Remember the old chorus "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus"? Maybe it's time we revised some of the words.
In the discussion of repentance, there is an undue emphasis on sin as its focus, and little or no emphasis on the true focus of repentance, namely, Jesus Christ.
Repentance is about much more than confession of sin. In fact, the focus of repentance is not our sin, but worship.
When we think of the word repent, typically our next thought is of sin. We say or hear things like “Repent of your sin” or “If you want to go to heaven, you must repent of your sin” or “Salvation requires men to repent of their sins.” There are at least two problems with such an understanding of repentance.
The concept of repentance is so common in our language and so integral a part of our concept of salvation that the meaning of the word has become blurred and even skewed from its original meaning.
In plain language, a profession of faith that is not supported by the practical application of that faith is not a profession of faith at all and is useless for purposes of salvation.
To simply believe that Jesus is Lord or is the Son of God is not sufficient to gain salvation. There are thousands or maybe millions of people in church (and not in church) who profess to be Christians bound for heaven simply on the basis that they believe.
The knowledge of sin in a biblical sense comes from a personal encounter with the word, or the Word, of God. Thus the first step in repentance is not sorrow for sin, but revelation – a decision made, not by man, but by God.
Part 2: The first step in repentance is not admitting one is a sinner, but having a personal encounter with the living Christ.
There is no Scripture that requires anyone to admit they are a sinner before they can be saved. Even Baptists believe that there is nothing a person has to do before they are saved.