I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
I was looking on a local church’s website yesterday and found the following description of salvation: “Salvation is a gift from God to man. Man can never make up for his sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God's offer of forgiveness can man be saved from sin's penalty. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life by faith.” There is only one problem with that; there is no mention of repentance. Jesus made it very clear that, without repentance, a person cannot be truly saved. Today I want to talk about what repentance really is and what role it plays in the process of salvation.
Repentance is not merely something one must do to be saved, but it is a byproduct of faith. Once someone has realized the reality of who he is compared to who God is, repentance will come naturally to that person. Repentance is simply me living my life for Jesus because He gave His life for me.
So what exactly is repentance? Repentance is when someone sees his sin for what it really is and turns and runs as fast as he can in the opposite direction. Repentance is saying, “God, before I knew You, I lived for me; but now I want to live for you.”
So what is repentance not? Repentance is not asking God for forgiveness. Repentance is the result of forgiveness. When Jesus forgave the adulterous woman, He said to her, “Go, and sin no more.” That’s all repentance is, leaving your old life to live a new one.
Someone who claims to believe in Jesus yet has failed to repent of his sin is not truly saved. James 2:19 says, “Even the demons believe—and tremble!” Repentance is belief with legs on it. The devil and his angels will not spend eternity in Hell because they have failed to believe in the God of the Bible; they will spend eternity in Hell because they refuse to repent.
The Bible teaches that we can know whether or not a person is truly saved by the fruit that he bears. My friend, if you do not bear the fruit of repentance, I can assure you, upon the authority of the Word of God, that you are on your way to Hell. If you do not know Jesus as Lord of your life today, you can. If you will repent of your sin and confess Jesus Christ as Lord, He will save you today and keep you saved forever.