Repentance — The Foundation of Salvation
Updated: Apr 16
Biblical faith (which is repentant faith) and who Jesus is (He is both Lord and Saviour) are the two areas concerning the gospel that are most under attack today amongst evangelicals, Baptists, Protestants and the like. Faith without repentance is not true faith. Its spurious and dead faith. Many preachers don’t preach on repentance at all. Some merely mention the word on the fly, more along the lines of a drive by shooting. Very rarely do preachers actually expound on what true Biblical repentance is, and that is a great shame and disgrace, since no one can be saved without repenting. It’s also not enough to just say the word. It must be described and defined. It is absolutely life and death crucial and it is commanded in Scripture.
In a nutshell, true saving repentance is defined as a change of the mind and the will (about sin, about self, about one's rebellion against a Holy God, about God, about Christ, about righteousness, about coming judgement, about hell, about the gospel), that leads to a change of action (which is turning and emotional, surrender, by faith), and always brings a change of life (immediately, permanently, and dramatically). This is why John the Baptist preached for the people to show forth fruit unto salvation. All new births have fruit, which continues. The change of life of course is after the consummation of salvation, when repentant faith has been genuine for the new birth. Its the immediate and ongoing fruit of true repentant faith (2 Cor 5:17).
Repentance involves all three faculties of man: the intellect (Pr 1:29; 2:1-5; Jer 8:6; Rom 3:11), the emotions (Ez 9:6; Ps 34:18; Ezk 6:9; 9:4 Jon 3:8; 2 Cor 7:10) and the volition—the will (Is 55:6-7; Ezk 18:30; 1 Th 1:9; Ac 14:15; Matt 13:44-46). In the N.T. repentance is described and translated by three different Greek words, and in the O.T., three different words, and they illustrate all three faculties of man.
A good summary of these three faculties of man (intellect, will and emotions) is noted in the salvation of the Ninevites (Jon 3:5-10). We also see God’s repentance here, a change of the mind and will (“God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them”) which resulted in a change of action (“and he did it not”) (v. 10), but His repentance never changes His life, so that aspect of repentance is not illustrated in God’s repentance, because He doesn’t change. The Ninevites repentance is noted in the intellect in that they believed what Jonah had proclaimed about Gods coming judgment (vv. 4-5). The emotions are noted in their sorrow for their sin exhibited in a very striking way by humbling themselves, “cry[ing] mightily unto God” (v 8), “in sackcloth and ashes” (vv. 5-6). Then the volition is noted, the purposed turning away from their evil ways and violence unto God in such humble contrition that even their cows wore sackcloth and ashes (vv. 6-8).
This is the benchmark of repentance, God’s expectation of repentance for salvation, according to the words of God the Son (Lk 11:30-32). Also noted in this account of salvation of the Ninevites is Christ’s Lordship, which dovetails with repentance. The king of Nineveh “arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.” (v. 6). He, the king of a very powerful and ever growing in power Gentile nation (Assyria), stepped off his throne so Christ could get on it — he set aside his kingly robes, took upon himself the garb of affliction and humility, and turned from all his evil ways with humbleness before Almighty God in acquiescence and contrition while crying out to God for mercy. This earthly king recognized his subservience to God, his evil towards Him and that God was God and he was not, and thus forsook all that he had in humble surrender to the King of kings and Lord of lords (Lk 14:31-34, 26-27).
Repentant faith in Christ involves losing one’s life, that is, turning from our own way of living, exaltation of self and comfort, to surrender to Christ as unconditional Lord (Mk 8:35; Matt 10:32-39; Lk 9:23-24; 14:25-33). It’s an exchange of masters (Matt 6:24). Repentance involves turning from all known sins/idols: from general sin (Is. 55:6-7; I Th. 1:9; Ac. 26:20) and from specific sins (Ezk. 18:20-23, 28-32; Ac. 3:19, 26), and this is the change of action wrought from a change of mind and will. The major issue with lost people unwilling to repent is because of wilful rebellion and love for sin and self. We see that in Rom 1, where lost people “hold the truth in unrighteousness;” (Rom. 1:18-23).
