Repentance and Faith
We must begin by showing that there are times in the Scriptures when repentance is used exclusively in the appeal of the Gospel.
Sometimes repentance and faith are combined together in the call of the Gospel. A consciousness of personal sin… 2. That sin is a great evil committed against God, for which there is no excuse… 3. Hatred of Sin… 4. Sorrow for sin… [and] 5. A purpose to forsake sin.
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It is interesting to note that Calvin is here describing a second aspect of repentance. However, before getting into the meat of his explanation he is already affirming that this aspect of repentance is a comfort which is produced by faith. Such is the close relationship between repentance and faith. So close, in fact, is this relationship between repentance and faith that Millard Erickson and Floyd Barackman deal with them within the context of a singular category.
For Erickson, faith is the positive aspect of conversion and repentance is the negative aspect of conversion. Joy comes as a result of his salvation. Note, in passing, that Barackman distinctly draws an emotional difference between faith and repentance. Specifically, joy is not a characteristic of repentance. Sorrow, then, would be. He writes,. The change is radical, both inwardly and outwardly; mind and judgment, will and affections, behavior and life-style, motive and purposes, are all involved.
Repenting means starting to live a new life.
Packer here, in the view of Pendleton, would be taking the definition too far. The consensus, then, seems to be that repentance is both a change of mind and an emotionally negative attitude toward that from which one is turning. In this case, the believer is turning from his sin and turning to Christ. That turning from sin involves a despising of it in light of what the sinner is turning towards, namely, Jesus Christ. The turning away from sin is repentance, and the turning toward Christ is at least one aspect of faith.
We will see next that the relationship between these two is an interesting one. We have seen that both faith and repentance, according to the Scriptures, are directly connected to the salvation of the believer. Sometimes the Gospel is presented in such a way where one or the other of these two elements is presented as essential for justification. Further, we have seen that in some cases both are presented together as a means of salvation. What are we to make of these Biblical examples?
Should we contend that in some situations faith is what saves, and in other situations it is repentance?
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Are they both one and the same and this is why they are used interchangeably? If so, why then are they, at times, both used together as if they are distinct? If they are distinct, which comes first, faith in Christ or repentance from sins? Each of these questions have a wide range of answers. First, it seems appropriate to discuss whether or not repentance and faith are nothing more than the same thing being spoken of two different ways.
Can true repentance exist without faith? By no means. But although they cannot be separated, they ought to be distinguished. So, whether intending to or not, Barackman seems to communicate that repentance is a subset of saving faith. Abhorrence of one's past life, because of the love of Christ which has pardoned it. Avoidance of present sin, because not one's own, but bought with a price. Resolution to live henceforth like Jesus.
Faith & Repentance
This is the only repentance we have to preach and to practise: not law and terrors, not despair, not driving men to self-murder — this is the sorrow of the world, which worketh death: godly sorrow is a sorrow unto salvation through Christ. That is, trust in Christ. This goes hand-in-hand with repentance. Neither will be of any use without the other.
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Sam Storms: Oklahoma City, OK > Faith and Repentance
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