Terms of Salvation


What Does a Person Need to Do to Be Saved?





Is It Essential for Salvation?

What Repentance Is and What It Is Not


1. How important is repentance?  Is repentance essential for salvation?

There are those today who teach that repentance is not essential for salvation. They teach that repentance is not a requirement for salvation. They would say that faith and faith alone is required for salvation, but not repentance.

One group which teaches this goes by the name of free grace. This view is represented by the Grace Evangelical Society. Some of their leading teachers would be the late Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, Jody Dillow and many others.

Their main argument is based on John 20:31 which gives the reason why John’s Gospel was written: “These things are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life through His name.”  They then point out that the word repentance is not found anywhere in John’s Gospel. If the Gospel of John was written so that people might have eternal life, and if John never mentioned repentance, therefore repentance must not be necessary for salvation.

That is the free grace position. We will answer this argument later in this paper.

Lewis Sperry Chafer has been accused, by some, of also teaching that repentance is not an essential requirement for salvation. Chafer was the founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, and the author of the excellent eight-volume set, Systematic Theology.

Chafer can speak for himself as to whether or not repentance is essential for salvation:   "It is as dogmatically stated as language can declare, that repentance is essential to salvation and that none could be saved apart from repentance”
(Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. III, p. 373). So Chafer’s position is quite clear: repentance is essential for salvation and no one can be saved apart from it.

It does not really matter what Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, Lewis Sperry Chafer and others say about the necessity of repentance. It only matters what God’s Word says, and the Bible is very clear on this matter.  Consider the following:

"I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish....I tell you, Nay, but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3,5).  Our Lord's words are very clear:  If you do not repent you will perish!  Unless you wish to perish, repentance is essential!

"And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30).  Repentance is something that all men everywhere are commanded to do! If you are a person living anywhere on this earth, then God has commanded you to repent. And if you don’t you will perish. Repentance is essential for salvation.

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9).  This verse strongly implies that if a person does not repent, then he will perish. God does not want any to perish; He wants men to come to repentance.  Those who do not repent will perish, even as Jesus taught in Luke 13:3,5.

To those who say that repentance is not to be preached today, and that it is not essential for salvation, keep in mind that repentance was preached by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2), by the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:17), and by the Apostle Paul (Acts 20:21). Repentance was proclaimed before Pentecost (Luke 13:3,5), at Pentecost (Acts 2:38), and after Pentecost (Acts 17:30).

Conclusion: Repentance is essential for salvation. If you don’t repent, you will perish.

Reformed men would agree with us that repentance is essential for salvation, but we would differ in our understanding of what repentance is. We need to make sure we define repentance Biblically. This is our next topic.

2)   What is the meaning of the term repent?


If it’s essential for salvation, we need to have an accurate understanding of what true repentance really is and what it is not.

Repentance involves a change of mind.  The word "repent" means "to completely CHANGE your MIND about something." When a person REPENTS he must first admit that he was thinking wrongly. Then he must change his whole way of thinking so that he begins to think rightly (to think as God thinks and to see things as God sees things).


The Greek word for REPENTANCE is METANOIA (met-an-oy-ah) which is made up of two parts:


Thus REPENTANCE means a "change of mind." That the word "repentance" means "a change of mind" is clearly illustrated in Matthew 21:28-29, "A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not, but afterward he repented and went."   His change of mind resulted in a change of action.


The word repentance (metanoia) is similar to another Greek word (which is also an English word). This is the word METAMORPHOSIS. This word is also made up of two parts:


Metamorphoses means a CHANGE OF FORM.


God has created an insect, the butterfly, that beautifully illustrates (pictures) the word "metamorphosis." The butterfly was once a wormlike caterpillar. What a change has taken place! What a remarkable transformation!  What went into the cocoon looks completely different from what came out!  Other amazing examples of metamorphosis are the transformation of a water-breathing tadpole to an air-breathing frog and an underwater grub to a beautiful dragonfly!


Metamorphosis involves the complete transformation of the body, and metanoia involves the complete transformation of the mind.


This change of mind is more than a mere intellectual change or a mere mental affirmation.  It is deeper than that.  This change is effected by the Spirit of God in the very heart of the person, in the very depths of his soul.  The person's whole being is affected by this new outlook.  It involves a different attitude about God, sin and self.  The sinner must see himself as God sees him.  Isaiah had a clear vision of God and His holiness, and thus had a clear vision of himself:  "Woe is me! For I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips" (Isaiah 6:5).  I now see the terribleness of my sin and I realize that God has a solution to my sin problem.  To reject God’s saving solution means that I will perish.


