Does Jesus Christ require that we acknowledge and repent of our sin when we put our faith in Him? The testimony of the Scriptures says yes! Paul lists sins that will keep sinners from the kingdom of God and then says those who are saved by Jesus Christ no longer live that way.
9Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Jesus Christ demonstrates this doctrine in practice by the way He interacted with men and women in the gospels.
Jesus Christ’s divine appointment with the woman at the well in Samaria is recorded for us in John chapter 4. Jesus Christ tells the woman about the living water that He can give her. She desires the living water because in her mind she won’t need to come to the well anymore and so can completely avoid embarrassing encounters with the men of the city. When she requests the water He has offered her, Jesus asks her to go get her husband and then come back. She tells Him that she has no husband and that is when He confronts her with her sin.
7A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. 10Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11The woman said to him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” 13Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” 15The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” 16Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband, and come here.” 17The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 18“for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” 19The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” 21Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” 26Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” John 4:7-26
Jesus Christ, the Master Evangelist, brings this woman to the revelation of Himself after He confronted her with her sin. He adroitly leads her to Himself and her response is to go back into the city and tell the men of the city about her encounter with Jesus.
28The woman then left her water-pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29“Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30Then they went out of the city and came to Him. John 4:28-30
Jesus Christ changed this woman by telling her the truth, including the truth about her sin. This tremendous work wrought in her heart by the Living God so impressed the men of the city that they were compelled to go to Him and they believed in Him because of her testimony about Him. Jesus Christ stayed in Samaria for two days at the request of the Samaritans and then many more believed because of His own word.
41And many more believed because of His own word. 42Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” John 4:41-42
The Samaritan woman at the well, there by necessity at that hot hour of the day, met the Messiah Who used her compulsion to offer her what she truly needed, salvation from her sins through repentant belief in Him, and the gift of everlasting life.
And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 1 John 4:14
Again we see that those genuinely drawn to Jesus turn from their sin in the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10.
1Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6So he made hast and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” 8Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” 9And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
This, another divine appointment for the purpose of saving a sinner, reveals how those who joyfully receive the Lord, knowing Who He is and what He has done for them, are not insulted when confronted with their sin. Instead, they confess, repent of their sin, and obey the Son of God, Jesus Christ the Messiah, their Savior and Lord.
We have seen two accounts from the Scriptures of those who gladly received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and turned from their sin. But what about those who want to cling to their sin and want Jesus Christ for fire insurance, what happens to them? They will ultimately fall away in disbelief and disillusionment. The story of the rich young ruler is a good example of what happens to those who refuse to reject their sin and put their faith in and follow Jesus Christ.
18Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying “Good teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 19So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is God. 20You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’” 21And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 23But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. 24And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?” 27But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” 28Then Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed You.” Luke 18:18-28
The rich young ruler, confident of his own goodness, came to Jesus believing Him to be a good man, calling Him Good Teacher. Jesus Christ set Him straight by disclosing that only God is good, to call Him good he must acknowledge that He is God. The rich ruler wanted eternal life, but he wanted it on his terms by his own good efforts, so he didn’t realize Jesus Christ is God. Jesus Christ got right to the heart of the matter and told him that he should sell all that he had and follow Him. Religion was good for this rich young ruler, he esteemed himself to be a good man and felt quite certain he could acquire heaven by his own efforts. He did not want to cast all that he had accomplished and acquired to follow a Good Teacher. He did not acknowledge that Jesus Christ is God the Savior and he went away sorrowful because he thought he could have it all with eternal life too, without acknowledging his sinfulness and his need of the Savior. In contrast, Peter and the rest of the disciples had left all to follow Jesus Christ because they knew that He is the Son of God, the Savior of the world.
25“He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there my servant will be also. 26If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” John 12:25-26
We who belong to Jesus Christ by faith in Him have turned from our sin and turned to Him. We have turned from our own evil way and have embraced His way, eager to please our glorious Lord and Savior. These verses out of Titus chapter two are true about us, His redeemed beloved children.
11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14
To God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord be the glory!