Repentance and Salvation In Scripture – Pt. 1

Ronald R. Shea, Th.M., J.D.


Ron Shea is in the process of updating his site, this is his series on Repentance in Salvation. I am presenting his Repentance article in an ongoing series on Redeeming Moments. I originally found Ron when I was doing my own search on the meaning of repentance in the oldest secular occurrence I could find. At that time it was Plutarch and through that search I found Ron Shea’s site. I saw that his gospel was clear and was pleasantly surprised to see the mention of Plutarch’s writings in literature. Through this I saw men could repent to do good and men could repent to do badly.

What does Repentance mean?

This work presents an exhaustive examination of every verse in Scripture in which the word “repent” occurs.  But after all the ink has dried, the lessons contained herein can probably be summed up in eight or so basic truths.

  • Repentance has no intrinsic subject.  Anyone can repent, even God!


  • Repentance has no intrinsic object.  It is not automatically directed toward sin.  One can repent about virtually anything.  One can even repent from good to evil!


  • Repentance has no intrinsic consequence.  It does not automatically result in eternal salvation.  It can result in result in any consequence that naturally follows the exercise God’s free will, or man’s free will.


  • The actual phrase “repent of your sins” never occurs in Scripture.  NEVER!


  • The Bible never teaches that one must repent of their sins to be saved.


  • Whenever sin is the object of repentance, the consequence of repentance is never eternal salvation.


  • Whenever eternal salvation is the consequence of repentance, the object of repentance is never sin.


  • In every passage on repentance relating to eternal salvation, the object of repentance is, in some way or another, the person of Jesus Christ, his eternal divinity, his atoning death, His resurrection, or the freeness of the eternal salvation he provides.  The object of saving repentance is no different than the elements of saving faith described in other terms throughout Scripture:

john6-47If you are able to remember these simple truths about biblical repentance, you will know more about repentance, and more about the doctrine of salvation, than 99.9% of the ministers filling the pulpits of Christian churches across the land. In the pages of this work, you will hopefully come to appreciate how deeply confused the church is over the very message of salvation, even at the pastoral level.  With this dawning realization hopefully, you will develop a renewed sense of purpose in your Christian life . . . perhaps a purpose in your life that you have never before experienced.

The church will never fulfill the Great Commission as long as it is confused on the very message of the gospel!  Certainly not while it continues to proclaim salvation by faith plus.  And the church will never be lifted from its confusion unless each of those who understand the truth of the gospel labor to change it.

After reading the pages of this book, as you look at the elite pulpits across our land, you should realize the depth of this crisis.  May God rouse you from your slumber, and impress upon you how deeply God covets your labor as a faithful witness of His grace.  Perhaps you will acknowledge a long ignored call to vocational Christian work in the Gospel ministry.  If not, perhaps you will seek the opportunity to teach Sunday school, or a youth ministry or Bible Study, and strengthen the focus of the church through those venues.  But regardless of the hilltop on which God may or may not place you, whenever you walk out the front door of your home, you are entering your mission field.  To whom much is given, much will be expected.

Confusion Over Repentance

The phrase “repent of your sins,” is so embedded in Christian culture that it is hard to hear the word “repent” without mentally adding on the three words “from your sins.”  And since the word “repent” is often associated with eternal salvation, this leads to further adding on, either mentally, or verbally from the pulpit,  the words “to be saved” to the end of the sentence.  Together, they form the greatest myth in the history of Christianity . . . “You must repent of your sins to be saved.”

This belief is not only wrong, it is an error that threatens the eternal destiny of every man, woman and child on the planet.  For it reduces the gospel of grace to a gospel of works.  Scripture teaches with unmistakable clarity that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law, (Romans 3:28) and that to entrust one’s eternal salvation to one’s own obedience to God’s laws is to frustrate God’s offer of the gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal life, and make void the promise (Romans 4:4-5, 24; 11:6-7, Galatians 5:1-4).

The command “repent from your sins to be saved” is wrong on any level, but because there is so much confusion surrounding the word “repentance,” multiple distinct errors surround the concept of repentance.

  1. Some believe one must have some transcendent experience of emotional remorse over one’s sins to be saved.
  2. Others believe that a sinner must actually begin living in obedience to the laws of God before they can be saved.
  3. Most frequently, however, the phrase “repent of your sins” is understood to mean that a lost sinner resolve (determine, internally promise, commit) to “turn from his sins” in order to be saved from hell.

This first view necessarily means that one is beyond redemption simply because he suffers from autism, a schizotypal disorder, or some other medical disorder that suppresses personal emotion.

The second view requires the actual works of the law to be saved.  It is seldom taught to its logical conclusion simply because most people are not in the middle of some overtly sinful act at any one time.  Although, by Biblical standards, it is doubtful that any of us have perfectly pure motives at any moment, few of us are engaged in an overtly sinful act very often.  A drug dealer is not dealing drugs between deals.

Because of this, the third view is the most pervasive form of confusion over repentance, and has truly become the staple of confused Christendom.  It is a cancer on the Christian community.  In this view, eternal salvation is not dependent on the performance of a work, but only the promise of future works.  In the minds of those determined to adhere to salvation by works, this distinction supposedly allows the works of the law to be somehow added to the equation of salvation without annulling the doctrine of grace.  Paul’s Epistle to the Romans would disagree.  “For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is of none effect.

At law, an exchange of promises is known as a bilateral contract.  If you have already read the previous section on “Bilateral Contract Salvation” (also know as “Lordship Salvation), you will recognize that the third expression of “saving repentance” is nothing more than a specific form or expression of Bilateral Contract Salvation  . . . “a promise for a promise.”  The lost sinner “promises” future obedience in exchange for God’s “promise” of eternal life.  This errant understanding of the term “repentance” is the most common and pervasive form of “Lordship Salvation” taught within Christendom throughout the world.


