What do you mean Repent?
Here is a sample of what some say it means to repent. "Repentance is a turning away from sin", “It means to TURN FROM YOUR SINS”; “Repentance is a FORSAKING OF SIN”, “Repentance means to surrender to the true and living God”, that it means to “quit sinning”. Others will say, “It is a change of mind that results in a change of life; it means to turn around and face in a different direction; it means to surrender to God's authority.” However the clear Biblical meaning of the word Repent (Gr. "metanoeo") or Repentance (Gr. "metanoia") are both defined in Strong's Concordance as simply "a change of mind".
These same people, who define repentance as a “turning, forsaking and surrendering”, etc., at other times will just say, we can only come to God by, “His prescribed way, which is by repentance and saving faith in Christ”. Now, if that is all they say, we can say Amen! But then, “repentance” is not defined in that statement, neither is “saving faith in Christ”, so, they could mean something totally different from what we understand it to mean. They believe “repent” means to “turn from your sins”, which is the same as saying, “keep the Law”, where others take the literal Biblical meaning which is a “change of mind”.
How important it is to do like Ezra and his companions, who “read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” (Nehemiah 8:8) There are certain distinctions in the Bible that we need to clearly understand in order to make sense of the whole, and this comes by contextual exposition of the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and heeding the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27-31).
The word “GOSPEL”, euaggelion, yoo-ang-ghel -ee-on (noun) or euaggelizo, yoo-ang-ghel-id'-zo (verb), means “good tidings” or “glad tidings” and is commonly referred to as, “Good News”. It comes from two Greek words, eu, which means “good”, and aggelos, which is messenger, or we might understand it, “good message”. A similar word in the Greek is euaggelistes, translated “evangelist”, who is one that brings good news.
In the old days before the printing press, the town “Harold” or the town “crier” (euaggelistes) might go to the town square and say, “euaggelizo, euaggelizo”, “there is good news, there is good news”, and might make some important announcement, that the king had won a notable victory, or the king's wife just had a healthy child.
The meaning of words are very important. If one understands a totally different meaning by the words you are transmitting, they will hear a totally different message than what you are trying to convey to them. They may say they agree with you, but will have something totally different in mind than what you understand. Unless you explain with words easy to be understood, with clarity and plainness of speech, your audience may come to a wrong conclusion, and believe something other than what you intended, even something totally wrong.
Another very important consideration is context. The phrase “Repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15) is used only once in the Bible and it is a direct quote from Jesus, and what was His message? “Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God” (Mark 1:14). This was the same message that John the Baptist preached, who was the forerunner of Jesus. “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Matthew 3:1-3) (It should be noted that the “kingdom of God” and the “kingdom of heaven” are interchangeable terms: Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:20-21).
This is not the “gospel” that the Church is commissioned to preach today (Mark 16:15; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The gospel of the Kingdom was the good news that was being preached to the nation Israel, the good news of the promised kingdom of God that would be centered in Jerusalem, where Israel would be the head of the nations, with the promised Messiah reigning on the throne of David. The coming Kingdom was a well known doctrine in the Old Testament, and now the Baptist was preaching it was near. Why, because the Child who would be King was born (Isaiah 9:6-7) and now He was in their midst.
Before His death and resurrection, Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14). Many have forgotten the context. They have failed to recognize that the “gospel of the kingdom” was preached under the dispensation of the Law, not in the “Dispensation of grace” (Ephesians 3:2). Jesus was speaking to Israel.
Just before the ascension of Christ, the apostles still could not discern the new direction they would be taking in their ministry. “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:6-8)
The “Church” did not even exist before Pentecost, which was fifty days after the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. When the promise of the Spirit came on Pentecost, and descended on that little flock of believers, the Church was born. Jesus said, the Spirit would guide them into all Truth and show them things to come (John 16:12-15), and would flow like a river of life from their bosom (John 7:37-39) to the ends of the earth.
Israel rejected their Messiah and King and crucified Him. Now, the kingdom has been postponed because of the blindness of Israel (Romans 11:25-28, Acts 13:46-48). In time they understood that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ must go to the ends of the earth, to the Gentiles it must go (Malachi 1:11, Isaiah 42:6-9; 49:6), and gather out of them a people for His name (Acts 15:14-17).
God would no longer dwell in a cold stone Temple, but in living stones, being built up as a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5, Ephesians 2:21-22), who would become the temple of the living God (1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16).
Today, in the “Church Age”, the gospel of Jesus Christ is now being preached to both Jew and Gentile, whereby all those who believe the Good News of Christ's death for our sins, His burial and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and trust Him Alone to save them from their sins, shall receive the free gift of everlasting life (John 5:24).
