John and Romans
The two books of the Bible considered as the clearest and best explanation on how to be saved, are to be found in the gospel of John – and in Paul’s epistle the Romans. Both men, in their own unique writing style and language, explain that God’s gift of saving grace for all men, is simply by believing on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. John says that grace came through Christ and whoever believes on Him will be saved. Paul reminds us that salvation comes through faith alone – that it might be of grace. But one issue confuses and confounds many people – the issue of repentance.
Some consider that unless a sinner believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in addition, goes through the process of repenting of all their sins – they are not properly saved. Many believers are told by certain teachers and preachers that unless they repent of every sin they have ever committed – then they cannot be properly forgiven by God. But this goes against the teachings of both John – the beloved disciple of the Lord and the apostle Paul, who was called as God’s special witness to the gentile nations.
John wrote his gospel so that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God – and that by believing we might have life, but he NEVER uses the word ‘repentance’. Paul in his letter to the Romans gives step-by-step instructions on how we are justified, sanctified and glorified by grace, through faith – but only uses the word ‘repentance’ a couple of times.. and never ever in the context of salvation or ‘being saved’.
Is it possible that these two giants of the faith, who were moved by the Spirit to write Scripture, could have misunderstood salvation, or is there another explanation? As all scripture is God-breathed, it is impossible for John and Paul to give incorrect teaching on how to be saved.. and the key seems to be in the meaning of ‘repentance’. The word ‘repentance’ means to turn away; to change your mind – to alter direction.
Integral Not Additional
If John and Paul clearly teach that salvation is the gift of God’s grace alone, by faith in Christ how can we reconcile the issue of repentance. Should we not repent of our sins? Indeed, we should ‘repent’ of our sins, but repentance has to be understood as being an integral part of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ – and not an addition to faith.
Grace Thru Faith
John and Paul taught that salvation is by God’s grace alone – through faith alone. The modern teaching adds repentance as a work – as an extra requirement – as an addition that has to be added to the finished work of the cross – if man is to be saved, which would require a sinner to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ AND also repent.
When anything other than believing on the Lord Jesus Christ is added to the finished work of the cross, it means that Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary was insufficient – and the only way to resolve this issue is to apply the correct meaning to the word – repent. Remember – the correct meaning ‘repent’ – is to ‘change…’ We must not use the incorrect meaning of the word’ repent’, which is often taught as going through a process of listing all our sins – as an addition to believing on Christ.
As we turn TO Christ – inevitably we CHANGE our thinking or turn about. As we turn TO Christ – of necessity we ALTER our attitude or turn about. As we turn TO Christ – automatically we REPENT or turn about. When we change direction to Christ – undoubtedly we TURN FROM other things. When we change direction to Christ – unquestionably we REPENT OF other things.
In the process of turning to Christ – obviously we TURN FROM our sins. In the process of turning to Christ – unquestionably we REPENT of sins. An integral part of believing on the Lord Jesus must include scriptural repentance… a change of mind.. a change of attitude – a change of heart. An integral part of scriptural repentance must include believing on the Lord Jesus… salvation – a gift of God – by grace alone – through faith alone.
Work of Christ
If we don’t repent or change our mind – we remain dead in our trespasses and sins. When we do repent or change our mind about God’s free gift of grace, that is offered to all sinners who are dead in trespasses and sins we are born again.. and the Holy Spirit places us in Christ as part of God’s family – FOREVER. Let us never add to the amazing work of Christ on the cross when by His blood alone He paid the price for your sins and mine. But rather let us simply accept God’s free gift of grace – by faith alone.