Greg Gilbert concludes his overview of the four essential elements with his discussion on Response-Faith and Repentance.  The two previous posts have dealt with faith.  This final post on the elements of the gospel will deal with his understanding of repentance.  He says,

If faith is turning to Jesus and relying on him for salvation, repentance is the flip side of that coin.  It is turning away from sin, hating it, and resolving by God’s strength to forsake it, even as we turn to him in faith…Repentance is not just an optional plug-in to the Christian life.  It is absolutely crucial to it, marking out those who have been saved by God from those who have not.

He uses kingship language to demonstrate the necessity of repentance in the life of a Christian.

…to have faith in Jesus is, at its core, to believe that he really is who he says he is-the crucified and risen King who has conquered death and sin, and who has the power to save…Faith in Christ carries in itself a renunciation of that rival power that King Jesus conquered-sin.  And where that renunciation of sin is not present, neither is genuine faith in the One who defeated it.

Then, he carefully states what repentance is not.

Repenting of sin does not necessarily mean that you stop sinning-certainly not altogether, and often not in particular areas, either…But even if repentance doesn’t mean an immediate end to our sinning, it does mean that we will no longer live a peace with our sin.  We will declare mortal war against it and dedicate ourselves to resisting it by God’s power on every front of our lives.

One of his closing comments on this subject is very appropriate and guards against legalism.

We have to remember that genuine repentance is more fundamentally a matter of the heart’s attitude toward sin than it is a mere change in behavior.  Doe we hate sin and war against it, or do we cherish it and defend it?

A good challenge.

As I end this post, I am reminded of Paul’s words to the Corinthians concerning repentance.

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but world sorrow brings death.  2 Corinthians 7:10

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