Section 6: Salvation – Part 1
Week 3: Conversion – Turning to Christ in Faith
Day 4: Saving Faith Includes Repentance
Thus far we have focused on faith as the way we take hold of what Christ has done for us. But what are we supposed to make of passages like Acts 2:37:38 where Peter tells the crowd to repent and be baptized in order to have their sins forgiven? Did Peter make a mistake? Or what about 2 Cor. 7:10 where Paul describes a repentance that leads to salvation? If we’re saved by faith, what’s all this talk about repentance?
Peter and Paul aren’t teaching anything in these verses that is inconsistent with our being saved by faith. That’s because repentance and faith are really flip sides of the same coin. When we come to see and understand the severity of our sin, we naturally turn from it in repentance and to Christ in faith. Faith and repentance, therefore, can be used interchangeably in the New Testament to describe one and the same act.[i]
As Wayne Grudem explains,
“When we turn to Christ for salvation from our sins we are simultaneously turning away from the sins we are asking Christ to save us from. If that were not true our turning to Christ for salvation from sin could hardly be a genuine turning to him or trusting in him.”[ii]
Remember God isn’t just interested in saving us from hell. He wants us to once again be his image bearers. The offer of salvation, therefore, includes an offer to become the people we were intended to be. And sin has no part in God’s plan for us. To embrace the offer of salvation, therefore, includes embracing that goal, which necessarily involves turning away from sin.
Read Acts 2:14-48.
What is your understanding of the relationship between faith and repentance? How does repentance relate to the gospel message?
[i] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Doctrine, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House (1994), 715-716.
[ii] Ibid., 713.