The Relation of Repentance, Faith, and the New Birth

by Leland M. Haines

The redemption brought by Jesus involves repentance, faith, and rebirth. Although some Scriptures give faith primacy, repentance and the new birth cannot be overlooked. These three are all necessary to enter the kingdom and are interrelated.

The sinner must repent in order to believe. He has to change his mind about his rebellion against the Lord, which means he has to see his sinfulness and God's righteousness and realize that he is lost and heading for hell. He needs to see the necessity to walk in the light and change his mind about walking in sin. This change of mind is so radical that it requires or is called being "born again." Yet for repentance to bring about the new birth, the intellect must respond in faith to the facts of the Gospel. Faith and repentance cannot operate in a vacuum; they need the inner assurance that the Gospel is true. Then the repentant sinner must believe revealed truth. Yet this believing cannot occur unless there is a change of heart. So we see that these three-faith, repentance, and the new birth-are interrelated and go together. These three interrelated processes then work together to bring salvation, and their exact interactions cannot be separated or, for that matter, completely understood.

This does not change the fact that faith is the primary condition for salvation taught in the New Testament, but giving faith the primary position does not exclude repentance and the new birth. When Paul speaks of faith as the condition for salvation, he implies the necessity of repentance and the rebirth. For example, in Romans 6:2-4 he makes it clear that saving faith results in a changed life: "How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? . . . We are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:2-4).

from Redemption Realized Through Christ, © copyright 1996 by Leland M. Haines, Northville, MI.


You are welcome to make copies of the above article provided you show the copyright information and source.

We welcome your comments and suggestions. Send then to the Webmaster.

This page is presented by:

Biblical Viewpoints Publications
63100 County Road 111
Goshen, IN 46526
Phone: 574-875-8007

Back to the Articles page.

Return to Home Page

May God's grace and peace be with you as you study His Word.

June 22, 2000