Mark 1:15, “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
The word repent” here is the Greek verb, metanoeo, which means: “to think differently.” I here so many preachers embellish the word repent. They'll say things like Timothy Zacharias did at Campus Church (Pensacola Christian College). On July 14, 2021 at a Wednesday evening Bible study Pastor Zacharias said: “Repentance is a change of mind which results in a change of behavior.” I cringed in my seat in the back of the giant auditorium, beholding a sea of several thousand people being woefully deceived. Dr. Zacharias taught with authority, spewing his damnable heresy.
The next day I contacted the senior pastor of Campus Church, Jeff Redlin, letting him know about the gross doctrinal error. Sadly, Pastor Redlin 100% supported the heresy and said that is what Pensacola Christian College believes. Dear reader, these men are ungodly false teachers. Right doctrine matters! It is a big deal. Changing the Gospel even a little but renders it totally ineffective to save. Repentance affects the Gospel. There are not variations of the Gospel. The Word of God plainly defines “the gospel” (meaning “Good News,” or “Glad Tidings”) in 1st Corinthians 15:1-6 as three things:
- Jesus died on the cross for our sins according to the Scriptures.
- He was buried.
- Three days later Christ physically resurrected from the dead.
That is “the gospel” (the Good News) by which anyone is saved who BELIEVES it. Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Not one verse in the inspired King James Bible says to repent “of your sin” to be saved. Wicked men added those words to the Bible. We are simply commanded to “repent.” God intentionally chose to use the word “repent” because it is an open-ended and all-inclusive term. Anyone who says that repentance is more than a change of mind has corrupted the Gospel.
What must we think differently about to be saved? That's an easy answer—whatever it is that has been hindering you from BELIEVING the Gospel to be saved. You don't get saved by repenting, you get saved by believing. That is why in the Gospel of John we find the word “believe” mentioned 88 times, but there is no mention of the word “repent.” But no one has ever believed who didn't repent. Repentance is absolutely necessary for the new birth.
A common criticism from those who errantly teach that you must “repent and turn away from your sin” to be saved, hurled against the free grace crowd such as myself and Jack Hyles, is that we don't believe in repentance. Nothing could be further from THE TRUTH.
Here is an example of what I just said. Pastor Charles Lawson of the Temple Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee errantly preaches:
“The Bible colleges around the country will stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and give an account for removing repentance from salvation and conversion. How can you be saved if you're not willing to repent? Salvation is not believing a bunch of stuff about Christ. You can change your mind what you believe about Him. And where you said before, 'I don't believe all this,' now you say, 'I believe all this.' Does that make you born again? 'For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.'But you see, you can get a lot of people into church with easy-believism... “1-2-3 believe after me!” You prayed the sinner's prayer. You can fill up the congregation, and then you can go brag to the brethren about what a great job God's doing through you. Of course all that 'great job what God's doing through you' is meaningless. What they really mean to say is: 'Look how wonderful I am!' That's the idea. But they took repentance out.” [emphasis added]SOURCE: 'True Repentance' - https://youtu.be/kb26H6cRxyw?t=23m15s
Like so many ignorant preachers today, Pastor Lawson fails to understand the true Biblical meaning of the word repent. Pastor Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951) gets it 100% correct:
“Nor is the Gospel a demand that you give up the world, that you give up your sins, that you break off bad habits, and try to cultivate good ones. You may do all these things, and yet never believe the Gospel and consequently never be saved at all.”
SOURCE: Harry A. Ironside, from the sermon: 'What Is The Gospel?'
Salvation is a gift, paid for by Jesus' literal, physical, precious blood (1st Peter 1:18,19; 1st John 1:7; Hebrews 9:12; Revelation 1:5). We are saved by HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS (Matthew 6:33; Romans 10:3,4; 1st Corinthians 5:21); and not our own willingness to do better (Isaiah 64:6; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5; Romans 4:5,6,22). We don't give up our sins to get saved; we give up our sins because we are saved, and that requires time to grow in God's grace (1st Peter 2:2; Ephesians 2:10).
I love Pastor Lawson, and he says many great truths in his preaching, but it is he (and not Jack Hyles, Curtis Hutson and myself) who is wrong on repentance. Charles Lawson is guilty of corrupting the Word of God, and casting stumbling blocks before the people!!! I say that kindly but truthfully in love (Ephesians 4:15).
“Men like to believe lies, but when it gets to real truth, then how few will believe the Word of God!” —Pastor Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899)
Ladies and gentlemen, not one verse in the inspired Holy Bible tells us to repent of our sin to be saved, unless you are using one of the Devil's corrupt modern Bible revisions. I encourage you to SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES as our blessed Savior told us to do (John 5:39). You simply cannot trust men to be honest! You cannot trust the Devil's fake Bibles. There's your FAKE NEWS!!!
Bible repentance is simply a change of mind from unbelief to belief. The only sin that can keep a person out of Heaven is the sin of UNBELIEF. Repentance is a change of mind unto the Gospel itself. We don't have to turn away from sinning to be saved because that would be keeping the law, which is definitely a works-based plan of salvation (Romans 3:19-20).
We are saved simply by BELIEVING. What saith the Scripture? ...
