Biblical repentance accompanied with believing is most assuredly part of the message of the gospel.
Here are just a few clear verses.
Mar 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Act 2:37 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? 38 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.
Act 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
Act 3:19 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;
Act 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Clearly repentance is part of salvation. One must understand the difference between a repentance that would be considered a work verses the repentance that takes place in the heart of man in order to place his faith in and believe on Christ for salvation.
Webster 1828 defines repentance as the following:
1. Sorrow for any thing done or said; the pain or grief which a person experiences in consequence of the injury or inconvenience produced by his own conduct.
2. In theology, the pain, regret or affliction which a person feels on account of his past conduct, because it exposes him to punishment. This sorrow proceeding merely from the fear of punishment, is called legal repentance, as being excited by the terrors of legal penalties, and it may exist without an amendment of life.
3. Real penitence; sorrow or deep contrition for sin, as an offense and dishonor to God, a violation of his holy law, and the basest ingratitude towards a Being of infinite benevolence. This is called evangelical repentance, and is accompanied and followed by amendment of life.
Repentance is a change of mind, or a conversion from sin to God.
Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation. 2 Cor 7. Mat 3.
Repentance is the relinquishment of any practice, from conviction that it has offended God.
Of course the dictionary is not authoritative but gives us an idea of the use of this word and is confirmed by context throughout the scripture. I suppose this is also the definition of repentance that has been accepted and preached since the beginning of new testament churches.
The apostle Paul makes a clear doctrinal statement as he is writing a letter of correction to a new testament church.
2 Cor 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
Although this verse may be interpreted to be referencing physical salvation, regardless, we have a clear understanding of what brings about repentance. Whether we are speaking about physical or spiritual repentance, we see how Godly sorry brings repentance.
The preaching of Jonah in Nineveh is a great example of repentance and salvation.
Jonah reluctantly went to Nineveh and preached against their evil ways.
Jonah 3:4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
Jonah preached Gods judgement was pending because of their evil ways. In other words, Jonah preached against their sin.
Then we see the people of the city believed God and repented. This repentance was in the heart and was seen outwardly by their sackcloth. Sackcloth and ashes is seen many times throughout the old testament as a form or mourning, grief and/or sorrow.
Jonah 3:5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
The people of Nineveh then turned outwardly from their evil ways and God changed his course of action. God decided not the overthrow them. Here we see another example of repentance. In this case is was God repenting. God changed his mind and no longer desired to destroy Nineveh.
Jonah 3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
We see some main elements in the salvation of the people of Nineveh. Preaching against sin, repentance in the heart and believing in God. There salvation then manifest if self outwardly as they turned from their evil ways.
Jesus makes reference to this event and compared it to himself.
Matthew 12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
Now we have to ask the question: if the people of Nineveh would not have turned from their evil ways, would God have carried out his judgement upon them? I believe the answer is yes. It would not make sense otherwise. Jonah's preaching would have been in vain. God sparred them because they believed God and had a repentant heart and got saved.
to be continued...
We see in the scripture passages and accounts of those who say they believed in Jesus but not to the saving of the soul.
This type of belief is nothing more than a mental acknowledgment and recognizing who Jesus was. This type of belief did not have a spiritual element of putting your trust in Christ for eternal life in genuine repentance and faith.
Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
Here we see those who “draw back”. Indicating that they followed Christ for a while believing but not fully surrendered in faith to actually be saved. It is not that these individuals lost their salvation, which is not possible, but that they never were born again.
A similar example is found in the parable of the sower. The seed(word of God) that fell upon stony places had no root and withered away.
Matt 13:5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
Jesus explained this parable in the following verses:
Matt 13:20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
Notice it says, he had no root in himself and endured for a while. Similar to Hebrews 10:39, “draw back”.
Also notice it uses the word offended, see Luke 7
The gospel of Luke has this wording:
Luke 8:13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
It states, for a while believe. Indicating that they only believed for a while, hence, stopped believing. Then similar to Matthew and Marks account, Luke uses the phrase, fall away instead of offended.
To help understand certainly the meaning of this parable of the sower we can look at an actual account of those who believed but later is recorded to be sons of the devil. This is found in the book of John, chapter 8.
John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Jesus is speaking directly to Jews who said they believed on him. Jesus knowing their heart begin to confront them.
He says, if ye continue….
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
This offended the Jews that said they believed and they begin to question Jesus. Of course Jesus again knew their heart and he began to deal with their sin.
John 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 37 I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. 38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
Jesus goes on to say in this dialogue with the Jews that their father is the devil. So we have a group of people that said they believed but not to the saving of the soul.
John 8:44 Ye are of yourfather the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
We see another similar account of the multitude of disciples that were following Jesus in John chapter 6. In that chapter, Jesus declares that they believe not and were offended and stopped following Jesus.
This is the type of belief that Paul writes about in 1 Corinthians 15, believing in vain.
1Cor 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
This is similar to the type of religion that James writes about.
James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
Here is another example of those who believed but are did not get saved.
Joh 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:
Joh 12:43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
Mat 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
We see here the factual belief in Jesus but not to the saving of the soul.
With this understanding and biblical examples, we need to be careful just assuming someone is saved if they say that they have believed. Often times, someone may make a profession of faith but without repentance in the heart there is no saving faith. One must be careful not the give someone a false assurance of salvation because that made a profession. The scripture clearly explains how one can know that they are saved and it is not only because they say that they believe.
Now with this understanding we can make sense what Jesus was speaking about in John 2.
John 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. 24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
Remember, Jesus knows the hearts of men.
Jer 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
Heb 6:9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
Jer 32:40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.
Psa 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
Psa 97:10 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
Mat 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
Mat 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
Mat 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
Mat 12:33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
Mat 12:50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
Luk 8:21 And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.
Joh 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Joh 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Joh 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
Joh 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Joh 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Joh 14:24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2Co 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
1Jn 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
1Jn 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
1Jn 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
1Jn 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
1Jn 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
1Jn 2:9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
1Jn 2:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
1Jn 2:11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
1Jn 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1Jn 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
1Jn 2:29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
1Jn 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
1Jn 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
1Jn 3:19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
1Jn 3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
1Jn 3:21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
1Jn 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
1Jn 4:5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
1Jn 4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
1Jn 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
1Jn 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1Jn 4:13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
1Jn 4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
1Jn 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
1Jn 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
1Jn 4:21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
1Jn 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
1Jn 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
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