All people have been offered the most wonderful gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. However, though this gift may be free, it must still be accepted. There are some that have mistakenly believed that salvation is obtained by the mere repeating of a prayer, but the Bible teaches that there are prerequisites to receiving salvation.
Those who acknowledge faith in Christ (John 1:12; 8:24; 20:30-31), express sincere remorse for sin (i.e. repentance – Acts 2:36-38), and are baptized into Christ can obtain salvation by the grace of God (Romans 6:1-7). With this brief definition in mind, here are five lessons on repentance from sin.
- God requires the repentance of sin.
What exactly does God say about sin? Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death.” When God sees sin, He describes it as true death. He sees it as something that can truly kill you. Repentance is serious to God. Sin separates you from God. Isaiah 59:1-2 In fact, Psalm 66:18 says that God will not listen to the person that keeps sin within their heart. Habakkuk 1:13 also says that God is so pure that He cannot even look at evil.
When you begin to understand how God feels about sin, it can help you in seeing the importance of repentance and the place that it has in obtaining salvation. Repentance of sin is not optional. Luke 13:3; Acts 3:19; 17:30; 2 Peter 3:9
- Salvation is conditional.
Many have the misunderstanding that salvation is free, therefore it must not require anything. This is not true. You will find throughout the Bible that many of God’s promises are conditional.
There is a well-known example in 2 Chronicles 7:14. It reads, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Notice the “if-then” construction. This is just one of many examples of this same principle.
You may struggle with this idea and see this as a contradiction. The Bible teaches that salvation is a gift that can only be received through the grace of God, not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). However, there are conditions that God has put in place. Romans 6:1-7
Eric Lyons & Kyle Butt of Apologetics Press make this point in their article. They write, “A gift is still a gift even when the one receiving it must exert a certain amount of effort in order to possess it<.” They provide the context of this point in using the example of having to cash a check that was given by a friend or having to grab hold of a lifeline that was thrown to you. Though you had to put forth some effort, anyone would agree that these are still gifts.
- Repentance leads one to acknowledge Christ with the mouth.
Paul wrote in Romans 10:8-11 that to obtain salvation you need to confess Christ with your mouth. This is illustrated in Acts 8:25-40 where the Eunuch confessed Christ and was baptized. It is critical to the process that you openly acknowledge His lordship in your life. 1 Timothy 6:12 Paul calls this the “good confession.”
- True repentance is expressed through sincere obedience.
Although repentance begins with the confession of the mouth, it does not stop there. Rather, true repentance must be proven through a changed life. one of John’s main messages was “bear fruit worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8).
In other words, prove your repentance with your lifestyle. 2 Corinthians 7:10, Paul reinforces the magnitude of this change again when he wrote that you should “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 8:12:1-2).
This again proves, repentance is expressed through sincere obedience. True repentance is not merely believing, but doing.
- Repentance precedes baptism.
Peter declared in Acts 2:38, “Repent and let everyone of you be baptized.”
Bob Prichard elaborates in this article. In it he writes, “The multitudes cried out at Pentecost, ‘What shall we do?’ Peter did not respond, ‘Pray the sinner’s prayer.’” Rather, Peter tells them to repent and be baptized. Prichard later added, “We will be saved if we do what the believers of Pentecost did.”
Paul even mentions in Acts 22 that he had to submit to the believer’s baptism in order to have his sins washed away.
Lastly, Bert Thompson wrote in another article that the “biblical solution is that the person who has heard the gospel, who has believed its message, who has repented of past sins, and who has confessed Christ as Lord must then—in order to receive remission (forgiveness) of sins—be baptized.” True repentance leads one to desire baptism. 2 Corinthians 7:10; Acts 3:19
although salvation is free, it is also conditional. God has laid out clear prerequisites that need to be followed in order to be saved. God will respond to sincere repentance that is expressed through obedience to His Word. You must respond like those at Pentecost, that you may be saved as they were. You can obtain salvation by holding to these five lessons.
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