Repentance Doesn't Mean Turning from Sins to Be Saved

by David J. Stewart | July 2016

Romans 4:5-6, “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.”

       Kindly, heresy is creeping into our independent Baptist churches by the hour. I was looking at different churches in North Carolina tonight, and noticed that many of them are wrong on the Gospel. For example: Here is the statement of faith by a Baptist church in Cary, North Carolina...

“We believe that there is salvation only in Jesus Christ. He is God come to earth in human flesh for the purpose of redeeming a lost world. We believe in His virgin birth, victorious life, vicarious death, victorious resurrection, and visible return. All who are willing to turn from their sin and place their faith in Christ alone will be saved.” [emphasis added]

SOURCE: First Baptist Church, Cary, North Carolina - What We Believe

Where does the Bible teach that we must turn from our sin to be saved? It doesn't! Being willing to turn from sin is a human work. If you must cease from living in deliberate sin to be saved, then reformation is required to receive the free gift of God. Think about that! This is a really important subject. It does matter what we believe. If you can show me where the Word of God tells us to turn from sins to be saved, then I cannot argue with you, but you cannot! I hear preachers misquoting Pastor Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), twisting his words out of context in a lame attempt to bolster up their straw man heresy of turning from sins to be saved (aka, “Lordship Salvation”). Since false prophets cannot support their heresy with the Scriptures, they have no choice but to try to use manmade authority to support their false teachings.

The Biblical Gospel is that we are all hell-deserving, guilty, sinners, for violating God's commandments. The Good News (or Gospel) is that God loved the world so much, that He sent His only begotten Son into the world to pay for our sins. Jesus Christ died for our sins on the cross. He was buried. He bodily resurrected three days later. Anyone who repents (i.e., changes their mind toward God by admitting that they have sinned against a holy God) and believes the Gospel is saved. It's that simple! Anyone who receives Christ's sacrifice on the cross as full-payment for their sins, and believes that Jesus raised up 72 hours later from the dead, is saved. This has nothing to do with turning away from one's sins. To be saved you simply need to realize that you are a sinner in God's eyes. Repentance is the admission that I am as guilty a sinner as God hath declared me to be in His Holy Word.

Proof of what I am teaching are the Scriptures themselves. Consider the following plain passages of Scriptures, which simply tell us to BELIEVE to be saved. Carefully notice that there is no mention about repenting from sinful ways, reforming or behavior modification...

John 3:16, “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 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”

John 6:40, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 11:25, “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

Romans 4:5-6, “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.”

Romans 10:3-4, “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”

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?

Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”

1st Thessalonians 4:14, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”

It is wrong to base a doctrine on one or two Bible verses. To correctly interpret the Words of God, we take into account the whole counsel of God. Romans 4:5-6 plainly teach us that a man's FAITH IS COUNTED (IMPUTED) FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Clearly, this means no self-righteousness is required to be saved. If a person must depart from sinful activities to be saved, then that is human effort (works) required to receive the gift of God.

You Don't Have to “Be Willing to Turn from Your Sins” to Be Saved

Many preachers are confused on repentance and salvation. A person is going down the Devil's path of sin and hellbound in unbelief, but then they hear the Gospel and come to their senses and repent (change their mind) toward God, placing their faith in Jesus Christ to be saved and forgiven. That is how salvation is supposed to happen. But many preachers have fallen for the Devil's lie that a person must turn away from committing intentional sins, and forsake the love of the world, to be saved. This is another Gospel. This is reformation, not regeneration. This is giving, not receiving. Salvation is a take proposition, not a give proposition.

Even the satanic Jehovah's Witness cult teach that eternal life is a free gift received by faith in Jesus Christ, but water baptism and “changing one's course of life.” That is exactly what Lordship Salvationists teach, that is, you must change the course of your life to be saved (which they errantly understand to mean repentance). Biblical repentance does NOT mean to change the course (or direction) of your life. It means to change your mind toward God, Gospel and your sins. Whereas you used to defend your sins, now you admit they are wrong. Now you see yourself as a guilty sinner in the eyes of a holy God for breaking His commandments. Romans 3:19-20, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Carefully notice that the purpose of God's Law is to bring “the knowledge of sin,” convincing all men of their condition in God's sight as GUILTY SINNERS!!!

