Since Repentance is a Gift from God to the quickened sinner; and since Repentance is toward God (meaning a change in direction from self to the Savior in attitude, action, and attire) – then its Foundation is God and His Atonement on the Cross and the Results thereof.
Repentance then is a Fruit of Justification, which God manifested as a result of the Atonement of Christ in His vicarious (substitutionary) and expiatory (satisfying) Sacrifice of Himself for the sinner’s sin debt.
The word “Justification” means “to be declared righteous”; which Paul writes is “in Christ”:
(Romans 3:24-25) “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;”
(Romans 10:4) “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
(2 Corinthians 5:21) “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Justification (to be declared righteous) has Three Phases as revealed in the Word of God:
1) Eternal Justification:
a) That is, in the Mind of God, in the Eternal Purpose in Christ Jesus; we were justified in His Sight in Christ, the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.
b) See 1 Peter 1:18-20; Ephesians 1:4-7; Romans 8:29-30.
2) Judicial Justification:
a) This is a courtly term; a legal standing. At Calvary, Jesus Christ was made sin for us. That is, He stood in our place before God, and received the punishment of sin for us (Isaiah 53:4-5). (See 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:24-28; Ephesians 1:7.)
b) Christ secured our Position of Righteousness in His Righteousness at the Cross (Hebrews 9:14-16; Romans 3:24-28; 5:1-2).
c) Christ did this on the Cross for His Seed (Isaiah 53:10-11) before we were even born:
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6)
“For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.” (Romans 5:7)
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Romans 5:9)
“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)
d) God said He was satisfied with the Sacrifice of Christ (Isaiah 53:10-11). This is how His Seed was justified before God. The song writer said, “Tis done, tis done – The transaction is done.” (See Hebrews 9:11-26; 10:1-22.) (See also John 1:29; Romans 3:24-25; 2 Corinthians 5:21.)
e) This position becomes Experiential in the New Birth:
3) Experiential Justification:
a) This is when the Holy Spirit of God comes and Regenerates you; gives you the New Birth; gives you a new nature; quickens you; opens your eyes and ears to see and hear Spiritual things of God; sheds the Love of God in your heart (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 5:11; Ephesians 2:1; John 6:63). And then He brings you to believe (trust and obey) the Word of God (Romans 10:9-10; John 1:11-12, 29; 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:21-25; Romans 10:17).
b) You are brought to Conversion; to Confess that because of your standing in Christ at Calvary, you acknowledge and confess that now you know Christ lives in you. You know by experience (Romans 2:28-29). You have been Born Again, circumcised in the flesh of the heart (Colossians 2:11-14). Now you can see the Kingdom and its King as Jesus Christ, and now you have the power to enter into that Kingdom (John 3:3-8).
The Bible does not present the Salvation of God’s Elect as dependent upon their believing. No! The Foundation is the Work of Christ (God in the Flesh) in His Atonement on the Cross; of which His Resurrection is Proof that the job was completed (Hebrews 2:14; Romans 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:1-22). It is on this basis the Spirit regenerates the Elect of God (Ephesians 1:3-14; Romans 8:1-16; Galatians 4:1-7; John 3:8; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; 2 Peter 1:1-4; Romans 5:5).
But the Bible does show that all the Elect will come to believe; that is, will come to a perception of their Salvation in Christ and in Him alone (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 6:37, 44-45); because of Regeneration (John 6:63; 1:12-13; 3:8; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; 1 Peter 1:21-25). Christ is the “Word” that lives and abides forever (John 1:1-3).
Then they will confess the sinner’s confession (Romans 10:9-10); not to get redeemed, declared righteousness; but because they have been already Redeemed and Justified in Christ (Romans 3:24-25).
Man wants to say that Salvation is in his hands as far as the application of Justification.
It is in the Hand of the Spirit of God and in Him alone. Only the Spirit can raise the spiritually dead. (See John 1:1-13; Ephesians 2:1-9; John 5:21, 26; 6:63, 44-45; Romans 5:5; 6:1-23; 7:24-25; 8:1-16; Galatians 4:1-7; Titus 3:5; John 9:1-41; 11:25-44; etc.)
It is God that gives spiritual life; draws man to see his sin in light of God’s Law and His Holiness; and draws him to see Christ as Substitute, Sacrifice, and Savior.
It is Christ that brings the sinner to confess Christ, believe Him, obey Him, and trust Him (2 Timothy 1:9-10).