At one time I did not think sin was very bad, but I’ve changed my mind. I’m beginning to realize the plague of my own heart, how sinful and evil I really am, and I realize that because of my sin I am on a collision course with the judgment of God.

I used to think that Christ was only a good teacher, a prophet, a good example, but now I’ve changed my mind. He’s so much more than that. He’s the Son of God. He’s the Judge that I will stand before. He’s God’s only Saviour and He’s my only hope. God is working in my heart and I’m seeing things differently.

I’m realizing that I cannot save myself; I cannot earn my way to heaven. I see myself as a hell-bound, hell-deserving sinner who will face the wrath of God for all eternity, unless I flee to the only One who can save me.

There is a verse in the Old Testament that helps us to understand repentance, namely Job 42:4. Job said, "Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." According to this verse, to repent is to abhor oneself, to discover and recognize how vile we are.

In the New Testament the term repentance is often used in connection with a person seeing how sinful he is. Repentance as a change of mind whereby I recognize how terribly sinful I really am in God’s sight. This is illustrated in the following two passages:

1) Luke 5:30-32

What do people need? People need to recognize how sick they are, that is, how sinful they are. True repentance will destroy any kind of self-righteousness. If a person thinks he is righteous, he will never get saved. God will only save people who have had a change of mind and realize how sinful they really are.  There are no righteous people (Rom. 3:10-12), but there are many self-righteous people.  Our righteousness must be found in Christ, not in ourselves (2 Cor. 5:21).

2)  Luke 15:1-2, 7

How many just (righteous) people are there who do not need to repent? According to Romans 3:10, there are none.  If a person were truly righteous, he would not need to repent.

These so-called righteous people, like the Pharisees and scribes, were not really righteous at all. They were merely self-righteous. They needed to repent and to recognize how sinful they really were.  Later in this chapter we learn of the prodigal son who had an obvious change of mind.  He "came to himself" (Luke 15:17), an indication that he repented.  He saw the horribleness of the way he had been living. He saw his sin. He said "I have sinned against heaven" (Luke 15:18).  He saw himself as unworthy (Luke 15:19).  He simply came to his father. He came in his poverty; he came in his sin. He did not reform his life. Apparently, he did not even change his clothes or take a bath.  He came just as he was.  However, his inner attitude had totally changed.

So in these two examples, Luke 5 and Luke 15, repentance involves seeing ourselves as utterly sinful in God’s sight, seeing how sin-sick we really are, and recognizing how much we need the Great Physician to save us from our wretched condition.   No one will ever get saved unless he realizes how sinful he is. We will never fully understand the awful depths of our sin, but we do need to come to ourselves and recognize the filth of our sins and our guilt before a holy God.

Repentance also involves a change of mind concerning false objects of trust in which the sinner once put his confidence.  If a sinner is trusting in his own good works, his religious observances, his law keeping ability, or anything else, then there needs to be a complete change of mind to realize that none of these things can save him. Instead, all his confidence must be in Christ and Christ alone.  "It is asserted that repentance, which is a change of mind, enters of necessity into the very act of believing on Christ, since one cannot turn to Christ from other objects of confidence without that change of mind" (Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. III, p. 378). 


When you repent you will think differently and possess a different attitude about God, Jesus Christ, salvation, your own life of sin, and need for salvation.  You will reconsider your ways of faulty reasoning and sinful living and realize that these things offend God's truth and holiness and must be released from your life and forsaken.  Repentance speaks of a reversal of a person's attitudes and convictions.  It speaks of an inward turning from what a person used to believe or think about God, Jesus Christ and themselves.  To repent is to alter one's way of looking at life; it is to take God's point of view instead of one's own....Repentance is when a person changes their thinking about whatever is keeping them from expressing faith in Christ.  [Pastor Kelly Sensenig, Except Ye Repent, p. 3].


Like the prodigal son, repentance is evidenced when the sinner says, "I'm totally bankrupt; I hate the way I have lived; I've wallowed in my sin and have been a fool.  I'm going to go to my Father."


Some of the best help in understanding repentance comes from Harry Ironside, especially as seen in the first chapter of his excellent book, Except Ye Repent.  Consider the following quotations:


Harry Ironside on Repentance


"Repentance is the sinner’s recognition of and acknowledgment of his lost estate" (Except Ye Repent, p. 11).


