Repentance Must Be With Faith

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Repentance Must Be With Faith

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Jesus Christ set an important pattern in His preaching when He regularly called on hearers to “repent, and believe” (Mark 1:15 Mark 1:15And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.
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). The apostle Paul also preached “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21 Acts 20:21Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
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Repentance—turning back to obeying God after rebelling against Him—begins with crying out to God for forgiveness of our sins and our accepting Jesus Christ as personal Savior. This includes trusting in Christ’s sacrifice as bearing the penalty of our sins—believing that by it our repentance is accepted and our sins are forgiven. Repentance is a decision based not on emotion only, though as Acts 2:37 Acts 2:37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do?
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shows, heartfelt emotion is certainly an important part. It is a decision and commitment to sincerely obey God through faith in Jesus Christ. Christ’s righteousness becomes ours through faith in and from Him (Philippians 3:8-9 Philippians 3:8-9 8 Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
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; Romans 8:1-4 Romans 8:1-4 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
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This faith is a deep belief and trusting confidence in God (Hebrews 11:1 Hebrews 11:1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
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). And we can’t come to God without it: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6 Hebrews 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
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). Such faith will lead to obeying God. It not only trusts in initial forgiveness of sin, but it recognizes that God will help the faithful to remain faithful.

While repentance involves sorrow over past sins, it includes joy over God’s forgiveness and the blessings and future He promises. In Mark 1:15 Mark 1:15And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.
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, quoted in part earlier, Jesus specifically called for people to “repent, and believe in the gospel” —referring to the good news of the Kingdom of God. The expectation through faith of being a part of God’s Kingdom is certainly reason to rejoice—and it motivates those who take it to heart to do God’s will.

After repentance and baptism, God gives His Spirit to us (Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
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). One important result of having the Holy Spirit within us is the development of faith (Galatians 5:22-23 Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
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; 1 Corinthians 12:4 1 Corinthians 12:4Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
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, 9). “The faith of the Son of God” is what we now live by (Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
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, KJV). Indeed, the just (those who are justified or made right with God) live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4 Habakkuk 2:4Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
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; Romans 1:17 Romans 1:17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
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; Galatians 3:11 Galatians 3:11But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
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; Hebrews 10:38 Hebrews 10:38Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
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The converted person continues through repentance and faith to rely on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to cover his or her sins in this lifelong process of overcoming. And through the miraculous help of Christ living in him or her through the Holy Spirit, the Christian is able to grow in God’s way of life, increasingly walking by faith in obedience to God’s law of love (Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
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; Philippians 4:13 Philippians 4:13I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
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; Colossians 1:29 Colossians 1:29 Whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which works in me mightily.
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).

To learn more about the crucial role of faith in the process of transforming your life, read the free Bible study aid booklet  You Can Have Living Faith .