Sunday, March 13, 2022

The Gospel Teaches Forgiveness Of Sins, Not Turning From Sins

Luke 1:76-79, “And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Our text passage above speaks concerning John the Baptist, who went before to prepare the first coming of Jesus Christ. Sometimes Bible students misunderstand the ministry and baptism of John, thinking that he preached a different plan of salvation than Jesus or the Apostle Paul. Not so. There has always been only one plan of salvation, which is through faith in Christ. Acts 10:43, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. ALL of the Old Testament prophets preached salvation by grace through faith in the Messiah.

Evangelist John R. Rice (1895-1980) penned this helpful Bible commentary:
There are those hyper-dispensationalists who think that John the Baptist preached a different Gospel from Christ when he commanded repentance (Matt. 3:2). But it is the same repentance Jesus commanded in Matthew 4:17, in Luke 13:3 and 5, and the same repentance that Paul preached in Athens that God “now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30 31). Repentance is not a different plan of salvation from having faith: it is part of the same plan of salvation. Or rather repentance is simply another way of describing or looking at the plan of salvation. One who turns from sin to God has done so by trusting in Jesus Christ. A change of mind toward sin is necessarily involved in saving faith.

Everyone who genuinely repented under the preaching of John the Baptist put his trust in the Saviour John the Baptist preached, and was regenerated. There is no such thing as being “a disciple of John the Baptist” in any honest sense without being a disciple of Jesus, that is, without trusting Christ for salvation. [emphasis added]

SOURCE: Evangelist John R. Rice, “Acts: Filled With The Spirit,” pp. 251-252; Sword Of The Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; ©1963
Oh dear friend, that is so beautiful. Please don't miss it! I have heard Missionary David W. Cloud and other false teachers, attempt to portray Dr. Rice as a proponent of Lordship Salvation, saying he taught that people must turn away from a lifestyle of sin to be saved. That is simply not true about Dr. Rice! David Cloud even goes as far as to pitch Dr. John R. Rice against his successor Pastor Curtis Hutson (1934-1995). I explain this issue in the preceding hyperlink. Mr. Cloud claims that Curtis Hutson leaves off repentance, thus corrupting the Gospel. Nothing could be further from the truth!!!

Silly phrases such as “repent of sins, confess your sins, turn from you sins, ask Jesus into your heart, follow Jesus and make Jesus Lord of your life” cannot explain the Gospel because they are contrary TO the gospel.

The Gospel teaches forgiveness of sins, while they are teaching turning from sins. There is a big difference! The subject at hand is justification, and their gospel is clearly shown false by Scripture. Until they recognize that the Scripture teaches God justifies the ungodly by faith alone, they will never recognize the falsehood of their teaching! 
The Gospel teaches repentance unto God (Acts 20:21), but they are teaching reformation from sins (i.e., a changed life). Jesus Christ came to save us from our sins, not demand that we commit to live a changed life in order to be saved. Matthew 1:21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

Please notice again our text passage from Luke 1:77-78a, “To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God...” You get saved by having your sins forgiven (remitted). This is something that only God can do! Even the wicked unsaved Pharisees understood this truth. Mark 2:7, “Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? Dear reader, getting saved is a legal matter of justification of the sinner, not the believer's sanctification.

Pilgrim's Progress author, John Bunyan, understood this important truth well:
“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.” —John Bunyan (1628-1688)
Once a man trusts in his own self righteousness, that’s when religion, shame and condemnation spring forth (Mark 7:13). We do not get saved by our own righteousness, NOR do we live for God by our own righteousness. IT is the Holy Spirit who seals us (Ephesians 1:13-15), and works within us by faith alone in Christ crucified (Romans 4:4-5). Mark 7:13, “Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” The clichés: “repent of sins, confess your sins, turn away from you sin, be willing to turn from sin, ask Jesus into your heart, surrender all to Christ, follow Jesus and make Jesus the 'Lord' of your life,” are all MANMADE TRADITION, not Scriptural. You may do all of these things and yet never be born-again. Satan's greatest weapon is to con people into living the Christian life without ever being born-again.

If it were necessary to give up a lifestyle of sinning to be saved, then God would owe us salvation. Romans 4:4-5, “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Ephesians 2:5, “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) God doesn't owe anybody salvation!!! Salvation is by God's grace. We don't deserve it. ...
Grace is God giving us what we don't deserve. 
Mercy is God not giving us what we do deserve.
The only difference between the words “works” and “grace” are the letters “ne. Either you believe that you must DO something to get to Heaven; or else you believe that is is already DONE, paid for in full by Jesus Christ, Dear friend, you get saved simply by COMING TO CHRIST! You get saved simply by BELIEVING THAT JESUS DID IT FOR YOU!!!