"Literally [repentance] means 'a change of mind.' It actually implies a complete reversal of one’s inward attitude. To repent is to change one’s attitude toward self, toward sin, toward God, toward Christ....So to face these tremendous facts is to change one’s mind completely, so that the pleasure lover sees and confesses the folly of his empty life; the self-indulgent learns to hate the passions that express the corruption of his nature; the self-righteous sees himself a condemned sinner in the eyes of a holy God; the man who has been hiding from God seeks to find a hiding place in Him; the Christ-rejector realizes and owns his need of a Redeemer, and so believes unto life and salvation" (Except Ye Repent, pages 15-16).


"No one was ever saved in any dispensation excepting by grace. Neither sacrificial observances, nor ritual service, nor works of law ever had any part in justifying the ungodly. Nor were any sinners ever saved by grace until they repented. Repentance is not opposed to grace; it is the recognition of the need of grace. ‘They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick’" (Except Ye Repent, p. 10).


"There is no saving merit in owning my true condition. There is no healing in acknowledging the nature of my illness. And repentance, as we have seen, is just this very thing" (Except Ye Repent, p. 12).


"[Repentance] is not doing anything" (Except Ye Repent, p. 14).


"No man believes the Gospel and rests in it for his own salvation until he has judged himself as a needy sinner before God. And this is [a part of Biblical] repentance"  (Except Ye Repent, p. 16).


QUESTION 67: I understand that you teach that repentance is a prerequisite to salvation, that is, that a man has to show a certain amount of sorrow for sin before God will cooperate with him and save him. Is this your position?

ANSWER: It certainly is not. In the first place, repentance is not mere penitence or sorrow for sin. Repentance is simply a man's recognition of his own true condition before God. No man would desire to come to the Saviour unless he realized his need of a Saviour. The realization of this need and the acknowledgment of it is, in the truest sense, the work of repentance. Thus men repent and through believing the Gospel are eternally saved. We who are saved, however, have done more repenting since we were converted than we did before.

Is repentance the first or the second step in salvation?

Repentance is not a "step" at all, yet there is no salvation without repentance. But repentance is a changed attitude on the part of man. This is what takes place when he believes the Word of Truth as to his lost condition and need of a Saviour. Thus faith and repentance are indissolubly linked together. [H.A. Ironside, What's the Answer? 362 Bible Questions Answered, pp. 36, 76.]


The following is taken from Harry Ironside's book Full Assurance.  Under the section "Difficulties Which Hinder Full Assurance" the following question is asked and then answered:   How may I be sure that I have repented enough?

Very often the real difficulty arises from a misapprehension of the meaning of repentance. There is no salvation without repentance, but it is important to see exactly what is meant by this term. It should not be confused with penitence, which is sorrow for sin; nor with penance, which is an effort to make some satisfaction for sin; nor yet with reformation, which is turning from sin. Repentance is a change of attitude toward sin, toward self, and toward God. The original word (in the Greek Testament) literally means "a change of mind." This is not a mere intellectual change of viewpoint, however, but a complete reversal of attitude [a complete change of thinking about my sin and God's gracious provision].

Now test yourself in this way. You once lived in sin and loved it. Do you now desire deliverance from it? You were once self-confident and trusting in your own fancied goodness. Do you now judge yourself as a sinner before God? You once sought to hide from God and rebelled against His authority. Do you now look up to Him, desiring to know Him, and to yield yourself to Him? If you can honestly say yes to these questions, you have repented. Your attitude is altogether different than what it once was.

You confess you are a sinner, unable to cleanse your own soul, and you are willing to be saved in God’s way. This is repentance. And remember, it is not the amount of repentance that counts: it is the fact that you turn from self to God [in your mind and in your thinking] that puts you in the place where His grace avails through Jesus Christ.

Strictly speaking, not one of us has ever repented enough. None of us has realized the enormity of our guilt as God sees it. But when we judge ourselves and trust the Saviour whom He has provided, we are saved through His merits. As recipients of His lovingkindness, repentance will be deepened and will continue day by day, as we learn more and more of His infinite worth and our own unworthiness.

From Full Assurance by H. A. Ironside, pages 89-90.


The following is from Ironside's commentary on Luke:   "Repentance is just the sick man’s acknowledgment of his illness. It is simply the sinner recognizing his guilt and confessing his need of deliverance....(repentance) is judging oneself in the presence of God; turning right about-face, turning to God with a sincere, earnest desire to be completely delivered from sin. And when a man takes that attitude toward God and puts his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, he finds salvation" (Luke, pp. 253-254).


