Lordship Salvation – Putting the Cart Before the Horse

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The problem is that Lordship Salvation confuses the ROOT of a believer’s faith, i.e., faith in Christ (Romans 4:5), with the FRUIT of that faith, i.e., good works (James 2:18). The ROOT should bring forth the FRUIT; but the FRUIT cannot come before the ROOT. DO you understand the difference? Lordship Salvationists are demanding the FRUIT as a prerequisite to salvation. They are putting the cart before the horse.

Lordship Salvation – Putting the Cart Before the Horse

“But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew… But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.” -Mark 14:68,71

The above passage of Scripture is speaking about the Apostle Peter. Peter sinned by denying Jesus. Yet, Peter was a born-again believer. King David was a Christian; yet he conspired to have a man killed, to cover up an unwanted pregnancy, from an adulterous affair with that man’s wife. Abraham and Sara doubted God. Moses was a murderer. Samson went with a harlot. Jacob was a thief. Jonah ran from God. Noah got drunk. Isaiah was a man of unclean lips. These were God’s best and brightest.

Lot was a worldly believer. Yet, 2nd Peter 2:7 calls Lot a “just” man. The Lordship Salvation crowd would have considered all of these men unsaved. Yet, we see they were saved.

This subject needs to [be] preached about on a regular basis, because the damnable heresy of LORDSHIP SALVATION has infiltrated our churches, and is leading multitudes into Hell.

What is “Lordship Salvation?” Lordship Salvation is the unbiblical teaching that a person MUST cease from a sinful lifestyle to be saved. Lordship Salvationists pervert the true meaning of the word “REPENT” in the Word of God. Whereas Biblical repentance means that a person recognizes their guilt of sin (Romans 3:19); Lordship Salvationists corrupt the meaning of the word, teaching that a person must cease from living a sinful lifestyle to be saved. God does not ask us to give up anything to be saved. Eternal life is the gift of God (Romans 6:23). Salvation is receiving, not giving. God gave us His only begotten Son, Jesus, to pay our debt of sin. All we have to do to be saved is to acknowledge our guilt of sin, coming to God on that basis; believing on Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, to forgive our sins (Acts 10:43).

In 2nd Peter 3:9 we read, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” The Greek word for “repentance” here is “METANOIA” and literally means “a change of mind.” Not a change of lifestyle; BUT, a change of mind. The changed life should follow afterwards; but the Bible is filled with examples of saints who continued to live in rebellion and sin, such as Solomon and Samson.

Turning from Unbelief verses Turning from One’s Sins

“And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” -Mark 1:15

Carefully notice in Mark 1:15 above that Jesus didn’t say “repent ye, and turn from your sins.” No, Jesus clearly stated, “repent ye, and BELIEVE THE GOSPEL.” It is plain to see that Biblical repentance is a change of one’s mind concerning sin and unbelief, which causes that soul to turn in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness and salvation. Jesus never once said to a person, “Give up all your sin and then I’ll save you.” No, rather, Jesus said “Go, and sin no moreafter making them whole (John 8:11). All God asks is that we come for salvation through His dear Son (John 3:16).

We must be extremely careful when we tell lost sinners that they need to be willing to turn from their sins to be saved.  I have read many Gospel tracts that give the impression that a person MUST forsake their sins to be saved-which is NOT true at all.  A person DOES need to REPENT of their SINS to be SAVED, but that change begins in the mind and may take some time to show in that person’s personal life (1st Peter 2:2). The ONLY repentance which God requires of a man to be saved is for that man to acknowledge his sinful condition and; thus, recognize his desperate need for a Savior.

I certainly think it would be reasonable for a repenting sinner to desire to turn from his or her sins;  BUT, as we learn from countless believers in the Bible, that’s not always the case. Judges 16:1 states, “Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.”

I am NOT condoning sin. I am simply saying that Christians at best are people, and people at best are still sinners.

Lordship Salvation is rooted in self-righteousness, for all Christians are sinners. If living in sin can cause a born-again believer to lose salvation, then we all lost it a long time ago, for all have sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 7:14-25). It is solely by Christ’s merciful righteousness that we are saved (2nd Corinthians 5:21). Lordship Salvation and the Pentecostal Charismatic heresy of losing one’s salvation are related monsters. Lordship Salvationists ADD works to faith to GET saved, and the Charismatics ADD works to faith to STAY saved. Regardless, these two damnable heresies are both rooted in works salvation!

