For over a month, I have felt a tugging in my heart by the Holy Spirit to write on this subject. Every time I begin a piece on this, I stop and put it off for another time. That time has come.
I have wondered how a person can call themselves a born again believer in Jesus Christ, yet have a rabid hatred for the Jewish people. I have met many of these people, and it confuses and angers me that these same people think it is perfectly acceptable to God to claim to have repented and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins – yet they have no use for Israel nor the Jewish people.
Question: “What is repentance and is it necessary for salvation?”
Answer: Many understand the term repentance to mean “turning from sin.” This is not the biblical definition of repentance. In the Bible, the word repent means “to change one’s mind.” The Bible also tells us that true repentance will result in a change of actions (Luke 3:8-14; Acts 3:19). Acts 26:20 declares, “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” The full biblical definition of repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action.
What, then, is the connection between repentance and salvation? The Book of Acts seems to especially focus on repentance in regards to salvation (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20). To repent, in relation to salvation, is to change your mind in regard to Jesus Christ. In Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2), he concludes with a call for the people to repent (Acts 2:38). Repent from what? Peter is calling the people who rejected Jesus (Acts 2:36) to change their minds about Him, to recognize that He is indeed “Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Peter is calling the people to change their minds from rejection of Christ as the Messiah to faith in Him as both Messiah and Savior.
Repentance and faith can be understood as “two sides of the same coin.” It is impossible to place your faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior without first changing your mind about who He is and what He has done. Whether it is repentance from willful rejection or repentance from ignorance or disinterest, it is a change of mind. Biblical repentance, in relation to salvation, is changing your mind from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ.
It is crucially important that we understand repentance is not a work we do to earn salvation. No one can repent and come to God unless God pulls that person to Himself (John 6:44). Acts 5:31 and 11:18 indicate that repentance is something God gives—it is only possible because of His grace. No one can repent unless God grants repentance. All of salvation, including repentance and faith, is a result of God drawing us, opening our eyes, and changing our hearts. God’s longsuffering leads us to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), as does His kindness (Romans 2:4).
While repentance is not a work that earns salvation, repentance unto salvation does result in works. It is impossible to truly and fully change your mind without that causing a change in action. In the Bible, repentance results in a change in behavior. That is why John the Baptist called people to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8). A person who has truly repented from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ will give evidence of a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:19-23; James 2:14-26). Repentance, properly defined, is necessary for salvation. Biblical repentance is changing your mind about Jesus Christ and turning to God in faith for salvation (Acts 3:19). Turning from sin is not the definition of repentance, but it is one of the results of genuine, faith-based repentance towards the Lord Jesus Christ.  (Emphasis mine)
So, repentance is necessary for salvation. I have been asking the Lord to show me the truth about the questions which at times plague my soul.
Recently, I spoke to a very learned Bible teacher. I asked him the question – can true born again Christians hate Jews? He immediately went to Scripture (which all good Bible teachers do) and he asked me if the Bible says to repent and trust Jesus for salvation; and also to love Jews? I answered him by saying that it does not say that people should not hate Jews to come into the family of God.
He talked more to me about the fallen nature of man and how we are all bent toward sin. But something was happening in my spirit. I felt like a piece of a puzzle had gone missing. I felt that my answer was still not found.
Then tonight something hit me – kind of like when a lightbulb turns on, and things are seen so much more clearly. Repentance is part of salvation. Repentance is changing of one’s mind. If a person who comes to Christ, yet will not repent of hatred of the Jewish people – does that disqualify said person from actually being born again? Or better said – has the person not actually come to the point of realizing who Christ really is, and why they need Him?
I am asking this question, brethren. I am not saying that I know the answer – but I am saying that I am seeking the answer from God. This bothers me greatly.
Let me illustrate with a case in point. Let us say that a person feels drawn to Jesus Christ, and up to that point, this person has been a racist – even a member of the KKK. When he comes to Christ in repentance before he truly believes, would the Lord not want this person to “change his mind” about this devilish hatred of the black race of people? Would this not be a very large part of his need to repent (change his mind)? I believe that the Holy Spirit would bring this darkness to light before the person could truly trust Christ for his/her salvation.
WE ARE TO HATE NO ONE
Jesus made it perfectly clear that hatred of another person was unacceptable in the Kingdom of God. We get angry at the actions of people, when they are in complete opposition to the teachings of Christ. That is righteous indignation.
“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (1 John 4:20).
Some of my articles result in numerous emails from readers. The overriding message in these emails is the incredible love that was placed in the hearts of these readers for the Jewish people. Let me give you an example of one of the emails:
“Hi, I read your piece on Rapture Ready and gotta tell you that as a gentile I have all my life for some reason loved the Jewish people!
I was born again in 1978, and from then on learned that Scripture is Jewish, Jesus is Jewish, and we have the Jews to thank for the Messiah and for Scripture!
It seems the world is against Israel and my prayers are that God fights on their behalf.I hope this email is somewhat encouraging for you. God bless you.”
What a precious email, and this is just one of so many with the same theme – love for the Jewish people.
So, brethren, in the end only God knows the hearts of people, and who were truly born again and who were not.
If you know a person who claims to be a born again believer, yet hates Israel and the Jewish people, I am hoping that this article will give you the courage to question that person as to why they hate the people from whom their Savior has come into the world.