Saying the word “repent” and believing what the Bible actually says about repentance are two entirely different things. I know too many preachers that redefine what “repentance” is — e.g. turning from unbelief to belief or synonymous with faith or a change of mind — but the Bible’s definition is is very different. And true repentance always results in a super-dramatic conversion and changed life, both immediately and permanently.
Three Greek Words Used in the NT for Repentance
There are three Greek words used in the NT referring to repentance, and address all three elements of repentance.
1. “Metanoia” used in number of scripture, such as Lk 11:32; 15:7, 10, and expressed as a reversal of your thinking, your mental attitude. “Anonia” essentially refers to the mind. You change your mind, so one of the facilities repentance deals with is the mind. You have to change your mind about yourself, how you view yourself, the way you really are, the way Scripture says the way you are, how God says you are, to see yourself as a fallen, corrupt, and wicked sinner from the cranium to the feet. You acknowledge that you are a guilty filthy, wicked sinner under the wrath of God, and hell-bound.
2. “Metamelomai” is another Greek word used for repentance seen in Matt 21:28-32, and it emphasizes regret and sorrow, the emotional faculty of man. Once the mind grasps the new definition of who I am, there is a consequential emotion that goes from the mind to the feelings, and there is godly sorrow (2 Cor 7:10) and shame. This aligns perfectly with what Jesus said in the beginning of the sermon on the mount, “blessed are the poor in spirit,” so you understand who you are, you are spiritually poor, spiritually bankrupt, you have nothing, so what do you do? You actually are sad then, “Blessed are they which mourn, for they shall be comforted.” So you see your condition, you see your spiritual poverty and you mourn over your lost and unrighteous condition.
3. “Epistrepho,” is a third word and found in places such as Lk 17:4; 22:32, and means you changes direction in your life and refers to your will, your volition. It starts in your mind, moves to your emotions and activates your will. It has to start in the mind, you understand the truth, you know what it says. 2 Tim 3, “from a child thou has known the holy scriptures.” So you have to know it, understand it first, and actually love it, “receive . . . the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Th 2:10), before it can get down to the emotional and volitional levels. Its a self-assessment that matches up with what God’s Word says about you. You want to go away from yourself, and go after Him, “come after me” (Mk 8:34), thats the turning of repentance, turning from your ways, your sins, your idols and your loves, to God. That is the volition, and it starts with a self assessment that is dramatically different than anything you have ever viewed yourself. You have to hate yourself to the degree that you would literally die if needs be, deny self, take up the cross, a symbol of death. When someone sees themselves for who they really are, they won’t make something sacred out of their life, knowing how bad they are, how wicked they really are. It’s not just a fanciful idea what Jeremiah stated,
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer 17:9)
What Does Saving Repentance Entail?
Repentance involves agreeing with God (Neh. 9:33-35; Lev. 26:40-41: Jer. 17:9).
Repentance involves turning from all known sin (Lk 13:1-5; Ac 3:19, 26; 14:15; Rev 9:20-21; 16:9-11).
Repentance involves turning from our stuff—which is idolatry and covetousness (Mk. 10:21; 8:36-37; Lk. 9:25; 18:22; Ac. 14:15; 1 Th. 1:9).
Repentance involves turning from the world (Phil 3:8-11; I Jn 2:15-17; Matt 6:24; Jam 4:4; 1 Jn 2:15-17).
Repentance involves turning from all self-righteousness (Lk. 5:31-32; 18:9-14; Rev. 3:17; Heb 6:1).
Repentance involves turning from ones peoples, including family, which is idolatry (Matt. 10:34-37; Lk. 14:26).
Repentance involves denying self and dying to self (Mk 8:34; Jn 12:24-25).
Repentance involves surrendering to Jesus, which is losing your life for Christ and the gospels sake (Matt 10:39; Lk 9:24; 14:26; Mk 8:35; Jn 12:25).
Repentance involves taking up the cross (Matt 10:38; Mk 8:34; 10:21; Lk 9:23; 14:27).
Repentance involves turning from false religion (2 Cor 6:14-18; Heb 6:1; Jn 4:23-24).
Repentance involves a desire to make things right with God (Lk 19:5-10; 2 Cor 7:10-11).
Repentance involves counting the cost (Lk 14:28-32; 10:21; Matt 13:44, 45-46) and forsaking all (Lk 9:57-62; 14:26-33).