Thus, according to Ironside, repentance is simply the sick man acknowledging his illness, the sinner recognizing his need. It is a man realizing his utter bankruptcy before God, judging himself as a hell-deserving, lost, corrupt sinner before God.   A person cannot be saved apart from this kind of acknowledgment of his sinful, lost condition before God.


C. H. Mackintosh, a godly Plymouth Brethren writer, also has defined repentance:


C. H. Mackintosh on Repentance


[The repentant man] feels his need of God. Here lies the grand moral secret of the whole matter. To apprehend this is to grasp the full truth on the great question of repentance. A God of love desires to make His way to the sinner’s heart, but there is no room for Him so long as that heart is hard and impenitent. But when the sinner is brought to the end of himself, when he sees himself a helpless, hopeless wreck, when he sees the utter emptiness, hollowness and vanity of all earthly things; when like the prodigal he comes to himself and feels [recognizes] the depth and reality of his need, then there is room in his heart for God. . .

Have your eyes been opened to see your true condition before God? Have you taken your true place before God as utterly lost? . . .

A penitent heart is an object of profoundest interest to the mind of God, because that heart is morally [and mentally] prepared to receive what God delights to bestow, namely, "remission [forgiveness] of sins"—yea, all the fullness of divine love. . . The fullness of God ever waits on an empty vessel. If I am full of myself, full of my own fancied goodness, my own morality, my own righteousness, I have no room [no need] for God, no room [no need] for Christ.

C. H. Mackintosh, Miscellaneous Writings, "The Great Commission."


Repentance involves the moral judgment of ourselves under the action of the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the discovery of our utter sinfulness, guilt and ruin, our hopeless bankruptcy, our undone condition. It expresses itself in these glowing words of Isaiah, “Woe is me; I am undone,” and in that touching utterance of Peter, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Repentance is an abiding necessity for the sinner, and the deeper it is the better. It is the ploughshare entering the soul and turning up the fallow ground. The ploughshare is not the seed, but the deeper the furrow, the stronger the root. We delight in a deep work of repentance in the soul. We fear there is far too little of it in what is called revival work. Men are so anxious to simplify the gospel and make salvation easy, that they fail to press upon the sinner's conscience the claims of truth and righteousness.

No doubt salvation is as free as the grace of God can make it. Moreover, it is all of God from first to last. God is its source, Christ its channel, the Holy Spirit its power of application and enjoyment. All this is blessedly true, but we must never forget that man is a responsible being, a guilty sinner commanded to repent and turn to God. It is not that repentance has any saving virtue in it. As well might we assert that the feelings of a drowning man could save him from drowning or that a man could make a fortune by a deed of bankruptcy filed against him. Salvation is wholly of grace; it is of the Lord in its every stage and every aspect. We cannot be too emphatic in the statement of all this, but at the same time we must remember that our blessed Lord and His apostles constantly urged upon men, both Jews and Gentiles, the solemn duty of repentance.   [See






3. What does repentance not mean?


This question brings us to the Reformed view of repentance. Reformed men agree that repentance is essential for salvation, but they differ from us on how they define repentance. Often they will say that repentance means to turn from sin.

As already explained, the term repentance does not mean "to turn from sin,” but it literally means “to change one’s mind.”

Is an unsaved person capable of turning from sin?   "
Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil" (Jer. 13:23). Just like it’s impossible for an African man to change the color of his skin, and just like it is impossible for a leopard to change his spots, so it is impossible for a depraved man who is accustomed to doing evil to start doing good. Reformed men who often speak of human depravity (and rightly so), should realize that a depraved man is not capable of turning from his sin.  It's impossible for a leopard to change his spots.  Can a leopard change his spots, and suddenly have stripes like a tiger? To do that, the leopard would have to become a new creature!

For a depraved man who is accustomed to doing evil to start doing good, he would have to be a new creature! He would have to be saved: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Cor. 5:17).  To be saved you must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:30-31), and then God by His grace will make you a new creature. You can never be a new creature on your own. An unsaved man cannot turn from sin.  Turning from sin is a result of salvation; it is not a requirement for salvation.

Saying that repentance means to turn from sin, is getting into dangerous territory. This is suggesting that in order to be saved one needs to reform his life, change his life, and somehow curb his sinning. Yet, we do not have the power to turn from sin, and it’s impossible for one who is accustomed to doing evil to do good.

