What is repentance, and is it necesarry for salvation?
The word “repent” is derived from the Greek word “metanoeó” which literally means to “change ones mind or purpose.” In Matthew chapter 4, after Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan, it says, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17). There are over a dozen New Testament passages alone that command us to repent and many of them are in the context of salvation. So is repentance a prerequisite to salvation (Acts 20:21), or is faith alone enough (Ephesians 2:8-9)? Biblically speaking, one cannot turn to God without first turning from himself and his sinful ways. Repentance in its initial seed means to change ones mind or purpose. When a sinner is awakened to his sin through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, they can either choose to stay in their sin or they can turn to the Lord in faith (repent). Repentance is not a work we do to be saved, but rather a natural reaction produced by God when we come to the awareness of our sin and have a desire to be saved. In Acts 16:31 when the jailer became aware of his sin and dire need for being saved he showed he was repentant by asking Paul and Silas what he needed to do to be saved. They did not tell him to repent, becasue he had shown by his actions that he was already repentant (he had changed his mind about who Jesus was). They simply told him to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith alone is all we need for salvation (Romans 3:28; 4:5; 5:1; Galatians 2:16; 3:24; Ephesians 1:13; Philippians 3:9 and several other passages), but no one can claim to have faith in Jesus without first turning from self to God. Faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin, you can’t have one without the other. If you have true faith you will have already repented and if you repent your only hope is to have faith In Jesus. Biblically speaking, true repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action (turning from sin to Christ). After salvation, repentance becomes something we do daily. We will always be repenting, and as we grow closer to the Lord our repentance will grow and mature.