Repentance involves receiving Jesus as Lord, which means to surrender to the King (Mk 10:21; Lk 14:25-35; 19:12-27; 23:40-43; Ac 9:3-6; 10:36; Rom 10:9-13).
Repentance involves turning with contrition and compunction from going your way to God’s way with the desire, intention and motivation to serve and obey Him in holiness and righteousness (Ex. 8:1; Is. 55:7; Mk. 10:21; Lk. 15:17-21; 18:22; Rom. 2:1-4; I Th. 1:9).
Repentance involves all three faculties of man: intellectual (Pr 1:29; 2:1-5; Jer 8:6; Rom 3:11), emotional (Ez 9:6; Ps 34:18; Ezk 6:9; 9:4 Jon 3:8; 2 Cor 7:10) and volitional—the will (Is 55:6-7; Ezk 18:30; 1 Th 1:9; Ac 14:15; Matt 13:44-46). In the N.T. repentance is described and translated by three different Greek words, and in the O.T., three different words, and they illustrate that repentance involves all three faculties of man.
It is God, motivated by His own goodness, Who allots and enables repentance unto sinners under conviction (Jn 16:7-11), not only with repentance (Rom 2:4; Ac 5:31; 11:18) but also faith (Rom 4:5; Gen 15:1-6; Phil 1:29 — since true repentance produces saving faith, granting repentance will also grant faith). But the sinner still chooses whether he or she will repent, and is certainly able to resist the grace and mercy of God. Many examples noted throughout Scripture, such as Judas Iscariot and Balaam and Simon the sorcerer.
There is No Salvation Without Repentance
The new birth, which is not a process but an instantaneous event (2 Cor 6:2), demands both true repentance and faith (Matt 21:28-32; Ac 20:21).
The only means whereby sinners can enter the kingdom of God is to be born again (Jn. 3:3-8), and the new birth requires both genuine repentance (Matt. 3:1-10; 21:28-32; Lk 13:1-9, 23-24; 14:25–15:32; Ac 3:19; 17:20-31; Jn. 3:19-21; etc) and faith (Jn. 3:15-18, 36; Eph 2:8-9) and both are found in passages such as these: Mk. 1:15; Ac. 20:21.
“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Lk 13:1-5).
To perish is to die unconverted and burn eternally in the unquenchable fires of hell, where there is no rest, only torment, with wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:42: 25:30; Mk 9:43-47; Lk 16:23-31; Rev 20:15; 21:8).
There is no salvation without repentance, the Bible is very, very clear on that (e.g. Matt 21:28-32; Mk 1:14-15; 8:34-38; Lk 13:1-9, 23-24; 14:25–15:32; Ac 3:19; 17:30-31; 21:20; 26:20; Jn 3:19-21; 12:24-25).
The gospel of repentant faith is the gospel that John the Baptist preached (Mk 1:1-4; Lk 3:3-16), that Jesus preached (Matt 4:17), that the apostles preached as commissioned by Christ (Mk 6:12), that the apostle Paul preached (Ac 20:21, cf. v 24b) and that every born again believer will preach (Lk 24:44-48; Ac 17:30-31; 2 Pet 3:9). John the Baptist did not preach a different gospel than anyone else, including what we preach today. John immersed those who demonstrated the fruit of true repentance. He, the forerunner prophet, was to Christ what repentance is to faith.
And yes, repentance is an element of the gospel (Mk 1:1-5; Lk 24:44-48; Ac 20:21, 24), which you can read about here: The Gospel is More than 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, and Repentance is an Important Component of It.
Gospel preaching should be focused around repentance and what that entails, as seen with John the Baptist (Mk 1:1-4; Lk 3:3-16), with God the Son (Matt 4:17), with the apostles as commissioned by Christ (Mk 6:12), and as commanded with all His servants (Lk 24:47-48; Ac 17:30).
When Jesus preached the gospel of the Kingdom, He continually preached repentance (Matt. 4:17; 10:7; 11:20-24; Lk 10:9, 11; 11:20; 21:31). From the beginning (Matt 4:17), to the end of His ministry,(Lk 24:44-48) repentance was the foundation of His gospel preaching (Matt 4:17, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”), even when not using the word itself (e.g. Matt 10:32-40; Lk 9:23-26; 14:25-36; Jn 12:24-25; Mk 8:34-38, incl. the case of the rich young ruler in Matt 19, Lk 18 and Mk 10). That is the great hurdle lost man must overcome to be saved, for they hate the light and love their evil deeds (Jn 3:19-21).
