[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

repentance (Antonio's reply)

posted by HK Flynn

Antonio well articulated his premise in the discussion here...

the reader must be aware of a cogent biblical fact that necessarily places a huge burden of proof upon the Lordship Salvationist:

Nowhere in the Bible is the reception of eternal salvation, eternal life, or justification conditioned on an act of repentance.

The Traditionalist must string together texts and arguments in order to support his unbiblical assertion that repentance is a theologically binding requirement for the possession of eternal salvation. In his arguments, the fallacy of special pleading is a common trait, for there is no clear text that makes his point.

The Lordship Salvationist cannot point to even one text that explicitely commands repentance for the express purpose of the appropriation of eternal life. There is no such verse or passage.
If this is such an important element in the discussion of the critical components of the gospel message it is odd – no, it is incredible – that not a single verse clearly conjoins a command to repent with a resultant appropriation of: eternal salvation, eternal life, or justification.

Isn’t the reception of eternal life/justification of utmost importance to a lost sinner on his way to hell? I mean, listen – the information on how a person is initiated into a relationship with God is of dire necessity! Wouldn’t you think that an issue of such great import would be properly clarified by the God who “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4)? Isn’t it unbelievable that in the whole canon of scripture, that if eternal well-being is contingent partly on an act of repentance, that no text whatsoever conditions a result of eternal salvation on such an act?

The apostle John, who is not unfamiliar with the doctrine of repentance, as he presents it more than any other New Testament writer other than Luke (10 mentions in Revelation), nevertheless is conspicuously silent on repentance as a condition for the appropriation of eternal life in his Gospel that was written for an express purpose of evangelism (John 20:30-31).

Would it not be a major error of inestimable proportions that if repentance is indeed a necessary requirement for eternal life that John the apostle would not include a single reference to it as a condition for salvation, yeah, even further, fail to mention it even once in the whole of his gospel written so that men could have eternal life?

The evidence in regard to this chilling and absolute silence of the Fourth Gospel in mentioning repentance in conjunction with the indisputable instrument of eternal life’s appropriation, faith into Jesus for it, can have only 1 of 3 possible ramifications:

1) John, the disciple who leaned “on Jesus’ bosom”, the apostle “whom Jesus
loved” (John 13:23), was not aware that the free reception of eternal life was
in someway conditioned upon an act of repentance by the unsaved and thus
presented an inadequate and therefore faulty testimony in this matter.

2) John, the apostle “who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we
know that his testimony is true” (John 21:24), purposely omitted a crucial
component of the promise of eternal life for reasons that could only be
speculated upon (the first one that would come to mind is some form of
mal-intent).

3) John, who knew that “which was from the beginning”, who
declared what he “heard” and saw with his “eyes”, who revealed that which he
“looked upon” and his hands “handled, concerning the Word of life”, who bore
“witness” and declared to us “that eternal life which was with the Father and
was manifested to” him (1 John 1:1-2) did not consider, did not believe, and was
not under the conviction that repentance was a necessary requirement for the
appropriation of eternal well-being.



If we agree to the following:


1) John told the truth

2) John wrote his gospel with a purpose of
evangelism and admit to the following (which cannot be denied):

3) John did not require repentance in his Gospel as a condition for the appropriation of eternal life, as he did not even mention it once in the whole of his discourse;
repentance being shockingly absent from its whole.
We must necessarily come to this conclusion:

4) Repentance is not a theological necessary condition
for the reception of eternal life.


[Note: “The simple fact is that the whole Fourth Gospel is designed to show that its readers can get saved in the same way as the people who got saved in John’s narrative. To say anything other than this is to accept a fallacy. It is to mistakenly suppose that the Fourth Gospel presents the terms of salvation incompletely and inadequately.” (Zane Hodges, Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Autumn 2000, “How to Lead People to Christ, Part 1″)]

Furthermore, we must consider our dear brother, the apostle Paul. The idea of repentance is a category strikingly absent from him. In his whole discussion of justification by faith in Romans 3-5, there is not even one mention of repentance as a condition for eternal salvation. It is also noteworthy to share that Paul only mentions repentance 5 times in his epistles (half as many as John), although he wrote 13 (possibly 14) out of the 27 New Testament books. And none of these passages in which he speaks of this doctrine does he regard repentance as a condition for the reception of eternal salvation.

