believe the gospel.
Salvation is a free gift of God, “not of works lest any man should boast,” Ephesians 2:9.
Our salvation completely depends on God's mercy through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Romans 3:25, 5:9, Hebrews 9:12.
We are not saved by "turning from sins.” Repenting does not mean "turn from your sins." Repenting means to "change your mind." Remember what Jesus said in Mark 1:15.
What causes someone to change their mind?
When we realize our inability to save ourselves, we change our minds about trying to work our way to heaven and we trust Jesus Christ. And that is exactly what God wants us to do. Faced with what the Law of God says about us, we realize we are guilty, condemned before God. Jesus spoke of this in John 3:18.
“He that believeth on him [God] is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Certainly we could not be so bad that God would keep us out of heaven. But as we read and believe the Bible, we learn that we are indeed so bad that God will not let us into heaven.
The Bible convicts us of our sin and we change our mind. We begin to agree with what God says about us, that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23. That sense of guilt about sin should lead us to receive Jesus Christ as our Savior, as the payment for our sins.
Feeling a desire to change your life, feeling regret or sorrow for your sins is a bit different than truly repenting. You can feel sorry for your sins without changing your mind about the sinfulness of your sins.
Biblical repentance is a change of mind about your sins, not a change of emotions.
Realizing you are a guilty sinner is much different than feeling sorrow or feeling remorse over your sins. Do you understand the difference?
Someone can feel deep emotion over his failures and mistakes in life without feeling guilty because he has sinned against God. Repentance causes a change of mind because he realizes he has sinned against God.
The point is that emotional feelings and emotional sorrow over your sin is not the same as Biblical repentance. Biblical repentance is a very simple proposition. Biblical repentance is a change of mind. It means that you agree with God that you are guilty and cannot save yourself.
It means that you trust Jesus Christ as the payment for your sins instead of trusting your good works, your sincerity, your church membership, your Christian upbringing, your baptism. Remember what Jesus said.
“Some people say we have to repent of our sins in order to be saved. That’s not quite true. We have to repent of the one thing that makes us unsaved and that is unbelief. ” John 16:9.
The Gospel of John never uses the words "repent" and "repentance." Instead the Gospel of John uses the words "faith" and "believe" 98 times. That is because when a sinner accepts, believes on, receives Jesus Christ as His Savior, he has repented, he has changed his mind.
Changing your mind leads to faith in Jesus Christ. To believe on Jesus as Savior means that the one who believes has also repented or changed his mind. When you change your mind about sin and the Savior, when you trust Jesus Christ as the payment for your sins, at that moment you are saved.
Lordship Salvation is the false teaching that sinners must forsake their actual sins before they can be saved. As we have noted above, that is not the teaching of Jesus. The Bible does not teach that anyone has to forsake his sins to get saved.
Please don’t misunderstand. When you repent (change your mind) and trust Jesus Christ as your Savior, that will change your life. You will feel differently about your sins and you will begin to forsake your sins as God draws you into closer fellowship with Him.
But forsaking your sins isn’t the way to get saved. You could forsake every sin and live a sinless life from now until the day you die. But if you never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, quitting all your sins would not get you into heaven.
Changing your mind and believing what God says in the Bible is repentance. As you read and believe the written scriptures, you begin to change your mind about absolute truth. Instead of rejecting God’s truth, believing what you read in the Bible causes you to change your mind and accept God’s truth. Changing your mind and believing what God says is the essence of repentance.
Repentance is also a post-Resurrection truth preached by the Apostle Paul. Click here to study Acts 17;30 about what it means to repent. This Link will open in a new page. Repentance is not just an Old Testament concept. It is an essential part of New Testament belief.
Find Out Why By Studying
What Jesus Said About Hell.
"Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." -Mark 1:14-15.
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This page updated December 16, 2014