Repentance is a turn from sin to God (Acts 26:18-20). It has three necessary aspects: an intellectual change (change of views), an emotional change (change of feelings), and a volitional change (voluntary change of purpose). It includes recognition of sin (Mark 2:17), confession of sin to God (Proverbs 28:13; I John 1:9), contrition or godly sorrow for sin (Psalm 51:17; II Corinthians 7:10), and a decision to forsake sin (Proverbs 28:13; Luke 3:7-8).
With repentance comes the willingness to make restitution for past sins as much as possible (Matthew 5:23-24; Luke 19:8).
Repentance is the first response of faith to the call of God (Mark 1:15). It is absolutely necessary to salvation (Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 17:30; II Peter 3:9). Without repentance baptism is not effective, and without repentance a person cannot receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 3:19).
At repentance, a person begins to let God work in his life. He decides to turn away from sin and allows God to turn him.
As part of the turn from sin, God enables him to break away from sinful habits and desires. As part of the turn to God, repentance prepares the way for him to have a personal relationship with God, qualifying him for baptism of water and Spirit.
The work of forgiveness and remission comes through repentance and water baptism (Acts 2:38). Repentance deals with a person’s sinful lifestyle, and baptism deals with the record and consequences of sin.