Repenting of Your Sins Does Not Save You

Repenting of Your Sins Does Not Save You

When it comes to salvation, "Repent of your sins" is a damnable heresy. Repenting of your sins does not save you. It's taught in almost every modern gospel presentation ("repent of your sins and trust in Jesus"), but it's not in the Bible.

Biblically, to repent is to change your mind. Repentance means "a change of mind" or "a change in the inner man" (see metanoia in Greek). If you stole a candy bar or a wad of cash and then repented from stealing, that means you changed your mind about stealing. If this were necessary to be saved, that would mean you must keep the law to be saved, for the law says, "Thou shalt not steal." But Scripture is crystal clear that lawkeeping is not the path to salvation. (Gal. 2:16, Gal. 3:2, 10) Then what is?

We are saved when we believe in Jesus Christ who died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. (1 Cor. 15:1-4)

All have sinned and the penalty for sin is death. The death of Christ on the cross paid for the sin of the whole world (John 3:16, 1 John 2:2). The sin is paid for, but each sinful person must have the righteousness of Christ credited to them. This happens through faith. When we put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, His righteousness is imputed to us which means that in the eyes of God, we are no longer guilty of sin because Jesus took our place and died the death we deserve. (Rom. 4:24, 2 Cor. 5:21) Our sin was put on Christ, and His righteousness is put on us when we believe. It's wondrous and simple! A glorious, eternal-life-giving exchange.

What if I am sorry for my sins? 

Some people think repenting of your sins means to confess your sins or to be sorry for your sins. Even if this were true, it would not save you. Godly sorrow over sin can lead to repentance (2 Cor. 7:9-10) but notice that sorrow comes first; it is not the same thing as repentance which can come after. Next, no one can confess all of their sins. To enter heaven one must be perfect; even one tiny, forgotten unconfessed sin would disqualify you from going in. But even if you managed to confess every last one, you would not be saved by it. Because it is by His mercy we are saved, not by any work of righteousness we have done. (Titus 3:4-7, Is. 64:6) 

Believe. This is what you must do to be saved. (John 3:15-16, John 3:36, John 5:24, John 6:40, Acts 13:39, Rom. 1:16, Rom. 4:5, Rom. 10:4)

"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:18

Now when you believe the gospel, that Christ died for your sin, was buried, and rose again, guess what? You have changed your mind. You've had a change in the inner man. You formerly did not believe, but now you do. You have repented. 


So, is it really that bad? When Aunt Jess, or cousin Sam, or mom or dad, or sweet grandmother Ethel with her spectacles so earnestly urge you to repent of your sins to be saved, is it really all that bad? Maybe they don't have their message perfect, but how many of us do? 

We are warned by Jesus to "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matt. 7:13-14) Notice the words many and few. Christianity is one of the leading major religions of the world. It is a religion of many. Yet Jesus Himself said that few find the way that leads to life—and He is speaking of Himself. He is the only way to the Father. (John 14:4-6) 

The apostle Paul said that even if he—Paul himself, who wrote most of the New Testament—or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you, then let them be accursed. Accursed. (Gal. 1:6-9) This is strong, serious language. We are saved by grace through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ who died for us. It is a message of foolishness to the world, of foolishness to the ones who are perishing. But to those who are saved, it is the power of God. (Rom. 1:16, 1 Cor. 1:17-24) This is the good news we must preach! 

To learn more, I recommend the teaching of Gregg Jackson. 

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