The “gospel of the kingdom” had been postponed but will be preached once again during Daniel's 70th week, the final 7 year tribulation that will deal specifically with the nation Israel and Jerusalem (Daniel 9:24-27). Israel and Jerusalem will become the great controversy of the world in the latter days (Zechariah 12:1-3; 14:1-4, 5, Isaiah 34:8). When Jesus Christ receives the “Title Deed” for all the earth (Revelation 6), He will begin to unroll His judgments and destroy all His enemies (Micah 5:15, Psalm 110:1-2, 5-6, Isaiah 24:21-23; 26:21; 34:2-3, Joel 3:11-14, Revelation 19:13-16, 17-20, 21). The rightful King shall take back that which was usurped from Adam, even the dominion over all the earth (Revelation 11:15; 12:10, Psalm 72:8, 11, Daniel 2:34-35, 44-45; 7:13-14, 24-27, Micah 4:6-8). The Devil usurped the dominion from Adam and so now the kingdoms of this world are in the possession of Satan (Luke 4:5-7). But as Jesus unrolls his judgments upon a Christ rejecting world during the Great Tribulation, the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of the Lord Jesus Christ, and He shall reign forever (Revelation 11:15).
In that Day, “The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once.” (Isaiah 42:13-14)
But we must distinguish between the Dispensation of Law and the Dispensation of Grace (John 1:17), between the “gospel of the kingdom” and the “glorious gospel of Christ” (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:17-18; 15:1-4, Galatians 1:3-6, 7-9, Ephesians 3:2-6; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; 2:8), which is the “gospel of your salvation” (Ephesians 1:13).
The roles of Israel and the Church are quite different in the coming Kingdom. The Church is the Bride of Christ who shall live and reign with Him, along with the saints of ages past and the tribulation martyrs, all who partake in the “first resurrection” (Matthew 19:28, Revelation 1:6; 20:4-6; 1 Corinthians 6:2; 2 Timothy 2:11-12), but Christ shall reign over Israel (those of the 12 tribes of Israel who are saved and endure to the end of the tribulation and enter the Millennial Kingdom in the flesh) from Jerusalem in His everlasting Kingdom (Isaiah 9:6-7, Luke 1:32-33, Isaiah 2:2-5). The tribes of Israel shall inherit the land of Israel as promised to their fathers, and shall be blessed with all the good promises of God, and Israel shall be the head over all Gentile nations (Zechariah 14:16) who enter the Millennial Kingdom of Christ (Deuteronomy 28:1-4, 5-9, 10-13, 14).
So today, when we declare the gospel to the lost, it is of utmost importance that we clearly explain what we mean by the gospel, because there are so many corrupt gospels going around (2 Corinthians 11:3-4, Galatians 1:6-9). A great tragedy we see so often today, is that when some declare the gospel so often they leave out Christ's resurrection from the dead. They lay great emphasis on the death of Christ for our sins, and that we need to “receive Jesus into our heart”. There is no power in that gospel. After Paul had clearly declared the gospel to the Church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), he laid great emphasis on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and that without that essential part of the gospel, their faith would be in vain and they would be yet in their sins.
“Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)
The glorious gospel of Christ looses all its glory when the resurrection is removed. The resurrection of the dead was the hope of all the saints throughout the ages (Job 19:26, Psalm 16:9-11; 71:20, Isaiah 26:19, Daniel 12:2, John 11:23-26), and through the gospel of Jesus Christ we have “a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
Furthermore, there can be no justification apart from Christ's resurrection from the dead. Righteousness is only imputed to those who believe that God raised His Son from the dead. Paul says that the righteousness of God is only imputed to those who, “believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 4:24-25; 5:1-2)
We are justified by GRACE ALONE, through FAITH ALONE, in CHRIST ALONE, when we believe the only true gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), and put our trust only in the One True Savior of the world, the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:13). And let us understand that, to be justified is to be declared righteous, whereby the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to our account as a gift (Romans 5:17-18) when our sins are forgiven.
To deviate from the gospel in any way, to add or take away from the glorious gospel of Christ is to make it a FALSE gospel. Those who preach a false gospel come under God's curse. Those who believe a false gospel will not be saved from their sins, and God's wrath abides on them (John 3:36).
I cannot stress enough how important this is, as so many today are corrupting the gospel, and perhaps unwittingly. The Devil is so subtle, and the greatest device he has in his arsenal, that he uses against the saints, is mixing truth with error. The Devil has deceived many false teachers who have crept into the fold unawares, right from the very first century (Jude 1:3-4), and many, we are told, “shall follow their pernicious ways” (2 Peter 2:1-2).
We all need to do our part and together hold to account those individuals or ministries whom we see undermining the gospel of Jesus Christ and deceiving their hearers. This has been an age long war, that affected the children of Israel also. “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” (Isaiah 3:12) It was the leaders themselves which caused them to err and destroy the path of the righteous. Let it not be so in our sphere of influence.
In this update, I have included a letter I wrote as an example (below), how subtly the gospel may be corrupted. I asked a question to a Bible Tract producer when I received a sample package of tracts they make available over the internet. After receiving the packet of tracts I had some concerns. I have included my question to them, along with their reply, and my re-reply, to which I have not yet received an answer. I pray it may be beneficial for your edification.
