Repentance unto Salvation and what it means to be "Born Again"
We believe that all men are born with a sinful nature. We believe that Jesus’ death on the Cross at Calvary was to redeem mankind from the power of sin. We believe that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3.16. We believe that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and that no man can come to the Father except by Him. John 14.6. We believe that there is no other name under heaven whereby man can be saved. We believe that it is by grace that we have been saved, not by works, it is the gift of God.
What, then, is the connection between repentance and salvation? The book of Acts especially focuses on repentance in regard to salvation (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20). To repent, in relation to salvation, is to change your mind regarding sin and Jesus Christ. In Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2), he concludes with a call for the people to repent (Acts 2:38). Repent from what? Peter is calling the people who rejected Jesus (Acts 2:36) to change their minds about that sin and to change their minds about Christ Himself, recognizing that He is indeed “Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Peter is calling the people to change their minds, to abhor their past rejection of Christ, and to embrace faith in Him as both Messiah and Savior.
Repentance involves recognizing that you have thought wrongly in the past and determining to think rightly in the future. The repentant person has “second thoughts” about the mindset he formerly embraced. There is a change of disposition and a new way of thinking about God, about sin, about holiness, and about doing God’s will. True repentance is prompted by “godly sorrow,” and it “leads to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Repentance and faith can be understood as two sides of the same coin. It is impossible to place your faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior without first changing your mind about your sin and about who Jesus is and what He has done. Whether it is repentance from willful rejection or repentance from ignorance or disinterest, it is a change of mind. Biblical repentance, in relation to salvation, is changing your mind from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ.
Repentance is not a work we do to earn salvation. No one can repent and come to God unless God pulls that person to Himself (John 6:44). Repentance is something God gives—it is only possible because of His grace (Acts 5:31; 11:18). No one can repent unless God grants repentance. All of salvation, including repentance and faith, is a result of God drawing us, opening our eyes, and changing our hearts. God’s longsuffering leads us to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), as does His kindness (Romans 2:4).
While repentance is not a work that earns salvation, repentance unto salvation does result in works. It is impossible to truly change your mind without that causing a change in action. In the Bible, repentance results in a change in behavior. That is why John the Baptist called people to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8). A person who has truly repented of his sin and exercised faith in Christ will give evidence of a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:19–23; James 2:14–26).
To see what repentance looks like in real life, all we need to do is turn to the story of Zacchaeus. Here was a man who cheated and stole and lived lavishly on his ill-gotten gains—until he met Jesus. At that point he had a radical change of mind: “Look, Lord!” said Zacchaeus. “Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount” (Luke 19:8). Jesus happily proclaimed that salvation had come to Zacchaeus’s house, and that even the tax collector was now “a son of Abraham” (verse 9)—a reference to Zacchaeus’s faith. The cheat became a philanthropist; the thief made restitution. That’s repentance, coupled with faith in Christ.
Repentance, properly defined, is necessary for salvation. Biblical repentance is changing your mind about your sin—no longer is sin something to toy with; it is something to be forsaken as we “flee from the coming wrath” (Matthew 3:7). It is also changing your mind about Jesus Christ—no longer is He to be mocked, discounted, or ignored; He is the Savior to be clung to; He is the Lord to be worshiped and adored.
This is a simple prayer to ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart and be your Savior:
Father, I confess I am a sinner who deserves death and hell. I repent of all my sins now and I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins. I believe in my heart that Jesus is Your Son, who died on the cross for my sins. I believe that He rose from the dead and He is returning soon as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I ask You Jesus to come into my heart now and be my Lord and Savior. I ask You to write my name in Your Lamb's Book of Life. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and lead me. I surrender my life to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
If you prayed this simple prayer and have received Jesus into your heart, Let me be the first to Welcome you into the family of God. We recommend that you read the Bible every day, OUT LOUD, and pray. We also recommend that you find a church where the Bible is still being preached. Spend time in prayer and work out your own salvation in fear and trembling. Build up your relationship with the LORD and get to KNOW HIM. He is the WORD so if you want to spend time with Him, you must spend time in the WORD. Like any relationship, you only get out of it what you put into it. You are now a new creation in Christ Jesus. He has wonderful plans for your life.
God Bless You!