What is repentance and is it necessary for salvation?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Many understand the term repentance to mean "turning from sin." This is not the biblical definition of repentance. In the Bible, the word repent means "to change one's mind." The Bible also tells u...

July 01 2013 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
What is repentance? At Dallas Theological Seminary, a professor of mine, Dr. Roy B. Zuck, said, "The Greek word for repentance (metanoia) means to change one’s mind. But to change one’s mind about what? About sin, about one’s adequacy to save himself, about Christ as the only way of salvation, the only One who can make a person righteous.” (“Kindred Spirit,” a quarterly publication of Dallas Seminary, Summer 1989, p. 5).

I am almost 100% sure that Dr. Zuck meant that we have to change our mind about our inadequacy to save ourselves before we can be saved by the Adequacy of our Savior. I would write and ask him for sure what he meant, but Dr. Zuck died on March 16, 2013 at age 81.

God commands every man to repent

God commands all men to repent and put their faith in Christ. 

•	Acts 17:30: “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him.”

•	Matthew 4:16-17: “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.” From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

•	Mark 1:15: “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”

Without repentance there is no forgiveness verse.

•	Acts 3:19: “Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.”

•	Luke 13:3: “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well!”

The need for daily repentance

We are at constant war with sin. Repentance does not mean that we can’t struggle. Sometimes we feel broken over sin and we hate it with a passion, but we can still fall short. Believers can rest upon the perfect merit of Christ and run to the Lord for forgiveness. 

•	Romans 7:24: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?”

•	Matthew 3:8: “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” 

-- https://biblereasons.com/repentance/
(Repentance is demonstrated by actions Ac 26:20 See also Isa 1:16-17; Da 4:27; Mt 3:8 --"Bear fruit in keeping with repentance." pp Lk 3:8; Lk 3:10-14) -- biblehub.org

July 15 2022 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Mark Vestal Supporter Proud of nothing of myself. Freed by Christ who did it all!
Repent, from the Greek word μετανοέω, means to "change your mind", or "regret". Israel had to change their mind on who Jesus Christ was, their promised Messiah, and regret that they had Him killed. We today are saved by God's grace through our faith in what Jesus Christ did on the cross on our behalf (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), and nothing of ourselves (Ephesians 2:8-9). When the correct definition of "repent" is applied, it is understood that we, who Christ gave His life for, should "change our minds" about continuing to serve sin once we have placed our faith in Him, and to "regret" when we sometimes fall short. It also explains how even God (incapable of sin) repented throughout the bible (Amos 7:6, Jonah 3:9).

The word "repent" is far too often used as a requirement (turning from sin) before salvation is possible. The grave error here is that we are then placing faith in ourselves to do something for our salvation and completely missing the point of Christ and His accomplishment on the cross on our behalf. Nothing of ourselves assists in what He completed on the cross for us. If we trust in ANYTHING of ourselves for salvation then we remain lost either by the burden of never being able to live up to God's standard, or lost through belief in our own self-righteousness, failing to submit to the true righteousness which is only found in God (Romans 10:13).

God is no longer imputing sins to anyone today (2 Corinthians 5:19). Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, was made to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). All our sins, past, present, and future, were nailed to the cross so that we are no longer burdened with the anguish of being unable to live up to God's requirements. Jesus Christ was perfect on our behalf, and God was in Christ on the cross reconciling Himself to the world (2 Corinthians 5:19). Our job is to reconcile ourselves to God through faith in Jesus Christ, believing the gospel that saves today:

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV:
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

When we believe this, we are sealed with the holy Spirit until the day of redemption, and thankfully not just until we sin again (Ephesians 4:30)…which we will most certainly do (Romans 7:22-25). Our faith in Jesus Christ makes us the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21)!

Our sins were forgiven nearly 2,000 years ago (Colossians 1:14, 2 Corinthians 5:19), and salvation occurs at the moment of belief in this, the gospel. Nothing that we ourselves do in the flesh can assist in what Christ has already completed for us (Ephesians 2:8-9, Colossians 2:10). It's literally how we accept Jesus Christ as our savior from this present evil world (Galatians 1:4). If you're turning from sin for salvation, who's doing the turning? YOU are, but YOU can’t save YOURself. Only faith in Christ will work for salvation. When you obtain faith alone in Christ alone for your salvation, you now have the license to serve Him instead of serving yourself. You are now an ambassador for Christ and a minister of the Word of reconciliation between God and man. You will desire to share the TRUE good news that saves today when you finally let go of yourself and submit to God through faith in Christ. Jesus Christ was perfect for you, did all the work for you, took the punishment on the cross that you deserved, was buried but rose from the grave the 3rd day for your justification. Thank You God!

Break the yoke of bondage (Galatians 5:1) and live in peace by accepting God’s free gift (Romans 5:18) through faith in Christ and His finished cross work (Colossians 2:14)!

December 02 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Goodboy Kilian Kean Engineer
This is a heart issue. If you really received Jesus as Lord of your life, then the Holy Spirit has come to dwell inside you. Romans 8:9-11, 1 Corinthians 3:16, 2 Timothy 1:14. The Holy Spirit will not allow you to continue in your former manner of life without the conviction of sin. John 16:8-11.

In my BC days, I had the worst foul mouth. When I submitted to Jesus, I wanted to do right, but did not have it in my ability to do it. I basically gave up trying to be good and just went on with life. I still read the Bible each day; much of it was way beyond my understanding. Six months after my conversion someone told me that I no longer cursed. I was not even aware of the work He was doing in my life. The same is for all believers, change will happen naturally over time. 

