Repentance means to have sincere regret and remorse for sin. It also means to turn from evil and do good. (Jeremiah 26:3, Mark 1:4)
The Bible teaches that salvation is bestowed upon the one who confesses trespassing against God’s law and putting trust in the salvation provided by God. Under the New Covenant that salvation is provided through faith in Jesus Christ. Unless there is repentance there is no salvation. (Luke 13:3-5)
Belief in Jesus as in intellectual assent is not faith. May I repeat this. Belief as in intellectual assent is not faith. At least not Biblical faith. It is not enough to believe something in order for it to apply to you.
I can believe that soap will clean my body but unless I apply that soap it will have no effect on me. The same is true for salvation. One must receive Jesus through both repentance and faith.
The devil believes in Jesus. He knows Jesus is God who came in the flesh to save mankind but that does not save him. Why? Because he has an unrepentant heart. He is still in his sins and can never be saved. (James 2:19)
This is the same for people who believe in Jesus as Savior but are still in their sins. Salvation means to be saved. Saved from what? Sin! If one still lives in sin then that person is not saved. Why? Because there is no repentance. ( Romans 6:2)
Some Christians battle over the faith and works argument because they leave out a major prerequisite for salvation to occur in the first place. Jesus specifically said that if you do not repent you will perish which means to be eternally lost. ( Luke 13:3)
If one is really saved according to the Bible they will produce godly fruit. (Matthew 3:8-10, )
Works in and of themselves don’t save but works revealing godly fruit is the evidence of having been saved. (James 2:18)
When repentance comes to the heart through conviction or convincing of sin by the Holy Spirit then salvation can occur. Sorrow for sin is a prerequisite for faith to come. How can you reach out to the Savior to save you unless you know you need saving? ( 2 Corinthians 7:10)
To mentally assent to Jesus Christ as the Savior is the first step towards salvation BUT does not constitute salvation in and of itself.
The salvation equation is as follows. GOD reaches out by grace which is undeserved mercy to those who believe in Jesus as the Saviour and repent of their sins. Then faith comes to the heart to trust in the Saviour for salvation.
Biblical faith is not a human quality. To have Faith in God cannot come by one’s own ability. You can reason to believe with the mind in Jesus Christ but you cannot fully trust, rely upon with confidence in Jesus Christ the Savior without the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 10:17 John 14:6 )
That is where the confusion doctrinally lies. Mental assent is mistaken for faith. The Greek word PISTIS for faith is based on relationship. It is not acknowledging something to be so.
This is why Jesus said in the Bible that MANY will say to him in that day. “Lord, Lord did we not do all these things in your name? Then Jesus will reply “I don’t know you.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
This is why James said. “I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:14-26)
A truly saved person will desire to live according to Biblical protocol. They will desire to be free from sin. They will not love the world or anything in the world. They will be constantly seeking God’s will for their life. (1 John 2:15-17)
If you are still living in your sins it’s best to be honest with God and ask him to bring you to the end of yourself where you hate your sin and want to give it up.
Perhaps, as Paul says, God will be merciful and grant you repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. (2 Timothy 2:25)