“Wherefore, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but declared both to them of Damascus first and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judaea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should REPENT and TURN to God, doing works worthy of repentanc.” [Acts 26:19,20. emph mine seb]
The preaching of the Apostle Paul, from the beginning of his baptism, included repentance and works worthy of repentance. John the baptizer taught the same, [Mt 3:8].
Repentance was Jesus’ teaching and it is taught as a part of preaching Jesus today.
#3, we must REPENT: All quotations are from the ASV
The false teaching of salvation by faith only must deny repentance. If one teaches repentance, as written in scripture, they must deny faith only. What does it mean to REPENT?
The definition of repent is to RECONSIDER, to make a change of heart. Repentance begins in the heart with an examination of your life and ways. However, biblical repentance goes further.
Biblical repentance is preached. Jesus said, ‘EXCEPT ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” [Luke 13:5]. He also said that repentance was to be preached as part of the preaching of the gospel. [Luke 24:47; 5:32; Mar 6:12; Mat 4:17]
Biblical repentance goes beyond a reconsideration in the heart, it includes the penitent to PERFORM the commands of God. Jesus said, “Remember therefore whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent.” [Rev 2:5; cr. Jas 1:22; Luke 3:8; Mat 3:8; Mat 21:28-32].
Repentance is an EMOTIONAL response of sorrow that leads to repentance. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation” [2Cor 7:8-11]. People often accuse the church of Christ of being heartless and legalistic. This is false. Repentance is a very emotional and heartfelt response to our self-examination compared to the scriptures.
There will be NO opportunity to repent after death or upon Christ’s return. Esau could not repent after the blessing was given [Heb 12:17]. The judgement scene clearly shows this, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord…And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” [Mat 7:21-29; Mat 25; Luke 6:46].
Repentance can and must be practiced toward our fellow man, but repenting unto salvation [Acts 2:38] is TOWARD GOD. “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” [Acts 20:21]. The person repenting for salvation is TURNING toward God. “that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance.” [Acts 26:20].