Friday, December 22, 2023

Repentance And Faith

Acts 20:21, “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In theology repentance and faith are not the same thing. Yet, repentance and faith happen at the same time. You don't repent first and then have faith. Some people confuse turning away from their sinful behavior as repentance, but this is reformation. Others confuse sorrow over sins with repentance, but this is penitence. Some people confuse trying to right your wrongs (i.e., to make a mend) as repentance, but this is penance. Repentance is a change of mind toward God, as we just learned in Acts 20:21.

A helpful illustration of repentance and faith is getting on an airplane to travel somewhere. I live in the city of Pensacola. Lets say that I buy a plane ticket to Hawaii. When I get on the plane and am flying toward Hawaii, I don't have to first leave Pensacola and then make a second decision to move toward Hawaii. They happen simultaneously. Likewise, false prophets like Ray Comfort preaches that to get to Heaven, you must first commit to live a perpetual lifestyle of forsaking your sinning, and then “second (Ray even uses this word) put your trust in Christ to be saved. Dear reader, trusting Jesus as your personal Savior is NOT the “second” thing you need to do to get to Heaven, it is the ONLY thing!!!

In the Gospel of John we find the word “believe” mentioned 85 times, but you won't find the word “repent” mentioned even once. This is simply because repentance is automatic. The Greek word for repent regarding salvation in the Bible is always either the noun form metanoia, meaning a change of mind; or the verb form metanoeo meaning “to think differently.” It is tragic that millions of unsaved wicked men have embellished this simple meaning to errantly teach that you have to turn from your sinful ways, experience a radical transformation of heart, or follow Christ as “Lord” to be saved, none of which are biblical.

If repentance were a separate act from faith, then John would have told us in the Gospel of John, but he didn't. John 6:47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” As a general rule, you should never base a doctrine on an obscure passage of Scripture while ignoring a clear one. False prophets like to cite passages such as Acts 2:38 and Acts 20:21 in an attempt to teach that turning from your sinful bad habits is something more required to be saved then just faith in the Gospel. But those false teachers totally ignore the entire Gospel of John. The truth is that Christ died on a cross to pay our debt of sin. All that God requires of any man to be saved is to simply BELIEVE that Jesus did it all for you.

The man who believes has repented; and the man who repents has believed. Like two sides of one coin, repentance and faith are inseparable and happen at the same time. Let's go back to the airplane illustration, shall we. When a man gets on a airplane to travel someplace, he doesn't have to make two decisions; he is automatically leaving his origin as he moves toward his destination place. Likewise, the lost sinner who puts their trust in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, has turned their back against the sins for which Christ needed to sacrifice Himself on Calvary's cross. That doesn't mean they are giving up their sinful bad habits, which would be works (Jonah 3:10); it just means they have acknowledged their sinnership before a holy God  (Romans 3:19-20). That is, you must know what you are being saved from.

Repentance Is A Change Of Mind, Nothing More

I was so happy today when I learned that Pastor Strand is correct on repentance. It is becoming rare these days to find a Baptist preacher who is correct on repentance and the Gospel. Pastor Strand added these words to explain Bible repentance...
True repentance concerning salvation occurs whenever a person “changes his mind” (i.e., repents) concerning who he is. He is a sinner in need of salvation. According to Matthew 27:3, Judas did not repent (i.e., have regret) as to who he was (i.e., he was a sinner in need of salvation); he only regretted (i.e., repented) what he had done to an innocent man. Unfortunately, that is never enough to save a person from sin and sin's penalty (Hell). Until a person sees himself as being “sinfully” sick (Lk 5:31-32), he will never see his need for a “spiritual doctor” (i.e., the Savior). Our problem is not in what we do before God, but in what we are before God. The mistake Judas made was in “turning from his sin” (i.e., what he had done to an innocent man) instead of “changing his mind” about his sinfulness (i.e., the fact that he was a sinner in need of a Savior). Like the thief on the cross who never had the opportunity to “turn from his sin,” we, like him, can only “acknowledge our sinfulness” in order to be saved (Lk 23:40-41). True repentance for salvation occurs when we “change our mind” concerning two areas:
  1. Who we are (Lk 23:39-40) — We are sinners in need of salvation (Rom 5:6-8)
  2. Who Christ is (Lk 23:42) — Christ is God (Jn 5:17-18 & 8:24, 58-59 & 10:30-33) and our only Savior from sin (I Tim 3:16 & 4:10).
SOURCE: Pastor Brad Strand, “The Strand Study Bible,” p 1938-1939
Boy, that is great stuff! That is life-changing truth! I am not kidding friend. When you learn the truth about repentance and the Gospel—knowing how simple God's plan of salvation really is and that it can all be yours completely for free; and you have received that free gift of eternal life by faith alone in Jesus Christ—it will produce unspeakable joy in your soul.
1st Peter 1:7-9, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”
No believer will ever find the sweet peace and joy of being God's redeemed child, until you know beyond any shadow of a doubt that your name is written in Heaven, in the Lamb's Book of Life (Luke 10:20). As an acknowledged guilty sinner, by faith I received Christ's sacrifice on the cross as full payment for my sins at age 13. I called out in my soul to the risen Savior, casting my trust upon Him alone as my Savior. I thank God for the gift of His only begotten (biological) Son, Jesus, who with His precious blood paid my debt of sin (1st Peter 1:18-19).

