What Did Pastor Charles Spurgeon Believe About Repentance?

by David J. Stewart | July 2016 | Updated November 2016

2nd Peter 3:16-17, “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.”   

Charles Spurgeon DIDN'T Teach “Turning From Sins” To Be Saved

Pastor Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) is often misrepresented by false prophets, who cherry-pick his sermons and books in a nefarious (extremely wicked) attempt to bolster up their false Gospel. Since they cannot support their false doctrine with the Word of God, they attempt to quote Mr. Spurgeon as a secondary authority.

I'm talking about the false repentance crowd. They are a confusing bunch, plaguing the internet and churches today with doctrines of devils. There are three groups of people in this repentance issue: 1) Those who have repentance right (saved); 2) Those who have repentance wrong (unsaved); 3) Those caught between grace and works in the middle (saved, but confused).

My friend, God's Word is the only authority! The King James Bible is our final and only authority in all matters. 2nd Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

Please read also: Was Pastor Charles Spurgeon a Heretic On Salvation?

If you don't get anything else out of this article, and you've been unsure about what Charles Spurgeon taught, then please read “God Justifieth The Ungodly” (chapter one from Spurgeon's most popular book “All Of Grace”). You can download your own .pdf copy for free here (the book is in the public domain). The following citations are taken from chapter one, and plainly refute anyone who would dare claim that Mr. Spurgeon taught Lordship Salvation. I do admit that at times Spurgeon, in other writings, seems to teach Lordship Salvation; BUT this chapter, God Justifieth The Ungodly, speaks volumes in defence of Mr. Spurgeon's true intentions concerning the Gospel. The heretics who often use Spurgeon as a secondary authority DON'T quote from this chapter. Their theology is lopsided, a cake unturned, half-cocked, unbalanced, twisted (2nd Peter 3:16-17).

I call your attention to those words, "Him that justifieth the ungodly." They seem to me to be very wonderful words.
Are you not surprised that there should be such an expression as that in the Bible, "That justifieth the ungodly?" I have heard that men that hate the doctrines of the cross bring it as a charge against God, that He saves wicked men and receives to Himself the vilest of the vile. See how this Scripture accepts the charge, and plainly states it! By the mouth of His servant Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, He takes to Himself the title of "Him that justifieth the ungodly." He makes those just who are unjust, forgives those who deserve to be punished, and favors those who deserve no favor. You thought, did you not, that salvation was for the good? that God's grace was for the pure and holy, who are free from sin? It has fallen into your mind that, if you were excellent, then God would reward you; and you have thought that because you are not worthy, therefore there could be no way of your enjoying His favor. You must be somewhat surprised to read a text like this: "Him that justifieth the ungodly." I do not wonder that you are surprised; for with all my familiarity with the great grace of God, I never cease to wonder at it. It does sound surprising, does it not, that it should be possible for a holy God to justify an unholy man? We, according to the natural legality of our hearts, are always talking about our own goodness and our own worthiness, and we stubbornly hold to it that there must be somewhat in us in order to win the notice of God. Now, God, who sees through all deceptions, knows that there is no goodness whatever in us. He says that "there is none righteous, no not one." He knows that "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags," and, therefore the Lord Jesus did not come into the world to look after goodness and righteousness with him, and to bestow them upon persons who have none of them. He comes, not because we are just, but to make us so: he justifieth the ungodly.

SOURCE: Charles Spurgeon; All of Grace; Chapter 1 - God Justifieth The Ungodly!

Isn't that beautiful? If you liked those quotes, you'll love the next ones! Here's some more awesome quotes from chapter one. You'll never hear Evangelist Ray Comfort or Pastor John MacArthur cite these quotes from Spurgeon:

I would like to make this very plain. I hope that I have done so already; but still, plain as it is, it is only the Lord that can make a man see it. It does at first seem most amazing to an awakened man that salvation should really be for him as a lost and guilty one. He thinks that it must be for him as a penitent man, forgetting that his penitence is a part of his salvation. "Oh," says he, "but I must be this and that,"--all of which is true, for he shall be this and that as the result of salvation; but salvation comes to him before he has any of the results of salvation. It comes to him, in fact, while he deserves only this bare, beggarly, base, abominable description, "ungodly." That is all he is when God's gospel comes to justify him.

