True repentance, however, must always be accompanied by faith in Christ (Acts 20:21). We can be sorry for acts of transgression and want to leave them behind. We can bear deep guilt over past sins and want to have conscience cleansed (Psalm 51:1-12; Jeremiah 31:18-19). We can even make a major change and turn in a new direction. All this may be called repentance, but it is not the repentance that leads to life in Christ. Salvation results only when repentance is combined with faith in Christ as Savior.
Faith is focused on Jesus the Christ, the full expression of God's grace and mercy (Romans 3:23-26; Galatians 2:20). Faith sees the crucified Jesus and is assured of forgiving grace. Faith sees the resurrected Jesus and is assured of life-changing grace. Sorrow for sins is profoundly deepened when we see Jesus through the eyes of faith. Our change of purpose and direction is given substance when in faith we see the obedient and self-givng Christ and decide to call him Lord (Acts 16:31; Romans 4:16; Romans 10:9-13). Faith transforms the longing for change into genuine repentance that sees the Christ, experiences his forgiveness and follows him unconditionally.
The outcome is justification. We are justified by grace through faith alone. Such faith is not just an assent to the truth of Scripture, but involves a trusting acceptance of God's grace in Christ and confidence in a pardoning God. By faith we know that God's grace in Christ and confidence in a pardoning God. By faith we know that God in Christ loves us and has given himself for us, and that we are reconciled to God by the blood of Christ (Romans 3:24; Titus 3:5-7). This is the joyful experience of those who are saved.