The Change Comes AFTER a Person is Saved, NOT before.

The internet is plagued with heretics who are teaching that a person must forsake their sinful life to be saved. 2nd Corinthians 5:17 reads, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  Please notice that a man does NOT become a “new creature” until AFTER he is in Christ. The change comes after a person is saved, NOT before.

If a person claims to be a Christian but is still living a wicked lifestyle, still living in perpetual sin, then I would sincerely doubt that person’s salvation as well. However, I am not going to start teaching damnable heresy by saying that sinners must forsake all their sins in order to be saved. Salvation comes through childlike faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; nothing may be added.

Once a man becomes a new creature in Christ, THEN and ONLY THEN he begins to change. Lordship Salvationists are sanctimonious (i.e., hypocritical in their beliefs) in that they are sinners themselves. The entire notion that a lost sinner must give up sin to be saved presents a serious indictment against Lordship Salvationists … “For all have sinned…” (Romans 3:23). Let he who is without sin among you teach Lordship Salvation.

A changed life is the FRUIT of genuine repentance; and not a part of the ROOT of saving-faith.

My question to you is: Are there 2 Gospels?

  1. The Gospel of John MacArthur, Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron, Paul Washer, Jack Chick, Aiden Tozer, and others, requires that a person forsake (or be willing to forsake) their entire lifestyle of sin, make amends, and change their ways, as a prerequisite (beforehand) to saving faith.
  2. The Biblical Gospel teaches that we are saved solely by Christ’s righteousness (Romans 10:3-4), and that no self-righteousness of any kind is required (Titus 3:5), because we have none to offer (Isaiah 64:6); neither does a person have to quit any sin to be saved (Romans 4:5-6).  Repent of their sins, yes.  After we are genuinely saved, are we a new person in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit abiding in us, chastises us when we sin, as we grow in Christ-likeness, and change our ways to sin no more.  But we will never be sinless because the bible says so.

A lot of Christians have brushed the issue aside as a matter of semantics, but the difference between the 2 Gospels is day and night. One includes a certain degree of self-righteousness, which is a false Gospel; but the other is solely based upon Christ’s righteousness, which is by the precious literal, physical, blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

“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.” -John 3:16

Lordship Salvationists, in a futile attempt to support their false doctrine, paint an ugly picture of their opponents. They allege that we believe people can happily indulge in open sin with no remorse whatsoever. That is simply not the case at all. God doesn’t give anyone permission to sin (Romans 3:31).

Please remember that Biblical repentance IS A CHANGE OF MIND. A person who is genuinely saved now has a different attitude. If a man is a true Christian, he won’t have the haughty attitude that he can continue in open sin with no consequences. Each believer has the Spirit of Christ living within (Romans 8:9). This is the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 12:8 makes clear that God will CHASTISE His children. The Holy Spirit always convicts the believer of unrepentant sin. In sharp contrast, the heathen unsaved world knows not God, and sins with no remorse or concern for the things of God.

Lordship Salvationists are wrong when they they attack Bible-believing Christians with shallow accusations which simply CANNOT be substantiated with the Scriptures. A person who has been genuinely saved has repented concerning their sins, i.e., they acknowledged their GUILT of sin and believed on Christ for forgiveness.

The heresies that Lordship Salvationists teach are not found anywhere in the Scriptures. They mandate repentance FROM sins to be saved, but this is not Scriptural. Biblically, we are to repent OF our sins, i.e., our sinful condition. God says we are all sinners (Romans 3:10,19-23).

Repentance from sin is an entirely different matter. Just because a person believes upon Christ as Savior doesn’t automatically mean that their life is cleaned up. It takes time for a new believer to grow in the Lord (1st Peter 2:2). A new believer doesn’t instantly stop drinking, smoking, cursing, etc. It takes time to grow in grace.

Lordship Salvationists are hypocrites because they expect a sinner to change instantly in order to get saved. Lordship Salvation prohibits anyone from coming to Christ for salvation who isn’t willing to forsake all their sins. So then how can anyone be saved? No one can forsake ALL their sins, otherwise they’d be perfect, and only Jesus Christ is without sin (2nd Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15).