May I, therefore, urge upon any who have no good thing about them—who fear that they have not even a good feeling, or anything whatever that can recommend them to God—that they will firmly believe that our gracious God is able and willing to take them without anything to recommend them, and to forgive them spontaneously, not because they are good, but because He is good. Does He not make His sun to shine on the evil as well as on the good? Does He not give fruitful seasons, and send the rain and the sunshine in their time upon the most ungodly nations? Ay, even Sodom had its sun, and Gomorrah had its dew. Oh friend, the great grace of God surpasses my conception and your conception, and I would have you think worthily of it! As high as the heavens are above the earth; so high are God's thoughts above our thoughts. He can abundantly pardon. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners: forgiveness is for the guilty.

Do not attempt to touch yourself up and make yourself something other than you really are; but come as you are to Him who justifies the ungodly. A great artist some short time ago had painted a part of the corporation of the city in which he lived, and he wanted, for historic purposes, to include in his picture certain characters well known in the town. A crossing-sweeper, unkempt, ragged, filthy, was known to everybody, and there was a suitable place for him in the picture. The artist said to this ragged and rugged individual, "I will pay you well if you will come down to my studio and let me take your likeness." He came round in the morning, but he was soon sent about his business; for he had washed his face, and combed his hair, and donned a respectable suit of clothes. He was needed as a beggar, and was not invited in any other capacity. Even so, the gospel will receive you into its halls if you come as a sinner, not otherwise. Wait not for reformation, but come at once for salvation. God justifieth the ungodly, and that takes you up where you now are: it meets you in your worst estate.

SOURCE: Charles Spurgeon; All of Grace; Chapter 1 - God Justifieth The Ungodly!

Whew, that is great stuff! In case you missed it, read this again by Mr. Spurgeon:

“but salvation comes to him before he has any of the results of salvation. It comes to him, in fact, while he deserves only this bare, beggarly, base, abominable description, 'ungodly.' That is all he is when God's gospel comes to justify him.”

SOURCE: Charles Spurgeon; All of Grace; Chapter 1 - God Justifieth The Ungodly!

Clearly, Charles Spurgeon DIDN'T believe nor teach that a person must forsake their sins TO BE SAVED. As you just read, Spurgeon believed that salvation comes to a person BEFORE the fruit of the indwelling Holy Spirit becomes evident. Spurgeon is 100% correct—a person is “UNGODLY,” and “that is all he is when the Gospel comes to justify him!” Amen!!! Why don't Ray Comfort, Paul Washer and John MacArthur quote these teachings from Mr. Spurgeon? Do you see how dishonest they are theologically? I'm sick of false prophets misquoting Charles Spurgeon.

It is dishonest to selectively cherry-pick quotes from Spurgeon's works, portraying him as teaching that people cannot be saved unless they forsake sinful behavior to be saved. Things have become doctrinally awry in Southern Baptist churches today. Watch this video sermon clip of Paul Washer teaching: “No, No, If you don't have works, you're going to Hell!” That is blasphemy! That is NOT the Gospel! That is a hellish false doctrine of devils. Romans 4:5-6 says, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.” How much plainer could the Scriptures be? We are saved by God's imputed righteousness... WITHOUT WORKS!!! Paul Washer is in the second group that I mentioned earlier, the unsaved, who are wrong on repentance. Mr. Washer openly adds works to faith, which is what nearly every false religion does (Acts 15:1; Galatians 3:2).

