Repentance was a part of the gospel as proclaimed by Jesus, His forerunner, John the Baptist, and His apostles. “Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of God and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel’” (Mark 1:14b-15). John the Baptist’s message was similar, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (See Mat. 3:2). The apostles Peter and Paul included the need for repentance in their proclamation of the gospel. “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38). Paul described his preaching ministry in terms of “testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Jesus indicated that those who do not repent will perish. “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5). Paul said that God commands everyone to repent indicting that it is required. Addressing the philosophers at Athens, he said, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).
The word translated repent in the New Testament, literally means, “to change the mind.” When a person repents of his sins, he changes his mind or attitude about sin. When a person truly repents and becomes a Christian, he does not want to sin, but will avoid it at all costs. The fruit of repentance is to cease sinning (Luke 3:8-14).