Repentance & Faith
We march to heaven on two feet. The one foot is called `repentance’ and the other foot is called `faith.’ Because I believe I repent about a certain sin, habit or attitude. Because I repent I return to learn more for my faith. My faith leads me to do more repentance. Left, right, left, right–one foot forward, then the other–faith and repentance, faith and repentance. This is well illustrated in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. In that allegory Christian repented because the City of Destruction was so bad. He thought again and then read his Bible. That led to faith. Then faith led to repentance which this time led him to leave the City of Destruction. With these two feet of repentance and faith Christian marched forward until he came to the cross and had his sins removed. After than he went forward to the heavenly city, repenting and believing all the way.
One major mistake to avoid is the idea that a certain amount of repentance has to be stored up before a person can believe in Christ outright, once and for all, for salvation. No! The warrant of faith for salvation is God’s command: `Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’ (Acts 16:31). If you give way to the notion that a certain amount of repentance must be present before you can have saving faith, where will that end? Who can possibly tell whether you have done enough rethinking or whether there is enough sorrow attached to your `afterthinking’ or repentance about sin? If you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he is able and willing to forgive you and change you, then that in itself is repentance quite adequate for you to commit yourself to Christ wholly by faith.
–Erroll Hulse, The Great Invitation (England: Evangelical Press, 1986), p. 58.