Explaining Repentance

I believe repentance is necessary for salvation. Mark 1:15, “…repent ye, and believe the gospel.”  The Greek word for ‘repent’ here is ‘metanoeo,’ which translated into English means ‘to change one’s mind.’ It does not mean to stop sinning, since that would mean self-righteous works for salvation. We are commanded to repent and believe the Gospel; not repent and turn from sin. We turn to Jesus to be forgiven of our sins; we don’t turn from our sins in order to trust Jesus.

If a person has to stop committing sin to be saved, then how can anyone be saved? There is much confusion over the phrase “turn from sin,” but if the Biblical teaching that eternal life is a free gift is not forgotten, then the truth becomes very clear. A gift cannot be earned. Salvation is not a reward, it is the free gift of God (Romans 5:15; 6:23).

When a sinner must ‘turn from sin’ to be saved, he simply means that a sinner must renounce all their sins. But renouncing one’s sins is quite different than ceasing from committing sin (when one is trying to get saved).  Biblical repentance is a change of mind. Paul Washer teaches that repentance is a change of life; but that is wrong. A changed life is the FRUIT of genuine repentance, and not a part of the ROOT of saving-faith.

Biblical repentance unto salvation means turning to Jesus Christ to be forgiven of one’s sins; not turning from one’s sins to trust in Christ. When a man turns to Christ by faith, he has turned his back against sin. This is why we find the word ‘believe’ mentioned 85-times in the Gospel of John, but the word ‘repent’ is never mentioned even once. Thus, the man who believes on Jesus has repented, and the man who repents has believed on Christ. The solution to sin is not education, legislation, rehabilitation, nor reformation; but regeneration. Repentance and faith are inseparable. They occur simultaneously. Lordship Salvationists attempt to divide repentance and faith, but you cannot.

Many false prophets, such as Ray Comfort and John MacArthur, misinterpret the meaning of repentance as ceasing from a sinful lifestyle. The Bible does not teach that. This heresy is commonly referred to as ‘Lordship Salvation,’ which I DO NOT believe at all.  Salvation is without works of self-righteousness. Romans 4:5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”  We are saved by the IMPUTED righteousness of Jesus Christ.

We are saved solely by Jesus’ righteousness, and not by our own self-righteousness in any way. The desire to forsake one’s sins is not a prerequisite to faith in Christ. The sincere admission of one’s guilt of sin for breaking God’s commandments is sufficient. The only requirement is for a person to realize that they have sinned against God and; therefore, need a Savior. It is not what we can do for God that saves us; but rather, what Jesus Christ did for us through His work of redemption. Jesus paid a debt that He did not owe, because we owed a debt that we could not pay.

Please share:

Deborah (Discerning the World)

Deborah Ellish is the author of the above article. Discerning the World is an internet Christian Ministry based in Johannesburg South Africa. Tom Lessing and Deborah Ellish both own Discerning the World. For more information see the About this Website page below the comments section.

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29 Comment authors
JonathanTom (Discerning the World)ScottDeborah (Discerning the World)Robbie Recent comment authors
Burning Lamp
Guest
Burning Lamp

Okay, let’s get real. A three year old child does not have the reasoning capability to make a decision for Christ. They may say they love Jesus, etc., but they don’t understand sin and repentance. These are usually casss where the parent has put words into the child’s mouth. Most children at that age don’t even have a clear memory of events. So when they get older, the parent tells them they accepted Jesus when they were 3 and so the child doesn’t make a genuine committment when they reach the age of accountability. What a travesty!!! The case presented here is a perfect example.

yeshualovesu2
Guest

To all those defenders of the damnable heresy called Lordship Salvation: We defenders of free Grace do not care if you think us all backsliders. We are trusting in Jesus’ Grace which is sufficient for all, yes even the back slider which the Bible says God is married to BTW… We are in right standing with God because we are made righteous by our faith in His dear Son. We truly don’t care what you think of us. We want to try to reach those that are being horribly troubled by this lying false spirit and are tormented with the thought of loosing God’s Salvation because of your false teachings… BTW when one of you super holier than all the rest of us manages to finally walk on water will you let the rest of us lowly believers in Jesus know? Until then, I guess you will have to trust in Jesus for yours, like we trust in Jesus for ours…

Phil
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Phil

Deborah

Does this mean you beleive in once saved always saved?

