The word “repentance” means “a change of mind.” In the Bible it speaks of “a change of mind about sin.” The Lord Jesus told sinners to repent in Mark 1:15, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. REPENT, and believe in the gospel” (NKJV). The Apostle Paul preached “REPENTANCE towards God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” They were both telling sinners to “change their mind about their sin” and then believe the good news about Jesus Christ. Until one is willing to admit that they are a sinner and in need of a savior, they will never turn to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. So, repentance is absolutely necessary BEFORE a sinner is a saved. It is NOT A GOOD WORK that one performs in order to “earn salvation”; it is simply the acknowledgment that they are a lost sinner in need of salvation. To illustrate this, if a man is diagnosed with cancer by a doctor he is NOT CURED by admitting he has cancer; he is simply acknowledging the doctor’s diagnosis as being true. This is a good thing for then he is willing to seek treatment to be cured. The sinner has been diagnosed with sin by God (see Romans 3:23). He is NOT CURED by admitting that he’s a sinner, but this admission prepares his heart for seeking God’s cure through the Lord Jesus Christ. The moment he believes on Christ as his Savior he is cured from his malady of sin (see Isaiah 53:5).

The word “grace” means “unmerited favor.” In the Bible it speaks of God providing salvation as a gift to the sinner who simply receives it by faith. As we saw above, after a sinner repents he is told to “believe in the gospel.” The moment one “believes the gospel” (which is the “good news” of Jesus Christ dying for our sins and rising from the dead…see John 3:14-16 and 1st Corinthians 15:3-4) he is “saved by grace.” Ephesians 2:8 speaks to this, “For by grace you have saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”

There are those who teach that one must not use the word “repentance” when preaching the gospel of God’s “grace,” for they believe that in telling a sinner to repent you are teaching them that their repentance is a good work, which would contradict what we just saw in Ephesians 2:8. They go so far as to say that the word “repent” is not a FRIEND of the gospel, but an ENEMY. But as we saw above, repentance is NOT A GOOD WORK which one does to be saved. Rather, when the sinner repents it gives them the desire to be saved and prepares their heart to believe the gospel. The fact that both the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul preached repentance and faith shows us that both are vital and that “repentance and grace” are NOT “mutually exclusive.” They are BOTH TRUE when it comes to salvation.

As to your last point, I have never heard of anyone teaching that “everyone is going to hell.” I have heard men teach that “everyone is going to heaven.” This false doctrine is known as “universalism.” There are many scriptures which refute this error, but I will confine myself to two passages which prove that the unbeliever will NOT be in heaven but in hell where they will experience everlasting punishment. In John 3:36 we read, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son SHALL NOT SEE LIFE, but THE WRATH OF GOD ABIDES ON HIM.” In Matthew 25:41 & 46 we read these solemn words: “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels….And these will go a way into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (299.5) (DO)