What Do We Mean by Saved?
Let’s start by defining what it means to be “saved.”
All of us sin and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Jesus paid the punishment of sin for us (John 3:16-17). So to be “saved” means to be set free from the guilt and the punishment of sin by accepting Jesus as our Savior.
What Do We Mean by Repent?
There are two types of repentance in the New Testament.
The first is the Greek verb “metamelomai.” This word is used to show a change of mind, such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word is used to describe the repentance of Judas (Matthew 27:3).
The second type of repentance is the verb metanoeo. When used with the noun “metanoia.” it means to change one’s mind and heart, as the result of knowledge. This is used of true repentance, a change of mind and heart and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised.
How Do We Repent?
There are three major points of true repentance:
1) Repentance consists of a true sense of one’s own guilt and sinfulness.
There are two facts everyone knows. One is that there is a way we ought to act and Two is that we don’t act that way. The first step towards salvation starts with acknowledging the fact that we’ve sinned. We have to be like David in 2 Samuel 12 and cry to God, “ I have sinned against the Lord.”
2) Repentance consists of a confidence of God’s mercy in Christ.
Psalm 51:1 says “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.”
Repentance is not only a sense of sin, but also a confidence that God is willing and able to forgive. We turn from our sin because we know there is a loving God waiting to embrace us. God gives us the option to choose sin or salvation because He wants us to choose Him because we want to, not because we have to. Exodus 34:6 describes God this way: “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”
3) Repentance consists of an actual hatred of sin (Psalm119:128; Job 42:5; 6: 2; Cor. 7:10) and turning from it to God.
God is perfect. We are not. We are sinful. Sin is what separates us from God. This is so tragic because we were created to fellowship with God. This is why we should hate sin. Once we do we want God to “wash away all our iniquity and cleanse us from our sin.”Psalm 51:2. This is where Jesus comes in.
He lived the perfect, sinless life we couldn’t. Then, even though He was innocent, He died on the cross for our sins. Then He rose from the grave. If we accept His sacrifice then when we die God will raise us and we will be in heaven for eternity. The barrier of sin is removed and we then have access to the Lord. “You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household” (Ephesians 2:19).
The Role of Repentance in Salvation
As you can see, repentance is essential to salvation. If you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong then you won’t see any reason for a Savior (see point #1). You’ll probably believe that great lie that says: “I’m a good person. I’ve never hurt anyone.”
If you don’t think God will forgive you then you will see no reason to turn from sin because you stand condemned with no hope (see point #2).
And if have no desire to have a relationship with God you will have no desire to deal with the sin that separates you from Him (see point #3).
What Happens When We Sin After We’re Saved?
Obviously, even after we are saved we still sin. But the difference now is the Spirit of God is working in us and convicting us of the sin.
So now we can apply 1 John 1:9 to our lives. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’
Our continuing sin is always there as a reminder that we need a Savior. And here again is repentance. We confess our sin, are truly sorry for them, and ask Christ to help us commit them no more. When we have this attitude we are on our way to developing, “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16) and are regenerated and renewed by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5-6).