John Chingford
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John Chingford

Hi Debs

I do not believe it is possible for any true believer who has been truly “born again” (become a child of God) to ever cease to be anything other than a child of God. Therefore they cannot lose their salvation under any circumstances. Nothing they do can separate them from that position in Christ because we receive Christ by grace and we maintain that position by grace not by works ever.

I maintain that it is impossible for a child to suddenly become “unborn” as if they were never born. They have become “a new creation” as the bible puts it or as at least one version puts it “a new creature”.

I think this is an excellent link from H A Ironside entitled “Eternal Security of the Believer”

Hanelie
Guest
Hanelie

Thank you, John. That is a helpful explanation. I recently heard teaching about the parable of the prodigal son in which it was said that the son’s son-ship was never in question and that we was never lost. It took me a while to fully grasp it. It’s true though, isn’t it. In Afrikaans it is translated as “the lost son”, but he was never lost in either sense of the word: he knew the road back and although he had left the safety of his father’s house, he was still his son and his father was still waiting for him to come back. This is almost more than I can comprehend and it is certainly so much more than any of us deserve. smile

Myfanwy Brown
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Myfanwy Brown

Debs and John,

As John knows, I myself have struggled with the issue of secure salvation. And it has been bothering me for a long time. I have read much scripture and done alot of reading and research on the matter. Satan has long been trying to cause me to fear and to falter, and without going into all the detail, I can finally say I know that I am secure. I can also reflect on my life experiences, and I can see that just as God has promised, He will never leave us or forsake us. Truthfully I have gone through some dangerous times in my life, both spiritual and physical, and some way, somehow, He has lifted me every time. I could give you so many examples of Jesus’s love for me, it overwhelms me. God sees our heart, and He knows the truth about our every situation, even when we fail Him. I love you LORD JESUS!

Robbie
Guest
Robbie

*sigh* yea I was wrong too.. David Stewart convinced me.

Yip there remains a fine line Debs… it was the works issue that struck me too.

Faithful, Faithful, Faithful.

Myfanwy Brown
Guest
Myfanwy Brown

Amen Debs!!! : )

Hanelie
Guest
Hanelie

^^Well said. In bondage is where Satan wants us, isn’t it. I am just working through this issue now as well, so these posts have been very timely. This is such and important message. Thank you, Deborah, John and Myfanwy!

I think your second paragraph above very subtly points to another important issue: the often-held misconception that God still punishes us when we sin. But, He can not, since Christ was already punished for my sin! I still sometimes struggle with this, slipping back into fear that God will punish me for my mistakes. He corrects us most certainly. In fact, He has used this website to correct some of my thinking (and acting). smile

James Verner
Guest
James Verner

Thanks Deborah for helping so many of us find true peace in believing in our Lord Jesus.
James

Sherry B.
Guest
Sherry B.

Deborah (Discerning the World) wrote:

Robbie
Isn’t it just a fine line. I have professor Johan Malan to thank for confusing me because he believes you can lose your salvation. After following his point of view I felt as though I was in permanent bondage. Where does one draw the line as to where you lose your salvation? After 1 sin or many sins? Because 1 sin or many sins is all the same in God’s eyes. So that would mean to stay saved you would have to think you are relatively sinless and quite selfrighteous, or to lose your salvation, you would spend your life fighting a losing battle because you will always sin, thereafter you spend your days constantly seeking Jesus Christ to be re born again. This is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. No where so I read in the bible of people being born again twice, or three times.
As someone said to me in an email (no names mentioned) “When I finally got the message that I am eternally secure and that it is not a license to sin and it is not presumptious it was a wonderful blessing. Yes, we are chastened, just as a good parent chastens their children. And we will give an account before the Bema. But if one is truly saved, one is secure because we didn’t earn our salvation and we can’t work to maintain it.“

Bless you, Deb! When I read the article that Prof Malan wrote refuting Calvinism, I agreed UNTIL he refuted Point 5. Like Dave Hunt (whom I believe has done the very BEST job of refuting the hateful Calvin heresy), I, too am assured of the eternal everlasting salvation of my Savior, Christ Jesus. Like Paul, I consider myself “Chief among sinners”, because His Wonderful Holy Spirit has to convict me of my sins of thoughts and deeds every day of my life.

