The Gospel, English, p. 16
REPENTANCE IS PROBABLY THE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD WORD IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
WHAT SAVING REPENTANCE IS NOT:
1. Saving repentance is not being sorry for your sins.
2. Saving repentance is not turning from your sins or reforming your life.
3. Saving repentance is not the willingness to turn your life over to God so that He can direct your path.
Saving repentance has absolutely nothing to do with regretting your sins or resolving to turn from them. God is willing to save you just the way you are. The Bible says:
While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
WHAT SAVING REPENTANCE IS:
Saving repentance is to stop trusting in gaining eternal life through religion, religious rituals, or obedience to God’s laws.
The word “repent” comes from the Greek word which means “to change one’s mind.” Those who believe that eternal life can be earned through good works are commanded in Scripture to change their mind or “repent.” They are told to stop trusting in their works, and come to God on the basis of grace through faith alone.
In Matthew 3:7-9 some religious men believed that they were going to heaven because they were descendents of Abraham, the father of the Jewish people. God Himself had chosen the Jewish people and established their religion. These men believed that because they were the right religion that they would go to heaven. John the Baptist told them that they must repent. That is, they must stop trusting in their religion to get them to heaven.