In Acts 2:41 there were 3,000 souls saved in ONE DAY! Acts 2:41, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” They were water baptized as a public profession of their faith AFTER they were saved. The crowd heard the apostle Peter preach the Gospel, and they gladly received (believed) it, and they were immediately and forever saved. Galatians 3:2, “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?We are saved by putting our faith in the Gospel when we hear it preached. Hebrews 4:2, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” We see clearly how simple it is to be saved, by simply BELIEVING the Good News (Gospel) of Christ's death upon the cross for our sins, His burial, and bodily resurrection three days later (1st Corinthians 15:1-4).
 

Here's What Spurgeon Taught About Believers Who Continue in Sin

The following quotes from Spurgeon apply only to the born-again believer! The doctrinally sound Bible student understands that there are different Greek meanings for the word “repent” in the Bible. Unlearned and deceitful people all over the internet and in churches today are cherry-picking Spurgeon's sermons and books, only quoting what they want in an attempt to bolster their false plan of salvation, which is another Gospel.

Here are Spurgeon's true beliefs and teachings. The following statements DO NOT, and CANNOT, apply to salvation. If they did, it would totally contradict everything Spurgeon teaches in chapter one (“God Justifieth The Ungodly”):

In the very nature of things, if we believe in the holiness of God, it must be so, that if we continue in our sin, and will not repent of it, we cannot be forgiven, but must reap the consequence of our obstinacy. According to the infinite goodness of God, we are promised that if we will forsake our sins, confessing them, and will, by faith, accept the grace which is provided in Christ Jesus, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But, so long as God lives, there can be no promise of mercy to those who continue in their evil ways, and refuse to acknowledge their wrongdoing.

SOURCE: Charles Spurgeon; All Of Grace; Chapter 13 - Repentance Must Go With Forgiveness

Again, the previous statements ONLY apply to the saved man. We know this is true, because to be saved God only justifies THE UNGODLY! If you need to, reread Spurgeon's comments again that I shared with you earlier. There is no way to reconcile these statements if you apply all of them to salvation!

Here are some more quotes that apply only to the saved, which false teachers try to use to require “turning away from sins” to be saved:

“Remember that the man who truly repents is never satisfied with his own repentance. We can no more repent perfectly than we can live perfectly. However pure our tears, there will always be some dirt in them: there will be something to be repented of even in our best repentance. But listen! To repent is to change your mind about sin, and Christ, and all the great things of God. There is sorrow implied in this; but the main point is the turning of the heart from sin to Christ. If there be this turning, you have the essence of true repentance, even though no alarm and no despair should ever have cast their shadow upon your mind.”

“Repentance will not make you see Christ; but to see Christ will give you repentance. You may not make a Christ out of your repentance, but you must look for repentance to Christ. The Holy Ghost, by turning us to Christ, turns us from sin. Look away, then, from the effect to the cause, from your own repenting to the Lord Jesus, who is exalted on high to give repentance.”

SOURCE: “The Moody Colportage Association’s (known as Moody Press, and now as Moody Publishers) first and all-time best-selling book is Spurgeon’s "All Of Grace"; Chapter 13 - Repentance Must Go With Forgiveness

I had never seen this book "All Of Grace" by Charles Spurgeon, but it brilliantly differentiates between repentance and faith, plainly revealing that Mr. Spurgeon did NOT teach Lordship Salvation. Notice what Spurgeon just said... “You may not make a Christ out of your repentance.” That is exactly what the Lordship Salvation crowd is doing, that is, making a Christ out of repentance. You don't repent first and then look to Christ; but rather, as Spurgeon correctly teaches, “You must look for repentance to Christ. The Holy Ghost, by turning us to Christ, turns us from sin.” Did you understand that? It is the Holy Spirit Who turns us from sin, because we have turned to Christ. This is anything but the junk theology taught by Paul Washer, John Piper, Billy Graham, John Hagee, Rick Warren, Ray Comfort, and others who add surrendering your life to Jesus, following Christ, turning away from sin, confessing Christ before men, doing works, et cetera to be saved.

