Is Repentance a Requirement for Salvation?

Question

Is repentance a requirement for salvation? I'm having a discussion with a Pastor who said, "Repentance for a gentile is not a requirement for salvation, repentance was required for the Jew for salvation."

Answer

To answer this question, let's first define what is meant by repentance and what is meant by requirement. Let's begin by remembering that we cannot do anything to get ourselves saved. Jesus is the One who saves and salvation is only accomplished by His finished work on the cross.

Because Jesus gets the glory for our salvation, some will say that repentance cannot be any part of it. They wrongly think that repentance is a work. However, the Bible does not support that thinking. Nor do secular or Christian definitions of the word "repent" suggest that repentance is a work.

Secular Definitions

Repentance is the activity of reviewing one's actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs. It generally involves a commitment to personal change and resolving to live a more responsible and humane life. [1]

Repentance: deep sorrow, compunction, or contrition for a past sin, wrongdoing, or the like. Regret for any past action. [2]

Biblical Definitions

Repentance — a turning away from sin, disobedience, or rebellion and a turning back to God (Matt. 9:13; Luke 5:32). In a more general sense, repentance means a change of mind (Gen. 6:6–7) or a feeling of remorse or regret for past conduct (Matt. 27:3). True repentance is a "godly sorrow" for sin, an act of turning around and going in the opposite direction. This type of repentance leads to a fundamental change in a person's relationship to God. [3]

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