Taken from Middle East Peace, Chapter 2, by Arlen L. Chitwood
“Repentance” and the use of the word in Scripture is, more often than not, misunderstood [e.g., unsaved individuals often called upon to repent prior to believing (some attempt to make repentance and belief synonymous or inseparable); or, in a similar respect, seeing the call for Israel to repent in the gospel accounts and in Acts as a call to the unsaved].
The word “repent” is a translation of the Greek word, metanoia, or in its verb form, metanoeo. Both are compound words [the preposition meta (meaning, “with”) prefixed to words derived from vous (meaning, “mind”)]. Thus, these compound words, in their base sense, mean “with the mind.”
The word [either noun or verb form] refers to doing something with the mind, and that which is referenced through the use of this word has to do with changing one’s mind. And that is really all that the word means.
The Jewish people in the gospels and Acts were called upon to change their minds relative to their continued disobedience, which would lead to a change of actions, etc.
Relative to salvation today, does an unsaved person have to repent? He does if he has to change his mind about Christ before he can believe, though most today would probably have to make up their minds rather than change their minds prior to belief. But either way, it is believing that saves a person, not making up or changing one’s mind. The latter would only place a person in the position where he can believe and be saved.