Notice again what Spurgeon said... “to see Christ will give you repentance”! This is 100% the opposite of what the Lordship Salvation crowd all teach! You are not saved by repenting, you are saved by putting your faith in Jesus Christ! Amen!
 

Spurgeon Admitted That He Continually 'Wondered' How God Could Justify an Unholy Man

Charles Spurgeon admitted that he had difficulty grasping how it is possible for a holy God to “justify an unholy man.” Should it be surprising that Spurgeon didn't know everything? You've got to be careful about which preachers you follow these days, because Paul Washer and John MacArthur will lead you into the Lake of Fire. Mr. Spurgeon is not the authority on theology, the Holy Bible is!

“You must be somewhat surprised to read a text like this: 'Him that justifieth the ungodly.' I do not wonder that you are surprised; for with all my familiarity with the great grace of God, I never cease to wonder at it. It does sound surprising, does it not, that it should be possible for a holy God to justify an unholy man?”

SOURCE: “The Moody Colportage Association’s (known as Moody Press, and now as Moody Publishers) first and all-time best-selling book is Spurgeon’s "All Of Grace"; Chapter 13 - Repentance Must Go With Forgiveness

It is only by God's imputed righteousness, which is counted (imputed) to the believer by faith alone in Jesus Christ, that God can pardon an unholy man! A holy God cannot justify an unholy man without a Redeemer! Christ paid for our sins on the cross! Jesus paid a debt that He did not owe, because we owed a debt that we could not pay! That is how it is possible for a holy God to justify an unholy man—BY THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF JESUS!!! Romans 5:9, “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” 1st Peter 1:18-19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” We are saved by the blood of the sinless Lamb of God!

Please don't make the common error of elevating Mr. Spurgeon's theology to being equal in authority to the Word of God! We are not Catholics! Most churchgoers today don't believe that we have a perfect English Bible (aka, the ungodly Alexandrian Bible revision crowd). Yet, those same heretics quote Charles Spurgeon as if his words are final! Sadly, Moody Bible Institute and Bob Jones University are in this doubtful camp, claiming that we DON'T have a perfect Bible today in English.

May I say, Spurgeon was flawed somewhat in his teachings, as are all preachers and Bible teachers to some degree (including myself). Mr. Spurgeon was a one-point Calvinist, teaching that Jesus didn't die on the cross for all men. Whether you are a preacher or layman in the New Testament Church, you need to be careful when examining the teachings of any man. The Westminster Confession is not our authority on doctrine. The Holy Bible is our only authority!!! I believe that perfect Bible to be the King James Bible in the English-speaking language (i.e., the Textus Receptus Greek).

If I became aware of any teaching of mine that is incorrect, I'd fix it by sundown! As far as I am aware, all the information on my ministry websites is accurate. I know that I am merely a man, capable of error and getting it wrong, so I never assume that I am always right on doctrine. I keep a humble heart and an open mind. There must be some areas where I am wrong, because no believer has it 100% correct on everything. I don't know one fundamental Baptist (nor non-Baptist preacher) who is 100% correct doctrinally (in my humble opinion). I have been wrong before, and I have corrected it! I used to tell people to “ask Jesus into their heart,” but I would never say that today. You can “ask Jesus into your heart” and never believe the Gospel at all!!! I am not perfect, and neither is Charles Spurgeon. Granted, Spurgeon was a mighty preacher (and is still mighty today, as his sermons live on to each generation). However, it is God's inspired words that have been preserved, not Mr. Spurgeon's.

I hear many sincere people on the internet, and in books, and in sermons, claiming that today's preachers have done away with repentance, but the old-time preachers taught repentance. My friend, just because something manmade is old doesn't necessarily make it right, correct or Biblical. The King James Bible hasn't changed one iota in over 400 YEARS!!! The truth is that preachers and theologians fought and argued centuries ago just as they do today, there's just a lot more people on earth today (so more people to argue over everything). The battle is not over the necessity of repentance; but rather, over what it means to repent. The Lordship Salvation gang alleges that the preachers before the 20th century, taught turning away from sinful behavior as a requirement to be saved. That is not what Charles Spurgeon taught! That is not what Dwight Moody taught!

