When Peter was preaching the truth about Jesus Christ in Acts 2 he left thousands of listeners asking the same question: “What shall we do now?”
The apostle’s response was simple: “Repent, and . . . be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38).
As a result, 3,000 people were added to the new church that day (Acts 2:41).
Is this the message of most churches today? Does it seem strange that Peter said “repent” instead of “believe”? Actually, Scripture often uses these concepts interchangeably. You see, repentance and faith are really two sides of the same coin: Both are essential for salvation, and each is dependent upon the other.
In terms of salvation, you cannot separate faith and repentance—both happen simultaneously. In order to be saved, you must place faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and that faith decision requires a change of mind (repentance) about your way of life. Yet many people mistakenly believe they must change their way of living long before they can make a faith decision for the Savior. The truth is, repentance does not mean that we must completely change our ways and “clean ourselves up” so we can receive Christ as Lord. As a matter of fact the Bible states that repentance is something that is granted to you by God Himself.
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
2 Timothy 2:24-26
If you’re holding off on a decision for Christ until you think you are “ready” or “worthy,” you’re waiting in vain. Jesus is ready to receive you right now. Only as a child of God will you find the power—His power—to truly become the person you were created to be.