John tells us the purpose of his book:
" And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."
Now, in Matthew, Mark, Luke and the Acts we have the cry for the people [Israel] to "repent." But that word is absent from John. Why the difference? Matthew, Mark, Luke and the Acts have as the primary purpose the announcing of the Kingdom to Israel. Jews were "first" in this plan. John's gospel is sent out through Israel, to the world.
Between the great announcement of the free gift of salvation to the world in John 3 and John 5 is the Lord's pronouncement to the Samaritan woman that "Salvation is of the Jews." When John wrote his book, Israel was still center stage, but he said, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father."
The Lord Jesus came to his people Israel to confirm the promises made to Israel (Matt 15:24; Acts 26:22; Rom 15:8; etc.). He offered them the kingdom which God will restore to Israel (Acts 1:6) and the condition for restoration was proclaimed by Christ and by an Apostle to the Circumcision, Peter. at Pentecost (a Jewish feast), Acts 2:22-39; Acts 3:18-20.
"But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent [Ye men of Israel, brethren, etc.] therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ..." -Acts 3
The Kingdom was offered by John the Baptist (to rocky ground), by the Lord Jesus (to stony ground), by the apostles in Acts (to thorny ground). It was rejected at each stage. That kingdom offer is in abeyance for now, but the offer of eternal life is independent and goes out to the whole world. It asks not repentance.
"Repent" is to return. Israel was called to return to their God through Christ. Gentiles are "strangers to the promises" and have no covenant with God. We cannot "repent." We must simply believe.
You don't have to "clean up" to come to Christ, come to Christ and he will clean you up! You won't come for forgiveness, unless you know you need forgiveness. You must first be convicted of your sin by the Spirit (16:8).
Again, John wrote for the world (John 3:16) during his ministry to Israel. It is the FREE offer of eternal life. Through the seed (singular/Christ) of Abraham was ALL the world to be blessed (Gen 22:18). From Abraham to Christ to the World.
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me HAS everlasting life, and SHALL NOT come into judgment, but HAS passed from death into life." -John 5:24
BELIEVE = LIFE
WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN? [click for the answer]