The first step from a sinner to God begins with God — He draws us through His Holy Spirit. “No one can come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44). The Holy Spirit moves a sinner to repentance and when he or she responds to it, this will lead to saving faith in that person. That is: faith in the clear Biblical facts that Christ died for our sins, was buried and raised from the dead on the third day. By faith in these redemptive facts, God’s righteousness is imputed to us (Romans 4:24-25, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Believing with the heart
There is an important difference between believing with the mind and intellectually accepting the above facts, and believing with the heart. Believing with the heart requires a personal decision. God says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). Here the Lord speaks personally to every man who has heard the gospel and opens his heart to Him. And in John 6:37 the Lord adds a promise to the invitation to come to Him: “and whoever comes to Me, I will never cast out.”
Change your mind
The call to give Him access to our hearts is repeatedly recorded in the Bible. Paul often calls for this. In Acts 20:21 he says: “(…) I have testified both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ“.
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word repentance means ‘turn around’ or ‘return’. A Greek word used for this purpose in the New Testament literally means ‘to change your mind’. Repentance therefore means that our own way of thinking, our own opinion, our own will has ended. We have made the decision to live according to God’s will. But then it can happen that we are indeed willing to do all of God’s will, except at one point. Our heart is then divided within, which the enemy will use. We will therefore not experience real rest and peace.
But if we have an undivided heart, we will experience peace in accordance to Jesus’ promise. He says, “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). His yoke and His burden was for Jesus to do the will of His Father. Let us therefore also wholeheartedly, with an undivided heart, be willing to do God’s will.