Repent “To” Believe 2B Saved
(We are saved by believing, not repenting; but a sinner wouldn't believe unless they repented, i.e., changed their mind)

By David J. Stewart | January 2014 | Updated November 2018

       Let me give you a wonderful illustration of repentance and belief to be saved. Let's say that you board a plane in Michigan and fly to Hawaii. While you're flying toward Hawaii, you're leaving Michigan behind. They are not two separate activities; but rather, both happen at the same time. They happen simultaneously. Likewise, salvation is all one deal, that is, repentance and faith are inseparable and happen together as one act. When you by faith turn toward Jesus Christ to be forgiven of your sins, you have turned your back against sin.

We don't repent AND believe (as errantly taught by the Lordship Salvation crowd); but rather, we repent TO believe. In other words, the object of repenting (i.e., changing our mind) is to believe the Gospel. Repentance is not a separate act from believing, where a person decides to forsake the ungodly world and cease from deliberate sinful bad habits. Such behavior modification would constitute manmade REFORMATION, which has no part in God's plan of salvation.

Eternal life is a free gift (Romans 6:23), which came at a very high cost to God (John 3:16). Some people talk about “cheap grace.” Oh no my friend, it wasn't cheap, it is free! Grace is completely free to humanity, because Jesus paid for it with His precious and priceless blood! Repentance is necessary for salvation, but it simply refers to the work wrought in a person's soul by God's LAW, which ultimately brings us to Christ to be saved by GRACE (Galatians 3:24-26). Repentance is the change of mind we experience as we go from the schoolmaster of LAW to God's saving and wondrous GRACE!

Repentance is necessary for salvation. No one ever got saved who didn't repent. No one ever got saved who didn't know that he was a sinner. No one ever got saved who turned over a new leaf, but didn't place their trust in the Gospel (i.e., Christ's death, burial and resurrection). Both the SIN question and the SON question must be dealt with; that is, repentance and faith. We are the SINNERS and Jesus is the SAVIOR!!! Repentance is admitting my SINNERSHIP. It is acknowledging before God that I am as guilty a sinner as He hath declared me to be in His holy Word. Evangelist John R. Rice (1895-1980) correctly states...

“Repentance is inseparable from faith. The Greek word for repentance in the Bible simply means a change of mind; that is, a wholesome change of attitude toward sin and toward God. One who turns his heart to trust in Christ has, naturally, turned his heart away from the love of sin.”

SOURCE: Dr. Rice, Here is My Question...; pg. 248, by Dr. John R. Rice, Sword Of The Lord Publishers; ISBN: 0-87398-158-8

Bravo! Dr. Rice further Biblically states...

“The change in your heart, sinner, is God's part and you may be sure He will attend to that. Your part is to simply believe in Him. Whatever else is necessary in your eternal salvation, the Lord attends to when you trust in Him, or believe in Him. One who believes in Christ has repented.”

SOURCE: What Must I DO To Be Saved, by Dr. John R. Rice

A person doesn't have to clean up their life of sin to be saved; but rather, God helps them clean up their life AFTER they are saved. There is such a thing as “growing in grace” (1st Peter 2:2). There is such a thing as “babes in Christ” and “carnal believers” (1st Corinthians 3:1). SONSHIP is immediate, which happens the very moment that we admit we are a sinner and believe on the Gospel; however, SANCTIFICATION is a process and takes a lifetime. DISCIPLESHIP (Luke 14:27) and FELLOWSHIP (1st John 1:6) are not SONSHIP (John 1:12). All God requires of anyone to be His child is that you and I acknowledge that we have sinned (i.e., breaking God's commandments), and then place our childlike trust in the redemptive work of Christ.

It is the precious, literal, physical, blood of Jesus sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat in Heaven that washes our sins away. ...

1st Peter 1:18-19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

Hebrews 12:24, “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”

Hebrews 9:12, “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”

Read the following precious Scripture, which teaches that Jesus is the Savior of all men, SPECIALLY of them that believe.

1st Timothy 4:10, “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.”

Jesus is everyone's Savior. The question is have you received Him as your Savior.