I do NOT WANT to sin, and I long for the day to be shed of this sinful flesh nature that constantly offends the holiness of our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But then I remember from the epistle to the Hebrews that HE is our High Priest and Mediator, that HE is the One Who will present us blameless and without spot or blemish as His Bride. HE is “The Author and Perfecter of our faith”!

Whew! What a relief to me and other truly “Born Agains” that we can only “work out our salvation” by clinging to utter faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on that cross, and His Word that HE will see us through to the very end if we only believe and trust in Him. Coincidentally, my husband and I are doing Bible study together on Hebrews, and it talks about “drifting away”, “neglecting so great a salvation”, and having “evil unbelieving hearts”. Truthfully, it scared me, because it all but says that some CAN lose salvation, until my husband reminded me that it’s those who never truly made their commitment to Jesus Christ, who want Christ and this world too, and who’ve probably only nominally “become Christians”(the same as not at all).

Again, bless you, Deb! Remember:” I know Whom I have believed, and I am certain that He is able to keep that (My soul/salvation) which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.” HE will NEVER fail us- NEVER! Amen!!

Michael
Guest
Michael

Well clarified Debs…this is indeed a spiritual debilitating doctrine because it puts the emphasis on man’s ability to claim kudos…a doctrine of works. To make the ridiculous out of it…how many points…99%(impossible we’ve all fail hopelessly)…75% (no one in heaven)…even 50% (I genuinely believe still an impossibility)…maybe 33% some might scrape in. Joyce Meyer thinks she gets 100%…lol…talk about delusion.
Yes no where in the bible does it even suggest that you can be born-again twice…Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be born-again (of the spirit) in comparison to natural birth (of the flesh).

There are definitely those that claim the new birth but are not true Christians. False teachings are responsible for this because the cross, resurrection, the repentance of sins and the choice to accept the redemption is not preached at all in a lot cases, and in some cases watered down and poisoned by combining it in a type of unification of all faiths…universalism and liberalism.

In the old days…the question asked “is a person saved”…even older “are you converted”.

To get onto Calvinism…predestination etc…this is a slap in the face of the integrity of God…imagine a “Loving and Fair God” that creates a human-being that has no choice but that of burning in hell for eternity. No wonder it’s impossible for Calvinists to really love God. Imagine fathering 2 children…the one you are planing before birth to give a beautiful inheritance…the other you are going to torture by burning him with fire. To even suggest this is so horrible…Calvinism is wicked…no wonder people fail to turn from the real and true God of the bible.

The bible clearly states that God so loved the world that He sent His Son to save it…also that He is not willing that any one should perish but all should be saved.
It has all to do with the freedom of individual choice…that applies to every single person.
…and there are those that resort to throwing a red-herring into the question because it is their way of choosing not to believe. They raise questions that are not answered in the scriptures…like what about the savage in the middle of the Amazon. God never covered this in the scriptures, this question in the same way, He never gave us…the formula’s in science how He created everything or explained eternity or the beginning of time…we couldn’t understand.Because He is God, He is beyond explanation but we know He gave us love and instructions (the word in scriptures) and that He became Man in Jesus Christ to communicate with us and set us free and give us eternal life by His death of the cross…this is a gift in the same way that choice is a gift. Man can hardly grasp simplicity of the message of salvation (because his heart is devious and evil) let alone the mysteries of creation…he simply justifies reason with evolution because of his limited intelligence (and because he chooses not to believe by prefers darkness to light).

Robbie
Guest
Robbie

The Battle of refuting Lordship salvation is FAR from over…
It is as if EVERY generations has to tread through that mud pool!

2012 was when my eyes was opened… remember Debster?? thank

Robbie
Guest
Robbie

C’mon Debs?.. was just the other day?