Todays churches are full of mere professors who are largely unconverted and a major reason for that is because they’ve never Biblically, savingly repented. They are fed a counterfeit “gospel” of self-gratification by false teachers who either pervert this doctrine (and other aspects of the gospel) or don’t teach it at all in their anemic “gospel” plans, and the vast majority of their audience love to have it so (2 Tim 4:3-4). Of course the drought of preaching against sin (pointedly), and warning about hell, together with no preaching on the fear of God, dovetails with the neglect on repentance preaching. Don’t kid yourself; its both willful and intentional, and the reason for that is because majority of preachers and pastors, who are more like politicians behind podiums rather than preachers behind pulpits, are unsaved charlatans, wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt 7:15-20; Ac 20:29), false teachers (2 Pet 2:1; 2 Jn 1:9-11) and dogs and pigs (2 Pet 2:18-22).
The reality of professing believers who are still lost is presented throughout the Bible and there are many. There is Lot’s wife (Gen 19:26; Lk 17:26-33); King Joash (2 Ki 12; 2 Ch 24); Balaam (Num 23 and 24; Ju 1:11); Esau (Gen 25; 27; Heb 12:15-17); Judas (Matt 27; Jn 13); Simon (Ac 8); Hebrews in the Wilderness (Ps 78; 106; Heb 3:6–4:11; 1 Cor 10:1-10; 2 Cor 3:7–4:4; etc); Pharisees, Scribes, Lawyers and Chief Rulers (Matt 23; Lk 11:37–12:1; Jn 12:42-48); False spies (Lk 20:20); False believers until they were truly saved (Ac 19:1-7); False Jewish believers (Jn 2:23-25); etc. See also Matt 7:15, 21-23; Lk 13:23-30; Jn 6:60-66; 8:30-59; 1 Cor 15:34; 2 Cor 13:5; Ti 1:16; Heb 12:15; 2 Pet 2:1-3; Ju 1:4-16; Rev 3:14-18.
Majority of these, if not all, would have rejected repentance. They would not, just like the Rich Young Ruler, while feigning faith. We know repentance is the major issue because of its connection to sin, to fear of the Lord, to rebellion of man, for the simple fact that the Bible says so, and because "the devils also believe, and tremble" (Jam 2:19) but they won't repent.
True Repentance is the Catalyst to True Faith
Just because people say they believe in Jesus Christ, doesn’t mean they do, in a saving way. Part of what it means to believe in Jesus Christ is found in Lk 13, which says in vv. 3 and 5, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” If someone does not repent, he will what? Perish. In Jn 3:16, the Lord says that if someone believes in Him, He will not what? Perish. If we believe, we won’t perish, but if we don’t repent, we will perish. Saving faith is only genuine if its exercised upon repentance, something Jesus addresses in Matt 21:28-32 in speaking to “the chief priests and the elders of the people”(v 23), saying,
“For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.”
True repentance, towards God, leads to saving faith. We can’t believe in Jesus Christ and in ourselves or hold onto sin or riches or the world or onto family or friendships. To repent means to turn from these things with godly sorrow (2 Cor 7:10). That’s part of the history of the word “repent,” as translated in the NT by three Greek words, and OT by three Hebrew words. The Great Physician “commandeth all men every where to repent” (Ac 17:30); He is calling “sick . . . sinners to repentance” (Lk 5:31-32).
Unless we turn from our way, our wicked and sinful ways, relinquishing our will, and stop believing in anything else but Jesus Christ, we will perish. There are many passages that make this clear, consider a few: “how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” (1 Th 1:9). The word “turn” here is synonymous with “repent.” We can’t serve the world or ourselves and God. No man can serve two masters (Matt 6:24). We can’t put Jesus on the shelf with all our other gods, whether they be the god of self, or sin, or careers, or money, or riches, or people, or other idols. That’s not believing in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the way (Jn 14:6), so we can’t go our way; we must turn from our way (Ac 14:15-16).
