One of the points made by those who downplay the necessity of repentance, is how they define the word repent, saying it simply means to change your mind. Thus, a person doesn’t really need to feel any conviction or grief regarding sin, he just needs to change his mind.
Well, this sort of reasoning doesn’t withstand the test of the scriptures. While repentance is definitely a changed mind, the outworking of repentance definitely has expression of obedience.
Belief without true repentance, which leads to obedience, will not save you. The gospel requires a turning from disobedience to obedience.
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. ~ Peter 1:2
According to the apostle Paul, the Israelites who rejected Christ, did not “obey the gospel” ~ Romans 10:16, and we who believe were set free from sin when we obeyed from the heart. ~ Romans 6:17
Peter tells us that as obedient children, we are not to fashion ourselves according to our former lusts, but as God who has called us, is holy, so we too are called to be holy in everything. ~ See 1 Peter 1:14-16
If a person has not turned from ungodliness, they are not saved. They are deceived.
John the Baptist preached to the people to “bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance…” ~ Matthew 3:8. The New Living Translation says, Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.
True repentance is a turning from disobedience to obedience, and that is the change of mind that true repentance brings.
When Paul confronted the Corinthians about the sin of fornication in their midst, Paul chided them because they had not “mourned.”
This sin in their midst should have griefed the Corinthians, but it hadn’t. Later in 2 Corinthians, Paul speaks about their repentance referring to it as “godly sorrow” which brought about a carefulness within them and clearing of themselves, and an indignation, a reverence, and zeal for what is right. ~ See 2 Corinthians 7:8-11
These are the effects that true repentance has on the soul, and you can’t get this from just a causal changing of the mind. The change of mind that true repentance brings produces these qualities mentioned above.
If a person doesn’t have a passion for doing right – obeying the Lord, their truly has not been the change of mind that true repentance brings.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. ~ James 4:7-10