Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Turning From Sin Vs. Coming To God As A Needy Sinner

Romans 3:19-20, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Galatians 3:18-19, For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” 2nd Timothy 2:25, “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.

This will be one of the most important blog articles you will ever read dear friend. There is so much confusion in churches today over God's plan of salvation. It is not man's plan of salvation, it is God's. Titus 1:2, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; God promises eternal life to whosoever wants it (1st Corinthians 1:21). All you need to do is come to God as a needy sinner and receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Simply accept Christ's sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins, believing that He died and was buried, physically resurrecting from the dead three days later. This Good News is called The Gospel” (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). The Gospel is Good News to be believed, not a religious life to be lived. Satan's greatest weapon is to con people into living the Christian life without ever being born again.

It is not okay to merely believe whatever you want. Right doctrine matters! There has been ongoing theological debate over the meaning of “repentance for centuries. The Greek word for “repent in the New Testament is metanoia, which simply means a change of mind. That is all it means. God deliberately chose this word because it is an open-ended, all-inclusive, term. What do you need to change your mind about to be saved? The answer is whatever is hindering you from BELIEVING the Gospel. We get saved by BELIEVING, not by REPENTING! 

Faith and repentance are simply two parts of one act of obedience to God. You don't repent first and then believe. Repentance and faith are simply two different ways of looking at salvation. They are as two sides of the same coin. The following helpful information is quoted from Dr. John R. Rice's invaluable verse-by-verse Bible commentary titled, “Acts: Filled With The Spirit,” pages 250-252:

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. [emphasis added]

SOURCE: Evangelist John R. Rice, “Acts: Filled With The Spirit,” pp. 250-252; Sword Of The Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; ©1963

With those truths in mind, now it makes perfect sense what we read in Acts 20:21, “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Please notice that repentance is “toward God and not from sin.” Dr. Rice just said: “One who turns from sin to God has done so by trusting in Jesus Christ.” Please don't miss what he said. Dr. Rice is NOT teaching that you must turn from your sin to be saved. Brother Rice is teaching that by trusting in Jesus Christ, you have turned from sin. In other words, we are saved by believing, not by turning from anything. In other words, we repent TO believe, we don't repent AND believe. Repentance and faith are one and the same step of obedience to receive eternal life.

Many False Prophets Are Gone Out Into The World

I am making a big fuss over this, because many false preachers today are saying that you didn't really get saved if you're still living in willful open sin. Pastor Charles Lawson is one of them, who heretically states:

“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.'

SOURCE: Pastor Charles Lawson, “True Repentance

Yes, believing sure does make you born-again! Pastor Lawson is perverting the Gospel, adding the requirement to be willing to change your behavior to be saved. That is not what it means in the Bible to “repent.” Dr. Lawson has a wrong mindset. He views repentance as meaning a willingness to turn away from committing sins. But that is not how you get saved. You get saved by putting your trust in Jesus Christ. So whatever is hindering you from believing is all that you need to change your mind about. Let's examine John 3:20-21, “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” Carefully notice that TRUTH is the issue of repentance, and not turning away from one's sinful ways. He that DOETH TRUTH cometh to the light. That light of the truth is the Gospel (2nd Corinthians 4:3-4).

May I point out that repentance is not a part of the Gospel. That is correct. The Apostle Paul defines The Gospel in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 as Christ's death on the cross, burial and bodily resurrection. There is no mention of repenting of your sins! Likewise, in the Gospel of John we find the word “believe” mentioned 85 times, but the word “repent” is not mentioned even once! And again in Galatians 3:1-2, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Please notice those word which keep appearing THE TRUTH.” A person gets saved by obeying THE TRUTH, which is to believe the truth of the Gospel. Notice that the Apostle Paul asks the Galatians how they got saved (i.e., indwelt by the Holy Spirit)—was it by the works of the law, or was it by the hearing of faith? I love that phrase—the hearing of faith. When you hear the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ preached and you believe it, you are immediately and forever saved!

Repentance Is Simply Coming To God As A Needy Sinner

There is a world of difference between telling someone that they must turn from their sins to be saved, which implies that they must forsake sinful bad habits; versus coming to God as a needy sinner and trusting in Jesus Christ to save you. Respectfully said, Pastor Charles Lawson of the Temple Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee is wrong! Pastor Lawson is a Calvinist in his corrupt theology. Mr. Lawson is a good man and means well, of that I have no doubt, but he is woefully ignorant of the Scriptures concerning repentance. Dr. Lawson errantly views repentance as something that the sinner must do, but salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9). The reason why the Gospel of John never mentions repentance is simply because the man who believes has also repented. Repentance is automatic.

Repentance is simply acknowledging THE TRUTH that you are a guilty sinner (Romans 3:19-20), so that you'll see your need, and come to Christ to be saved by faith alone (Galatians 3:26). What saith the Scripture? 2nd Timothy 2:25, “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.” What a beautiful Bible verse!

I have kindly shown you from Acts 20:21 that repentance is toward God. I have shown you from 2nd Timothy 2:25 that repentance is simply acknowledging the truth. Nowhere in the Bible are we taught to “repent of sin or turn from sin to be saved. These are manmade concepts not found in God's Word. Turning from sin to receive God's free gift of eternal life is a manmade idea. Well-meaning but corrupt preachers have sinfully ADDED to the Scriptures, wrestling (torturing) God's inspired Word to their own destruction (2nd Peter 3:16-17). 

Evangelist Lou Martuneac rightly defines Lordship Salvation as:

Defined briefly: Lordship Salvation is a position on the gospel in which “saving faith” is considered reliance upon the finished work of Jesus Christ. Lordship views “saving faith” as incomplete without an accompanying resolve to “forsake sin” and to “start obeying.” Lordship’s “sine qua non” (indispensable condition) that must be met to fully define “saving faith,” for salvation, is a commitment to deny self, take up the cross, and follow Christ in submissive obedience. (In Defense of the Gospel: Revised & Expanded Edition, p. 48.)

Lordship Salvation is of the Devil. Whereas the Holy Bible simply requires the least amount of childlike faith to be saved, proponents of Lordship Salvation woefully complicate the Gospel. There is a fine line between faith and foolishness. There is a fine line between grace and works. But it is a very well defined line, so unmistakable that there is no controversy if you allow the Bible speak for itself, and don't add to what God said. It is importance to understand what repentance is, and is not...

  • Repentance is not penitence (feeling sorry for sins).
  • Repentance is not penance (trying to remedy your sins).
  • Repentance is not reformation (turning from your sins).
  • Repentance is a change of mind (from wrong thinking to believing the Gospel).

Salvation has always been by faith alone. A changed life is the result of the fruit of the indwelling Holy Spirit. 

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