I have seen a disturbing trend on Christian sites here on WordPress of believers not understanding the word repentance. Some actually claim that telling people to repent is adding works to salvation and some say we can accept Christ, but we don’t have to turn from sin. That is not what God’s Word says! Let me be clear here, repentance is not a work for salvation and we definitely need to turn from sin! Telling someone to repent is not adding a requirement to salvation! If you have followed my blog for awhile, then you know I preach that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus, just like Jesus and Paul preached. However, Jesus saved us so that we would live righteous lives that please God! I don’t want anyone to misunderstand me when I talk about repentance and people need to understand the difference between salvation and sanctification.
We are saved by faith in Jesus alone and not by works. That is clear in Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 10:9-13 and that is what I have preached for the last 22 years I have followed Jesus. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus and there are no good works we could ever do that would ever save us.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”
“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
The New Testament was originally written in the Greek language. Repentance is the word “metánoia” in the Greek, which means “a change of mind.” It also means “a change in the inner man.” Jesus Himself preached that people needed to repent for the kingdom of Heaven is near (Matthew 4:17). Yes, we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus, but He saved us that we would die to sin and live for righteousness, not to continue living a sinful life.
“From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
1 Peter 2:24
Here is the Strong’s Concordance definition of the Greek word metanoia:
metanoia: change of mind, repentance
Original Word: μετάνοια, ας, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Phonetic Spelling: (met-an’-oy-ah)
Definition: change of mind, repentance
Usage: repentance, a change of mind, change in the inner man.
To repent most definitely means to have a change in the inner man. We must turn from sin and live a new life for Christ! Once you confess faith in Jesus, you receive the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22), who empowers us to live righteously. We most definitely need to turn from sin. We are saved by God’s grace and His salvation is a gift to us through faith in Jesus, but God will not allow us to actively and willfully live a sinful life after we are saved. We will go through a life long process of sanctification (that is being made holy) after being saved where the Lord works in us by the power of the Holy Spirit to be more like Jesus every day. We may fall at times, but we must turn from sin and live for Christ to be in a right relationship with the Lord. A person can be saved, but if they are being rebellious and willfully living a sinful life, that person will not be in a right relationship with the Lord and the Lord will have to discipline them.
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.”
“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
2 Corinthians 1:21-22
If a person continues to live in sin after they are saved, yes they are saved, but they will be under God’s discipline until they turn from it. Hebrews 12 is very clear about how God disciplines His children.
“In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
“My son, do not make light of the
and do not lose heart when he
because the Lord disciplines those he
and he punishes everyone he accepts
as a son.”
Consider what the Apostle Paul said in Romans:
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
The Apostle Peter also admonishes us to not use God’s grace as a cover up for sin.
“Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.”
1 Peter 2:16
The other day, I read a blog where the person said that to repent means to change your mind about sin, but not turn from it completely. That is not accurate at all! Jesus said to repent for the kingdom of Heaven is near! To repent most definitely means to turn away from sin and turn towards God and go His way. Yes, it means to change your mind and that means a person must change their mind about living a sinful life and not live a sinful life anymore, hence turning from sin completely! For example, someone living a homosexual lifestyle who receives Jesus by faith will have to turn away from that homosexual lifestyle. God will not allow them to continue living that way after they are saved. If the person does, then he/she will be disciplined by the Lord until they repent and turn back to God.
Salvation and sanctification are two different things. We are saved by grace through faith, then the Lord sanctifies us (makes us holy) by the power of the Holy Spirit He gave us. A person can be saved and they may fall into sin, but the Lord will discipline them and bring them back. He will go after that one sheep who wanders off and He will never leave us nor forsake us. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus and we cannot lose our salvation once we truly believe in Him, but we must die to sin and live for righteousness once we are saved.
“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
2 Corinthians 5:17
The way some believers explain repentance makes it sound like it’s okay to keep living a sinful life after you are saved, and that is not true. Some of them even say telling people to repent is false preaching! What?!!! It is not false preaching to tell someone they must turn from sin! If a person will not turn from sin, then how can they turn to Jesus to be saved in the first place? When Jesus told people to repent for the kingdom of Heaven is near, He was telling them to turn from sin and believe in Him. Telling someone to repent is not adding a requirement for salvation! We are clearly saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus and not by works. Telling people to repent is simply following the example Jesus set in telling people to turn from sin and believe in Him. Repentance alone, that is changing your mind about sin and having a change in your inner person to turn away from sin, does not save you. Jesus Christ saves us and it is repentance that leads us to salvation by faith in Jesus.
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
2 Corinthians 7:10
Telling someone to repent (turn from sin) and accept Jesus by faith is the most loving thing you could do for them! If a person comes to you and tells you that you can believe in Jesus and just keep living a sinful life, that person is a liar and they are not sharing the true Gospel! Once you believe in Jesus, you are filled with the Holy Spirit and God makes you a new creation in Christ! The old person you were in your life of sin is dead and gone and you now live a new life in the righteousness and holiness that has been given to you by God’s grace! You will not be able to keep living a sinful life after you accept Jesus. The conviction of the Holy Spirit inside of you will lead you forward in righteousness and you must turn away from a life of sin!
“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.”
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Please don’t ever misunderstand my preaching or take me wrong. Yes, we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus and that salvation was purchased in full through Christ’s blood and we cannot lose it, but we must turn from sin and live for righteousness! Sin leads to death and Jesus did not die for us to continue living in sin! He died for us, so we could be reconciled with God and made holy and righteous before Him! Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you don’t need to turn from sin. Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ includes telling people to repent for the kingdom of Heaven is near just like Jesus did! Change your mind about living a sinful life that leads to death, turn away from sin, and turn to Jesus and live! That is what repentance means! True godly sorrow about your sins leads to repentance, which leads to salvation in Jesus! Once you are saved, the power of the Holy Spirit inside of you will empower you and give you the desire to stay away from sin and not live that way anymore!
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is not hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
If you believe in Jesus, then you are a new creation in Christ and your life is now fully in Jesus! Your old self died and you have crucified your sinful nature, so live by the Spirit and die to sin and live for righteousness! Preach the true Gospel of Jesus that includes repentance of sin, and exhort people to turn from sin and turn to Jesus! The world wants to water down the Gospel and exclude telling people they are sinful. The world doesn’t want to hear the truth that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but if they don’t understand that crucial truth, then they won’t understand they need a Savior.
“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Every single one of us on this earth has sinned and we need to repent of our sin (change our inner man and turn from sin) in order to turn to Jesus and be saved by faith in Him! May the Lord’s will be done in all things and may He give us an undivided heart to fear His Name and love Him first. May He create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us. May He hide His Word in our hearts, so that we will not sin against Him. May He give us a great hunger and thirst for righteousness and may we fully embrace the new life He has given us through faith in Jesus! Jesus is our salvation, holiness, and righteousness and we live to please Him, not our sinful nature!
Grace and peace to you all!