In addition, what is even more damaging to the Traditionalist position is the utter absence of repentance in the book of Galatians. This epistle is Paul’s defense of his gospel wherein he heralds clear and loud the essential tenet that righteousness is imparted through faith alone in Jesus. It is indeed significant that repentance is absent in a book where Paul is presenting and defending the gospel message he received directly from the Lord. For Paul, faith alone into Christ is the sole theological requirement for justification and eternal salvation.

14 Comments:

  • Indeed, very well articulated.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, September 27, 2006 8:02:00 AM  

  • :)

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Thursday, September 28, 2006 7:26:00 PM  

  • Am I misunderstanding what you are saying? If so, I apologize. But first of all, I want to say up front that I do not believe in works salvation, and believe that I am saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-9) Having said that, I have to disagree with your assessment that repentance is not a part of getting saved. What are we saved from? Eternal damnation. What causes one to be sent into eternal damnation? Our sin. It is only by the realization that we are a sinner, and our willingness to repent of our sin and ask Jesus to save us that brings us to the point of salvation. Without sin, there is no need for salvation.

    Jesus Himself said "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." Mark 1:15

    Repentance is not a work anymore than belief. Repentance is a turning from sin toward Christ.

    Simple belief is not enough. The devils believe and tremble.

    Why do you believe repentance is not a part of turning toward Christ?

    By Blogger Ms.Green, at Thursday, September 28, 2006 8:04:00 PM  

  • Ms Green, firstly, where do the Scriptures teach that repentance is essential to receiving eternal life?

    I would argue that repentance is never identified in the Bible as a condition of receiving eternal life.

    Secondly, does one need to turn from sins of omission?

    You see, if one must turn from sins of omission that entails doing works.

    Furthermore, even turning from sins of commission seems very close to works.

    Take the example of a Muslim who is converted. If she is to turn from the religion of Islam, whcih she must surely do as part of her repentance, she must face being rejected by her family and possibly a gruesome death.

    If that is the cost of receving eternal life, how can eternal life really be said to be a free gift.

    An example closer to home. My sister lives with her boyfriend. If she were to repent of this, she would need to leave the man she loves and her home if he was not willing to get married. This wiould be very painful for her.

    Repentance is vitally important. We must never treat it as am optional extra.

    However, if one makes it a condition of eternal life, you make eternal life into a gift with strings attached.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Friday, September 29, 2006 12:25:00 AM  

  • I guess my question is "where" and a "what point" does repentance play a part in salvation.

    My understanding of Scripture is that a lost person must realize their lost state (in a state of sin) and know that the punishment for that sin is separation from God for all eternity in a place called Hell. In order to accept Jesus' free gift of eternal life, by necessity, a person is going to turn from that sin and toward Him, believing in the Gospel and asking Jesus to save them. At that moment, I believe Scripture says they are forgiven and saved, born again, and sealed by the Holy Spirit. I do believe in Eternal Security - because as Paul says in Galatians,(paraphrasing) if you are born in the Spirit, you are foolish to think you can be made perfect in the flesh(keep your salvation by works).
    I also believe that in a true conversion, there will be a change in the person's life (a new creature). This change will vary from person to person, depending on their willingness after salvation to submit to God's will instead of their own. But there will be a change. If there is no change, I believe Scripture clearly indicates there was no conversion.
    Having said that, I also believe Scripture indicates that there are carnal Christians, such as the one in Corinthians who was in an incestuous relationship - he was saved, but in danger of losing his life (not his salvation) due to his gross sin.

    We can never know for sure about an individual's salvation, but if a person who claims to be saved is living in unrepentant sin, then Scripture also tells us that God WILL chasten His children - and if there is no chastening in the unrepentant sinner's life, then we can strongly suggest that theirs was a counterfiet conversion, because to say otherwise would mean God did not keep His promise to chasten His children.

    In this whole free grace vs Lordship salvation, I seem to be caught somewhere in the middle!

    By Blogger Ms.Green, at Friday, September 29, 2006 4:40:00 AM  

  • Ms Green, I am guessing that when you say 'turn from sin' you do not mean 'actively stop sinning or attempt to stop sinning'? Rather what you mean is a mental recognition of one's sinful state?

    If you mean that repentance does involve an active turning from sin (as I do) and this is a condition of eternal life (which I do not believe it is), then you have the difficulty of explaining how eternal life is a free gift yet requries a change of bahaviour.