A man is not saved by reforming his life. He is not saved by trying to stop sinning. Trying to stop sinning is like telling a frog to stop croaking or stop jumping, telling a duck to stop quacking, telling a fox to stop raiding the chicken coop, or telling a pig to stop wallowing in the mud. It’s in their very nature to do these things.


Dr. John Van Gelderan explained why it can be confusing to tell sinners they need to turn from sin:

Jesus said, “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31–32). Sick people do not turn from their sickness to a physician. If they could turn from sickness, they would no longer need a physician. Rather, sick people turn to a physician for deliverance from their sickness. Similarly, sinners cannot turn from their sin(s) to Christ. If they could, they would not need a Savior. Sinners must turn to Christ, the Great Physician, for deliverance from their sin and its consequence.


This clarification does not imply that sin should be downplayed. It must be addressed. But the purpose for doing so must be kept clear. Sin must be recognized as the problem, but not sinning is not the solution—Jesus is. Christ must be recognized as the solution. This combination of understanding leads to repentance, which in salvation is turning to Christ for deliverance from sin and its consequence.  Repent and Believe, Part 8: Confusing Terminology: “Turn from Sin”

We have said that repentance is not to be defined as turning from sin; we must now understand that repentance does involve a turning from sin. At this point the reader must be totally confused! If repentance does not mean turning from sin then how can repentance involve a turning from sin?

Here is the important distinction: Repentance involves a turning from sin mentally, a turning from sin inwardly. Remember, repentance is a change of mind. It involves a change of mind and a change of attitude about sin. It means that one starts thinking about sin differently. Repentance is wholly an inward act of the mind. It involves thinking a certain way; it does not involve acting a certain way. It involves how a person thinks and what goes on in his mind.

True repentance means that I’m going to have a different attitude about my sins. I’m going to have an about face when it comes to how I view my sins. It means I’m beginning to see the enormity of my sin. I realize that I have sinned against a holy God. I see the plague of my own heart. I’m convicted by God and I realize that I’m a terrible sinner on a collision course with the wrath of God. I want to be delivered from my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I don’t want to remain in my sins. I don’t want to be a slave of sin any longer. And I realize that the only Person who can deliver me from my sins is Jesus Christ. There is no other Saviour and there is no other solution. So really, the only way to turn from my sin is to turn to Jesus Christ who alone can deliver me from the penalty and the power of sin. I cannot do it on my own; I need a Saviour. So the inward desire to turn from sin is certainly a part of true repentance.


Pastor Kelly Sensenig explained it this way in correspondence with this author:

The “change of mind” of repentance is interwoven with an inward turning to God and desire to turn away from works (legalism) and to turn away from any kind of false gospel. It involves a general desire be delivered from sin, and a turning away from anything that keeps a person from placing faith alone in Christ (Rev. 9:20-21; 16:9). However, the idea that a person must in practice “turn away from sin” or “give up sin” and seek reformation, or make promises to God prior to salvation, is certainly not Biblical repentance. How many sins must they turn away from and for how long? What if they forgot to turn away from a sin which they did not know was a sin? Were they then saved? This is the dilemma of Lordship Salvation. Again, there is a vast difference between the root of repentance which takes place in the heart (an inward turning) and the fruit of repentance which comes after salvation (Matt. 3:8; 21:29).

Many wrongly define repentance as a change of life rather than a change of mind. This causes serious confusion. We don’t want to tell people that they must change their lives in order to be saved. That would be a perversion of the gospel of the grace of God. That would be salvation by reformation. It would be telling sinners that in order to be saved you must reform your life and change your life. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God no matter what they do (Rom. 8:8).

"Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance" (Matthew 3:8). It's important not to confuse repentance with the fruits of repentance. If a person has really repented, there will be fruits of repentance. A change of mind will result in a change of life. If someone has truly repented, his life is going to be different. Yet, don’t confuse the fruit with the root. Don’t expect someone to live like a Christian who is not a Christian. Good works are the fruit of salvation, not the root of salvation. You cannot manifest life until you have life.

Do not take the fruits of repentance and make them the requirements for salvation. A changed life is the result of salvation; it is not the requirement for salvation. Lost sinners do not have the ability to change the way they live, but they are responsible to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ who can give them His life and His indwelling presence.

The testimony of Charles Spurgeon is found at this link: 



This testimony is very interesting. According to his own words, Spurgeon was not saved by reforming his life or by trying to stop sinning or by turning from sin or by forsaking sin. No, he was saved by looking unto Jesus. The preacher’s text that day was this: Isaiah 45:22, "Look unto Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God and there is none else."