John 1:12, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

Let us ponder the words of Jesus, who said in John 6:37, “...him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Any sinner who sincerely wants to be saved, may be saved, if he'll simply come by way of the cross of Jesus. Jesus didn't say that He would turn someone away who is covetous or a drunkard; but rather, He promised not to turn anyone away for any reason!!!

Dr. Oliver B. Greene (1915-1976) of THE GOSPEL HOUR correctly teaches that BELIEVING is sufficient enough to save a man:

I know there are people who cry long and loud that believing on Jesus is not sufficient for salvation. It is true that intellectual belief is not saving faith. There are many who believe that a Man named Jesus lived—but that is not enough. Many believe that He was a great Teacher, a great Preacher, a great Healer—but that is not enough. Believing that He died a martyr's death is not believing unto salvation. James 2:19 tells us that even the demons believe—and tremble; but demons are not saved. The demons believe in that they know there is a God—omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. They know that one day they will be cast into the lake that burns forever with fire and brimstone.

But I declare on the authority of God's Word that believing as it is taught in the Word is sufficient to 'born' a sinner into God's family! Believing on Jesus for salvation means trusting Him wholly, entirely, placing your life and your eternity in His hands. Believing on Jesus for salvation is resting your case on Him, believing that He is able and willing to do all that He promised. Nothing less will bring about the new birth—and if you hope to enter heaven you MUST be born again. You must be born of the Word and of the Spirit.

If you have not believed on Jesus unto salvation, I urge you to believe NOW. Receive Him by faith NOW. Take Him into your heart by faith, and you will pass from death unto life eternal—for the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

SOURCE: Dr. Oliver B. Greene, “BELIEVE And BE SAVED,” pp. 53-54; ©1970, THE GOSPEL HOUR, INC.)

Repentance And Faith In Acts 20:21 Are Not Separate Events

Acts 20:21 does not teach two separate actions as some preachers errantly teach. In other words, we don't repent AND believe, we repent TO believe!

“Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Here is a quote from Dr. Curtis Hutson, with a quote which he provides from Dr. John R. Rice (1895-1980)...

In an article in THE SWORD OF THE LORD, Dr. John R. Rice said:

      “Sometimes the preacher does not himself fully understand the plan of salvation. He thinks of salvation as a process. First, there is a period of conviction, then a period of repentance, then an act of faith.”

He [Dr. John R. Rice] went on to explain that when one trusts Christ as Saviour he also repents.

Dr. Rice is absolutely right. Faith and repentance are the same; they are not two separate decisions. One cannot trust Christ as Saviour without repenting or changing his mind. The very fact that he trusts Christ for salvation shows that he has changed his mind regarding sin, salvation, and God.

If one book of the Bible had to be considered “the salvation book,” it would have to be the Gospel of John. The Gospel of John is printed and distributed more than any other book of the Bible. The purpose of this book is given in John 20:31, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

According to this verse, the whole purpose of the Gospel of John is that men might believe that Jesus is the Christ and believing they might have life through His name. In other words, it is written that men might be saved. Yet “repent” or “repentance” is not used one single time in the Gospel of John. On the other hand, "believe" is used more than ninety times in the twenty-one chapters.

SOURCE: Repentance: What Does the Bible Teach?

Curtis Hutson and John R. Rice are 100% in AGREEMENT on repentance! 

“Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Acts 20:21 does not teach two separate actions at all! Repentance and faith are shown as the same thing in this verse. It's called Granville Sharp's Rule. Any time two singular Greek nouns appear in a sentence and are connected by the conjunction “and” (kai Greek) and the definite article “ho” precedes the first noun, but not the second, they both mean the same person! This means that the appositive, “our Lord Jesus Christ,” is referring to “God” in the first clause! Rendering this into the sentence it is then to be read as follows:

Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, (“EVEN”) or (“that is”) faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Faith and repentance are the same event according to Greek grammatical rendering of this verse. If we need to be right about anything in the Bible, it is SALVATION. It's like buttoning a shirt; that is, if you get the first button wrong then all the other buttons will be wrong too. If we are wrong on repentance we will be wrong on everything else. Biblically, we repent TO believe, we don't repent AND believe.

The ONLY thing that you need to repent of to be saved is whatever it is that's been keeping you from coming to Christ to be saved.

