Are we saved by faith in Christ or saved by repentance from sin? Answer: both.
At times, I’ve struggled with putting faith and repentance together. Tim Chester gives a great analogy that demonstrates that turning to Jesus in faith and turning away from sin in repentance is one single motion not two separate ones:
“In the past I’ve sometimes suspected that repentance was an add-on work: we’re not really saved by faith alone, it turns out, but by faith plus repentance. But this isn’t true. Turning to God in faith and turning from sin in repentance are the same movement. Try it now. Stand facing the window. Then turn to face the opposite wall. The act of turning from the window and the act of turning toward the wall is one movement. You can’t turn toward the wall without turning away from the window. And you can’t turn to God in faith without turning away from sin in repentance. When we trust God, we’re affirming that he’s bigger and better than our sinful desires. Repentance is in itself an act of faith.” (You Can Change, 113)
You can’t have one without the other. You can’t love Christ and love your sin. You can’t trust the promises of Jesus and trust the promises of sin. True faith and true repentance are a means to the same thing, or rather, the same person, namely, Jesus.
The call of Jesus is to turn from sin (repentance) and turn to him (faith).
If you do this, even in this very moment, he will accept you and never let you go.
If you have done this already do it again and again and again. Even though faith and repentance is one motion, it is not one event. It is to be cultivated daily.
Every person needs more faith and repentance. Faith and repentance is to be a continual habit throughout life. Turn from your sin to the Savior and trust him more than sin.