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What is Repentance? Is Repentance Necessary for Salvation?

The common understanding of the term repentance means "turning from sin." However, the biblical definition of repentance is actually different. According to the Bible, the word repent means "to change one's mind." Therefore if one seeks true repentance, then they must actually change their actions as referenced in Luke 3:8-14 and Acts 3:19 of the Bible. In Acts 26:20, "...I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds." as declared. According to the Bible, the full definition of repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action.

What is the Connection Between Repentance and Salvation?

Out of all the books in the Bible, The Book of Acts focuses on many things, but the main thing is repentance in regards to salvation, especially in Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19, Acts 11:18, Acts 17:30, Acts 20:21 and Acts 26:20. When you wish to repent, at least when it comes to your salvation, it means that you have had a change in your mind as it regards to Jesus Christ. This is talked about in Acts chapter 2, and it is referenced in Peter's sermon, the one he gave on the day of Pentecost. In Acts 2:28, the conclusion of his sermon is a call for people to repent. When reading this, you might ask yourself, "Repent from what?" Peter is asking for the people that rejected Jesus in Acts 2:36 to change their minds about Him. He also asks in Acts 2:36 that the people present at his sermon recognize Jesus is the "Lord and Christ". This chapter expresses Peter's efforts in call to the people of his time to change their minds about Christ. He wants them to stop rejecting him as the Messiah and to start having faith in Him as both the Messiah and the Savior.

Just like a lot of things in this world, faith and repentance can be better understood as "two sides of the same coin". According to the Bible, salvation is changing your mind about Christ. You go from rejecting Him to having faith in Him. Until you change your mind about who Christ is and what he has done, it is impossible to fully place your faith in Him as the Savior. Regardless if your repenting from willful rejection or you are repenting from a sense of ignorance and disinterest, it is a change of mind.

One of the most important things to know and understand is that repentance is not a way for us to "earn" salvation. According to John 6:44, the only way you can be pulled to God is by Himself. You can't repent in order to come to him. It is indicated in both Acts 5:31 and Acts 11:18 that repentance is only possible by God's grace. It is only something that He can offer. All of salvation, whether it is repentance or face, is a direct result of God drawing us in and opening our eyes to allow us to change our hearts. In 2 Peter 3:9, it is stated that God's long suffering is what leads us to repentance. Then in Romans 2:4, it states that this also comes from His kindness.

Repentance until salvation does result in work, even though repentance is not work that earns salvation. In the Bible, repentance actually results in a change in behavior. In Matthew 3:8, John the Baptist actually calls the people to "produce fruit in keeping with repentance". According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 5:19-23, and James 2:14-26, a person who has truly repented from rejection of Christ to faith in Him will give evidence of a changed life. In order for you to achieve salvation, you have to repent. In Acts 3:19, repentance is better defined, and it means that you have changed your mind about Jesus Christ. It allows you to turn to God in faith for salvation.

Cary Byrd is the president and founder of, price comparison engine for prescription drugs that enables consumers to get safe access to affordable medications. also provides a free Christian health community that allows patients to learn more about an illness, seek and offer support, pray for one another, save money and connect with other patients and caregivers alike.

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