The battle between works verses faith goes all the way back to Adam trying to impress God with his fig-leaf religion in the Garden of Eden, which the Lord rejected. Then we see Cain's works, who made the best offering possible from his farming fields, which the Lord rejected. God accepted Abel's animal blood sacrifice, picturing his faith in the blood of the Lamb of God!

The New International Version (NIV) is of the Devil. The publishers openly state that their revision is imperfect, and claim that all Bibles are imperfect. Again, please don't make the common error of elevating Mr. Spurgeon's theology to being equal in authority to the Word of God! 2nd Peter 3:16-17, “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.” I believe Spurgeon was saved. I have no doubt of that! From reading chapter one of Spurgeon's work, “All Of Grace,” there is no question that he DIDN'T believe it was necessary to turn away from sinful behavior TO BE SAVED. Spurgeon clearly taught that it is the Holy Spirit which changes a man, AFTER he is in Christ, as a man grows in the milk of the Word (1st Peter 2:2).

In case you missed it, read this again by Mr. Spurgeon:

“but salvation comes to him before he has any of the results of salvation. It comes to him, in fact, while he deserves only this bare, beggarly, base, abominable description, 'ungodly.' That is all he is when God's gospel comes to justify him.” [emphasis added]

SOURCE: Charles Spurgeon; All of Grace; Chapter 1 - God Justifieth The Ungodly!

John 3:19-21 Helps Us Understand Repentance

We learn in John 3:19-21 that humans by nature love darkness rather than light. The Bible doesn't say that they love darkness instead of light. The word “rather” is the Greek word mallon, which means, “more (in a greater degree). Hence, the Bible says men love darkness more than light. We are all sinners by nature and by choice (Romans 3:19-23). We are ALL sinners! Darkness hides things, but light reveals them! The best way to expose the darkness is to shine the light! Men who do evil don't want their works of darkness brought to light. That is why secret societies exist, to hide evil. Satan operates by deception, masquerading as an angel of light, to trick people, because he is nefarious and evil (2nd Corinthians 11:13-15; Ephesians 5:11).

We learn read in the Scriptures that mankind by nature avoids the light, refusing to come to Jesus Christ, lest his deeds should be reproved (to speak against):

John 3:16-21, “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. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

Notice in John 3:21 that the Bible says, “he that doeth truth,” not “he that doeth works.” In order to be saved, a person needs to admit the truth that they are an unholy sinner in the eyes of a holy God. Notice the next verse:

2nd Timothy 2:24-26, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

God told the apostle Paul that He was sending him to the Gentiles...

Acts 26:18, “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.”

Repentance begins the moment we believe on Jesus Christ, and continues for a lifetime. Repentance is simply to “change your mind about sin, and Christ, and all the great things of God,” as Spurgeon says. This is not a decision to cease from sinful bad habits, nor is it forsaking the world, nor is it surrendering “all” to Christ, et cetera. A man may do all of these things and never be saved at all. These things are not the Gospel. Notice what Spurgeon says about salvation—BUT THE MAIN POINT IS THE TURNING OF THE HEART FROM SIN TO CHRIST!!! You are not saved by repenting, you are saved by putting your faith in Jesus! But in so doing, by turning to Christ by faith, you of necessity had to turn away from something (whatever it was that had hindered you from coming to Christ)...

“Remember that the man who truly repents is never satisfied with his own repentance. We can no more repent perfectly than we can live perfectly. However pure our tears, there will always be some dirt in them: there will be something to be repented of even in our best repentance. But listen! To repent is to change your mind about sin, and Christ, and all the great things of God. There is sorrow implied in this; but the main point is the turning of the heart from sin to Christ. If there be this turning, you have the essence of true repentance, even though no alarm and no despair should ever have cast their shadow upon your mind.” [emphasis added]

SOURCE: “The Moody Colportage Association’s (known as Moody Press, and now as Moody Publishers) first and all-time best-selling book is Spurgeon’s "All Of Grace"; Chapter 13 - Repentance Must Go With Forgiveness

As I said at the beginning of this article, there are three groups of people in this repentance battle today: 1) Those who have repentance right (saved); 2) Those who have repentance wrong (unsaved); 3) Those caught between grace and works in the middle (saved, but confused). Evangelist Paul Washer outright requires works for salvation, so he cannot be saved.

Pastor Charles Lawson (a preacher whom I like listening to) of the Temple Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, seems to be caught between grace and works. Pastor Lawson errantly views repentance as “far more than simply a change of mind,” something so so drastic, that it compels a person to cease from willful sinful living. Dr. Lawson alleges that the reason why the churches are filled with so many sexually immoral members today is because they are false converts, who trusted the Gospel without genuinely repenting from their sins. Dr. Lawson has it all wrong!

A changed life in a believer is produced by the indwelling Holy Spirit, and not by human effort to repent from sins. Repentance is not turning from sins. Repentance is “a change of mind,” period, end of story. But what repentance applies to is anything and everything that hinders a man from believing the Gospel. It may be the worship of devils, idols or a life of wickedness, that must be repented of in order to believe the Gospel. Do you see the difference? Lordship Salvation tells a man to stop committing sins as a prerequisite to placing his faith in Christ. The problem is that NO MAN can turn away from all his sins. Even the best Christians still commit sin every day! The problem is that turning away from sinful living is a work, and not a requirement to receive the gift of eternal life.

In sharp contrast, Biblical Christianity tells a man to repent (change his mind) toward God (Acts 20:21), which of necessity means turning in his heart away from idols, false worship and sins which hinder men from coming to the light of the Gospel to be saved (Revelation 9:20-21). So, repentance is not performed in works; but rather, in the heart. And the goal of repentance is not a changed life, it is believing the Gospel. A changed life is the Holy Spirit's doing, not man's. The reason why our churches are filled with immoral people is because pastors are no longer preachers! And of course, there are many false conversions, because of the lies of Lordship Salvation, which is based upon a false understanding of what it means to repent. If you got saved by turning away from sinful living, you DIDN'T get saved and still hellbound in your sins!!! One of the best books I've read that defends “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2nd  Corinthians 11:3-4), which is the Gospel, is by Michael P. Bowen titled, “I NEVER KNEW YOU: THE GREAT WHITE THRONE OF JUDGMENT AND HOW TO AVOID IT!” Read the .pdf book here.

When we personally receive Christ's sacrifice upon the cross as full-payment for our sins, believing that He was buried and bodily raised up three days later, we are saved! Repentance is necessary for salvation, for without it no man would ever come to the Lord to be saved. But repentance is not ceasing from sinful bad habits, nor forsaking the world, nor promising to do better nor to reform in the future. Repentance is changing one's mind about our sins, and Christ, so that we'll see our self as a guilty sinner in the sight of a holy God, and thus, believe the Gospel to be saved. If repentance were to mean anything more than this, then salvation couldn't be a gift.
 

My Own Salvation Testimony at Age 13

My own salvation testimony helps me to understand repentance. I was 13 years old. I remember where I was sitting that Sunday morning in a Baptist church. All I remember that preacher saying is that if you don't have the Holy Spirit convicting you when you sin, you're not saved. I knew I wasn't saved. At invitation time, I was too shy to walk down an isle. So in my pew, standing there clutching the back of the pew in front of me, with a red face and a convicted heart that I was a lost sinner, I called out by faith in my heart and believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ. I was saved that moment. I hindsight, before that moment my mind is blank concerning the things of God. There is no knowledge or awareness of God prior to that moment that I was saved. Ah, but the precious presence of the Holy Spirit has been with me ever since that day, because He lives within me as a child of God (Romans 8:9; 1st Corinthians 3:16-17; 1st John 3:24).