From: Liberty Gospel Tracts [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: February 13, 2020 12:51 PM
Subject: Bible Question
[Note: This is my (Noel's) Question to Liberty Gospel Tracts:]
Question:: Hi, Good Bible tracts are hard to find and things are looking good here. KJV, yes. Controversial topics, yes. I just have one question, and it is about repentance, which there seems to be somewhat of a conflict on what you say on your tracts. First of all, what YOU say in your tracts:
"Repentance is not you trying to clean up yourself (that is self-reformation, and doomed to failure). Repentance is you having the desire for God to save and transform you."
"Repentance is forsaking all other religions, gods, and hopes of heaven; and placing your complete faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone."
"To “repent,” means “to perceive afterwards,” or “to change your mind”. You change your mind about sin (that it is not worth the cost, nor is it really satisfying). You change your mind about God (that He is not just a swear word, but a loving God that gave His Son to die in your place to pay for your sin debt)."
"Do you realize that to be saved you must repent (you must have the desire to turn from your sin and false beliefs, and for the Lord Jesus Christ to cleanse you from all your sin)? "
Also, at the end of most tracts you have readers to check a box or say a prayer with the following:
"I have just repented of my sins, and have asked the Lord Jesus Christ to save me." or "I do now repent of my sins, and receive you as my Savior."
So, I see on the one hand you say repentance is a "change of mind". I believe that is the Biblical definition of what it means to repent. I see that we must change our mind about God, our self, my sin. We need to change our mind. So when someone says you must repent of your sin, I can say amen. But when the evangelist says to the lost, you must turn from your sin, here is where I have issue. How can someone who is dead in sins and trespasses, a slave to sin, turn from his sin? He loves his sin, as it is pleasurable, at least for a season. At the same time, a self righteous but lost person, may even detest most sin and say that they have turned from their sin.
Now from without, the Holy Spirit will convince the world of sin righteousness and judgment, but to turn from their sins, they just do not have the power. But after they have believed the Gospel and trust Jesus as their Saviour, God now begins a work IN the believer. But even after one is saved, he does not cease from sin, as sanctification of the Spirit is a work in progress as the new believer believes the truth and is washed by the Word. And if we do sin, we confess, and He forgives.
It is just that I am afraid that this comes close to trying to add our own works to Christ, which I believe you make it clear that this is not possible. Many places in the Bible we are told to stop sinning, to turn from our sin, do not lie, do not steal, do not commit adultery, etc, etc. But trying to keep the Law cannot save as you know.
Can you clarify this for me.
[Note: In this next section I have inserted my comments right into their reply, and explain this at the beginning of his reply as follows:]
Dear Brother Austin,
Let me first say thank you for your reply. Not many will take time out of their busy schedules to write back, never mind a long reply like you have, and I am grateful for this. I thought the best way for me to respond was to interject a few comments highlighted within your comments as a further inquiry to the great subject of repentance, which I am sure we both want to be on the right side of Truth. So if you desire, you may look over what I have replied, and see if you agree. And please re-reply if you think anything is not clear in my response or if I am contradicting myself or the whole of the counsel of God.
“Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.” (2 Timothy 2:7)
Brother Austin's Reply:
Thank you for your letter. I am sorry that your letter has been set aside for so long.
I have been in the ministry for 39 years now, and what I see is that when we fail to truly follow the example of Scripture, we may still see “results,” but the outcome is not what we really desired. I think that sometimes we are seeing more tares than real wheat (my note: it is near impossible to distinguish the difference between wheat and tares when they are young. It is not till the time of fruit bearing that the difference will be discerned (Matthew 13:24-30). That is why after one confesses Christ and joins the assembly, why Biblical discipleship is so important after that time. This is what most of the NT letters of Paul to the Churches was dealing with, discipleship. Discipleship and salvation are two different things. Evangelist Dave Breese reminds us that, “A very high percentage of the epistles of the New Testament are written as instructions to believers. These instructions have produced conviction and commitment in millions of Christians down through the history of the Church. Lordship Salvation cancels the value of these admonitions, in that it declares that if one does not obey these instructions, one is not a Christian. Therefore, the answer to Christian imperfection (obvious in the character of many Christians) is that this person was never saved and needs to be saved. So evaporates the value of all instructions to grow in grace.” You may not believe in that Calvinistic doctrine of Lordship Salvation, but the point is, that even believers in the church are not perfect, and have not “turned from their sins”. Depending on the individual and their past, they may even be in gross sin. Consider Simon the sorcerer, whom the Bible says “believed”, but was still messed up because of his occultic background (Acts 8:9-24). Consider those who burned their books of sorcery, that this may have been several years after they believed before they finally got rid of them (Acts 19:10, 18-19). Or Annanias and Saphira who lied to the Holy Ghost and died as a consequence. And what about the good kings of Israel who just could not seem to shed their idolatrous practice of sacrificing in high places which they were commanded to destroy (1 Kings 22:43; 2 Kings 15:1-5; Deuteronomy 12:2-5; 2 Chronicles 32:12; 33:17)? And what about a Roman Catholic (which I was for 30 years), who has been indoctrinated for decades, how it may take years to work out so many false ideas that have been so engrained in their mind since birth. If salvation includes the idea that one must “turn from his sins” via your definition of repentance (re: “repent and believe the gospel”), we are all in big trouble. Maybe even lost and still in our sins, because many a saint has stumbled in his old ways, or struggled for a time after salvation and has not “turned from his sins”.), and it is because we are not giving lost sinners the whole picture. Sometimes we are so diligent to refute false doctrine, that we totally lose our balance, and do not emphasize correct doctrine as we ought.
