What are the biblical verses about repentance

What is repentance and is it necessary for salvation?



Many understand the term “repentance” to mean “turning away from sin”. Repenting and turning away from sin is related to repentance, but that is not the exact definition of repentance. The Greek word in the Bible that stands for "to repent" means "to change one's mind". The Bible also tells us that true repentance will result in a change in deeds (Luke 3: 8-14; Acts 3:19). Summing up his ministry, Paul explains in Acts 26:20: "But proclaimed ... to repent and turn to God by doing works worthy of repentance." results in a change in the deeds.

Then what is the relationship between repentance and salvation? The book of Acts particularly focuses on repentance for salvation (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20). Repenting with salvation in mind means changing your mind about sin and Jesus Christ. In the sermon at Pentecost (Chapter 2 of Acts) Peter closes with a call to the audience to repent (Acts 2:38). What to turn back from? Peter calls on those who rejected Jesus (Acts 2:36) to change their minds and see that he is indeed “Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Peter calls on people to change their minds from rejecting Christ as the Messiah to believing in him both as Messiah and Savior.

Repentance also includes recognizing that you were wrong in your thoughts before and now determining that you want to think in the right direction. The repentant has thought carefully about what they used to welcome as a mindset. There is a change of heart and a new way of thinking about God, sin, holiness, and doing God's will. True repentance is triggered by “God's sadness” and “works for bliss” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Repentance and faith can be seen as two sides of the same coin. It is impossible to put your faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior without first changing your mind about your sin and who Jesus is and what he did. Whether it's reversing willful rejection or reversing ignorance or disinterest, it is a change of heart. Biblical repentance in relation to salvation changes one's mind from rejecting Christ to believing in Christ.

Repentance is not a work to be done to earn salvation. No one can repent without God drawing that person to himself (John 6:44). Acts 5:31 and 11:18 show that repentance is something God gives - it is only possible because of His grace. No one can repent without God granting repentance. All salvation, including repentance and faith, comes from God drawing us, opening our eyes, and changing our hearts. God's long-suffering leads us to repentance (2 Peter 3: 9), as does his goodness (Romans 2: 4).

Even if repentance is not a work that deserves salvation, redeeming repentance results in works. It is impossible to genuinely and completely change one's mind without changing one's actions. In the Bible, repentance results in a change in behavior. Because of this, John the Baptist called on people to bring "fruit worthy of repentance" (Matthew 3: 8). A person who actually reversed from rejecting Christ to believing in Christ will provide evidence of a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5: 19-23; James 2: 14-26).

To see what repentance looks like in real life, we just need to turn to the story of Zacchaeus. Here was a man who cheated and stole, and lived abundantly on his illicit gains - until he met Jesus. At that point he experienced a radical change of heart: "See, Lord," said Zacchaeus. “I give half of what I have to the poor, and if I have betrayed someone, I give it back four times over” (Luke 19: 8). Jesus happily announced that salvation had come to Zacchaeus 'house and that even the tax collector was now "a son of Abraham" (verse 9) - an indication of Zacchaeus' faith. The deceiver turned into a philanthropist; the thief gave back. That is repentance combined with believing in Christ.

Repentance, properly defined, is necessary for salvation. Biblical repentance changes one's opinion of one's sin - sin is no longer something to play with; it is something to be given up in order to “escape from the wrath to come” (Matthew 3: 7). It also changes one's opinion of Jesus Christ - he should no longer be ridiculed, dismissed or ignored; he is the savior to cling to; he is the Lord who is worshiped and admired.

English



Back to the German homepage

What is repentance and is it necessary for salvation?
Share this page: