Faith and Repentance

Shannon Baptist Church
101 N.
Broad St
Shannon, Illinois 61078
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written by Pastor David Wood


Faith and repentance work hand in hand. While faith goes far beyond the meaning of repentance and repentance goes far beyond the meaning of faith, the two are joined in their application to salvation and must be considered as a unit.

"Wherever there is true faith, there is true repentance also. Since repentance and faith are but different sides or aspects of the same act of turning, faith is as inseparable from repentance as repentance is from faith."(1)

Both faith and repentance at salvation involve a turning to God alone and renunciation of self-effort. Acts 26:18 describes the way one receives forgiveness of sin; it includes one act that involves two separate aspects:
To open their eyes (faith), and to turn (Repentance) them from darkness to light , and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Faith and repentance effectively work together. By understanding both we gain appreciation for the union between the two.

Repentance in salvation includes three factors.

The acknowledgment factor
The sinner must acknowledge guilt for sin and accept the consequences of that sin For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
Knowing the judgment of God, that they who commit such things are worthy of death (Romans 1:32). One who refuses to acknowledge accountability for the sin reveals he has no faith in the revealed Scriptures, the Word of God.

The attitude factor
The repentant sinner shows genuine remorse for his sin and faith in the one who will forgive his sin. Like David, he expresses and attitude seeking "heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins."(2) David's prayer in Psalm 51 expresses such genuine remorse. David felt the weight of his sin; he knew whom he had sinned against, and he hungered for cleansing and restoration. His attitude expressed a definite remorse for sin.

The volition factor
The sinner expresses the change of his will. By faith with repentance he turns from his own volitional rule to trust in God's provision and authority. Jesus illustrated to Nicodemus the importance of repentance and the volitional factor in John 3:14.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

Nicodemus knew Israel's history detailed in Numbers 21. He knew the people willfully rejected and rebelled against God's provision. God sent a plague of serpents. Many were dying from the snake bites. Nicodemus knew that the serpent represented the sin problem of volitional rebellion. Anyone who turned from his own willful rebellion and believed in God's provision was delivered.

While repentance is the acknowledgment, attitude, and volitional act of turning from, faith is the act of turning to God. The children of Israel were challenge to this aspect of faith in Numbers 21. They had the opportunity to look to God's provision of deliverance. So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)

Faith involves more than intellectual assent. Even the devils believe in God with their intellect (James 2:19). Faith involves more than a stirred emotion. Faith involves more than a temporary need. "Temporary faith is as irrational and valueless as temporary repentance. It perhaps gained temporary blessing in the way of healing in the time of Christ, but, if not followed by complete surrender of the will, it might even aggravate one's sin." (3)

The heart will be moved in saving faith. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:10). True faith also involves the active will. The act of the will receives Christ. 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 (John 1:12). John 1:12 illustrates the decision of one's will as equivalent to belief.

Volitional faith consists of two elements.

First, volitional faith is a surrender of the will admitting the liability of sin and the need for God's provision. Sinful man has to trust God's arrangement for salvation.

Second, volitional faith accepts Christ as the only means of pardon for sin and opportunity for spiritual life.

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. (John 20:31)

Romans 10:13 says, For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

If you have not previously exercised the faith and repentance to be saved, now is the right time. You can simply follow the A B C approach.

A – Admit you are a sinner.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

B – Believe on Jesus
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

C – Call on the Lord for salvation.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)

(1) Augustus Hopkins Strong, Systematic Theology (Philadelphia: The Judson Press, 1907), 836.
(2) Joseph Henry Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1977), 405.
(3) Strong, 837.
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