Example? The matter of “works.” We are so careful to make sure that people understand that we are not saved by our good works (and we should be very careful to make sure that they understand that), that we then often fail to teach them that when we do get saved, our lives should be characterized by good works. Case in point: we take them to Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” But how many times do we take the lost sinner on to the very next verse? Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Discipleship is for believers, not the lost. Is it not best to keep the “changed life” or “results” on the discipleship side of salvation rather than on the evangelism side to the lost? Why cloud the simplicity of Christ with the idea that you need to “turn from your sins” when even believers never fully “turn from their sins”. It is clear from the Scriptures that some Christians are insufficiently delivered from the power of sin, and may be in need of chastisement from their Father, even to the extent of sickness or possibly physical death (1 Corinthians 11:29-32; Acts 5:1-10; 1 Timothy 1:20). The fact of the matter is that we will never be perfectly submitted to Christ and our Father, our commitment to Him will always be imperfect. Only Christ could say, “I do always those things that please him.” (John 8:29). And since that is the case, why push upon the lost, when evangelizing, the necessity to “turn from their sins” when they have not the power to change? “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Romans 8:7). Why tell the lost that they need to shape up, when you do not even know if they will respond affirmatively to the gospel? They are an enemy of God and dead in sins and trespasses, they cannot obey, but externally if ever, for they are not regenerated, nor have the Law written on their hearts from whence they may obey. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Galatians 5:17) They “do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness” (Romans 2:8) and “cannot cease from sin” (2 Peter 2:14). Jesus asked the religious, “how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matthew 12:34) And we know the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Jeremiah asked, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23) They have an evil heart of unbelief, but once they obey the gospel, and believe in their heart that God has raised Jesus Christ from the dead, they are saved, and God will give them a new heart might, whereby they might obey that form of doctrine delivered unto them.)
We are so afraid of telling the lost sinner that verse (because we are afraid that he will then trust in his good works) (Do not forget: the letter to the Ephesians was written to believers, “to the saints at Ephesus” (Ephesians 1:1), which is full of instructions on discipleship, how the believer ought to walk), that we do not want to bring up to him that the Christian life is a “changed life.” When a person gets saved, it is to then be a life of “good works.” It is a new life of not doing the “former works” of the flesh, shown to us in Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (These are good instructions for the church at Galatia to whom this was written (Galatians 1:1-2). A good reminder to those who are saved that they should not walk in those things. And when people believe the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe it, they become a temple of the Holy Spirit. They receive the promise of the Holy Spirit (John 7:38-39, Galatians 3:14). They become “endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) And now He begins to work in their life, not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit. Not “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2), but the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14) who now works in the children of God (Philippians 2:13), through His Word (1 Thessalonians 2:13), and are changed into the same image of Jesus Christ from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). There is now a totally new dynamic going on in the child of God that was never there before. Does that mean he will never sin? Not at all (1 John 1:8), but now he will know he is grieving the Holy Spirit, now he has a Father who will correct and chasten him if he gets out of hand if he does not confess his sin. Now he is a member of the body of Christ, the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of Truth, that will be there to help in his discipline and pray for him. The lost cannot even begin to fathom these things for they are Spiritually discerned, and have not the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:9-15). These things belong to the area of growth in Christ once they are in Christ. Do not be guilty of putting the cart before the horse, sanctification before justification. We would expect good works to proceed from those who are saved, we would expect the child of God to eventually mature, but sometimes they have to go root around in the pig pen a little longer before they come to their senses, sometimes they need a few stripes before they will hearken.)
I hear so much about, “Well, that is meat, and you cannot give meat to a baby Christian, who needs milk.” Jesus did not seem to think that way about the subject of repentance (you see, your mind is so ingrained with this idea that repentance means “turn from your sins”, when it is simply a “change of mind”. The word repentance is not even used in these next two examples that you give). John 8:10-11 says, “When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” John 5:13-14 says, “And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” (We need to rightly divide the truth. Who was being spoken to here? Israel? Or the Church? In the new dispensation of grace, we are told, “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Timothy 2:19) Good instruction for those who are now professing believers. When you tell the lost on this side of the cross to Keep the Law and believe the gospel, you are corrupting the grace of God (Romans 11:16; 2 Timothy 1:9-10). You must understand that telling the LOST when evangelizing to turn from their sins is the same as telling them to keep the Law. Can you not see where you are contradicting yourself? For sure we agree that those who are saved are “created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Ephesians 2:8-10), and that Christ “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14) That, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8). And, “that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works” (Titus 3:8). And any good works that we are enabled to do ultimately come through the transforming power of the Scriptures whereby we might be “throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
If repentance is only a change of mind, and does not also mean a change in actions, then why does Mark 9:43-44 say, “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” If repentance is only a change of mind, then why cut my hand off, if it is causing me to sin? How can my hand send me to hell, if repentance is only my mind that is the problem?
If repentance is only a change of mind, and does not also mean a change in actions, then why does Mark 9:45-46 say, “And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” If repentance is only a change of mind, then why cut my foot off, if it is causing me to sin? How can my foot send me to hell, if repetance is only my mind that is the problem?
If repentance is only a change of mind, and does not also mean a change in actions, then why does Mark 9:47-50 say, “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” If repentance is only a change of mind, then why pluck out my eye, if it is causing me to sin? How can my eye send me to hell, if repentance is only my mind that is the problem? (First of all, the word “repentance” is not mentioned in these passages! Secondly, these are not salvation passages. Salvation does not come by cutting off members of your body that are causing thee to offend. In the Muslim world they might cut off a hand if you were caught stealing, and this can be an outward deterrence not to steal, BUT this is not the gospel! Thirdly, this is spoken to Israel, NOT the church. The indwelling Holy Spirit was not given till the day of Pentecost, 50 days after the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. The fact of the matter, is that if you have sinned, you have a big problem. You are going to hell. The wages of sin is death. Cutting off those members of your body will not save you. These passages surely show the detrimentality of sin, but how to be saved from sin it does not say.)
True repentance always leads to a changed life—a life of good works, or it is not true repentance (another misnomer of your definition of repentance). Acts 26:20 says, "But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” That was the message that Paul preached every where, and to all people. Whether it was to Gentiles at Damascus, or to Jews at Jerusalem, and all the places and peoples in between. He was not afraid to preach that true repentance is turning to God and doing works meet for repentance. And that message was being preached to the lost. (Acts 26:20 is a good summation of the evangelistic efforts of the apostle Paul! But, here is where I believe you have a wrong understanding of Paul's mission and statement. First of all, doing “works meet for repentance” comes after regeneration. Remember, when dealing with salvation, a “change of mind” always accompanies faith in Christ, and I think you believe this to some extent. I do believe that repentance and faith are inseparable, like two sides of the same coin, for if one has believed the gospel, he will have had to change his mind about some aspect (that we always see in the context), that was keeping them from believing the gospel. Now, if one says they have changed their mind, and believed the gospel and put their faith in Christ, we would expect that those who are saved and in Christ, that they should manifest a measure of works that correspond to their growth and maturity. James deals with that (James 2:18), but James is talking about the saved, who say they have faith, not the lost. We do not tell the lost, “do works meet for repentance and put your faith in Christ” and you shall be saved. That is a works gospel that cannot save. Paul wrote letters to the churches where he evangelized and a good part of those letters told the saints how to work out their own salvation, how to do works meet for repentance. To say you have believed and live like the devil is dragging the Lord's name through the mud, and sadly, some of the saints do that. In Acts 20:26, Paul was giving king Agrippa a summation of what he preached to the Jews and the Gentiles wherever he was sent by God evangelizing, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Acts 26:18). So he tells them to “repent and turn to God”, that is, “change their mind” and turn to God through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the power of the gospel that is able to turn them from darkness/Satan, to light/God. After this comes discipling, teaching them how to do works corresponding to their change of mind, now that they have turned to God through faith in Christ Jesus. For the most part, this is the content of Paul's letters to the churches, how to do those things that are pleasing to God that would correspond to their new life in Christ Jesus and to walk in His footsteps. This is what the apostle Paul told the believers at Ephesus. We have walked all our lives contrary to the gospel, and after our own lusts, “But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:19-32) And do not forget how the Ephesians were saved. “In whomye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13). They heard the gospel, they believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and they were born again. No mention of “repentance” or “turning from your sins”! Some have emphasized that the word repent is not mentioned in the Gospel of John, which was written “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:31) But likewise, the letter to the Church at Ephesus, which was the springboard for the gospel to all of Asia (Acts 19:10), does not use the word “repent” either. We believe the reason for this is because a change of mind always takes place when one believes the gospel. They never believe the gospel apart from “changing their mind” regarding some false notion that is keeping them from believing the gospel.)
Because of the slick soulwinning plans today, we have churches filled with people that claim to be saved, but with little change in their lives from when they said a prayer. (I do not believe a quick prayer can save anyone. Salvation comes by Grace ALONE, through FAITH ALONE, in CHRIST ALONE. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved!! I believe a lot of people in the churches are lost because they have been duped to believe repentance means to “turn from your sins”. So now, instead of Faith ALONE in Christ, they have to do two things, they have to “Turn from your sins” AND believe the gospel. “Sin is the transgression of the Law”(1 John 3:4). Turning from “transgressing the Law” (SIN), is really the same as saying “keep the Law”. This is what the Judaeizers were saying in the early church. They said, not only did they have to believe on Christ, they also needed to “keep the Law”. “But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” (Acts 15:5) This was such a contentious issue that the apostles had to get together to discuss the matter (Acts 15:2).
