WHEN IT COMES TO SHOWING how to get saved, the Bible puts as much
emphasis on repentance as it does on faith. The Apostle Paul said he went door
to door preaching: "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord
Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21). He told the people at Athens that God: "commandeth all
men every where to repent" (Acts 17:30).
Peter, another apostle, said God is, "not willing that any should perish, but that
all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). Even Jesus said, "except ye
repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3), and began His ministry by
preaching: "the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the
gospel" (Mark 1:15).
Unfortunately, too many people today don't hear enough about repentance, and therefore don't
fully understand what it means to repent. That's why, even if you claimed to be saved, it
wouldn't hurt to double check and make sure you truly repented. In fact, the Bible
recommends that you, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove
your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except
ye be reprobates?" (2 Cor. 13:5). So we've compiled some of what the Bible teaches about
repentance to help you examine yourself.
To repent means to change your mind about sin and your obligation to
the will of God. When this change of mind is genuine,
the following takes place:
q CONFESSION OF SIN should accompany genuine repentance, because you can't
really say you changed your mind about sin if you never admitted you're a guilty sinner
before God. When king David repented, he said to God: "For I acknowledge my
transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have
I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight:" (Psa. 51:3-4).
When the prophet Daniel repented on behalf of his people, he told God: "We have
sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have
rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments [laws]:"
(Dan. 9:5). Examine yourself. When you made a profession of faith, did you also confess
your sin? Did you agree with God and admit that you're a hell-deserving sinner?
q REMORSE OVER SIN should accompany genuine repentance, because you can't be
joyful when you see yourself as a lost, hell-bound sinner who has offended God. When king
David showed a repentant attitude, he said: "neither is there any rest in my bones
because of my sin. For mine iniquities [sins] are gone over mine
head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me" (Psa. 38:3-4), and, "mine
iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more
than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me" (Psa. 40:12).
When you made a profession of faith, did you also feel remorse?
q SORROW OVER SIN should accompany genuine repentance, because you should hate
the sin you are sorry for, and be sorry for the sin you hate. Once again, when king David
repented, he said, "For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin"
NOTE: When it comes to feeling sorry about our sin, the BIBLE makes a distinction
between "godly sorrow" and "the sorrow of the world" (II Cor. 7:10). One results in true
repentance; the other does not. The sorrow of the world can be emotional and
temporary, as in the case of the person who hears the gospel, gets very emotional and
fearful about God's judgment of their sin, and says "I'm sorry" to God.
But then, when the emotion and fear is over, they go right back to practicing their
sin without regard to what God thinks. They never truly repented and therefore never
got saved. Godly sorrow comes from truly understanding what sin is and how it offends
God. This kind of sorrow leads to a permanent change of mind and direction. "For godly
sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of [permanent]: but the
sorrow of the world worketh death." II CORINTHIANS 7:10
The Apostle Paul, describing the repentant attitude of the church at Corinth, said: "Now I
rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance:
for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in
nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to
be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death."
(2 Cor. 7:9-10).
Examine yourself. When you made a profession of faith in Christ, were you sorry for
your sin? If yes, was it the sorrow of the world or was it Godly sorrow, the kind that
results in a permanent change of mind? Were you sorry that God was offended?
We now turn to an aspect of repentance that is often overlooked by someone at the time of
making a profession of faith, so please consider the following very carefully.
q A TURNING TOWARD GOD should accompany genuine repentance, because you
never truly changed your mind if it didn't result in a change of direction. Some people
abstain from smoking, drinking alcohol, fornication, lying, cussing, stealing, pornography,
etc. and assume they have repented. But God says: "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." Isa. 55:7
This means the truly repentant sinner not only forsakes his sin but also SUBMITS TO
GOD. Salvation requires: "repentance toward God, and faith toward our
Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21). True repentance results in a change of direction from
following your own will to following God's. Jesus says, "If any man will come after me,
let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." (Matt. 16:24).
Jesus illustrated this change of direction in two of His parables.
In the first one He said: "But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came
to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will
not: but afterward he repented, and went." (Mat. 21:28-29). The first son
changed his mind, resulting in a change of direction from rebellion to submission.
In the second parable, He describes the prodigal son as initially rebelling against his
father's rule only to later change his mind and say: "I will arise and go to my
father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before
thee," (Luke 15:18).
He did what the writer of Psalm 119 himself told God: "I thought on my ways, and
turned my feet unto thy testimonies [laws]." (Psa. 119:59). In both cases,
when they repented, they forsook their old rebellious attitude and turned toward a new
attitude of obedience to God.
Examine yourself. When you made your profession of faith, did you submit to
God's rule over your life? Or did you just try to clean up your life without handing
it over to God? Did you change directions?
This change of direction does not only apply to sin and rebellion but to religion as well. God
expects the repentant sinner to forsake any religious practices not in accordance with what
the Bible teaches. He told the Israelites to forsake their false religion when He told them to:
"Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols;" (Ezek. 14:6).
The Apostle Paul commended the Thessalonians when they repented of their false
religion. He said: "ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true
God;" (1 Thess. 1:9).
God still expects the repentant sinner to forsake his false religion, and that includes all
religions that teach you must earn your way to heaven. The Bible says salvation can't be
earned by baptism, good behavior, church membership, communion, or even good deeds.
Anyone trusting in those things to save them must repent and put their trust 100% in Christ
and Him ALONE.
The Bible says: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9).
Examine yourself. When you made your profession of faith did you forsake
trusting your baptism or good deeds to save you? Did you instead put all your
trust in Christ alone to save you? Did you truly repent?
Repentance. Did you get it right?
IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven? The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).
BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you
from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God," Isaiah 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23.
SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is
the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast." Eph. 2:8-9 Baptism, good
deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are
all examples of good works that cannot save you,
because: "Not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he [Christ] saved
us," Titus 3:5.
THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through
Jesus Christ. He said: "I am the way, the
truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) THAT'S
WHY: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us." (Rom. 5:8-9)
THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your
mind); admit that you are a Hell deserving sinner
and can't save yourself. And call upon Christ, and
Him alone, to save you. "if thou shalt confess
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [REPENT], and
shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God
hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
saved." Romans 10:9
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