"When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Mark 2:17)
Repentance is very much as important today as it was in the days of Jesus Christ. The problem is that there are some Bible teachers that have redefine repentance to mean penance. I have heard and read their writtings about the issue and they are sadly mistaken. Repentance is not just being sorry for sins commited because one is caught in sin. The Bible describes such a thing as 'worldy sorrow' or as it is recorded in 2 Cor. 9:10 "sorrow of the world." True Biblical repentance does involve certain emotional element, but it is not motivated by a sense of trying to get out of punishment, or not comming to terms with the truth; rather it is motivated by the understanding of ones sinfulness and helplessness, wherein one feels sorry for their sin and turns to a complete agreement with God and His character in relation to sin. Not only does it involve emotions, but it also involves volition. A repentant sinner is one who understands that he desrves Hell as penalty for his sin. I pray that we would never minimize the message of repentance when we deal with people about Salvation. Jesus can only save repentant sinners.