Repentance and faith are as simple as the beautiful illustration I presented to you at the beginning of this article. You cannot travel toward your destination without at the same time departing from your origin. Likewise, you cannot turn toward the Lord in faith without simultaneously turning your back to the love of sin in your life. In other words, when a person comes to Christ to be saved, it evidences that there has been some degree of genuine repentance. Repentance and faith are not two steps to salvation; but rather, two parts of one step. Salvation is NOT a process, as Dr. John R. Rice eloquently stated in the earlier quote I shared with you.

Here is one of the best quotes that I've found on repentance, by Dr. Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951):

“Which comes first, repentance or faith? In Scripture we read, 'Repent ye, and believe the gospel.' Yet we find true believers exhorted to 'repent, and do the first works.' So intimately are the two related that you cannot have one without the other. The man who believes God repents; the repentant soul puts his trust in the Lord when the Gospel is revealed to him. Theologians may wrangle over this, but the fact is, no man repents until the Holy Spirit produces repentance in his soul through the truth. No man believes the Gospel and rests in it for his own salvation until he has judged himself as a needy sinner before God. And this is repentance.” (Except Ye Repent, p. 16)

Also, Dr. Hal Lindsey has repentance Biblically correct, who states:

“Repentance, as it relates to Christ, means to change our minds about Him, who He is and what He's done to provide forgiveness, and deliverance from our sins. When we place faith in Jesus as having taken our place personally on the cross and borne the penalty due our sins, then we're automatically repenting, because we couldn't accept Him in this way without having to change or minds in some way concerning Him.” (From the Liberation of the Planet Earth, by Hal Lindsey. (p. 133).

The Great Meaning Of The Word “METANOIA”!

Mark 1:15 — “Change Your Mind” And Believe The Gospel

In the Gospel of John we find the words “believe” and “believed” mentioned 85 times, but the word “repent” is not mentioned even once. Clearly, the person who believes on Christ has repented, and the person who repents has believed. Repentance is a change of mind that compels a person to place their faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ to be saved, and these things happen at the same time. Let's replace the word “Repent” in Mark 1:15 with the Greek meaning of repentance, which is “a change of mind.” So instead of saying, “Repent, and believe the gospel,” we could literally say, “Change your mind and believe the gospel.” This is the Biblical interpretation of Mark 1:15.

It is a false understanding to teach Mark 1:15 as turning away from the act of sin (e.g., drunkenness, stealing, adultery, et cetera) as a prerequisite to placing one's faith in Christ. That is known as the heresy of “Lordship Salvation.” Christ is already the Savior and Lord of all mankind. You don't make Jesus Lord, He is Lord. Albeit, we each must receive Christ as our Savior to be saved; and then as our Lord as we follow Christ in fellowship and discipleship. Contrary to wrong teaching, you don't have to receive Christ as “Lord” to get saved. It is a false gospel to say that “Jesus is either Lord of all or He's not Lord at all.” That's a false statement.

King Solomon was saved, but he was backslidden. 1st Kings 11:4, “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.” It is possible to be saved, but not sold out for God. We read in John 12:42 that “many” of the Jewish chief rulers “believed” on Jesus as the Christ, but they were afraid to tell anyone. Clearly, these rulers DIDN'T honor Christ as the Lord of their life. Verse 43 plainly tells us that these saved rulers loved the praise of men more than from God. John 12:42, “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue. For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

What has happened in our church circles is that many people are sick and tired of shallow believers who continue in open sinfulness; so they have perverted the gospel message in an unscriptural attempt to force people to depart from a lifestyle of sin. Granted, many people who profess to be saved aren't; but we must never alter or change the gospel to cater to our human agendas, or to force people to live an upright life. The manner in which a person lives has absolutely nothing to do with salvation.

Dr. Jack Hyles 100% correctly and Biblically states concerning repentance...

“Repentance is not some little silly, 'I'm sorry.' Repentance is not simply a fear of God. Repentance is not a monk fasting and afflicting his body in a monastery. Repentance is not remorse because of sin's consequences. Repentance is not penance performed before the pope as you kiss his toe... Repentance is not being sorry for what I've done wrong. It is not confessing one's sins to a priest. It is not just conviction of sin. It is not the signing of a pledge of abstinence. Repentance is that thing when you come before God and see yourself as you are, and see Him as he is, and say with Isaiah 'Woe is me, for I am unclean!'” —Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001), a quote from the timeless MP3 sermon, THE GOODNESS OF GOD LEADETH TO REPENTANCE!

