Repentance is unequivocally tied to an experience of salvation throughout the scripture. Jesus said to “repent…and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). God made provision for our salvation through the death of Jesus on the cross. He is willing and ready to forgive us our sins and to give us the gift of eternal life. However, that gift is only given to those who are sorry for their wrong and make a conscious decision to turn away from their sins.
Those that ask God for salvation but do not have godly repentance, will not have a true life-changing experience. There must be a desire above all else to leave sin and follow Christ. Jesus once told a rich, young man who desired to follow Him that he should go and sell all his possessions first. This man’s obedience would have been fruit of repentance and an indication that he was willing to forsake everything for the cause of Christ. Unfortunately, this young man was not willing to turn from the things of this world.
Often people confess their belief in Jesus Christ, and yet they continue in their sins. These people are not truly saved, for salvation is only given to the repentant heart. There might be an initial change of desire, but people that seek salvation without true repentance are plagued with up-and-down experiences. There must be an acknowledgment of wrong done and a godly sorrow for displeasing God. There must be a desire to forsake the sin of the past; if there is not, those same sins will creep back in. People then think that God’s work of salvation was not sufficient. It is not the work of God that is insufficient, it is the lack of repentance prior to salvation. Hence, repentance is of great value to getting saved, for without it one cannot be truly delivered from the power of sin.
The sinner must first open his heart to God and reject all unrighteousness. This paves the way for God to work the miracle of salvation that will enable an individual to walk in newness of life. It is for this reason that Jesus instructed the multitudes to count the cost. Consider what it means to take up your cross and follow Jesus. Give serious thought before making the decision. When you decide that you are willing to go all the way for God in repentance, you open the door to receive the fullness of God’s grace of salvation.