One must understand that REPENTANCE of one’s sins is essential to become a child of God. Without a person repenting of their sins, there is no forgiveness of sins. Jesus said, “…except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). It could not be any plainer! This also shows the foolishness of the doctrine of “faith only.” If “faith only” were true, then repentance would be excluded. But, Jesus most assuredly included it in his plan of salvation.
The word repent means “to think differently or afterwards, i.e., reconsider, to change one’s mind, to change one’s mind for the better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins.” Repentance is in the mind. It involves a “change of mind.” When one changes their mind, it shows itself in a change of action or life. To simply change one’s action is not repentance. For example, a thief may be placed behind bars which obviously means his action has changed (he no longer steals). But, when released, he continues stealing. However, if a thief changes his mind toward stealing, he will not steal, whether he is placed behind bars or not. The message of John, Jesus and the apostles was one of repentance. “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:1-2). “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). “…I am… come to call…sinners to repentance“ (Matthew 9:13). “And they went out, and preached that men should repent“ (Mark 6:12). “I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth“ (Luke 15:10). “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38). “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…” (Acts 3:19). “God…commandeth all men every where to repent“ (Acts 17:30). “…The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance“ (Rom. 2:4). Unless a person humbles himself before God and repents of every sin in his life, he cannot be forgiven of his sins. Repentance, like water baptism, always comes before forgiveness of sins. Acts 2:38 is so plain that even a child can understand it. two is heaven or hell.