Article - What Must I do to be Saved? [Part 3]

The third step in God’s plan of salvation is repentance. In Luke 13:3 Jesus expressed the necessity of repentance when He said, “unless you repent you shall all likewise perish.” Peter preached to the Jews that they needed to repent and be converted that their sins might be blotted out (Acts 3:19). Since repentance is such an important step in the plan of salvation, let’s examine what the Bible says repentance is.

Not Sorrow Alone. Many in our modern word equate repentance with crying and tears. While that may be part of repentance, it is not repentance in and of itself. For example, Paul stated that Godly sorrow produces repentance, but that it was not repentance alone (2 Corinthians 7:10). Part of repentance is telling God how sorrowful we are for our sins, but it must go beyond that.

A Changed Will. Repentance is best defined as a changed will that leads to a changed way. Joel encouraged the Israelites to mend their hearts and not just their garments (Joel 2:13). The point Joel is making is very clear. We must not just have an outward sign of repentance, but a changed heart. One version renders Joel 2:13 as “tear your hearts not your garments”. True repentance implies that I must first be willing to change the way I think.

A Changed Way. The second part of repentance demands that we show our repentance by a changed life. John told the hypocritical Jews to “bring forth fruits worthy of repentance…” (Matthew 3:8). Baptized believers are commanded to walk in a newness of life (Romans 6:4). Paul reminded the Corinthian Christians that they had once lived a sinful life, but were not living that way anymore (1 Corinthians 6:9ff). To truly repent, one must change the way he thinks and the way he acts.


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