“And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” (Acts 15:6-11)
By grace ALONE, through faith ALONE, in Christ ALONE. That is how the early gentiles were saved. The devil wants to corrupt the simplicity that is in Christ. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:3) The devil is so subtle. He blinds the minds of those who believe not, and he wants to confuse the minds of those who have believed concerning the gospel. God alone “knoweth the hearts” and gives “the Holy Ghost” to those who believe and is able to “purify their hearts by faith”. Is it not best to leave repentance (Greek: Metanoia), as simply a “change of mind”, rather than to inject repentance with some form of Law keeping (results, turning, forsaking, surrendering, etc.)? And lay upon the lost when evangelizing a burden that they are not able to bear? And if you are not clear on how those Gentiles were saved to whom Peter was speaking of, you need to go back and read Acts chapter 10 & 11, no mention of repentance, no mention of “turning from your sins”, just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that He died for our sins and rose from the dead. Therein is the power of the gospel, and while Peter yet was speaking to them the Holy Spirit fell on them as they believed and were saved.)
What is really interesting is the test that Jesus will give to people at the Judgment of the Nations, at the end of the Tribulation Period, to show if they are really saved or not; and, thus, whether they are allowed to enter into the Millennial Kingdom. Matthew 25:31-46 says, "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (First of all, I believe in the pre-tribulational rapture of the Church. These passages are NOT dealing with the dispensation of the church age. This is dealing with Israel, and Daniel's 70th week. The nations are judged how they have treated Israel during the tribulation. In this passage, there is no mention of repentance, there is no mention of the gospel of Jesus Christ. What are you saying, that they are saved by some sort of “social gospel”? Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and the imprisoned?? AND to add this today to the glorious gospel of Christ is to make it a false gospel that cannot save. This is what happens when people redefine repentance to mean “turn from your sins” instead of the literal Biblical meaning of “change your mind”. The message to the lost now becomes, “turn from your sins AND believe the gospel”. Adding to the gospel, “turning from your sins” makes it a false gospel. At the Great White Throne judgment, the lost are also judged by their works by which no man can be saved (Revelation 20:11-15). These here obviously had their minds blinded to the gospel by Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4). They had no clue that salvation comes by Grace ALONE, through Faith ALONE, in Christ ALONE. Like a good Catholic, they believed that Christ died for their sins, was buried and rose again the third day, but they added works to the gospel and were lost (Galatians 1:8-9). Sadly, this is what many Baptists and others are doing today, by changing the meaning of repentance and coupling it with the Gospel. They are doing the same thing as Israel of old (Romans 9:31-33)).
At that judgment, Jesus will not ask them who said a “prayer” to receive Him. At that judgment, Jesus will not ask them who had a “change of mind” and made a profession of faith (too late at this time to pray or change your mind). At that judgment, Jesus will show who is truly saved by showing who had “good works” to back up what a true decision for Christ produces. Notice, the “goats” are shocked that they are not going into the kingdom, and they even call Jesus “Lord.” They thought that they were saved. They did not remember seeing Jesus anywhere to minister to Him. , “Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?” What was Jesus' answer to them? “Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” (the criterion for judgment at this time is how the Gentile nations have treated Israel during The Tribulation period; “these” are His “brethren” Israel (Romans 9:3-5). Billions of the Gentiles will have perished in the Tribulation plagues. Two thirds of unbelieving Israel will perish (Zechariah 13:8-9). Multitudes of the Gentiles will have been slain at the battle of Armageddon. Those who are not saved but are alive at Christ's Second Coming, will likely have received the mark of the Beast. Their alliance with the Antichrist against the nation Israel will secure their doom, when Christ returns to save His people Israel (Romans 11:26). Albeit, there will be some of the nations who refused the mark of the Beast and endured to the end of Daniel's 70th week, these will enter the Millennial reign of Christ to repopulate the world (Zechariah 14:16) in which Israel will take its promised position as the head of the nations, with Christ reigning from the throne of David in Jerusalem.) You see, those people had no desire to serve, and to minister, and to do good works in Jesus' name. How many goats are out there, who think that they are sheep, because we are not teaching them the truth about repentance? (Faith without works is dead. The believer will receive rewards for service (read parable before this one) but salvation is a FREE gift. Salvation comes by FAITH ALONE in CHRIST ALONE. If you add works (turn from your sins) when preaching the gospel to the lost it is a false gospel. The criterion for salvation today is whether you have believed the gospel and are born again, not whether you have done good works or not. And ultimately, God, who knows the heart and gives the Holy Ghost, will be the judge of that. I believe that many are not saved because they have believed a false definition of repentance, that in order to be saved they needed to “turn from their sins” AND believe the gospel”, and thereby come under a curse (Galatians 1:6-9; 3:10.)