    "My understanding of Scripture is that a lost person must realize their lost state (in a state of sin) and know that the punishment for that sin is separation from God for all eternity in a place called Hell."

    Where does the Bible say this?

    If one trusts in Jesus Christ for eternal life and yet is unaware of the reality of hell and the depth of their sin are they lost?

    I agree that in most cases, coming to discover the reality of hell and sin enable one to see one's need for a savour.

    However, there is nothing to suggest in Scripture that acknowledging sin is essential to appropriating eternal life. When Jesus speaks to the woman of Samaria at the well, he makes no mention of sin or the need to repent.

    Many children believe their parents when they are told that Jesus has enable them to go to heaven without understanding why Jesus's saving work was necessary.

    "In order to accept Jesus' free gift of eternal life, by necessity, a person is going to turn from that sin and toward Him, believing in the Gospel and asking Jesus to save them."

    Again, I would encourage you to consider where the Scriptures indicate that turning from sin is an essential precondition to faith.

    I would also suggest that talking about asking for salvation is unscriptural. We receive eternal life when we believe in Jesus Christ for it. Asking Him is superflous.

    'Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord' concerns deliverance from physical judgment.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Friday, September 29, 2006 5:53:00 AM  

  • "I am guessing that when you say 'turn from sin' you do not mean 'actively stop sinning or attempt to stop sinning'? Rather what you mean is a mental recognition of one's sinful state?

    I am referring to a recognition of one's sinful state and need for a savior, and a willingness to repent of that sin. One who is not willing to give up their sin but who wants to keep from going to hell is not repentant, which is a prerequisite for salvation - NOT a requirement for keeping their salvation. The very first words ever recorded of Jesus Himself demand repentance"Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." There is no denying that repentance goes hand in hand with accepting the gift of salvation. If you deny Jesus' very words, then there's not really anything else for me to say.

    On the other hand, if what you are saying is that repentance is not a requirement to keep our salvation, then I totally agree. Although not a wise choice, one could live a life of sin after one was saved, but Scripture tells us God chastens His own, even up to and including the sin unto death. Plus, by being born again, we receive a new nature, the Holy Spirit permanently resides in us, and as we submit to His will we become less conformed to the world and more transformed by Him.(Romans 12:2)

    Lastly, saying that "talking about asking for salvation is unscriptural. is just semantics, don't you think? I went to Christ and told Him I realized I was lost and asked Him to forgive my sins - then thanked Him for dying on the cross to pay for my sins and asked Him to save me- knowing that He would. So was that unscriptural, in your opinion?


    Romans 10:13 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

    I cannot for the life of me understand why you think this is referring to physical judgement. Read the first 12 verses before it - the writer is referring to salvation of the soul, not the body.

    I'm hoping our differences are actually not differences at all, but misunderstandings. (?)

    By Blogger Ms.Green, at Saturday, September 30, 2006 11:41:00 AM  

  • Ms Green
    "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."

    Could you please tell me where in this verse Jesus says repentance is a condition of receiving eternal life?

    "There is no denying that repentance goes hand in hand with accepting the gift of salvation."

    I do deny this. Jesus says that those who believe in Him have eternal life. This is the consistent teaching of Scripture. If I am in error and faith is insufficent, please prove this to me.

    "I went to Christ and told Him I realized I was lost and asked Him to forgive my sins - then thanked Him for dying on the cross to pay for my sins and asked Him to save me- knowing that He would. So was that unscriptural, in your opinion?"

    There is no harm in this, provided one realises tha one is saved by faith.

    Romans 10:13 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

    "I cannot for the life of me understand why you think this is referring to physical judgement."

    When this verse in its original context referred to eternal or physical judgment?

    Do you not think that a people are ever in danger of physical judgment?

    If a person has received eternal life by believing, why would he also need to call upon the name of the Lord for eternal life. Is believing not enougth?

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, October 01, 2006 5:10:00 AM  

  • Oh, what a perversion of the grace of God and the gift of Calvary by claiming that an unrepentant sinner can receive eternal life as "fire insurance" with no willingness in their heart to turn from their sin.

    I'm saddened by the reality of what you are claiming, in direct contradiction to Christ's own words, and in not seeing the truth of repentance being a part of the acceptance of Christ's gift, which was His paying the penalty for our sins.

    "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...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:"

    Jesus's words: "...repent ye, and believe the gospel."

