Summary: What is repentance and how does it fit in God’s plan of salvation?
Over the last couple of weeks have been looking at answering the basic question, “What must I do to be saved?”
Last week we looked at the step of confession. Romans 10:9 gives us the importance of confession as a step to salvation.
From these last two messages we can see that faith alone is not what it takes to enter the kingdom of heaven. Faith is the first step in the process.
Today we are going to look at the third step in God’s plan of salvation. That step is repentance.
On the day of Pentecost, Peter was preaching to the Jews and told them about Jesus whom they crucified; they were pierced to the heart and asked a question. Let’s look at Acts 2:37-38.
Peter’s direct unequivocal answer to them was two-fold, repent and be baptized. Peter was plain and direct, yet today people go to great lengths to explain away the baptism part of verse 38, saying that it is not necessary.
Next week we will look at baptism, but this week we are going to look at repentance as a step to salvation.
As a side note, if you are going to say that baptism is not needed for salvation, then you would also have to say that repentance is not needed either since they are linked with the “and”.
Today I want us to look at:
I. The meaning of repentance.
II. The Makings of repentance.
III. The motivation to repent.
After we look at some of the passages on repentance, you will see that it is an essential step to salvation, no more or no less important that faith and confession.
I. THE MEANING OF REPENTANCE
A. Defining the word repent.
When the Jews were asking Peter what they needed to do in order to be saved, Peter said in part that they needed to repent.
What was he telling them? Was he telling them they just needed to be sorry? Is sorrow repentance?
The word “repent” means to turn away from or to forsake. Repentance is brought on by godly sorrow. We are sorry for sinning against God and other people.
Peter was telling the people that in order for them to be saved, they had to turn away from their old ways of sin and turn toward God.
Repentance involves restitution when possible. Remember in Luke 19:8, Zacchaeus wanted to change his ways, he wanted to forsake his former life of cheating people, part of his change was for him to repay those whom he cheated.
We make a decision to repent we repent toward Jesus. We realize our life is not pleasing to Jesus and we decide to walk with God.
B. Who needs to repent?
1. Repentance is individual.
MARK 6:12 They went out and preached that men should repent.
In Acts 2:38 Peter said that each individual must do. It is an individual decision, he says that “each one of you” needs to repent and be baptized. No parent, no priest, no preacher, no friend can repent for another person.
Many times we overlook our need to repent because we look around us and see people who we think are doing worse than we are.
In Luke 13:1-5 there is a story that illustrates the need for repentance. In verse 3 Jesus says "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Some Galileans were offering sacrifices and Pilate’s soldiers killed them. The people felt that their sins were not as great as those of whom bad things happened to. Jesus was telling them that they ALL needed to repent. Many times we are blinded by thinking that other people are bigger sinners than we are, so we do not think we need to repent.
2. Repentance is inclusive.
All people need to repent. Romans 3:23 tells us that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
ACTS 17:30 "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,
No person is excluded from the need to repent.
2. Repentance is important.
Once again, I go back to the Acts passage in which Peter told them in plain language that they needed to repent.
When you think of the definition of repentance, it stands to reason that it is something a person who wants to give their life to Jesus would do.
How could say you want to follow Jesus and yet not change or want to change your life? How could you not want to please the one you want to serve?