Pastor Bob Gray Sr. at the Longview Baptist Temple church in Texas correctly preaches . . .

“Repentance means to change your mind—change your mind—change your mind about how you want to get to Heaven to what God says you've got to do to get to Heaven. If you've got to repent of all your sins, you're still headed for Hell tonight.” —Pastor Bob Gray Sr., a quote from the awesome MP3 sermon, Why You Should Be A Part Of A Growing Church

In his excellent book, I NEVER KNEW YOU, Michael Patrick Bowen states . . .

You can live for Christ, you can love Christ, you can serve Him with all your might, time, talent and wealth. You can pray to Him, read your Bible, get water-baptized, join a church, witness to people, and do every wonderful work contained within the realm of Christianity, but if you fail to trust Jesus Christ alone for your salvation, He will “dump” you.

SOURCE: I NEVER KNEW YOU (.pdf), by Michael P. Bowen; by Barbour Books, © 2009; page 77.

Beware of the false teaching in most churches today, even many Baptist churches, which says that you have to forsake sinful living to get saved, commit your life to Christ and surrender fully to Christ's Lordship. Satan loves to corrupt the gospel by either requiring good works to be saved, or by subtracting bad works to be saved. Whether good or bad, both are DEAD WORKS! (Hebrews 6:1).

Michael Patrick Bowen correctly explains Biblical repentance...

“Repent, as Christ meant it to be in terms of salvation, means to change your mind from trusting in what you can do for God to trusting only in what He can do for you.”

SOURCE: Michael Patrick Bowen, a quote from the awesome book, “I NEVER NEW YOU” (Page 114)

Don't Try To Work Out God's Salvation

Also, notice in the Bible that we are admonished to “WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION” and not GOD'S SALVATION. Philippians 2:12, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” We have no part in God's salvation. John 1:12-13, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Dr. Jack Hyles does an excellent job explaining this awesome truth in his timeless book, “SALVATION IS MORE THAN BEING SAVED.”

Christ died, that's history; Christ died for me, that's salvation. Salvation is as simple as coming to Christ as a sinner to be saved. It's easy to be saved. Anyone is saved who receives Christ's sacrifice on the cross, as full-payment for their sins, believing that Jesus resurrected the third day in His glorified physical body (Philippians 3:21). JESUS IS RISEN! We serve a risen Savior!!!

Salvation is a miracle of God in response to our faith. Salvation is a miraculous, new, second, spiritual, BIRTH! Salvation is instant, that is, being born-again is immediate. However, sanctification takes a lifetime. Discipleship is an ongoing process, so also is fellowship; but Sonship is instant the second that we believe the gospel, it is irrevocable. We are immediately SAVED BY FAITH IN THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CRUCIFIED, BURIED AND RISEN; but living a consecrated life (discipleship) requires time, until a believer grows in grace to the point where they are ready to DIE WITH CHRIST, RISE WITH CHRIST and ASCEND WITH CHRIST. ...

The Saved, Crucified, Resurrected And Ascended Life
(awesome MP3 sermon by Dr. Jack Hyles - Read Article)

So we see that a person's POSITION (salvation) in Christ is different than their CONDITION (discipleship) in Christ!

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so
your minds should be corrupted from the
simplicity that is in Christ.”
—2nd Corinthians 11:3

Where The Burden Rests In Salvation!

John 6:40—The Will of God and Salvation

The One Thing That Determines Salvation

3,000 Converts Baptized In One Day!
(beware of anyone who criticizes easy-believism and immediate baptism)

“Repent, as Christ meant it to be in terms of salvation, means to change your mind
from trusting in what you can do for God to trusting only in what He can do for you.”

SOURCE: Michael Patrick Bowen, a quote from the awesome book, “I NEVER NEW YOU” (Page 114)

Good Works Or Bad Works, Both Are Works!

Mark 1:15: “...repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

It's Not The Shedding Of Jesus' Blood That Saves, But The 'SPRINKLING' Of That Shed Blood

Ye Must Be Born Again! | You Need HIS Righteousness! | Believe The Gospel