So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. (Mark 6:12)Jesus and his disciples were preaching the gospel of repentance not much unlike that of John the Baptist, telling the Jews to turn from their sin because the kingdom of God was near or even in their midst. The Messiah's disciples baptized people unto repentance in much the same way John's disciples did (John 4:1-2). Similarly the Messiah himself warned "Unless you repent you will all likewise perish." in Luke 13:3
The Greek word translated into repentance is metanoia which means a change of mind, or a conviction to live another way. Some churches stress that we only need to confess our sins and then we will be forgiven. However the bible is clear that confession without a commitment to repent by forsaking sin does not result in forgiveness. Hebrews 10:26-29 unequivocally states that Jesus' sacrifice will no longer cover our iniquity if we continue in sin after having received the gospel. If we don't repent we will still face the wrath of God, whether or not we call ourselves believers. Many Christians focus on the Lord's sacrifice and finished work on the cross without realizing that their own obedience unto repentance is required. Churches who ignore repentance contradict themselves by claiming to be ministers of the higher truths of the New Covenant when they've skipped over the basics of John's ministry of repentance. In straining a gnat, they swallow whole Camels.
In 1 Samuel 15:22, God states a theme that is repeated throughout the bible. "I desire obedience, not sacrifice." Many Christians are eager to focus on sacrifice because it's easy and does not involve our hearts, but forget the most important part which is obedience.
There is a teaching popular among Christians from dispensational background that we are all just sinners and we are saved by his grace. Christ died for sinners, however no where in the New Testament does it say we are supposed to stay sinners. Apostle Paul never addresses his letters to sinners but to saints! Jesus didn't die just to forgive our sins but to take sin away from us. Romans 6 states that we've been united with Jesus in his death, so we too can die to sin just as he died. Only after we die to sin, will we be saved by the resurrection life of Jesus who will come and make his home in our heart.
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Romans 5:10)
Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. (John 14:23)
“Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. (Acts 26:19-20)
"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him." (John 3:36)
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:11)
Note that we are not advocating a sinless perfection doctrine which is a heresy per 1 John 1:8. Like any runner, those of us running the Christian race will stumble in various ways (James 3:2), but we will get back up and keep running until we finish the race. So we're just saying don't run backwards towards the door that leads to hell which you do when your flesh control the way you live (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). Instead Jesus teaches us to take the cross which we can do by crucifying the desires of our flesh on the cross. If you don't then according to Galatians 5:24 and Matthew 10:38 you don't belong to Jesus!
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24)
Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. (Luke 17:33)
And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:38)If you grew up with free grace theology, a teaching that says we're forgiven regardless of practicing sin, please read http://eternityinourheart.com/salvation/ for what we believe is a more biblical view of salvation and grace.