On the nature of true repentance

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

According to Hebrews 6:1 one of the foundational doctrines of Christianity is “Repentance from dead works and faith toward God. These are really two sides of the same coin as neither exists without the other and both occur at Salvation, at the beginning of our life in God’s kingdom. We cannot have repentance from dead works without faith and vice versa; what’s more, they are both the gift of God (see Acts 11:18, 2Ti 2:25 and Ephesians 2:8-9.)

What are “Dead Works”?
Dead works are those actions that, either lead to death or are initiated from a life that is dead in sin. They are described in Galatians 5:19-21 and those who live in dead works WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD (v. 21)

Repentance, according to Scriptures, is the acknowledgment of one’s sin; it is an intellectual understanding, a mental comprehension that one is a sinner; with personal guilt before God because of one’s personal violation of God’s law.

Repentance involves the following components (which are succinctly captured by Jesus in his sermon on the mount) – Matthew 5:3-6

  1. It starts with the recognition of our spiritual bankruptcy (our “lostness”, our sinfulness, our lack of spiritual merit.) This is the “intellectual component” of repentance (v. 3)
  2. The deep remorse, agony and mournful disposition over the recognition of our sinfulness. This is the “emotional component” – (v. 4). NOTE: True repentance is not measured by your opposition to the sin in society or of others; it is measured by your hatred for your own sin.
  3. The deep determination to turn away from your sin and turn to Christ without reservation, without holding anything back. This is the “volitional component” of repentance, it involves your will – vv. 5-6.
  4. Repentance transfers your heart’s allegiance to Christ; without this “complete surrender” repentance has not occurred (Matt. 10:37-38; 22:37-39). In the final analysis, it must be that nothing should come close to, or compete with your love for Christ (Luke 14:25-27)
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