The farrow grand must be broken up, before seed can be planted. Before the heart can be circumcised, it must first be stripped of its self-righteousness and pride and sin. This is the message that Jeremiah preached
"For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings." (Jer 4:3-4).
Circumcision of the heart, taking away the foreskin of the heart, is salvation language in the Bible (De 10:16; Ac 7:51-53; Rom 2:28-29; Col 2:13).
John the Baptist alluded to this same message of breaking up the fallow ground, as he thundered and cried in the wilderness,
"Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;" (Lk 3:4-5).
Repentance is the message Jesus preached repeatedly in the NT, also noted in scripture that is often twisted into practical sanctification: Matt 10:32-39; 16:24-26; Mk 8:34-38; 10:21; Jn 12:24-25. And noted repeatedly in the OT as well, in this passage to the Israelites but equally applicable to Gentiles:
“Thus saith the Lord God; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations. . . . Therefore I will judge you, . . . every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die” (Ezk 14:6; 18:30-32).
One of my favourite salvation passages, from the OT,
“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” (Is 55:6-7)
But repentance is just one part of the equation. In repentance you must turn to God by faith (1 Th 1:9-10; Ac 20:21) for in repentance alone, without faith, there is no merit. You don’t earn God’s favour or become inherently righteous when you repent. It is the blood of Christ, not your repentance, that is the ground of forgiveness; repentant faith is simply the means through which salvation is received. Faith will not be true, and cannot be true faith without true repentance. That is the catalyst. Only those wretched, ungodly, poor, blind, and naked sinners who come to the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in humbleness and contrition with nothing but repentance and faith, receive mercy.
To these, salvation is freely given—for Christ came not for the “righteous;” (the self-righteous, the religious who refuse to admit they are sinners and ungodly and thus refuse to repent—Lk. 5:31-32). The Lord Jesus will save the worst sinner, yea only the ungodly, who repents (Rom. 5:6); but they must repent, and it must be true to God’s Word. That is the essence of saving faith. If you refuse to repent but say, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing,” and “knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev 3:17), you will never be with those who “have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev 7:14).
Scriptural faith is summarized succinctly in Pr 3:5:
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
Saving faith recognizes and submits to the reality that Jesus is the Christ – the King Who is Lord of all, and who will return on the clouds of Heaven to rule over all. Saving faith accompanies true repentance in dying to self and self's delusions of its own sufficiency (Mk 8:34-38). True repentant faith believes on Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour (Lk 14:26-27), finding rest in Christ's one perfect sacrifice and shedding of blood for the sins of the world (Heb 10:10-14; Matt 11:28-30). Saving faith does not trust in one's own works, but trusts in Christ alone (Rom 11:6).
Repentant saving faith is wrapped up in the great paradoxes of God’s Word. Faith requires believing that losing everything is gaining everything. Paul saw losing as a necessity for the ultimate and supreme gain—salvation: “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” (Phil 3:7-8). It is winning through losing. Lose you, win Christ. And Paul was only saying something that Jesus had already stated (Mk 8:35-37; Lk 9:24-25; Jn 12:24-25, using the same verb ("zemioo" — found 10 times in NT). Read here for more on Repentance and its Role in Salvation.
Fitting right into this Scriptural understanding of repentantly “believing in Jesus Christ” is Rom 10:9-10, confessing Him as Lord. If Jesus is Lord, then we are not. He rose from the dead. How? He is God. He is the Messiah. Confessing Him as Lord is confessing that we are not Lord but we want Him to be the Lord of us, of our lives, to rule over us. We get off the throne and give it to Jesus. He is King, we His servants. Saving faith has as its Author and Finisher – its beginning and end – Jesus of Nazareth, Lord and Christ (Ac 2:36), perfectly God and perfectly Man (Heb 12:2). Only through the Lord Jesus Christ can we obtain righteousness, forgiveness of sins, peace with God, and eternal life (Rom 5:1; 2 Pet 1:1; Jn 5:24). So there is No Salvation without Lordship.
