One of the many false euphemisms for the path to salvation used in christianity is the idea that one must “repent of all sins” to be saved. This erroneous notion can primarily be blamed on the false translation that appears in many English translations of the scriptures, such as Acts 2:38, which, in many English translations, includes an exhortation to repent for the remission of “sins.”
If this were the proper translation of the Greek “hamartia,” then several of Paul’s teachings are sheer lunacy, for Paul taught that those whose spirits have been made alive by the indwelling Holy Spirit are plunged into an ongoing battle between their spirit and their flesh (Romans 7:14-25), and he said that even he struggled with not committing sins of the flesh, but he still committed them.
You see, to repent means to change one’s mind, so to “repent of all sins” would mean that one has changed his mind regarding all sins of the flesh, which would necessarily mean that he has rejected all sins of the flesh, rendering them absent from himself. And, if that were possible, don’t you think the apostle Paul would have done that, rather than struggling with them for the rest of his life?
The English translation of “hamartia” as “sins” is plainly false, as “hamartia” is a singular condition, not an action, or multiple actions. The singular condition is “unbelief,” but in even that, the underlying cause of the condition called “unbelief” must be understood within the context of all of scripture.
1 John 5:10 tells us that those whom the Father sees as “believers” have the witness in them. The Greek word for “witness” there, and “record” later in the verse, means “evidence.” Those who are believers have been given evidence within them that they are Yah’s children (that is who John 3:16 is talking about when it says “whosoever believes in Him”).
Those who do not have that evidence in them are, then, unbelievers. They are condemned already for the singular condition caused by not having the Holy Spirit—the human spirit within them is still dead. Being “condemned already,” there are then no sins of the flesh that such a person can commit that will make him “more condemned.”
No, sins of the flesh affect the eternal rewards of those who have been made righteous. You see, the righteous (those who have the Holy Spirit) will never face any condemnation. They will never see any punishment in eternity. However, they will face the loss of reward for choosing not to deny their flesh and its sins. Those who are righteous who choose also to make themselves holy (sacrifice their flesh, and refrain from committing sins of the flesh) will receive reward for doing that while on earth.
So, matters of the flesh are the basis of reward vs. lack of reward in eternity for those who have been made righteous. They are the measure of obedient vs. disobedient children—but, children, both obedient and disobedient, are children nonetheless.
If one could repent of all sins, which would mean both unbelief and sins of the flesh, then there would be no basis at all for gaining reward or losing it, which would then nullify a great number of scriptures that teach eternal reward for those who are obedient in their flesh.
The notion that salvation comes to those who “repent of all sins” is just another of the false teachings of christianity. A typical corollary to that is the vastly erroneous idea that one must “ask forgiveness for sins to be saved,” as there is not a single scripture anywhere that tells us that such a request is necessary, let alone valid.
The thief on the cross is the model for salvation. He was an unbeliever (both criminals railed against Messiah when they were first crucified—Matthew 27:44, Mark 15:32), but he repented OF HIS UNBELIEF (the only repentance that applies to salvation), which means that he chose to believe in Messiah. He then also confessed who Messiah is before those who were there, and after he had believed and confessed Messiah before men, he was TOLD that he had received the gift of eternal life.
The thief asked nobody for forgiveness of his sins. The thief did not repent of all his sins, nor did he have to prove that he had stopped stealing as evidence of his salvation. No, he knew he was saved BECAUSE HE WAS TOLD, personally and directly, as ALL (not some) who receive eternal life are told.
The repentance that leads to receiving salvation is repentance from unbelief, and to repent from unbelief is to believe. Following that repentance, one’s belief will be tested (tried), and those who endure in belief (confessing Messiah Yahoshua regardless of the consequences for doing so), will be given salvation. That is exactly what the thief on the cross did.
To “repent of all sins” is an impossibility for those who live on this earth, so such a false act has nothing to do with salvation, but that certainly does not hinder the false teachers in christianity from teaching that lie, and even claiming that it was something they did themselves. If they claim they repented from all sins, then committing even one sin of the flesh makes them a liar, and lying is a sin of the flesh. Funny how false teachings simply cannot withstand the light of truth.
For more information: Do Sinners Go to Heaven?