Repentance is not required for salvation, but repentance is a REFLECTION of the choice made to salvation. Ephesians 2:8-10, Romans 3:23, Acts 8:20. Remember, we cannot earn or do anything for our salvation except receive the gift of eternal life in heaven. Once you think you can earn it, you have just shown that you are not saved. But this is a tricky issue. We want to do right by being obedient, but it is a RESULT of a salvation experience, not the source of it. 

A person who has truly received the free gift of salvation will eventually change; not on their own power, but by the Holy Spirit who lives in them. Philippians 1:6.

I know this is a very difficult issue as it has been for me over the last 35 years. Legalism is so easy to follow; do this, don't do that. As humans we love fences. That is not God's way; Grace = God's Riches At Christ's Expense. Jesus either did the work for us or He did not. After salvation, we should have a desire to live a life in THANKS to Him for what He has done. The thanks is seen in effort expended by helping others: going to church, praying, reading the Bible, singing songs that honor Him, resulting in a joy that is strange to this world. And the desire to sin will wane away, yet sometimes come back forcefully. 

Having said that, there is a yearning, a desire, hope, or aim to please the God who has forgiven our sins. We should be sorry, remorseful, & upset for our sins, but we will continue to sin until the day we die. However, the pattern of sin, it's presence in our life should not be the primary focus of our life. It should change. There will be days or weeks of failure. Look at David in 2 Samuel 11 & 2 Samuel 12. Yet returning to the Lord, asking for forgiveness is always the result of a truly saved heart. Psalm 38 & Psalm 51.

This is a journey of FAITH, not understanding or intellectual attainment. Faith means believing in something even when we don't understand it. Hebrews 11:1-3 As an engineer, I understand how electricity works but I don't need to understand Coulomb’s law to flip on a switch and turn on a light. I just flip the switch by faith. If the light does not turn on, I know something is not connected so I seek to correct it. Just because our prayers are not answered in the manner we want, do we give up? No, we persevere and continue to seek Him. If our faith is not moving us in a particular direction, seek Him for clarity. Matthew 6:33, Luke 12:31, Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9

God is so vast, awesome, holy, and infinite that we will spend eternity searching Him out. We as finite, limited, sinful humans have at our disposal all that we can understand about God in the Bible. If you want to know about God, read the book He wrote. Mark Twain said "if you want to get to know me, read my books, they are a reflection of who I am." The same is true of God. What we are capable of knowing about God is found in the Bible. If you are too tired to read it, listen to it. Romans 10:17. But prepare your heart, mind & spirit to receive.

December 02 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
“Repentance” means “to change one’s mind.” The Hebrew word is “naham” as in Exodus 13:17. In Greek, the word is “metanoia” which is literally “afterthought” or “change of mind.” 

These terms figure in the account of Jonah. Jonah preached to the people of Nineveh that their city was slated to be destroyed, Jonah 3:4, because their wickedness had come up before God, Jonah 1:2. As a result, the Ninevites believed God and turned from their wicked ways. In speaking of this, Jesus used the Greek word “metanoia,” Matthew 12:41. They had a change of heart. Then, when God “saw their works,” He changed His mind (“naham”) about the disaster He had planned, Jonah 3:10. Thus, because the Ninevites repented or changed their minds, God relented or changed His mind. 

Israel was another nation called on to repent because of a broken relationship with God, Matthew 3:2, 4:17, Acts 2:38, 3:19, 5:31, 26:20. However, Israel did not heed the message, resulting in destruction and tragedy in AD 70. Yet, individuals did repent and proved it by submitting to baptism of repentance. 

Repentance is required to be in the right relationship with God, Acts 17:30, but repentance is never said to be a condition for eternal life. One proof is that John’s Gospel, widely accepted as the book for evangelism, is purposely written for people to believe on the Lord, John 20:31. However, “repent” and “repentance” are not once found in the book. John does not mention repentance because he did not consider it a condition for eternal life. Some say the concept is there, but no passage explicitly says one must turn from his sins to have everlasting life. At various points in the gospel, there were occasions for John to say so, but he did not. It is not that he did not know, because he used it several times in Revelation, and his gospel was the last of the gospels to be written. What John clearly says is that salvation is by believing in Jesus, John 3:16, 6:47. 

Some think repentance and faith are two perspectives of salvation as though Luke presents the repentance angle while John gives the faith angle. But Luke wrote mainly to believers, emphasizing fellowship. Repentance and faith are two distinct concepts, Luke 24:47, Acts 5:30-31, 20:21. In general, repentance prevents an untimely physical death, Luke 13:3, 5. It can also prepare one for saving faith, Acts 19:4. It is an important ingredient after salvation to maintain fellowship with God and avoid God’s judgment, Revelation 2-3. 

Other passages covering the specific topic of salvation are just as quiet about repentance. It is notably absent in Acts 10:43, 13:39, 13:48 and 16:31. The section on justification of Romans 3-5 does not mention repentance, but only the matter of faith, Romans 4:5. Also, in Galatians, when Paul defends the gospel, he never mentions repentance. 

Repentance is not necessary for eternal salvation, but it is essential for the right relationship and fellowship with God at any time.

July 15 2022 1 response Vote Up Share Report

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