    I choose to believe Jesus's words over any man's.

    In an effort to refute the lie of Calvinism, you have gone too far to the extreme the other way, taking repentance out of the equation and perverting the reason for the Cross, which was our sin.

    By Blogger Ms.Green, at Sunday, October 01, 2006 12:01:00 PM  

  • Ms Green
    I am a little disappointed that one who shares our dissatisfaction with Calvinism should take such a harsh tone.

    "I'm saddened by the reality of what you are claiming, in direct contradiction to Christ's own words, and in not seeing the truth of repentance being a part of the acceptance of Christ's gift, which was His paying the penalty for our sins."

    So Christ's gift of eternal life is not enough in itself? One must add repentance?

    How exactly is repentance a necessary condition to receiving eternal life when Christ has fully provided all that is needed to secure eternal life for those who believe?

    You seem to be arguing that the unrepentant sinner who believes for 'fire insurance' is not good enough for eternal life.

    "Jesus's words: "...repent ye, and believe the gospel." "

    So you have proved that our Lord commands repetance. I certainly do not disagree with this.

    Repentance is not an option. It is a commandment. Likewise, baptism is not optional. Holiness is not optional. However, neither baptism or holiness of conduct are conditions for receiving eternal life. Neither is repentance.

    Faith is the only means of appropriating the gift of eternal life.

    Ms Green, if repentance is a condition of receiving eternal life, why does John's Gospel not mention it once? John's Gospel has mroe to say about everlasting life than any other book in the NT, and yet it never once mentions repentance.

    Why does Galatians, which is Paul's defence of the simplicity of the Gospel, consistently identify faith as the condition of justification if repentance is also essential?

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, October 01, 2006 2:56:00 PM  

  • "...should take such a harsh tone

    My tone is not meant to be harsh, but it is meant to be firm.

    ...why does John's Gospel not mention it once

    If you believe that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God, then something does not need to be said but once to be taken as the Word of God. ALso, the focus of John's Gospel was the Deity of Christ.

    However, repentance going hand in hand with faith is a very clear theme throughout Scripture and I will repeat myself once more and then will post no more, because I'm not wanting to "strive" with another.

    My statements still stand. To say that an unrepentant sinner can be saved is to make a mockery of the Cross and to twist Scripture. I suggest (in a kind spirit - and without harshness)that you spend more time in the Word and less time in Zane Hodges's words.

    By Blogger Ms.Green, at Monday, October 02, 2006 4:45:00 AM  

  • Ms Green, I can assure you that I spend more time reading the Word of God than Zane Hodges. I have not even read all of his books.

    You are wanting to affirm the authority of Scripture and yet you are insisting that it teaches something without actually showing us where.

    "If you believe that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God, then something does not need to be said but once to be taken as the Word of God."

    That is true, but you have never once produced a passage of Scripture that states that repentance is a condition of receiving eternal life.

    "However, repentance going hand in hand with faith is a very clear theme throughout Scripture"

    But you have not given us any evidence for this.

    I think maybe you need to take heed of your own advice about reading the Bible a little more often.

    "To say that an unrepentant sinner can be saved is to make a mockery of the Cross and to twist Scripture."

    Why? Is it because an unrepentant sinner does not deserve eternal life?

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, October 02, 2006 7:36:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    First of all, if you do not accept Jesus's own words from the Book of Mark to mean that one must repent and put their trust in Christ in order to be saved, then it would be pointless and a waste of time to list the many other verses of Scripture that also indicate this. So I think we've reached a point of stagnation and I won't post further. However, before I go, I do want to say publicly that I owe you an apology. I realized after I posted the words that I had no call to question the amount of time you spend in the Word. I don't know how much time you spend in it, any more than you know about me. The remark was uncalled for and I apologize for the remark. Please forgive me.

    Having said that, I give up on trying to convince you of anything and will bow out and go back to other things.

    By Blogger Ms.Green, at Monday, October 02, 2006 3:32:00 PM  

  • Ms Green, apology accepted and I apologise if I have been at all harsh.

    But I must say that it is not at all reasonable to insist that a verse of Scripture means something without defending it.

    You have not even quoted or cited the verse in Mark that you are referring to in this last comment. How do I know what you are arguing?

    I have to say that you are taking a very dogmatic and unreasonable position on this.

    You are setting yourself up as an infallible interpreter of the Scriptures.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, October 03, 2006 12:38:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home