My message of repentance:
Turn to Jesus!

“They should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.”
                                                         (Acts 26:20 – NKJV)
Since 1999 I have had the privilege of preaching the gospel to the lost with a
ministry team called the
StreetBand ( Over the last year the
Lord has given me insight into the foundational message of repentance and its
place in the gospel. I now preach repentance as a standard part of my gospel
presentation. In fact we have made up a sign “just repent” that we hang in front of
the pulpit when we minister. I believe it to be an incredibly critical message.

Repentance is the message John the Baptist preached when he prepared the way
of the Lord. The message Jesus preached when He first started ministering the
gospel was repentance. Jesus claimed He came to call sinners to repentance (Matt
9:13). He taught that without repentance people will perish (Luke 13:3-5). He
taught His apostles to preach it (Mark 6:12). He commanded it to be preached as a
part of the Great Commission (Luke 24:47). The teaching of repentance is to be a
foundational teaching of the church to new believers (Heb 6:1).

I have come to see that repentance and belief in Christ are synonymous with each
other. In Acts 2:37-38 when the crowd asked what they must do to be saved, Peter
told them to repent. In Acts 16:30-31 when the jailer asked what he must do to be
saved, Paul told him to believe in Jesus. In Acts 20:21 Paul testified he preached
both repentance and faith in Jesus. In Mark 1:15 Jesus preached “repent and

Repentance involves a change of heart and mind that results in a change of
action. In terms of the gospel I have come to understand that New Testament
repentance is not focused on repentance from sins. Repentance from things
cannot save. The criminal who repents and lives a law abiding lifestyle is still guilty
before God of sin and condemned to hell. Instead New Testament repentance at
its core is focused on one sin, the sin of not believing in Jesus. According to the
Bible, those who believe in Jesus will be saved, and those who don’t believe will
perish (John 3:18, 3:36, Mark 16:16). It is this one single sin that people need to
repent of and I believe this is why faith in Christ and repentance are synonymous
with each other.

When we come to believe in Jesus, we have a change of heart and mind in relation
to Jesus. Inwardly we repent.

At the same time there is also a corresponding outward work of repentance. It is a
turning away from unrighteousness and toward living righteously. Belief in Jesus
does not simply mean believing in Him as Saviour, it means believing in Him as
Lord and Saviour (Rom 10:9-10). A Lord is someone who rules over you. Those
under a Lord are called bondservants, literally willing slaves, and they obey. As
Lord, Jesus very plainly calls us to obedience and a life of righteousness (Luke 6:
46). When we do this we naturally bear the works of repentance, which we are
commanded to bear (Acts 26:19-20). I believe these are the works the Bible refers
to when it tells us that faith without works is dead. The works of repentance cannot
save anyone; we are saved by Jesus’ work on the cross and His resurrection.
However if we truly believe in Jesus, we will believe not only that He is our Saviour
but that He is our Lord as well. In response to His Lordship we will submit our lives
to Him and turn from sin. We will turn away from the sins of immorality, sexual
immorality, crime, the worship of other gods, and unbelief, and we will turn to Jesus
and follow Him, abiding in His word and walking in His Spirit. This will lead to
bearing the works of repentance, which rather than saving us, will attest to the fact
that we are saved – that we believe in Jesus which brings salvation.

I do not preach this as a condemning message, but rather a message that brings
freedom, deliverance, and healing as well as eternal life. Repentance is simply a
foundational reality of the Christian life. I confess I am sold on this message; I will
not repent of preaching repentance!

Originally published in Current Blessing Magazine – Summer 2005
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