- John 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
- Acts 16:30-31, “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
- Galatians 3:26, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
- 1st Thessalonians 4:14, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”
I love all those wonderful passages of Scripture! Again and again in the Bible we are taught that the way of salvation is simply to BELIEVE ON JESUS CHRIST. Acts 10:43, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” As we just read, ALL the prophets (e.g., Moses, Elijah, Isiah, Jeremiah, Nahum, Daniel, Joel, Habakkuk, et cetera) testified that remission of sins comes only through FAITH IN THE MESSIAH!!!
Jesus DIED on the cross to pay our debt of sin. He was BURIED. Three days later (72 hours), Jesus bodily RESURRECTED from the dead for our justification. That is, our faith in Him was not in vain!!! Just as He had promised, Jesus raised up His temple after three days (Mark 14:58; John 2:19). That is the Gospel, or Good News, by which we are saved, all who BELIEVE IT!!! Nothing is mentioned in the Bible about forsaking the world, turning away from our sinful ways, following Christ as “Lord,” making full surrender, exchanging all that we are for all that Christ is, counting the cost and paying the price, running the race, living a lifestyle of repentance, or anything else to be saved; we are told only to BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED (Acts 16:31). Amen and amen!!!
Deadly false prophets like Steve Pettit, Marty Herron, John MacArthur, Tim Zacharias, Jeff Redlin, Sam Horn and others, who require more than faith to be saved are of the Devil. Jeff Redlin and his Campus Church at Pensacola Christian College require that you repent of your sin to be saved, which is a lie of the Devil. PCC falsely preaches that if your behavior doesn't change, you didn't repent and are not saved. That is Calvinism!!!
Repentance has NOTHING to do with turning away from your sin, nor behavior modification; it only has to do with you coming to God as a needy sinner to BELIEVE the Gospel to be saved. What saith the Scripture? 2nd Timothy 2:25-26, “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”
“Repentance is the very opposite of meritorious experience. It is the confession that one is utterly without merit, and if he is ever saved at all it can only be through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, 'who gave himself a ransom for all.' Here is firm footing for the soul who realizes that all self-effort is but sinking sand. Christ alone is the Rock of our salvation.” —Dr. Harry Ironside; 'Except Ye Repent,' p. 36
Repentance is simply a change of mind concerning THE TRUTH that you are a guilty and hopeless sinner. Thus seeing your need you turn to Christ by faith for salvation. What saith the Scripture? Galatians 3:24-26, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” The Old Testament LAW is a measuring stick, by which when compared all men fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The LAW, having done its job, then brings us to CHRIST to be saved by grace through faith. LAW and CHRIST; or respectfully, OLD and NEW TESTAMENTS. There is God's simple plan of salvation.
“The law tells me how crooked I am. Grace comes along and straightens me out.” —Evangelist Billy Sunday (1862-1935)
Please understand that God never intended for anybody to perfectly keep the law to merit Heaven, simply because no human being has ever been able to do so, except Jesus (Hebrews 4:15). So when these false prophets (which includes the entire Bob Jones University campo today) come along teaching that your faith is not genuine unless you perform works, they are corrupting the Word of God and casting stumbling blocks before the people. They are requiring you to keep the law to prove that your faith is legitimate for salvation. In so doing they are combining LAW and CHRIST (or grace).
Pilgrim's Progress author John Bunyan (1628-1688) said it best:
“If you do not put a difference between justification wrought by the man Christ without and sanctification wrought by the Spirit of Christ within, you are not able to divide the Word aright; but contrariwise, you corrupt the Word of God, and cast stumbling blocks before the people.” —Evangelist John Bunyan
Amen and amen! Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001) preached a wonderful sermon emphasizing this very same truth, titled: “Steps In Sanctification; Or, The Root Of All Heresy!” We've got to keep the crucified life, the risen life and the ascended life, all separate from the SAVED LIFE. Justification has nothing to do with the believer's sanctification. We've got to keep sonship completely separate from discipleship. We must keep salvation entirely separate from service.
Pastor M.R. DeHaan (1891-1965) wrote these helpful doctrinally sound words, to reinforce the Bible truths I am teaching:
“There is a vast difference between coming to Jesus for salvation and coming after Jesus for service. Coming to Christ makes one a believer, while coming after Christ makes one a disciple. All believers are not disciples. To become a believer one accepts the invitation of the Gospel, to be a disciple one obeys the challenge to a life of dedicated service and separation. Salvation comes through the sacrifice of Christ; discipleship comes only by sacrifice of self and surrender to His call for devoted service. Salvation is free, but discipleship involves paying the price of a separated walk. Salvation can't be lost because it depends upon God's faithfulness, but discipleship can be lost because it depends upon our faithfulness.” —Pastor M.R. DeHaan, Hebrews; Zondervan Publishing House, 1959 (p. 117).
Having shared all these excellent truths with you, it should be abundantly obvious now that repentance doesn't mean to turn away from sinning to be saved. You don't need to keep the law to be saved. Nor do you need to keep the law to prove that you are saved. That is what Paul meant in Galatians 3:3, “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Paul continues in Galatians 3:4-6, “Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Abraham believed God and it was credited (imputed) to him for faith. This is the ONLY way that anybody has ever been saved, by God's imputed righteousness.
Please don't fall for the Devil's lie that you cannot be saved unless you “repent and turn away from your sin.” The Bible simply doesn't teach that garbage! It sounds good, but it's heresy! The true Gospel always points you to Christ; a false gospel always points to you. If to “repent” means to forsake our sinful ways TO BE SAVED, but Jesus already paid for our sins by dying on the cross, then what are we repenting from?