So . . .could we then say that repentance does not bring salvation . .that already exists whether repentance is there or not . . .but that repentance "activates" that salvation in us?
How does that fit for ya?
Repentance does activate salvation for us very often. You don't want that particular weed growing in your heart, so you stop watering it and start yanking on it to throw it out. Some things you might want to dig out have enormously deep roots/tentacles and you're yanking on that puppy for the longest time and squirming the whole time 'cause ya wanna get this crop of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit growing. But this other crap has to be thrown out, or it'll try to either choke out the good stuff or try to hybridize it. Repentance is the light switch.
A lot of people try to say that it's God that has to do it for us. No, He complained too many times in the prophets that people were sitting on their hands and waiting on Him and not doing what they needed to do. "Is it not
time to build My house? Is it time to build your houses??
" -- the obvious implication being "Who is really first priority and final authority here??" God may yell at you or try to romance you into throwing that switch, but you're still the one that ultimately turns the switch on/off. If My people who are called by My Name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face, then will I hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.(2Chronicles 7:14)
Many times when nothing else is working in my life, I start scrutinizing my mind, heart, and flesh over the repentance issue and the standards of God's promises and provisions and I start asking myself the serious questions related to whether or not I've wandered into trying to be my own provider again or whether He's still my God. And it'll usually, after all of these years, wind up being the teeniest adjustment in my thinking or what I've slipped into saying with everybody else, and then boom!
The power starts flowing again after the transformer has been repaired.
More than once, I've had my body SUDDENLY line up QUICKLY after a very thorough repenting of having touched God's anointed in having had a slip of the tongue about another man of God that I didn't agree with. When I'm being 100% honest and seeking God and nothing else is occuring to me, then I ask the Holy Spirit to show me where I've missed it 'cause I'm obviously still clueless after having gone into every closet in my heart, mind, and body about the issue. And every once in a while someone's face will come before me that I had a slip of the tongue or of the keyboard about and the following dialogue will inevitably go along with it:
God: Is that man your servant?
God: Am I able to make him stand or fall?
God: He's standing, so guess what?!
Martin: I'm repenting of having touched Your anointed.
and then here comes the healing of my body, the badly needed check in the mail or cash being passed to me in public "out of the blue," my reconciliation with all of Creation and animals are speaking with me again with clarity, or whatever else I was dealing with will straighten out. And obviously, if that wasn't the only issue that was unresolved in my life, then I'm still digging until things are straightened out between me and God. And for me, most often, it'll wind up being that I was sinning by carrying cares for my life, having thought for the morrow, or in some other way not having every thought captive to the obedience of Christ's High Priestly ministry.
Repentance gets rid of the bottle neck on God's provisions and of things working in your life as they should. It's not the magic bullet that'll take care of everything. Some ministers have tried to imply that you'll grow in greater and greater rewards by simply staying totally repented. But no, you've got to stand on God's Word and do those things that the Holy Spirit ministers to you to do during your time in the Word. It's the life of obedience that grows in greater and greater grace. It's not the life of repentance. If it's a life of repentance, then someone hasn't truly repented. But you do have to change filters, spark plugs, and clean out things every once in a while -- with every hundred thousand miles or whatever.