4.  What is the Relationship Between Repentance and Faith?


"Faith and repentance are indissolubly linked together" [H.A. Ironside, What's the Answer? 362 Bible Questions Answered, pp. 36, 76]. Repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin. They are not two different coins. There are not two requirements for salvation; there is just one. There is one coin with two sides. The coin represents what a sinner needs to do to be saved. A sinner needs to repent and a sinner needs to believe. And you cannot separate true faith from true repentance; they are part of the same coin, and both are essential,

If a person is saved, then he has repented and he has believed on Christ. If a person has truly believed on Christ then he has also repented.  If you find true repentance, then you will also find true faith.  Scofield spoke of the relationship between repentance and faith:  “Repentance is a necessary element of saving faith. There could be no real faith which did not include a change of mind about sin, self, Christ and God” (Scofield Bible Correspondence Course, Vol. V, p. 1322).

There are some passages where both repentance and faith are mentioned.  Consider Mark 1:15 (the gospel of the kingdom) and Acts 20:21.


There are many passages where only faith is given as a requirement for salvation.  Consider Luke 8:12; John 1:12; 3:16; 5:24; 6:47; 20:31; Acts 16:31; 10:43; Rom. 3:28; 4:5; 10:9-10; 1 Cor. 1:21; Gal. 2:16; 3:26; Eph. 2:8-9; etc.

This is the answer to the free grace argument which was discussed earlier in this paper. They say that the Gospel of John never mentions repentance; it only mentions faith. That is true, but every time it mentions faith, repentance is implied. Faith, by definition, must include the concept of repentance. There is no true faith without genuine repentance.

There are some passages where only repentance is given as a requirement for salvation.
Consider Luke 13:3,5; 24:47; Acts 3:19; 17:30 and 2 Pet. 3:9.

In passages where only repentance is given as a condition for salvation, faith is implied. Repentance is changing your mind about sin and recognizing your sin; faith is turning to Christ for deliverance from your sin. They go together, and to be saved both are needed.

In passages where only faith is given as a requirement for salvation, repentance is implied. Faith is not faith at all if there is not an honest recognition of our sinfulness. As Ironside said, “The sick man must acknowledge his illness.” So also the sinner must acknowledge his wretched condition before God.

The person who has truly repented has truly believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.  The person who has truly believed on the Lord Jesus Christ has truly repented.   "So intimately are the two [faith and repentance] related that you cannot have one without the other. The man who believes God repents; the repentant soul puts his trust in the Lord when the Gospel is revealed to him.  No man believes the Gospel and rests in it for his own salvation until he has judged himself as a needy sinner before God. And this is repentance" (Harry Ironside, Except Ye Repent, p. 16).



5.  Do believers need to repent?

For those who are saved and who have already repented for salvation, here is another question.  Is it necessary for a Christian to repent? Do believers need to repent?

J. Vernon McGee in his characteristic way, said this, “Believe me, Christians need to repent. We need to break the shell of self-sufficiency, the crust of conceit, the shield of sophistication, the veneer of vanity, get rid of the false face of piety and stop this business of everlastingly polishing our halo as if we were some great saint.”

Several passages speak to this point, but let us go to just one passage:  "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent" (Rev. 2:4-5).

Those who have left their first love need to repent, need to change their mind, need to think differently, and need to have a different attitude.

If I find that I no longer have the same devotion to Christ that I once had, I need to repent!

If I am no longer reading the Bible as often and as consistently as I once did, and if God’s Word no longer delights my heart as it once did, I need to repent.

If I lack the prayer life that I once had and I find that I am not frequently drawing near to the Lord seeking close fellowship, then I need to repent.

If I no longer find it a great blessing to gather together with believers as often as possible, and I no longer look forward to sitting under sound Bible teaching as I once did, then I need to repent.

If the sins I commit do not bother me as much as they once did, and that instead of hating that which is evil I find myself getting cozy with evil, then I need to repent.

If I am not as concerned about the lost condition of men and women around me as I once was, and if I care little about sharing Christ with others, I need to repent.

"Anything that dims my vision of Christ, or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps my prayer life, or makes Christian work difficult is wrong for me and as a Christian I must turn from it" (Cited by Dr. David Nettleton, former President of Faith Baptist Bible College, in the Grace Seminary Chapel, November 27, 1973).

Yes, repentance is essential for believers also. We must repent and do the first works!



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