation by works.'
We find that Paul the apostle condemned justification 'by works of the law' when he confronted the Judaizers who were demanding that those who were non-Jewish perform rituals that God did not require of them. This would be the context of making someone perform certain actions to cause God to owe them something instead of taking advantage of a gift of an opportunity.
Therefore leaving the teaching of the first principles of Christ, let us press on to perfection—not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, of faith toward God, of the teaching of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
This will we do, if God permits. For concerning those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, 6and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify the Son of God for themselves again, and put him to open shame. - Hebrews 6:1-6
God has given us free will to make our own choices; therefore, we should never hesitate to repent as it is imperative to our walk of salvation.
Repentance is a window of opportunity through God's Son and we should not hesitate on our part.
'Dead works' are acts, or actions that lead to death. Repenting of them requires stopping them. A change of mind without stopping dead works nullifies the whole context of repent. If the change of direction is deemed as 'works,' or taking advantage of a gift from God, then in that sense it is an action or 'work' on our part. This is not something that we do that requires God to owe us something, but a joint effort of someone giving the gift and taking the action of utilizing the gift. A change of direction and turning means that we actually have to move to point in the right direction. Walking in the opposite direction means that you are not longer committing the things (dead works) that you did on the broad path, but are committing to good works (fruit of repentance) on the narrow path.
Today, repentance been either twisted, obscured or deemed irrelevant to walking in the way of Christ. Simply having a change of mind without a radical change in life missing the importance of the salvation message. If Christ cannot deal with our sin, then it denies the work of the Holy Spirit. This does not lead to a life of victory.
When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life. - Acts 11:18
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, and not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. - 2 Peter 3:18
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. - 2 Timothy 2:24-26
Repentance cannot be properly defined if it does not include the hatred of sin and turning from it. To believe that it is just a casual change of mind, or thinking is a dangerous doctrine to preach. mental assent and continuing to live in a lifestyle of sin is not biblical repentance. Both a change in mind and behaviour shows a lifestyle of walking in obedient faith.
Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. - Luke 3:8
Belief, Repentance, Obedience and Faith
Belief, repentance and walking in obedient faith are necessary for salvation. This does not add to the requirements by adding belief plus repentance plus faith plus obedience equals salvation. Rather, it is having repentant obedient believing faith that leads to salvation. These four things parallel, are synonymous, are homogenous, or are so closely related that they cannot be isolated on their own. You cannot have one without the other. If one of any of these four things are missing, nullifies the Gospel message. Repentance incorporates belief, faith and obedience. Repentance cannot be deemed genuine without the others.
Those who believe and defend that repentance is simply 'a change of mind' by pointing to their Greek definition have ignored the full counsel of Scripture. Scripture must interpret scripture; that is where we find truth.
Do you believe the proper understanding of repentance is imperative to the Gospel message?
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