As I have stated many times before and throughout this website, we must define terms. The Bible states in many places what we find in Acts 16:31, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved..." However we must define "believe." The verse continues, "... - you and your household." Does that mean his whole family will automatically be saved? Of course not! this is why definitions are so important. The Bible also says "even demons believe..." So what does the Bible mean by "believe?"
Many people "repent" simply out of fear and end up falling away. The problem is, repentance must be coupled with what the Bible calls "godly sorrow." There must be contrition. If it is genuine and faith placed in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, the person can be converted/regenerated/born again/saved/justified.
Think of a man who has committed adultery, who wants to get back with his wife. She is willing to take him back, but what is she looking for? Genuine sorrow that will result in him not wanting to betray her trust ever again.
That’s what God is looking for in you - a genuine sorrow that will result in you turning from all that you know to be offensive to Him.FREE GRACE THEOLOGY
"Free Grace theology is a soteriological view within Protestantism teaching that everyone receives eternal life the moment they believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. "Lord" refers to the belief that Jesus is the Son of God and therefore able to be their "Savior". The view distinguishes between the "call to believe" in Christ as a Savior and receiving the gift of eternal life, and the "call to follow" Christ and become obedient disciples."
"Free Grace theology remains one of the most debated subjects within Protestantism. It had ignited at least four major disputes: the "Free Spirit controversy" (13th century), the "Majoristic controversy" (16th century), the "Antinomian Controversy" (17th century) and the "Lordship controversy" (20th century)."
Ray comfort said the following, "It is true that there are numerous Bible verses that speak of the promise of salvation, with no mention of repentance. These merely say to "believe" on Jesus Christ and you shall be saved (Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9). However, the Bible makes it clear that God is holy and man is sinful, and that sin makes a separation between the two (Isaiah 59:1,2). Without repentance from sin, wicked men cannot have fellowship with a holy God. We are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1) and until we forsake them through repentance, we cannot be made alive in Christ.
The Scriptures speak of "repentance unto life" (Acts 11:18). We turn from sin to the Savior. This is why Paul preached "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21). The first public word Jesus preached was "repent" (Matthew 4:17). John the Baptist began his ministry the same way (Matthew 3:2). Jesus told His hearers that without repentance, they would perish (Luke 13:3).
If belief is all that is necessary for salvation, then the logical conclusion is that one need never repent. However, the Bible tells us that a false convert "believes" and yet is not saved (Luke 8:13); he remains a "worker of iniquity." Look at the warning of Scripture: "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth" (1 John 1:6). The Scriptures also say, "He that covers his sins shall not prosper, but whoso confesses and forsakes them [repentance] shall have mercy" (Proverbs 28:13). Jesus said that there was joy in heaven over one sinner who "repents" (Luke 15:10). If there is no repentance, there is no joy because there is no salvation.
When Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost, he commanded his hearers to repent "for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38). Without repentance, there is no remission of sins; we are still under His wrath. Peter further said, "Repent . . . and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19). We cannot be "converted" unless we repent. God Himself "commands all men everywhere [leaving no exceptions] to repent" (Acts 17:30). Peter said a similar thing at Pentecost: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you" (Acts 2:38).
"If repentance wasn’t necessary for salvation, why then did Jesus command that repentance be preached to all nations (Luke 24:47)? With so many Scriptures speaking of the necessity of repentance for salvation, one can only suspect that those who preach salvation without repentance are strangers to repentance themselves, and thus strangers to true conversion." - The Evidence Bible, Ray Comfort, Living Waters
Luther said the following, “They think one should not frighten or trouble the people, but rather always preach comfortingly about grace and forgiveness of sins in Christ and under no circumstances use these or similar words. ‘Listen! You want to be a Christian and at the same time remain an adulterer, a whoremonger, a drunken swine, arrogant, covetous, envious, vindictive, malicious, etc!’ Instead they say, ‘Listen! Though you are an adulterer, a whoremonger, a miser, or other kind of sinner, if you but believe, you are saved, and you need not fear the law. Christ has fulfilled it all!’…And it is saying yes and no to the same thing. For there is no Christ that died for sinners who do not, after forgiveness of sins, desist from sins and lead a new life…Now he who does not abstain from sin, but persists in his evil life, must have a different Christ, that of the Antinomians: the real Christ is not there, even if all the angels would cry ‘Christ! Christ!’ He must be damned with this, his new Christ…But our Antinomians fail to see that they are preaching Christ without and against the Holy Spirit because they propose to let the people continue in their old ways and still pronounce them saved. And yet logic, too, implies that a Christian should either have the Holy Spirit and lead a new life, or know that he has no Christ.” FOOTNOTES:
2. Larry Christenson (editor), “Welcome Holy Spirit”, Augsburg, Minneapolis, 1987, page 195.
© Todd Tyszka
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