Now, when I was saved, the word “repent” didn't even enter into the picture. I didn't know what the word meant. All I knew is that I was sinner and Jesus Christ had died on the cross for my sins, was buried, and resurrected from the dead. I placed my trust in the Gospel. From my heart, I cried out to the risen Christ to save me, and He did! Did I repent? Yes, of course, which I why I wanted to be saved. Corrupt preachers today are making much to do about repentance, and not enough about believing the Gospel. Let the Bible be your God. The New Testament mentions “believe” 241 times, but the word “repent” is only mentioned 60 times.

In hundreds of Scripture passages we are told simply to BELIEVE, without any mention of repenting. This is because in the act of believing, repentance takes care of itself. If you understand that you are a guilty sinner in the eyes of a holy God, and deserve to be punished for your sins, and have changed your mind toward sin, Christ and the Gospel, then repentance has done its work and has brought you to Christ to be saved (Galatians 3:24-26; Romans 10:3-4). To say that repentance of itself produces even the slightest change in a person's behavior is a false Gospel that robs Christ of the transforming power that only He can give (Galatians 2:20).

I recall when I was 7 years old, in a Sunday school class, that our teacher asked, “Who would like to be saved?” I raised my hand. She asked us to repeat a prayer after her. I said the prayer. She then said that we were saved and going to Heaven. I was still as lost as the Devil. I didn't believe in my heart. It's not that I didn't want to believe, I just didn't grasp what was required of me. She had wrongly presented how to be saved. No doubt her pastor had taught her to lead people in a “1-2-3 pray after me” routine. I really hate that “1-2-3 prayerism” routine myself. It confuses people from the true Gospel. Please don't misunderstand, I believe in easy-believism. You can be saved in an instant by simply admitting you're a sinner and believing the Gospel, which is how the 3,000 souls were saved in one day on the Day of Pentecost. But teaching people to pray a prayer to be saved often obscures the clarity of the Gospel. Do you know what “the Gospel” is? Please read the excellent book by Pastor Harry Ironside (1876-1951) titled, “What Is The Gospel?

“There is power in this Gospel message. Most people just don't know how to present it... The clarity of the Gospel is what makes it easy for them to believe” —Pastor Yankee Arnold, a quote from the excellent MP3 sermon titled, “WHY GRACE CAN SAVE THE WORST MAN!

It Helps to Know the Difference Between Metanoia and Metamellomai

The English language is not as intricate as the Koine Greek, just like in computer science C++ is not as intricate a language as binary (all 1's and 0's).

For example: There is only one English word, “Hell,” for three different Greek words: Hades, Gehenna and Tartarus. I humbly disagree with preachers who discourage Christian believers from studying the Greek meaning and usage behind English words in the King James Bible. The Greek is a big help in learning the Bible, but is not necessary. If you never looked up a single Greek word, you could still understand God's Word just fine. The Greek just helps to clarify things. For example: In Revelation 20:15 we are told that death and hell in the future will be cast into the Lake of Fire. This might confuse some readers, wondering how the Lake of Fire differs from hell. Obviously, they must be two separate and different places. You don't need the Greek to figure that out. Yet, in the Greek, we learn that death and Hades will be cast into Gehenna. This clarifies the matter.

Some preachers resent the Greek, because it can easily make people feel ostracized if they don't understand Greek. Also, the situation can easily be abused by some preachers, who elevate themselves as being smarter than other preachers, who don't study the Greek. I don't have a problem with preachers who shun the Greek. I've learned to let people be people. We must love each other, and not bite and devour one another. We're all different. But as for me, I like looking up Greek meanings of words in the Bible. Hence our topic at hand... REPENTANCE!