What Repentance is Not
Repentance is not just a change of mind, exposited here in detail: Repentance is Not Just a Change of Mind with the following report, Debunking False Arguments of the False “Change of Mind” Repentance Position. The words underlying repentance, or its synonyms or principles in both OT and NT provide overwhelming and crystal-clear evidence in favour of the position that true Biblical repentance is always a change of mind and will that always results in a change of action and always (in the case of man) leads to a change of life, and against the position of a “change of mind” repentance. Were the the latter position true, very many standard lexica’s would have to be in error, along with many verses of Scripture. There is in fact a Greek word translated as “change of mind” but its none of the three words translated as repentance or its principles. It is “metabalo,” found once in the NT and translated as exactly that: “they changed their minds” (Ac 28:6).
Repenting is not just repenting in general and not from all sin. Some people makes the argument that it is not necessary that “a person must repent of all his or her sins to be saved,” like David Cloud did with that sentence. That very statement alone is amazing. You don't have to repent of all of your sins to be saved? Alright, so what sin do you get to keep and still be saved? It is often one or a few particular sins that is the issue in repentance. It's actually impossible for someone to repent without the goodness of God granting the ability unto life (Rom 2:4; Ac 5:31; 11:18). In other words, it's not easy to repent of all your sins (cf. Lk 13:23-24). Expounding upon his previous statement, Cloud asserts that "nowhere have I said that repentance means to repent of all your sin or to turn away from all of your sin. That would be a works salvation, which is a false gospel." (Source). Thats quite the statement to make, and blatantly false. It is not a “false gospel” for repentance to be turning away from all your sin, since that is exactly what the Bible teaches. Jesus said, "I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Lk 5:32). So what are these sinners, Jesus speaks of, repenting from? Are they repenting of only some of their sins? They are repenting of all their sins—certainly not just some of them. Salvation requires repentance and repentance requires not only turning from all your sin, but also from yourself, from your stuff and from your people, made abundantly clear throughout the NT, including Matt 10:32-39; 16:24-26; 19:18-30; Lk 9:23-26, 57-62; 14:25-15:32; 19:1-10; Mk 8:34-38; Ac 3:19; 26:20; etc. When someone is saved, he has a new relationship to sin, one that Paul calls being "dead to sin." (Rom 6:1-2; 1 Pet 2:24). He counted his former life as "dung." Phil 3). He loves righteousness and hates sin. All of it, not just some of it.
Repentance is not akin to stopping sinning or ceasing sinning. The message of repentance isn't in order to be saved, you must discontinue all sinning. Sure, that would be a works salvation. We're not saved by trying not to sin. Repentance is, however, an admission that even though we can't stop sinning, by the grace of God we want to and we turn from all known sin to God for deliverance and victory. You can't have Jesus and your sin — no man can serve two Masters (Matt 6:24). The heart attitude of the truly repentant is to turn from any known sin whether conscious or unconscious — from sin in general and any particular sin, especially those particular sins that are often the overwhelming issue in a sinners life.
Repentance is not the same as faith. The Bible makes a very plain distinction between these two very different words. "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21). In reality, repentance and faith are two different actions though they are intimately connected and cannot necessarily be separated in time, in the act of salvation. Repentance is to acknowledge one's sin and rebellion against God and to change one's mind and will about sinning against God, and to turn from this sin, from self, from stuff and from people. Repentance is to surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord. Faith is to trust the finished work of Christ for forgiveness. Repentance and faith are the two aspects of man's response to God's offer of salvation, and neither are true without the other. They are also not the same because all preachers in the Bible proclaimed repentance, including the Lord Jesus Christ, who preached "except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Lk 13:3). Peter, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted" (Ac 3:19). Paul, "God . . . now commandeth all men every where to repent" (Ac 17:30) and that all sinners “should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance" (Ac 26:20). Jesus made it very clear that repentance was a component of the great commission, "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (Lk 24:47). Both repentance is to be preached, and faith is to be preached and while these doctrines are intimately connected, they are not the same. Biblical salvation involves both: "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21). That is what the Lord's Apostles preached, and they are our only infallible guides became their words are the infallible and inspired words of God. Anyone that claims that repentance does not have to be preached or that it is the same as faith are denying the plain teaching of the Word of God. It is plain heresy, and worse, a “damnable heresy” of a false teacher (2 Pet 2:1).
Repentance is not a work—it’s demanded for salvation. The Bible says it and then it has nothing that contradicts it. Love rejoiceth in the truth (1 Cor 13).