Job 12:12 Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?

ohno sigh… clap Wakey wakey… yahoo

Scott
Guest
Scott

Ok. I did’nt read the posting guidelines so here is my post with credits;

What is faith? The word means to rely or to rest. Faith is not just believing that Jesus Christ lived in history; it is not mere mental assent to historical facts. Neither is faith some dim, vague hope for God to help us through life.
We must Rely solely on Christ’s death to pay the penalty for our sins. This means we must reject trust in anything else to bring us to heaven. For example, we cannot rest in the Cross plus good works, the Cross plus baptism, the Cross plus surrendering to the Lordship of Christ (etc..). Christ must be Lord in the sense of God in order to be a qualified Savior (Rom. 10:9), but Christ’s personal lordship over the individual’s life is not a condition pertaining to salvation. The term “surrender” is never used in the New Testament for salvation. Lordship should be a consequence of salvation and is a condition for dedication in full discipleship.

To Trust in the Cross plus anything else is to not Trust the Cross. The Cross plus anything else means that we don’t Fully Trust in the Cross but rather in our own idea to get to Heaven.
As soon as we lean on other things in addition to the Cross then it is NOT Biblical saving faith. Biblical saving faith is a total change of mental attitude from trusting anything else to simply Resting/Trusting in the Cross to take away every sin that we have ever committed and that we will ever commit. We must Rely on what Christ did; that is He died for our sins. When we do that then God declares us righteous as God Himself (imputed righteousness)!! (copied from versebyversecommentary.com “terms of salvation” and his salvation tract- edited).

In desperation, the Philippian jailor cried, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul’s reply was simple: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts:16:314. The great apostle said nothing about baptism or sacraments, candles, incense, church attendance, reforming one’s life, or anything else being necessary or even helpful for salvation.

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible makes it clear that there is nothing a sinner can do, much less must do, to pay the infinite penalty required by God’s justice. One can and need only believe in Christ, who paid the penalty in full: “It is finished” (Jn:19:30)!

Scripture could not be clearer: “[T]o him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom:4:5); “For by grace are ye saved, through faith…not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph:2:8-9). To attempt to do anything for one’s salvation beyond believing “on the Lord Jesus Christ” is to deny that Christ paid the full penalty for sin on the cross and to reject God’s offer on that basis of forgiveness and eternal life as a free gift of His grace. Clearly, we can be saved only by faith in Christ !!! (copied from thebereancall.org ).

What, then, is the connection between repentance and salvation? The Book of Acts seems to especially focus on repentance in regards to salvation (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20).
To repent, in relation to salvation, is to change your mind in regard to Jesus Christ. In Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2), he concludes with a call for the people to repent (Acts 2:38). Repent from what? Peter is calling the people who rejected Jesus (Acts 2:36) to change their minds about Him, to recognize that He is indeed “Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Peter is calling the people to change their minds from rejection of Christ as the Messiah to faith in Him as both Messiah and Savior.
Repentance and faith can be understood as “two sides of the same coin.” It is impossible to place your faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior without first changing your mind about who He is and what He has done. Whether it is repentance from willful rejection or repentance from ignorance or disinterest, it is a change of mind.
Biblical repentance, in relation to salvation, is changing your mind from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ.
The word “repent” means to change the mind. The idea is to reverse direction of belief from one’s own ideas to God’s belief system. Repentance means to change from believing one thing to believing another thing. The act of believing is the essence of repenting. The cause of repenting is Christ and His
message. ( copied from gotquestions.org -edited )

Repentance is not ceasing from sinful bad habits, nor even being willing to turn from one’s sins; Repentance is turning to the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved from one’s sins (Romans 4:5). Salvation is receiving; NOT giving. Eternal life is the free gift of God (Romans 5:15;6:23), paid for by Jesus’ precious literal blood (1st Peter 1:18,19). To be saved we simply need to come as a guilty sinner to Jesus Christ to have our sins washed away by His redeeming blood (1st John 1:7). Salvation is turning to Jesus to be forgiven of one’s sins; NOT turning from one’s sins in order to be forgiven by Jesus.
You Are Saved by Your Faith in Jesus Christ . The man who believes has repented, and the man who repents has believed. God promises “TO SAVE THEM THAT BELIEVE” (1st Corinthians 1:21). Repentance and faith happen together, at the same time, like flipping a coin. One side of the coin is “heads” and the other side “tails.” You cannot turn one side over without also turning the other side over. Repentance is NOT a separate act from believing. “Repentance” is thinking differently (Greek verb: metanoeo) toward God. Thus, we repent (think differently) and believe the Gospel to be saved.

