Repentance, A Gift From God
Can you ever get “holy” or good enough to come to God? This is not the definition of repentance. Repentance does not mean that “you change your ways and get good enough to be saved”. Repentance means you change your mind about your sin and need for the Savior. If you’ve reached a point in which you feel a calling to be saved, and you’re sorry for the sin in your life, that’s repentance. Of course, repentance is absolutely necessary for salvation; you must first feel the need for the Savior before you can come to the Savior. The need you feel is repentance. You drink water because you’re thirsty, you eat bread because you’re hungry, you come to Jesus because of your desire for righteousness, your need for help in your sinful condition, your desire to get right with your Creator, this is repentance.
Repentance does not come from within yourself, it simply can’t because people are totally depraved. (Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?) The human heart, because of the fall of man and our sinful nature ruling our very being, could never come to God in repentance. Repentance is a gift from God. (2 Timothy 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;) God is the One who induces repentance, that is being sorry for our sin and our need for a Savior.
Many people seem confused about the fact that salvation from start to finish, comes from God. The Bible teaches God through His grace gives us repentance, faith and righteousness, and these three equal salvation. (God induces repentance, God gives faith in Jesus, repentance plus faith equal the free gift of righteousness). Sometimes these three elements come all at once, in an instant. For some people they come at a slower pace, but either way, salvation is achieved. Some come to God with such sorrow that emotions such as sobbing and crying are manifest, while others have absolutely no emotions. All people have different personalities and characteristics, and emotions play no role in repentance or salvation. Emotions, in fact, can sometimes be misleading. Salvation is achieved through faith, and faith is not made valid through emotions, as all people are different.
Some may know the exact date of their repentance and salvation, others do not. For some salvation comes in an instant, while for others, it is a process, and they don’t know the exact time and date when they put their total trust in Jesus Christ, they just know they have.
Note that the gifts from God are given freely of Him. A person can still refuse to accept the gifts. In other words, God induces repentance, but it is up to the individual to heed to the inducement of God.
Just as a sculpture uses harsh tools to make a piece of stone into a work of art, so sometimes God may bring tragedy in our life to bring us to repentance. God loves all men. God created all men to spend eternity with Him.
(2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.)
If you feel a need for the Savior, Jesus Christ, that is God dealing with you through repentance, you must then accept the gift of faith, and put that faith totally in Jesus, then righteousness is added to your account, thus making you saved! Then the Spirit of God indwells you and begins the process of sanctification, or conforming you into the image of Christ. First you get saved, THEN the Holy Spirit, works on battling your old nature.