Must we repent to be saved?

Must we repent to be saved?


The New Testament requires Christians to preach repentance. Salvation is no doubt an act of God, but God commands all men to repent…

Salvation without genuine repentance is not salvation.

In Acts 17…

Verse 30: Although God overlooked the ignorance of earlier times, He now commands all men everywhere to repent.

1. Though God desires all people to be saved, he “may perhaps grant repentance.” Which I think means that God’s desire for all to be saved does not lead him to save all. God has desires that do not reach the level of volition. They are restrained by other considerations — like his wisdom, which guides him to display his glory in the fullest way. He has his reasons for why he “may perhaps grant repentance” to some sinners, and not to others.

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:5-8)

2. The “knowledge of the truth” is a gift of God. God “grants [i.e., gives] repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.” Without the gift of repentance, we would not know the truth. This is evidently what 1 Timothy 2:4 means also: We must be “saved and [in that way] come to a knowledge of the truth.” Saved from our blindness to the truth.

3. Therefore the truth Paul has in mind is not truth that the natural man can see. But the natural man can see a lot of truth. Tens of thousands of truths are open to the natural mind. What truth can the natural man not see? The natural man cannot see the glory of Christ in the gospel. “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

4. This is why God must “grant” what it takes to see the truth of the gospel. We are blind to it. And Satan keeps us that way. Until God “grants” repentance (metanoia) — the change of mind that can see and receive the truth of the gospel.

5. Therefore, our prayers for the unbelievers we love, and our evangelism, should be driven by this one and only hope for their salvation: “God may perhaps grant them repentance.” Since he alone has the power to overcome spiritual deadness and Satanic blindness, we lay hold in prayer and witness on the truth: “God may grant repentance.” That is our only hope.

So let us follow Paul: “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1). And: “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

In Matthew 3:7-8 …

Verse 7: But when John saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his place of baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?

Verse 8: Produce fruit worthy of repentance.

In James 2:14 …

Verse 14: it says that faith without works is dead. Justification by works before men is not to be ignored as though it were in contradiction to justification by faith before God.

God saves us for good works Eph 2:10 …

Verse 10: For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life.

We are not saved or kept saved by good works, but for good works.

In Luke 24:46-47 …

Verse 46: And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

Verse 47: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

In Romans 2:4 …

Verse 4: Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

In Acts 3:19 …

Verse 19: Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

In Matthew 16:24 …

Verse 24: Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Denying one’s self from sinning is not works salvation, it is a command that only a genuinely saved Christian can obey.

God alone can forgive our sins and only through the Lord Jesus Christ can a man be saved. The road to Heaven is narrow. Few find it. (Matthew 7:14)

Do not error by ignoring all the Scriptures teachings regarding the Doctrine of Salvation.

If you call on the name of Christ and believe on Him for saving grace yet do not repent, you have not been born again. Repentance does not mean you will never sin again, but it does mean that as a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) you will seek His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33 and Matthew 5:6)

In 2 Corinthians 7:10 …

Verse 10: For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

So many people believe they can say a few words about Jesus and live like the devil and go to heaven. That is not salvation.

True believers walk in the light (1 John 1:6-7).

True believers confess their sin (1 John 1:8-2:1)

True believers keep His commandments (1 John 2:3-4; 1 John 5:2-3)

True believers love the brethren (1 John 2:9-11; 1 John 3:10; 1 John 5:2)

True believers affirm sound doctrine (1 John 2:20-23; 1 John 4:2,6)

True believers follow after holiness (1 John 2:29; 1 John 3:3-4, 6-9)

True believers have the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:13; John 5:10-11)

First, one’s assurance of salvation does not need to be based on a past decision or an experience. It should rest first of all on one’s faith in the objective truth of God’s Word, Jesus Christ, and the gospel.

Second, it should rest on the reality of a changed life marked by obedience, a love for Christ and His righteousness, and a hatred for sin. Take heart if these things are true in your life, and trust God to continue to work out His salvation in your life.

Why else would Jesus teach us about the parable of the sower in Matt 13:23 …

Verse 23: But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit…

Only one ground produced fruit… the other soils never produced salvation.

2 Corinthians 13:5 …

Verse 5: Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. (Luke 15:7)

No one, Lord,” she answered. “Neither do I condemn you, Jesus declared. “Now” go and sin no more. (John 8:11)

Jesus wants her to repent of her sin, He knows she will not be perfect, but He is commanding her to repent.

In 2 Timothy 2:24-26 …

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

Repentance is granted by God to those that are genuinely saved. This is only possible by His grace, not by our works.

In John 1:12-13 …

Verse 12: But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Verse 13: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

God gives us a new nature to respond.

Sinners will repent of sin when they call on the name of Jesus and believe in Him for salvation alone. Even faith is a gift. The Holy Spirit controls the divine work of salvation.

In John 5:21 …

Verse 21: For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

In John 6:44 …

Verse 44: No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Finally, without repentance, Chirst will remove your lampstand… In other words, Christ is warning His Church that without genuine repentance, He will remove their testimony as a church. He is the head of His Church (Col. 1:18). This is a call for churches to repent.

Without growing weary, you have persevered and endured many things for the sake of My name. But I have this against you: You have abandoned your first love. Therefore, keep in mind how far you have fallen. Repent and perform the deeds you did at first. But if you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place … (Revelation 2:3-5)

What must I do to be saved?


Admit to God that you are a sinner. All persons need salvation. Each of us has a problem the Bible calls sin. Sin is a refusal to acknowledge God’s authority over our lives. Everyone who does not live a life of perfect obedience to the Lord is guilty of sin. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Since none of us is perfect, all of us are sinners (Rom. 3:10-18). The result of sin is spiritual death (Rom. 6:23). Spiritual death means eternal separation from God. By God’s perfect standard we are guilty of sin and therefore subject to the punishment for sin, which is separation from God. Admitting that you are a sinner and separated from God is the first step of repentance, which is turning from sin and self and turning toward God.


Believe in Jesus Christ as God’s Son and receive Jesus’ gift of forgiveness from sin. God loves each of us. God offers us salvation. Although we have done nothing to deserve His love and salvation, God wants to save us. In the death of Jesus on the cross, God provided salvation for all who would repent of their sins and believe in Jesus. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).


Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord to others. After you have received Jesus Christ into your life, share your decision with another person. Tell your pastor or a Christian friend about your decision. Following Christ’s example, ask for baptism by immersion in your local church as a public expression of your faith. “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Rom. 10:9-10).


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