There is only one English word, “repent,” for two different Greek words: metanoia and metamellomai. The first word metanoia is used with salvation and simply means “a change of mind.” Repentance is not a meritorious work in any sense. When we turn to Christ by faith, we have of necessity also turned away from the former direction. Repentance is the other side of the coin of faith, inseparable from it. The second word metamellomai means “to care afterward, that is, regret.” This latter meaning is used in Matthew 27:3, where we are told that Judas Iscariot repented after betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Judas felt sorry for his sins, even trying to amend his ways by returning the silver coins, but they were refused because it was blood money (like the blood money made in the booze, divorce, prison, Child Protection Service, and abortion industries today). Judas repented (i.e., turned away from his sins), but still went to Hell without Christ. You don't get saved by repenting, you get saved by putting your faith in Jesus Christ!

As you can see for yourself, there are different meanings for “repent” in the New Testament. Concerning salvation, our only concern is to BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST (Acts 16:30-31; John 20:31). The person who believes has also repented, because without repentance no man would ever believe.
 

Dr. Harry Ironside is 100% Correct on Repentance for Salvation

Dr. Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951) DIDN'T teach Lordship Salvation, he simply taught that Biblical repentance was necessary for salvation. This is correct. That's what I also believe, Dr. Ironside states:

Harry A. Ironside"Repentance is the very opposite of meritorious experience. It is the confession that one is utterly without merit, and if he is ever saved at all it can only be through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, 'who gave himself a ransom for all.' Here is firm footing for the soul who realizes that all self-effort is but sinking sand. Christ alone is the Rock of our salvation."

SOURCE: Harry A. Ironside; Except Ye Repent, pg. 36

Clearly, Ironside taught a Free Grace view of the Gospel. Consider further the following quotes by Dr. Ironside:

“The Gospel is not a call to repentance, or to amendment of our ways, to make restitution for past sins, or to promise to do better in the future. These things are proper in their place, but they do not constitute the Gospel; for the Gospel is not good advice to be obeyed, it is good news to be believed. Do not make the mistake then of thinking that the Gospel is a call to duty or a call to reformation, a call to better your condition, to behave yourself in a more perfect way than you have been doing in the past …

Nor is the Gospel a demand that you give up the world, that you give up your sins, that you break off bad habits, and try to cultivate good ones. You may do all these things, and yet never believe the Gospel and consequently never be saved at all.”

SOURCE: Harry A. Ironside, from the sermon: What Is The Gospel?

Read what Dr. Ironside said in his Gospel tract, ANOTHER GOSPEL? ...

"When anyone comes promising salvation to those ‘who make full surrender' of all that they have to God, and who 'pay the price of full salvation' he is preaching another gospel, for the price was paid on Calvary's cross and the work that saves is finished. It was Christ Jesus who made the full surrender when He yielded His life on Calvary that saves us, not our surrender in any way to Him."

SOURCE: Harry A. Ironside, from the Gospel tract, Another Gospel.

May I quote the words of H.A. Ironside once again...

"Repentance is the very opposite of meritorious experience. It is the confession that one is utterly without merit, and if he is ever saved at all it can only be through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, 'who gave himself a ransom for all.' Here is firm footing for the soul who realizes that all self-effort is but sinking sand. Christ alone is the Rock of our salvation."

SOURCE: Harry A. Ironside; Except Ye Repent, pg. 36)

Clearly, Ironside taught a Free Grace view of the Gospel. Dr. Ironside correctly recognized repentance as the confession that "one is utterly without merit" and that if one is "ever saved at all it can only be through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ." Salvation is without works of self-righteousness. Romans 4:5 plainly teaches that a man's faith is COUNTED for righteousness, i.e., the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to one's heavenly record by faith. 

"Repentance is the recognition of my sinnership—the owning before God that I am as vile as He has declared me to be in His holy Word."

SOURCE: Except Ye Repent, by Dr. Harry Ironside, chapter 3


John 8:32 and36, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free ...
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

Jesus Came to Save Sinners | You Need HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!