Repentance Summarized


  • Summary of Repentence
    • Repentance means to decide to turn from one’s sin; it is not a condition of salvation; faith in Christ as Savior is the only condition for salvation (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9).
    • Both unbelievers (Matthew 12:41) and believers (Luke 15; Acts 19:18-20; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Revelation 3:19) repent.
    • When unbelievers repent, it does not mean that they have become believers. An unbeliever’s repentance may hold off God’s judgment or prepare him to listen more closely to the gospel.
    • In the case of the believer, repentance may prepare for a confession of personal sin and return to fellowship; at times, it includes the confession of sin as illustrated by the Prodigal Son in Luke 15.
    • Jesus and John the Baptist told Israel to repent. This was not a call to eternal salvation, but instead a call to return to the national relationship with God for which God had prepared them.
    • The call to repentance was to prepare them to believe in their Messiah (Matthew 3:1-3; Luke 3:3, 8-9).
    • Jesus also told the Jewish people to repent from their rebellious political and religious activities; if they did not repent, temporal judgment, including physical death would result (Luke 13:1-9).
    • In summary, the command to repent is a call to the unbeliever or the believer to turn from one’s sin. Repentance has a wide scope; on one end it can be a broad call for a nation to return to her heritage and on the other end of the spectrum it can be a precise call for a believer to confess specific sin and return to fellowship with God.