In conclusion, the Biblical doctrine of repentance is the emphasis and foundation of salvation, was the very foundation of Christs gospel preaching, what Christ commanded His apostles, and all born again believers. Biblical repentance always results in a change of action (turning, godly sorrow, surrender, denying self), and opposes the view that its only a change of mind and may not result in a change of action or life. All three Greek words and three Hebrew words combined reflects the true picture of repentance and reveals a radical conversion, an allegiance of the will to God’s will, a transformation of the nature, a definitive turning from evil, a resolute turning to God in total obedience and submission and surrender, obeying the gospel, affecting the whole man, first and basically the centre of personal life, then logically his conduct at all times and in all situations, his thoughts, words and acts.
Despite the existing large volumes of references to repentance in writers from the past, none is found where repentance refers to just a change of mind, or that its synonymous with faith, or its turning from unbelief to belief. The modern idea that repentance does not involve turning from sin/sins/self/stuff/people, and the Biblical truth that repentance does indeed involve turning to Christ from one's sin/sins/self/stuff/people are two radically different ideas, and one of them is highly displeasing to God according to Gal 1:8-9. Those who love God and take a stand on His truth including His salvation, will passionately love the true gospel and loathe, detest, and expose false gospels, and are never sympathetic to a radically different view of how the lost appropriate salvation.
A corrupt gospel is not a problem for some; two utterly contradictory views of repentance, at least one of which is Satanic, are fine as long as one holds to the KJV. Paul stated that "no other doctrine" was to be allowed in the church (1 Tim 1:3), and when Peter confused a lesser issue that only indirectly related to the gospel—not eating with Gentiles, hypocritically, only with Jews (Gal 2:14), Paul withstood him to his face (Gal 2:11-14). For Paul, those actually promulgating a false gospel were not tolerated, "no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue" (Gal 2:5). That should be our attitude.
Tragically, for many, a corrupt gospel is to be tolerated, and with such an attitude, the truth of the gospel will not continue. Vast multitudes are screaming in hell today because of the abominable rejection of true repentance for a placebo or for nothing. And vast multitudes more will adopt and teach their heresy, leading to the damnation of multitudes more, making many two-fold children of hell — if such apostasy continues to be tolerated. Anyone who cares about the purity of the gospel, loves the Holy Lord of the church who wants a pure Bride for Himself, or who believes in Biblical separation, should avoid anyone or any organization that doesn’t teach the truth.
A gospel that denies or changes repentance rot something else than taught in Scripture, is “another gospel” (Gal 1:6-9; 1 Cor 11:4). Saving faith is never divorced from true saving repentance as described above under “What Does Saving Repentance Involve?” (Matt 3:1-10; 4:17; 11:20-30; 21:28-31; Mk 1:14-20; Lk 5:31-32; 11:32; 13:3-5; 15:1-32; 19:1-10; 24:44-48; Ac 8:22; 17:30-31; 20:21; 26:18-20; Rom 2:4; 2 Cor 7:10-11; 1 Th 1:9; 2 Tim 2:24-25; Heb 6:1). I understand that some may do this out of ignorance; voluntary ignorance thats turned into self-delusion. They've convinced themselves that this is salvation. But many purposefully, because they don't like the doctrine since they’ve never exercised it unto true conversion—they just “easy-believed” without any true repentance and thus continue on as imposters, as false professors (Jn 2:23-25; Matt 7:21-23; Lk 13:23-30).
False repentance is a false way. To love God and His Word is to hate every false way.
“Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.” (Ps 119:127-128).
The enemies of repentance are the enemies of Scriptural doctrine, a true gospel, and how God told us to do it in His Word. People that reject repentance will argue it out of the gospel by means of circular reasoning. Instead of exegeting passages on repentance, they gloss over them and treat them very superficially. They make it clear that they do not want to actually know what Scripture says about it and thus salvation. To treat the most foundational issue of salvation—i.e. repentance—as insignificant, is very tell tale. These are likely heretics, since, firstly, scripture should never be handled in such a manner, and secondly, repentance is a huge part of the gospel which without no man can be saved.
These heretics need to be marked and avoided, in obedience to Rom 16:17-18, because they are heretical and accursed false teachers:
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”