Repentance Toward God
Acts 20:17: And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. 18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, 19 Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: 20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, 21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 6:1: Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Mark 1:15: And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
There has been debate among the Commentators about which comes first, faith or repentance but they all agree that both are indispensable and inseparable. Faith without repentance is not saving faith and repentance without faith does not save. My personal opinion is that they happen at the same time. Repentance has been defined as a change of mind. God changed my mind about many things. Before I had been unwilling to receive Jesus but then I was. My dominant characteristic had been to do my own will. Suddenly He gave me a desire for His will, no matter what that might be. I was unfazed by the Bible but now it became important to me. I believed and felt differently about God and about myself. I did not think I needed Him but suddenly I knew that I did need Him. He changed me, my desires, my attitude toward Him, my thoughts, my words and my deeds.
I base my opinion on the idea that repentance happen at the same time on two passages. Hebrews 6:1 calls repentance a foundation and 1 Corinthians 3:11 calls Jesus the only foundation.
1 Corinthians 3:11: For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Before I received Jesus I had no interest in repenting of anything. Since I received Him repentance has become a way of life.
Proverbs 3:12: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
He has corrected and is correcting me, my desires, my attitude toward Him, my thoughts, my words and my deeds. I would define repentance toward God as a willingness to be changed by Him. When we get to Heaven He*ll settle the argument about whether faith or repentance came first or if they came at the same time. For now I am happy that He gave me both.