Repeatedly in the Holy Scriptures we are taught to simply “believe” on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved (John 3:16; John 3:36; John 6:28-29; John 6:40; John 11:25; John 20:31). The apostle John mentions the words “believe” and “believed” 85 times in the Gospel of John, but he never mentions the word “repent,” not even once. This tells us that the man who believes has also repented. Thus, repentance is not a separate act required to be saved, If a man didn’t change his mind (i.e. repent), then he wouldn’t believe (John 3:20). Hence, we don’t need to tell people to repent AND believe to be saved. All we need to do us teach them to BELIEVE THE GOSPEL, which is, “THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION TO EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH” (Romans 1:16). ( copied from jesus-is-savior.com)

The Gospel according to 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 is that Jesus DIED on the cross for our sins, He was BURIED, and then He bodily RESURRECTED three days later. This is “the Gospel.”

Tom (Discerning the World)
Admin

Scott wrote:

Repentance is not ceasing from sinful bad habits, nor even being willing to turn from one’s sins;

It is a rather dangerous statement. In fact, it goes against the grain of what Jesus said in Matthew 9:13 “But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Sinners and only sinners who realize they are lost have a strong desire for a Saviour and will come to Him for their salvation. (Matthew 9:12). The word “metanoia” does not only mean to change your mind from one paradigm of thought to another, especially regarding Jesus Christ and his finished work on the cross.

There are billions of people who have changed their minds to believe in the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ but have never been saved (Matthew 7:14). It also involves emotions of deep regret for your sins and a strong resolve to be saved from those sins.

The publican in Luke 18 would never have cried out in agony, unable to even lift his eyes to heaven if he had not been so strongly convicted of his sins. If his agony was not also intermingled with a desire to turn from his sins, he would probably not have even mentioned his sins but merely said, “Jesus, I believe in you.” (James 2:19). Imagine presenting the Gospel by saying to people “Repentance is not ceasing from sinful bad habits, nor even being willing to turn from one’s sins;” and “You only need to believe in Him for your salvation.”

Although none of us can turn from our sins in our own power to be saved, to say something like that leaves the impression that salvation has nothing to do with sin and its consequences. However, one can be willing and should, in fact, be willing to turn from your sins and no longer wish to do them.

Does the willingness to turn from sin save you? Of course not. Nonetheless, the statement “Repentance is not ceasing from sinful bad habits, nor even being willing to turn from one’s sins,” sends people a wrong message and can cause them to believe that they can go on sinning because they already believe. This is precisely against which Paul warns in Romans 5 and 6.

Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover, the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 5:18-21)

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (Rom 6:1-3).

Some seemed to have believed that, to glorify God’s grace, they were free to sin because God’s grace was always abundantly exceeding their sins. Not so, says Paul. A corpse cannot sin. You are dead in Christ so that you may no longer live in sin but in holiness through your new risen life in Christ Jesus.

The precondition for it not having to be destroyed by God is that Nineveh repented of her sins and ceased from their bad habits. (Jonah 1:2).

For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? 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 3:6-10).

Here we find man having to repent so that God may repent of his anger and righteous judgments. Can we say that Nineveh influenced God in his decision, or that she contributed something to her salvation, i.e. obedience to turn from her bad habits and be willing to turn from her sins?

Also, note the word, ” And God saw their works . . .” Wow, God acknowledged their works and as a consequence did not destroy them?

They then said, What are we to do, that we may [habitually] be working the works of God? [What are we to do to carry out what God requires?] Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger]. (John 6:28-29 Amplified Bible).

