Many Churches of Men misunderstood the word repent . It literally means to change your mind. When John the Baptist called the Jews to repent and be saved, he wasn’t telling them to clean up their lives so they would merit salvation, but to change their minds about their need for a savior.
So it is with us. When we repent, it means that we’ve changed our minds about our need for a Savior, to save us from the penalty of our sins. Cleaning up our lives is the work of the Holy Spirit and starts after we’re saved. It’s a life long process and is never complete until we’re raptured or resurrected.
Let’s remember the Holy Spirit is called our Counselor, not our Controller. Even though we’re admonished through out the New Testament to live a life pleasing to God, we all refuse His guidance from time to time, some more than others. That’s why Jesus warned us not to judge the behavior of others unless we want our own behavior judged. (Matt. 7:1-2).
Ephesians 1:13-14 says that our salvation was guaranteed when we heard the Gospel of our salvation and believed it. Our willingness to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance afterward will effect the rewards we receive for obedience, but not our salvation. (1 Cor. 3:10-15)