You wrote, “Now from without, the Holy Spirit will convince the world of sin righteousness and judgment, but to turn from their sins, they just do not have the power. But after they have believed the Gospel and trust Jesus as their Saviour, God now begins a work IN the believer.”
What you wrote, “but to turn from their sins, they just do not have the power,” is commonly said, but that is not a true statement, Scripturally. John 4:13-16 says, “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.”
Jesus is offering the woman living water, and she decides that she would like to receive it. Does Jesus give it to her? Does He say, “Let us bow our heads, and you repeat this prayer after me?” No, Jesus tells her to go call her husband. Jesus already knows what she is going to say. John 4:17-18 says, "The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.”
Jesus blows away the idea, right here, that you should not bring up people's sin, and just rely on the Holy Spirit to convict them of it, after they are saved. No, Jesus brought up her sin, before she received the living water. Why? Because she had a choice. Would she be willing to turn from her sin to Him? (It does not say anything about her willingness "to turn from her sin" in the text, careful not to twist the Scripture to fit your preconceived idea of repentance) We cannot clean up ourselves—only God can do that—but WE DO HAVE THE POWER TO TURN AWAY FROM OUR SINS TO JESUS, and He will cleanse us. EVEN DEMON POSSESSED PEOPLE HAD THE POWER TO TURN FROM THEIR SIN AND DEMONIC POSSESSION AND COME TO JESUS—and many did. (You have never kept the Law, neither are you keeping it perfectly today. The believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is undergoing a purifying process while living in this corruptible body (1 John 3:1-3). To those who are truly saved, we would expect to see them grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, but this will vary with individuals and circumstances. To what extent did Ananias and Sapphira “turn from their sins”? To what extent did the incestuous fornicator turn from his sins in the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 5:5), and those members who were tolerating it? How about those who were partaking in the Lord's table unworthily (1 Corinthians 11:29-30)? How did the apostle Paul say he was doing (Romans 7:19)? How would we say the sweet Psalmist David was doing when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and killed her husband? How about Simon the sorcerer? Demas who had forsaken Paul for the world? And the “good kings” of Israel who did not destroy all the high places? BUT, when you are “soul winning” and you tell these lost souls in addition to faith in Christ, you have to “turn from your sins”, this is breeding nothing but confusion. The lost are but flesh, in which there is no good thing, and are not born again of the Spirit of God. “the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Romans 8:7) The lost “know not God” and are “servants of sin”, and when you are evangelizing them, and you tell them “to turn from your sins”, you are demanding of them those things they just do not have the power to do. I just cannot see how you cannot see this. You are laying a burden on them that you know they cannot keep without falling short. Now we believe that once a person becomes a child of God and indwelt by the Spirit of God, from that point on he will begin to grow and along the way begin to manifest the fruits of the Spirit, but this is a lifelong process of sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the Truth. Just as the apostle Paul told the believers in Thessalonica. “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8)
The problem when you tell people that repentance is “turning from sin”, they conclude they have to turn from this sin and that sin, when it has nothing to do with turning away from anything. Repentance is a change of mind whereby they turn TO God through faith in Jesus Christ. And let me tell you, there is no greater joy to hear that a new believer is walking in truth (3 John 1:4), but this has nothing to do whatsoever in evangelizing the lost. Many of the “lost” may turn from one sin or another. The alcoholic who has joined AA and has been sober now for 30 years is still going to hell unless he has believed the gospel. Many of Satan's ministers of righteousness would outshine even the most dutiful Christians and they are going to hell unless they believe the gospel and trust in Jesus Christ. Turning from sin, or a demonstrable change in your life, will not save anyone, even if you feel it necessary to make it a post-salvation requirement which the Bible never does. Only changing your mind about sin and putting your trust in Jesus Christ ALONE can save you, when you believe the gospel, and He is the only one that can keep you saved. And it is good to make sure they understand they are sinners, how they have not kept the Law. The lost can comprehend that they have broken God's Holy Law's and are sinners in need of a Savior, but to contemplate how they might quit sinning, change their life, turn from sin, forsake self, surrender to God, etc., etc., clouds the simplicity of the gospel (2 Corinthians 13:3-4).)