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I hold a moderate free grace position, but I believe that repentance plays a very key role for an individual to come to saving faith:
– When an individual comes to faith in Jesus Christ, he is transferring his trust in his works/other gods that do not save to the One True and Living God who saves (which is Jesus Christ)… this is technically speaking the “change of mind” definition of repentance
– However, In John 16:8-9 (NLT version), it is written that “when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me.” Therefore, when an individual comes to faith in Jesus Christ (through the witness of the Holy Spirit), he is in effect turning away from the cardinal sin of refusing to believe in Jesus Christ as described in this passage of scripture. And yes, for me, believing in Jesus Christ is The Act Of Obedience (i.e. I call it Saving Obedience)… why? It is because this is what God requires men to do… and when men listen and do what God wants them to do, it is called obedience.
– Who is the source of repentance? The Holy Spirit. Without the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, no one will repent and believe the gospel no matter how much evangelism is done
– When a professing believer does not have good works, is he truly saved in the first place? My answer is maybe yes maybe no. If he did not truly believe the gospel, it is no wonder he is not producing good works. However, 1 Corinthians 3 clearly speaks of Christians who will see their useless works burnt up at the Judgement Seat of Christ but yet are saved so as by fire. It is tremendously difficult therefore to distinguish between a carnal believer and a false believer; only God knows who is truly His.

I am not claiming that my theology is perfect; far from it. But this is a learning process I am going through and hope that people who disagree will be patient with me.

Tom (Discerning the World)
Admin

Hi Jonathan.

The term “Lordship Salvation” is, in essence, a denial that Jesus Christ is already and has always been Lord over all his creation, animate and inanimate. The notion that He becomes your Lord when you make Him your Lord is, therefore, a non-sequitur. The designation “I am the Lord” appears 161 times in 163 Scripture passages. Note carefully, He says “the Lord” and not just “Lord” which means that He alone is worthy to be Lord over all his creation, believers and nonbelievers. I can make Him Lord a million times over and it would still not change his position as Lord which He had from the beginning. One of the strongest evidence that He is the Lord of all is the fact that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord. These knees and these tongues belong to both believers and unbelievers. However, the confession of unbelievers will be too late for them. It will be something similar to the antediluvian sinners who cried out to be let into the ark when the rains came but it was too late.

The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) (Act 10:36).

Indeed repentance plays a key role in salvation. A very good example is the man on the cross who initially reviled Jesus together with the other criminal who was crucified alongside Him but eventually changed his mind (metanoia). He merely asked Jesus to think of him when He entered his Kingdom. He obviously believed in Jesus Christ’s resurrection and his subsequent entrance into heaven and that he as a sinner deserved to be barred from his Kingdom. His change of thought and attitude led to his salvation when Jesus Christ said to him, “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43). There was not the slightest hint that He first made Him Lord before He could be saved.

You wrote:

“– Who is the source of repentance? The Holy Spirit. Without the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, no one will repent and believe the gospel no matter how much evangelism is done.”

Forgive me if I’m wrong, but it seems though you are saying that the Holy Spirit only convicts some people of their sin and passes over the rest without convicting them. Indeed, Scripture says that the Holy Spirit convicts the world (all people) of sin. Conviction and evangelism (preaching the unadulterated word of God) go hand in hand. If, as God’s Word says, “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the preaching of the Word of God” then both the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the preaching of the Word are equally important. You cannot imply that the one is more important than the other. Sinners do not resist repentance because the Holy Spirit does not convict them of sin but because they resist the truth He conveys to them through the preaching of the Word. The rabble who slew Stephen were cut to the heart (convicted) by his preaching and yet stoned him. (Acts 5:33).

You wrote:

“When a professing believer does not have good works, is he truly saved in the first place? My answer is maybe yes maybe no. If he did not truly believe the gospel, it is no wonder he is not producing good works. However, 1 Corinthians 3 clearly speaks of Christians who will see their useless works burnt up at the Judgement Seat of Christ but yet are saved so as by fire. It is tremendously difficult therefore to distinguish between a carnal believer and a false believer; only God knows who is truly His.”

You have answered your own question. It is very easy to distinguish between false believers and carnal Christians. False believers won’t be at the Bema throne judgment whilst carnal Christians will indeed be there. Remember carnality does not necessarily mean to be void of any good works. It is primarily the doing of good works in the flesh (wood, hay, and stubble) or through the Holy Spirit (gold silver and gem stones) that the Word speaks of. How many times have you and I and every other Christian not done some kind of good works in the flesh? By the way a professing Christian is quite capable of doing good works (eg. Mother Teresa). Does it please God? No! because our best works (in the flesh) are like filthy rags in God’s sight (Isaiah 64:6).