Is repentance really necessary for salvation, along with faith in Jesus Christ? Jesus said,
“…unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5) and “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
Repentance means that we:
1. Recognize that we have sinned against God.
2. Are sorry for our sins.
3. Turn from sin with God’s help.
4. Start being obedient to God’s commands.
1. Recognition of sin against God
We have all sinned (Romans 3:23). To get a little better understanding of how sinful we are, we can look at some other Bible verses.
“Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…” (Jeremiah 17:9).
“No one is good but One, that is, God” (Luke 18:19).
“There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one” (Romans 3:10-12).
2. Sorrow for sin
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). In other words, we have to be sorry for our sins, not because we’ve been caught, or because it might cost us something, but because we’ve offended God.
3. Turning from sin with God’s help
The Apostle Paul said, “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds” (Acts 26:20). “He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning” (1 John 3:8).
4. Obedience to God’s commands
Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15) and “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8).