Hebrews 4:10-11, For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” You get saved by just getting out of the way, and letting Jesus do all the saving. Just as God the Father rested from His creative labors for 6 days, and rested on the 7th day; even so must we cease from “repenting of our sins, confessing our sins, turning away from our sin, being willing to turn from our sin, asking Jesus into our heart, surrendering all to Christ, following Jesus and making Jesus the 'Lord' of our life,” and REST COMPLETELY in the finished work of Jesus Christ through Calvary's cross.

In other words, we get saved by ceasing from our own human efforts, and RESTING IN THE GOSPEL (i.e., the Good News of Jesus' death on the cross, burial and bodily resurrection from the dead - 1st Corinthians 15:1-4).

You'll die and go to Hell if you're trusting your own goodness. It is done! Your sins have already been paid in full by the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1st Peter 1:18-19). All you need to do is freely accept it by faith. Simply trust the GOOD NEWS and the great transaction will have taken place!!! Simply believe the Good News that Christ died, was buried and raised up from the dead FOR YOU dear friend. That is why the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 3:2, “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? I love that! When you hear the Gospel preached, you simply BELIEVE it, and you are saved. It is that simple to be saved.

We are saved by HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, which is why we read in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” You see, when you put your faith in Jesus as your personal Savior, God credits (imputes) His righteousness to you! God imputed our sins to Jesus on the cross! This is The Imputed Righteousness Of God!!!

I want you to please notice something. Look at 
Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” Please don't miss it! The Bible says, “not having my own righteousness, WHICH IS OF THE LAW.” Dear reader, if you must repent and turn away from your sinful ways to receive God's free gift of eternal life, then it cannot truly be a gift! How can it be free if you must give up your sinful bad habits to get it? Obviously it cannot.

I once saw a local bank that was offering a free toaster as a gift, but only if you open a new account to get it. Is that really a gift? No, it is not. It is a reward for opening a new account. The term “gift” is often misused by business and sadly, by preachers too. By every dictionary and Greek lexicon meaning you'll find, the word gift means something given without compensation. A gift is something that you receive, not achieve or qualify for. A gift is a take proposition, not a give proposition. You simply receive a gift. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. We know that nothing in life is free. That is true concerning salvation as well. Jesus paid for it! Therefore, nothing is asked or allowed of us to receive it!

When pastors, evangelists, missionaries, chaplains and Bible college professors require people to repent and turn away from sin to be saved, they are perverting the grace of God. Anytime you attack the grace of God, you are attacking the God of grace! I fully agree with the following preaching by Dr. Curtis Hutson:
“But we've so muddied the Gospel, that when men want to make a decision to trust Christ, we've made it so complicated that they can't make a simple decision to 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.' We'll say, 'If you don't do this' or 'You don't do that' or 'You haven't done that,' you're not saved'; but the truth of the matter is that when asked in the Bible, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?,' one clear simple answer was given to him — 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.'” — Pastor Curtis Hutson, “Things That Are Different Are Not The Same” (preached at Southwide Baptist Fellowship on October 3, 1994)
Amen and amen! It is of the utmost importance that we always keep justification entirely separate from sanctification, lest you not be able to divide the Word aright; but contrariwise, you corrupt the Word of God, and cast stumbling blocks before the people:
“Certainly discipleship is a most important aspect of our relation to Christ, but it belongs to the sphere of Christian life rather than entrance upon that life... One does not become a disciple in order to become a Christian, but because he has become a Christian by faith in the Savior, it is fitting that he embark upon a life of discipleship.” —Everett F. Harrison, “Must Christ be Lord to Be Savior?-No”; Eternity, September 1959 (p. 14)
Famous soulwinning Chicago pastor, D.L. Moody, rightly said:
“When men are trying to patch up this old Adam-nature, trying to make themselves better, they are growing worse all the time. When men are trying to save themselves and work out their own salvation without God, they are all the time making themselves worse.” —Pastor Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899)
Here again is a helpful quote from Dr. Curtis Hutson:
“Faith and repentance are the same; they are not two separate decisions. One cannot trust Christ as Savior without repenting or changing his mind. The very fact that he trusts Christ for salvation shows that he has changed his mind regarding sin, salvation, and God.” —Pastor Curtis Hutson (1934-1995)
That is exactly what Dr. John R. Rice said earlier in the quote I shared with you. There are many false prophets today; such as, Ray Comfort (Living Waters ministry) and Steve Pettit (incompetent executive president of Bob Jones University), who teach TWO STEPS to be saved. These ungodly men falsely teach that you must FIRST turn away from your sins, and then SECOND believe in Jesus. That is another gospel which cannot produce the new birth (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4; Galatians 1:6-9).

What saith the Scripture? 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.” When the Roman jailor asked Paul and Silas how to be saved, they simply told him to BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!!! Paul and Silas didn't tell the man

“I saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, the same yesterday and today and forever.” —Evangelist John Bunyan (1628-1688)

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