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On other hand, if child realizes that his disobedience has caused his parents to grieve (as God does for our disobedience), and he decides that he is going to do his very best to not break his parents' rules again, we would say that he has shown repentance.
It is same with us when we become Christians. We need to be repentant for our shortcomings toward God, and strive to not repeat our errors in future.
Repentance then, is a change of heart and mind. Unless we change way we live, we have not repented. Unless there is a re-orientation of ethics and values in our lives, there has been no repentance.
Repentance is a command in Bible: "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge world in righteousness by Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from dead." (Acts 17:30,31) It is also a warning. Jesus said, "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3)
The gospel message produces repentance. When Peter was preaching to people on day of Pentecost he said, "Repent and let every one of you be baptized in name of Jesus Christ for remission of sins; and you shall receive gift of Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38) We read in this same account that thousands were added to church that day.
God's love for us also produces repentance in our hearts and lives. You don't need to study Bible very much to realize just how much God really loves us. God's love for His creation, man, is all through Bible. Romans 2:4 brings this into focus: "Or do you despise riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that goodness of God leads you to repentance?"
A person shows that he is not ashamed of Christ, or to be know as a Christian, when he confesses Him before men. We see in book of Romans that confession should be made with mouth: "that if you confess with your mouth Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from dead, you will be saved. For with heart one believes to righteousness, and with mouth confession is made to salvation." (Romans 10:9,10)
We also see that confession should be of Christ, or that we believe that Jesus is Christ. In Matthew, Jesus was asking His disciples who people said that He was. Then we read, "He (Jesus) said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' And Simon Peter answered and said, 'You are Christ, Son of living God.'" (Matthew 16:15,16) It should be before witnesses. "Fight good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed good confession in presence of many witnesses." (1 Timothy 6:12)
And finally, confession should precede baptism. In account of Philip preaching to Ethiopian eunuch we find that Ethiopian made his confession prior to Philip baptizing him. This account is in Acts 8:35-38.
You must come into contact with Christ's death. This is done through baptism. Baptism depicts a death to sin or a coming alive in Christ. It also is a picture of death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
Baptism is commanded by Christ as we see in Mark 16:16: "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." It was also practiced by apostles. In book of Acts (which could also be referred to as book of conversions), there are eight accounts of people being saved. In each account, baptism was part of person or persons being saved. For example, in Acts 2:41 we read this passage, "Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them."
Read each of eight accounts:
Jews on Pentacost .......... Acts 2:36-38
The Samaritans ............... Acts 8:12-13
The Ethiopian Eusuch ...... Acts 8:35-39
Cornelius (1st Gentile) ..... Acts 10:34-48
Lydia .............................. Acts 16:14-15
The Jailor ........................ Acts 16:25-34
The Corinthians ............... Acts 18:6-8
The Ephesians ................. Acts 19:1-5
Paul ................................ Acts 22:16
Baptism brings remission of sins: "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on name of Lord." (Acts 22:16) And also, baptism saves us: "There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism (not removal of filth of flesh, but answer of a good conscience toward God), through resurrection of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 3:21)
Through faith, repentance, confession and baptism we receive salvation promised by God through His son Jesus Christ. But this is not where process stops. In some respects, it is just beginning.
We must continue to live faithfully. Faithful living means continuing steadfastly in apostles doctrine and fellowship, in observing communion, and in prayer. (See Acts 2:42) We should study our Bible. A daily walk through God's word is important to spiritual growth. We should grow in fruit of Spirit. (See Galatians 5:22,23) We should be a soul winner, sharing our faith in Christ with others. We should have Christian virtues. (See 2 Peter 1:5- 8) And we should worship regularly with God's people. (See Hebrews 10:25)
So, what must you do to be saved? The answer, as given in New Testament, is faith (or belief), repentance, confession, baptism, and life-long faithful living. If you don't know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please consider carefully what You have read here. Being a Christian is a wonderful life.
All scriptures quoted are from New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
Stephen Kingery is an author, preacher, teacher and founder of The Home Bible Study Institute.
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