Do you have to repent to be saved?


You have said in your tracts that you must repent of your sins for salvation … this is false!


Jesus said, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).   Jesus said, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5).

When Jesus began His public ministry, the first word out of His mouth was “Repent.”   “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).

When John the Baptist began his public ministry, the first word out of his mouth was “Repent.” “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:1-2)

When the Lord sent the disciples out two-by-two, they preached to the people, “Repent.” “And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two… And they went out, and preached that men should repent.” (Mark 6:7, 12)

When Peter was preaching on the Day of Pentecost, and when the people responded to him by asking him what they should do (to be saved), the first word out of his mouth was “Repent.” “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Peter was used of God to heal a lame man, and then he used the opportunity to preach to the crowd. When it came to the point of telling them what to do to be saved, the first word was “Repent.” “But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:18-19)

When Paul was preaching on Mars Hill to the crowd, and got to the point of telling them how to be saved, he first told them to “Repent.” “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.” (Acts 17:29-30)

Repentance is not works. Repentance is a heart attitude that is brought about by godly sorrow over our sin. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” Repentance is the desire to turn from our vile sin, and to be cleansed by the pure, precious blood of Jesus Christ. A gospel message that does not include repentance (turning from sin) is not a true gospel message. There are many false gospel messages going forth today by churches that tell the lost that they do not have to turn from their sin to be saved. They tell people, “God will accept you just the way that you are.” That is a statement like Satan made in the Garden of Eden to Eve, that has some truth in it, and some lies in it — thus making it all a lie.

The truth is that we cannot clean up ourselves and make ourselves acceptable to God. In that sense, we can only come to God “as we are.” Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God’s standard is absolute holiness. Matthew 5:48 says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” We have all come far short of that standard. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” So we cannot make ourselves acceptable to God, because we are vile sinners with nothing to offer to pay for that sin (only pure, sinless blood could do that, and we were born in sin).

Secondly, the false part of that statement is saying that we can come to God with the attitude, “Well, God, if you will accept me the way that I am, and not expect me to change, then, sure, I will receive you as my Savior.” That is a false gospel, and that is exactly what is being told to a multitude of people out there today. That is not yielding to God. That is trying to make God yield to man and come down to His level. Salvation comes about when we humbly yield to God. Matthew 18:3-4 says, “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

What did Jesus do when dealing with a lost soul? Did He say, “Come to Me as you are. You do not have to change. I will accept you just the way that you are.”? That is not what Jesus did when talking to a lost soul. John 4:9-18 says, “Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.” What did Jesus do here? The woman said that she wanted Jesus’ living water. Did Jesus say, “Okay, then, repeat this prayer after me…”? No, Jesus asked her to go call her husband. Jesus knew full well that she had no husband. Jesus knew full well that she had been married and divorced 5 times, and that she was now just living with a man. Why did Jesus seem to ruin everything by bringing up this woman’s sin? Remember what Jesus said? Jesus said, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3). Jesus said, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5). True salvation only comes when we admit our wretched, sinful condition, and desire that God would cleanse us and give us a new life serving Him.

Contemporary churches today are advertising, “Come as you are! Casual atmosphere!” That is a “Burger King” type of Christianity that is saying, “Have it your way!” No one is ever saved by “Have it your way!” That is not humility and repentance — that is pride and arrogance before Almighty God. Isaiah 57:15 says, “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

The rich man in hell understood that repentance is necessary to salvation and heaven. Luke 16:19-31 says, “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

The Bible is clear — if there is no repentance, there is no true salvation. Jesus said, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3)