It is not Scriptural to say that a sinner does not have power to turn from his sins. (Only Christ could say, “I do always those things that please him.” (John 8:29). And since that is the case, why push upon the lost, when evangelizing, the necessity to “turn from their sins” when they have not the power to change? “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Romans 8:7). Let me repeat, Why tell the lost that they need to shape up, when you do not even know if they will respond affirmatively to the gospel? They are an enemy of God and dead in sins and trespasses, they cannot obey, but externally if ever, for they are not regenerated, nor have the Law written on their hearts from whence they may obey. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Galatians 5:17) They “do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness” (Romans 2:8) and “cannot cease from sin” (2 Peter 2:14). Jesus asked the religious “how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matthew 12:34) And we know the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Jeremiah asked, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23) The lost have an evil heart of unbelief, but once they obey the gospel, and believe in their heart that God has raised Jesus Christ from the dead, they are saved, and God will give them a new heart might, whereby they might obey that form of doctrine delivered unto them.) Ezekiel 33:11 commands the sinner to turn from his sins, "Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: TURN YE, TURN YE FROM YOUR EVIL WAYS; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” God said it. That is what I am going to continue preaching. (This was spoken to the People of God, the house of Israel who were in apostasy. No problem telling them to “turn from their sins”, but now you are dealing in a whole new dispensation under the LAW, not the dispensation of grace (John 1:17). To tell the lost to turn from their sins is plain wrong. Why mock them? There is no problem pointing out their sins, that they may acknowledge them and realize they are in danger of hellfire for breaking God's Holy Laws. And then give them the remedy for their sin, the gospel of Jesus Christ. “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; NOTE: no mention of turning from sins; re: your definition of repentance). That is the Glorious gospel of Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation to all those who believe it. To add any form of works to it, such as “turn from your sins”, in addition to faith ALONE in Christ is a damnable heresy. You should know this. Many Baptists have been duped into believing that repentance means “turn from your sins”. This is how subtle Satan is to corrupt the gospel of Christ and wrest the Scriptures. The Biblical meaning of the word repent is simply “change of mind”; repent (Gr. Metanoeo; verb) and repentance (Gr. metanoia; noun)(NT) come from two Greek words. First, meta, which means “change”, like in the words metamorphosis, metastasize, metabolize, etc., and the second, noieo, which means to exercise the mind (observe, notion), i.e. (figuratively) to comprehend, heed: consider, perceive, think, understand. Just think about all the times in the Bible where “God repented”. It is blasphemy to use your definition of repentance, “turn from your sins”. God simply changed his mind. For example, “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” (Jonah 3:10) God said He was going to destroy Nineveh, and when He saw their works, He repented. God “changed His mind” about destroying Nineveh.
May the Lord richly bless you,
2 Corinthians 3:5 “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”
Psalm 68:11 “The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.”
[Note: we have not yet heard back from Liberty Gospel Tracts.]
Dear friends of “According to the Scriptures”, above all, be sure you and your family are saved. The Philippian jailer asked the apostle Paul, “what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:30-31). Salvation is a free gift (Romans 6:23) that cannot be merited in any way, by anything that you can or must do. Salvation comes NOT by any works of righteousness that you may have done (Titus 3:5). It comes totally by God's grace (unmerited favor) apart from works on your part (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation comes by FAITH ALONE (Galatians 3:11), when you believe the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), and trust in Jesus Christ to save you from your sin (Matthew 1:21).
Paul told the Church at Ephesus how they were saved. “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13). Paul told the Church at Rome, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16). The Gospel is God's power for salvation to all those who do nothing more, nor less than believe the gospel and Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ ALONE (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5) to save them from sin (Matthew 1:21), death (the consequences of sin; Romans 6:23, Hebrews 2:14-15) and Hell (the prison for all those who reject Gods only way of salvation; Revelation 20:12-15; 21:8). And the Apostle Paul clearly spells out the gospel for us in his letter to the Church at Corinth:
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
And might I sound this warning, many are trying to corrupt the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, by adding such things to it that YOU HAVE TO DO, such as “turning from your sins”, “surrendering to God”, “forsaking sin”, “turning over a new leaf”, Hanging on”, “holding fast”, "enduring to the end” and a host of other things. While all of these things may sound good and pious and spiritual, they have nothing to do with salvation and the free gift of eternal life that God offers to the whole world by Faith Alone in Christ Jesus (John 5:24). To couple the Glorious Gospel of God to anything that we have to do other than believe it is a damnable heresy. Many try to slip these ideas in under their definition of “repentance”. DON'T believe it! Repentance is simply a “change of mind”, and when you change your mind about your wayward condition, believing the Gospel and trusting in Jesus Christ ALONE to save you from your sins, you shall be saved.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
Jesus ALONE is the Savior! Not only will He today save you from your sins, He will KEEP you saved. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24) Jesus said, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.” (John 10:28-29)
There are so many warnings in the Scriptures about corrupting the gospel, the simplicity of Christ, and God's Word. “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:6) “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8-9)
The devil and so many others are trying to corrupt the gospel and blind the minds of those who have not yet believed. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)
I pray you keep this in mind as the Last Days are characterized by false prophets, false Christs (Matthew 24:11, 24), false teachers (2 Peter 2:1-2) and deception (Matthew 24:4; 2 Timothy 3:13), so, remember this watchword, that salvation comes ONLY BY GRACE ALONE, THROUGH FAITH ALONE, IN CHRIST ALONE when you believe the gospel. I pray you trust Him TODAY (2 Corinthians 6:2), and make Him your very own Savior, if you have not yet done so.
Last Update: 4/2/2020