I have been reminded lately of the essential experience for the Christian of repentance and faith. What we begin with at conversion we are continue in throughout our lives. To walk with God is to continually experience repentance and faith. But what exactly are repentance and faith?
Jesus said - "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15, ESV) and "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:17, ESV). Paul told of his mission as "testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ." (Acts 20:21, ESV)
John Calvin said "For while Christ the Lord and John preach in this manner: "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand", do they not derive the reason for repenting from grace itself and the promise of salvation? Accordingly, therefore, their words mean the same thing as if they said, "Since the Kingdom of Heaven has come near, repent." - JC, Institutes, Book 2, Chapter III.3 -J.T. McNeill, Ed.
How do repentance and faith relate? Repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin. In order to reorient yourself to God you must believe that he is good and worthy and true, especially in regards to the gospel. With this you will also believe that sin is bad and unworthy and untrue in relation to God. We turn from self and sin and place our faith for forgiveness and righteousness and life in Christ alone. We can't have one without the other!
"Again, if we remember that repentance is turning from sin unto God, the turning to God implies faith in the mercy of God as revealed in Christ. It is impossible to disentangle faith and repentance. Saving faith is permeated with repentance and repentance is permeated with faith."- John Murray
"Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner out of a true sense of sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after new obedience." – Westminster Shorter Catechism
May you, today, by the power of the Holy Spirit, turn from that which is most vile (sin in any form) to enjoy and live for and depend on that whom is most glorious, worthy, faithful and enjoyable, the Triune God especially revealed in the glorious good news of Jesus Christ - his perfect life, his vicarious propitiating death for sinners like us and his universe-shattering resurrection to new life for all his people - even us!
God Bless, Paul