Is it really sufficient to believe? Don’t I also have to repent of my sins to go to Heaven? Anything else would be cheap grace…–you have probably thought about this before or have been confronted with similar claims.
But the Bible says:
The Bible clearly says that turning from an evil way, repentance of sin, is works. But works do not save you:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.Ephesians 2:8-9
So you do not go to heaven by repenting of your sins, because that is works, but by believing in Jesus Christ. Eternal life is a gift, it is God’s grace, and grace is undeserved.
What repentance means
The word repentance is nothing more than a synonym for turning around. So if I said: “I was on my way to the store but I repented”, it would mean that I turned around on the way. The context determines what repentance means. It rarely has anything to do with sin in the Bible, because it is God who repents the most in the Bible. But God obviously cannot repent of sins because he has no sin.
How is this related to salvation? After all, Jesus says: “repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Let the context decide what repentance means in this case: It means to believe in the gospel! In other words, conversion from unbelief to faith in the gospel. Or turning from faith in a false gospel to faith in the true gospel. It is a change of heart.
This verse is the most obvious:
For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.Matthew 21:32
So what does repentance mean in this case? Turning from unbelief.
What John preached with his baptism of repentance was faith in Jesus Christ:
Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.Acts 19:4
No, you do not have to repent of your sins to be saved. Anyone who teaches repentance of sins in order to be saved is a false prophet. Because the Bible tells us: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31). Eternal life is a gift that you accept by faith once and for all. Repenting of sins is good works, and by works you can never be justified before God:
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.Galatians 2:16
Sure, it is good to repent of your sins. But this is works, and works won’t save you! Changing your life is something you should do after your salvation–not to remain saved, because you cannot lose eternal life, but out of fear and gratitude towards the Lord.
If you are not 100% sure whether you will go to Heaven one day, please be sure to check out the Bible Way to Heaven:
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