Repentance.  What does the Bible Mean? by Pastor Lindstrom

Ronald Shea’s ministry, can be supported at this page.  We do not accept donations, but if you appreciate the years of work of faithfulness to God’s Scriptures, Mr. Shea’s ministry does and we support him.  He also has some good gospel booklets you can use as tracts.

He has downloadable gospel tracts in many languages.  Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Burmese, Chinese – both simplified and traditional, English, French, Fulfude – Nigerian, German, Hindi, Igbo – Nigerian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Lugandan (Uganda), Polish, Punjabi – Pakistani script, Romanian, Russian, Rwandan, Saraiki – Southern Punjab, Pakistan, Sindi – Pakistan, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog – Filipino Islands, Tamil – India & Singapore, Ukrainian, Urdu – Pakistan, Vietnamese.


15 Responses to “Repentance and Salvation In Scripture – Pt. 1

  • Oh I could cry. I honestly feel like crying.

    I’ve spent the past 6 months working through the Repent/Repented/Repentance verses in order to clarify exactly what the context is about in order to confirm what the word/s DON’T say ie: “Turn from sin”.

    I am honestly so blessed by your site and ExP.

    I could cry.

    I feel so lonely at the point in my life. It feels like all the believers around me think I’m nuts for walking away from the establishment and saying JMac teaches heresy.

    It is a sad time but I find much consolation from reading my bible and knowing that I’m not the only “crazy” in the world (haha)

    • BeholdaSon….

      I know how you are feeling, you know Jesus had the truth. He was the truth. He spoke the truth. Yet they would not hear, they would not believe, they would not come to Him. They mocked Him and plotted how they could kill Him even as He told them the story of the Vineyard owner. These Pharisee’s and rulers perceived they spoke about them. They would not have Him rule over them.

      These people who preach ‘repent from sin’ or ‘turn from sin’ as part of the gospel, should really have it out with John (the beloved disciple) and with Paul for when he declared the gospel they all preached, they all believed, received and where saved by and stood in, he FORGOT turn from sin? Or just lied? Or took away from God’s Word? Or didn’t declare the whole gospel?

      What about John who tells us in John 20:31 WHY the entire book was written?

      Why oh why did John leave out ‘repent from sin’ or ‘turn from sin’ in order to be saved? It can go on and on, but people are not realizing there is no ‘percentage’ of repent or turning from sin that could work unless perfection. There is no ‘right attitude of a decision to ‘try’ to repent from sin’ in order to be saved that could be enough unless perfect, and is impossible for a human being, let alone an ungodly, sinner, who is without strength (Rom 5:6-8)

      Part 4 coming up 🙂

    • Behold a Son, sorry, seems like I have somehow lost both comments, will try again. It is a lonely feeling, we are partaking in some of His sufferings. Seems like some think there will be some sort of revival at the end. Jesus said differently.

      Seems like others verify man by their credentials and popularity, even likability vs. what gospel they preach. People do not want to be Bereans (Acts 17:11), nor ‘prove all things’ – 1 Thess 5:21. They think of men beyond what is written 1 Cor 4:6.

      I find comfort from His Word too 🙂 (Rom 15:4)

    • Hi Behold a Son – new part is here 🙂

  • Hi Beholdason,
    Its Mary from Australia, hang in there. You are not alone, so many of us all over the world are doing it tough and alone. If its ok with Holly, you can try and leave your email and we can exchange them in order to contact each other.

  • Thanks Holly! Fascinating about the blueletterbible change. I wonder if there are any CC pastors aware of it, or if they just all trust it.

    • Thanks Lori, a lot of the Calvary Chapel pastors I believe are aware of a lot of the ecumenism along with Calvinism that have been creeping in. There is error from all sorts of places with them. Praying people will get into His Word.

  • There are two more parts here, and getting ready to post another. God bless your week. I remember when I first decided to study in context every single usage, with no men or commentary, not even a concordance. The reason is, I first wanted to just see if the different definitions I had always heard, fit. I wanted to be sure I wasn’t listening to my ears being tickled, I wanted to be sure. Ronald Shea was not the first one I ran across once I decided to then look into it from a Greek and Hebrew perspective, outside of Biblical influence. That was when I saw blueletterbible change their definition of repentance added from F.F. Bruce. And I KNEW that name. And it was like, wait a minute. He’s always on the Catholic pages for their definition of repent or penance or penitent. And I looked just to be sure, and sure enough, it was him.

    And I thought, why on earth would they be using him? Later I saw and heard about some of Chuck’s comments about Catholics being Christian, etc. (Well certainly a Catholic can be a believer, but only if they trust on Jesus as the only way of salvation (alone, apart from any sacraments). But in doing a little more research I saw the claims of those who said the words were different in the Hebrew than the Greek, but wait a minute, repent and repentance in the Septuagint, the 72 I believe it was, Jewish Scholars commissioned to turn the OT from Hebrew into Greek, and even the Apocrypha, (which they never considered canon, and the only ones who were given the oracles of God), THEY themselves translated it into metanoeo and metanoia, and so, why then, was it being translated as a different meaning from the Latin to English? With the Word now coming from penance, penitent, or penitence? Straight from the Roman Catholic ideology.

    So many people have helped along the way. I put Ron’s article into sections so people can take their time and ‘prove all things’ and see if these things are so. I used the simple method in the beginning. I started inserting “feel sorrow” or “turn from sins” etc. in all the place I saw repentance or repent. It’s an exercise worth completing. But I think Ron does a far better job of my simplistic way 🙂

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