People often ask, “what do I have to do to be saved”? The short answer often given by Christians is simply to “believe in Jesus Christ”. While that statement is true, it’s incomplete. One must repent to be saved.
Repentance is salvation’s missing link
It’s taught over 500 times in scripture, and illustrated in many ways throughout the Bible. However, many claiming faith in Jesus have not repented. Why? Repentance is one of Christianity’s best kept secrets.
Why keep repentance a secret?
The motive is often fear based. Repentance isn’t a popular topic. What if people get offended? What if people think something will be required of them? Those fears reveal a lack of Biblical understanding.
John the Baptist, Jesus, and Paul called people to repentance. When Peter was asked by a group of people, “what must we do to be saved”?, he told them, straight up! “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins”. Acts 2:38. Without fear of rejection, these men boldly proclaimed this truth.
What is repentance?
Repentance means to change your mind. Specifically, to change your mind about Jesus Christ. Maybe you didn’t believe He existed. Or, that He was just some do-gooder. Maybe you saw Him as your enemy, so you rejected Him. Repentance produces a shift in perspectives. Jesus is not only your trusted friend, you give Him full authority over your life.
How does repentance happen?
Repentance is a God given gift. Often, it follows the heart-wrenching sorrow caused from consequences of poor choices. It results in a desire to never EVER want to do “that” again. A person takes ownership of the grief one’s behavior has caused themselves and others, but mostly God. Repentance can’t properly be defined without including a shift in emotional and behavioral attitudes toward sin.
Is repentance that important?
Some religious men in Jesus day often chose to withhold pertinent information, or distort the truth to others. Jesus rebuked them, saying their actions shut the kingdom in men’s faces. We don’t EVER want to do that!
Though faith is required, repentance is a crucial not-to-be-missed step. According to Jesus, without repentance salvation can’t happen! Luke 13:3. Said another way, repentance leads to salvation.
Repentance should never be seen as a dirty word. It’s like this: imagine you purchased a ticked on an airline flight. As you board your plane, the flight attendant asks, “would you like to change planes? This one is going to crash”. Would you be offended? NO! You’d gladly choose to change, wouldn’t you? Without Jesus, your life is ready to crash and burn. Repentance is God’s offer to change your eternal destination.
Repentance is paramount to exposing Jesus for who He truly is: God. Sin is exposed for what it truly is: the cause of all human suffering. Lifestyles that lead to guilt, shame, and dark despair come to an end, and hope is restored for new beginnings.
Is there just one repentance?
In God’s mercy, he leads us to repentance. It’s a necessary part of the salvation process. However, it doesn’t end there.
One of modern day Christianity’s crazy suggestions is that you can cling to Jesus AND to your sin. What kind of God would allow you to stay stuck in harmful habits? Repentance occurs many times throughout your life, as God gives you new revelation about old sinful habits.
The choice to repent frees you from being entrapped to self-destructive behaviors, at the exact same time it enables you to do what is right, pure, and good. All people everywhere are called to repent. Acts 17:30. Have you?
Perhaps you’ve wondered, “is there really some way out”? YES! Loved one, I tell you, repent and believe in Jesus Christ. No matter what you’ve done, you can have a fresh start!