There’s an ongoing debate regarding the necessity of repentance in the salvation equation. Is repentance really necessary for salvation? I believe that repentance is essential for salvation. Without repentance you merely have a hint of spirituality and the basis for man-made religion and traditions. Let’s look at this a little further.
I think the church by in large has propagated the heresy of a false salvation. We coax people into praying a prayer with no life change, transformation, or revolution of life direction. Please hear me on this discussion; I’m not referring to man’s work or effort in repentance. I’m not talking about working towards perfection, which is a misguided and misunderstood idea of sanctification. I’m referring to repentance at the point of decision.
A simplistic definition of repentance is to “turn” direction. It is a deliberate change of course or pursuit. If we are all sinners (born), then it is necessary for us to change direction. Far too often repentance is referenced in the ongoing struggle between the new and old natures. Repentance as it relates to salvation is the conscious choice to change the direction of a previous pursuit (self) to a new direction in the pursuit of Christ. A salvation decision that doesn’t incorporate repentance isn’t genuine salvation. You don’t add Christ to your life and continue the original pursuit. In genuine salvation, you turn to pursue Him, as He now becomes your life. God isn’t satisfied with just a part of you; He wants all of you. And likewise, you’re not satisfied with just a part; you want all of Christ.
This repentance isn’t a cure for sin. This isn’t a decision for self-righteousness or self-inflicted holiness, that’s what grace is about. While repentance is a decision of the will regarding one’s direction, it is something God does in us. He brings us to the place of repentance. God grants repentance. We are saved by grace through faith. It is a gift that God offers, but it must be accepted. You will still struggle with sin; you are human. Yet, your internal compass is set in the direction of Christ rather than in the former direction of self-pleasure and self-pursuit. It is the decisive turning of one’s life.
Repentance is a necessary part of the equation. God’s moving, our response. He is our life!