God bless Brother Strand for rightly dividing the Word of Truth.

Repentance And Faith Happen At The Same Time

Nowhere does the inspired King James Bible teach that you must forsake a lifestyle of sinning, nor give up your sinful bad habits, nor even “be willing (Jack Chick's damnable heresy) to turn away from your sinful bad habits to be saved. Anyone who teaches such lies is pulling on the same rope as the Devil, and they have never been born-again by faith alone in Christ alone.

Salvation is not a reward for the righteous, it is a gift for the guilty!

Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith.

Turning away from sinful ways would be a work. Faith puts all of the merit where it belongs, on the object of our faith, Jesus and His work.

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?

The true Gospel always points you to CHRIST; a false gospel always points to YOU.

I often quote those helpful statements, because they are the truth. Your sinful ways has nothing to do with God's free gift of eternal life. Certainly, once you receive Christ and are in Christ (2nd Corinthians 5:17), God is going to start dealing with your soul about the sins in your life as His redeemed child (Hebrews 12:6-8). However, this is strictly a matter of SERVICE for your Lord (Romans 12:1), and not a matter of SALVATION, which is Christ's doing alone (Galatians 3:26).

Repentance is not a separate act from believing. We don't repent AND believe; we repent TO believe. The object of repentance is to believe the Gospel. That is, you think differently to admit you're a guilty SINNER and that Jesus is the only SAVIOR, and by believing the GOOD NEWS (GOSPEL) of Christ's death, burial and resurrection you are instantly, irrevocably and forever saved (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). Nothing more is required to get to Heaven. Faith is the only righteous thing that I can do.

I heard a religious woman in 2021 testify that she thought she was saved, but then realized she'd never turned away from her sinning. She testified at a revival service that now she knows she's saved, because she has turned from her habit of sinning. Dear reader, she is still as lost as a moose in a caboose in a snowstorm!!! She is no closer to Heaven than she was before, all because her wicked pastor lied to her. She has been given false hope by her unsaved foolish pastor. I am talking about an independent Baptist church pastor in Texas! This is sadly happening all across the United States today. Pastors and laymen alike have been woefully deceived by the Devil. They have been lied to by infidel preachers on radio and television, from nearly every pulpit today, misled to think you must forsake your sinful bad habits or else God won't honor your faith in His only begotten Son. Nothing could be further from the truth of God's Word.

The only way to become a born-again child of God is to wholly lean on Jesus' name (Hebrews 4:10-11). Adding anything to faith cancels it! Faith in Jesus PLUS anything equals damnation in Hell forever. The promised Messiah came into the world to pay for your sins and mine, He doesn't demand that we forsake those sins in order to qualify for God's free gift of eternal life. The truth is that no one is capable of forsaking his or her sins. There is no way! You may clean up your life and reform in the eyes of men, but you are still a dirty wretched sinner and so am I. Psalms 130:3, “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?”

You see, you don't get saved by doing your part to clean up you filthy ways, and then trust Christ as a secondary thing. That is a counterfeit plan of salvation which cannot produce the new birth by the Holy Spirit of God. To be saved, you must submit wholly to God's righteousness, which is by faith alone in Jesus Christ (Romans 4:1-7, 10:3-4; Philippians 3:9).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.