Repentance is Mandatory

I am a Pentecostal, and proud of it. I believe the best statement of the Bible plan of salvation is found in The Book of Acts:


"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Acts 2:38

This salvation plan boils down into 3 steps: (1) repentance, (2) water baptism in Jesus name (by full immersion - which means 'your whole body goes into the water'), and (3) receiving the gift of The Holy Ghost (which is evidenced again and again in the Book of Acts by the act of speaking in tongues).

However, I have noticed a marked change in modern revival services. At the end of a several-day or multi-week revival, the local church will report how many "received the Holy Ghost" (with the evidence of speaking in tongues) as well as how many "were Baptized in Jesus name". But absent from that number is the very first step of salvation. Before baptism and before the infilling of The Holy Ghost, a soul must first REPENT!




The First Step

How important is repentance? Extremely important. We cannot be saved without it. Listen to the words of Jesus here:


"And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
Luke 13:2-3

So, unless we repent, Jesus says that we "shall all likewise perish".

I am not criticizing the tallies of souls Baptized and infilled with God's Spirit. Instead, I am wondering if our final total must also include the number who have TURNED from their sins in this meeting. Before my sins are washed in the water, I must completely walk away from them. Before I receive The Comforter that Jesus promised, I must be willing to change everything I am and have been up to that day.

Measuring repentance

How can I observe repentance? Speaking in Tongues evidences the Holy Ghost, and Baptisms are easy enough to watch. Repentance is a tougher matter.

It is evidenced by a progression of changes and significant shifts in a life.

It is measured by the number of days it has been since you had a drink of an alcoholic beverage.
It is numbered by the time it has been since you have spoke a word of cursing.
It is sized up by the very clothes you choose to adorn your body and the modesty you exhibit outwardly.
It is seen in how you treat other people around you.
It is demonstrated in the prayers you pray, and the services you attend.

Repentance, most assuredly, is measurable. You just have to know where and how to look.

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