At the heart of the gospel is the issue of what constitutes saving faith. If gospel means "good news", then the question becomes what is this good news? All evangelical christians would agree that salvation is a work of the Holy Spirit and is brought about by the grace of God. Further to that we would all agree that the only requirement for salvation is faith. Our works have no bearing or place in the act of justification. Christ completed His finished work once for all time by taking our place on the cross at Calvary and paying the full price of our redemption.
So how and where does repentance fit into the picture? Many would argue that unless repentance is present a person has not been saved and born again by the Spirit of God. Now if we define repentance as simply agreeing with the promises of scripture as opposed to our natural thinking than I would have to say that repentance is therefore present in all true conversions.
However, there is a much greater aspect to the work of repentance. Without the shadow of a doubt it is impossible for any christian to continue their walk with Christ unless there is an active process of repenting. Repentance is not a one time thing but rather a continual dealing as the light of God's word exposes our natural thinking and self centered focus. Unlike confession which is simply agreement with the Spirit's conviction in our conscience, repentance is the act of turning from that sin and walking in the light we have received.
Failure to repent of known sin will cause us to become more hardened and fall into greater sin. It is impossible to continue a life of walking by the Spirit when we consciously and knowingly spurn the truth of God's word.
Sadly, I have seen this too many times. Christians who began well and had the fruits of the Spirit evident in their lives but failed to repent when the Spirit revealed sin. They allowed their sin to lead them astray and soon were cast shipwreck in the sea of life. What follows is broken marriages, scarred children, and a worthless testimony for Christ. This is of course not what God desires for our lives. We are not puppets however and the Lord gives each one a choice to follow. This is no excuse to live a carnal and loose life as we will give an account of our lives on the day of judgement. So let us be sober.