Repentance to the Acknowledgment of the Truth

I love the next passage of Scripture, because it sheds light on what repentance is. 2nd Timothy 2:25, “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” Notice that the Bible says repentance is acknowledging THE TRUTH. What truth? The truth that you are a guilty sinner! The truth that Jesus died on the cross for your sins. The truth that He was buried, officiating His death. The truth that Jesus bodily resurrected 72 hours later from the dead. You can verify these truths in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 (Note: all Scriptures are quoted only from the reliable King James Bible). If you BELIEVE these truths, gladly receiving Christ's sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins, as your only hope for Heaven, you are saved! The moment that you believe the Gospel, God's Holy Spirit comes inside your body to live. You are now a member of God's heavenly family. You have been born-again, born anew by the Spirit of God above.

Notice again that 2nd Timothy 2:25 above doesn't mention anything about turning away from sins to be saved. Such teachings are entirely manmade false doctrine. Many preachers get confused when they think too much. They wonder how a person can claim to believe in Christ, and yet choose to continue living in sin, so they change (pervert) the Gospel to fit their flawed understanding. The truth is that when a person comes to Christ and is saved, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell that believer's body. Since the Spirit of God is holy, there is a new voice (God Himself) convicting that believer about his sins. Since God is love, the indwelling Holy Spirit teaches us to love one another, and not to hate each other as the carnal flesh, world and Satan does. The Holy Spirit guides, comforts and teaches us through the inspired Words of God. This is why I make a big fuss over the King James Bible, which is God's Word. The new watered-down revisions lack God's authoritativeness. They lack doctrinal integrity. They lack the respect, honor and uplifting of the deity of Jesus Christ as is found in the King James Bible.

The term “Godhead” has been completely removed from the new Bible revisions, effectively eliminating the triune nature of God (the Trinity) from the Scriptures. Case in point, when's the last time you heard any preacher teaching about the Godhead? You haven't, unless you've been listening to a King James Bible preacher (and that's the only real, legitimate and effective type of preacher for God). Pastor Joel Osteen is nothing but a motivational speaker, highly sought after by the corporations to motivate their salesman. That's not a man of God, nor a Biblical preacher! What a disgrace to the clergy!

There is nothing in this world as precious, comforting, exhilarating, valuable and comparable to being a born-again child of God. Truly, anything else makes a person a real loser in life. How can anyone be considered a “winner” who is going to burn in Hell forever? David Bowie (real name: David Jones) couldn't take a single penny of his $230 million with him into the grave. Where is he now? I'll tell you by the Buddhist funeral he asked for... burning in the fires of Hell. I say that kindly and sadly, but truthfully according to the Bible. Prince (real name: Prince Nelson) died and left behind $300 million. Not one penny can buy him out of the fires, loneliness and torments of Hell beneath. If you don't get born-again, you cannot enter into the Kingdom of God (John 3:3). You will go to Hell forever to suffer God's vengeance in flames of fire (2nd Thessalonians 1:8-9; Revelation 20:12-15).

Eternal Life and Forgiveness of Sins are a Free Gift, That You Simply Take

The First Baptist Church of Cary, North Carolina, are teaching another Gospel. Again, I triple-dog dare you to show me even one Bible verse that requires a person to be willing to turn away from their sins to be saved. That is nothing to do with freely receiving the free gift of God by faith alone in the Gospel. If I buy you a Christmas gift and hand it to you, all you have to do is TAKE IT! Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

If you have to be willing to stop doing bad things to receive my Christmas gift... is it really a gift? Of course not! How could it be? Likewise, when false prophets like Cartoonist Jack Chick, Evangelist Paul Washer, Pastor John MacArthur, and other reprobates concerning the Gospel, require people to turn from their sins to be saved, they are adding keeping the law (works) to the free gift of God. The Devil is such a smooth operator, a slick liar, a master thief and a crafty con-man. Have you also been deceived?

Did you know that you don't have to “ask” Jesus to forgive your sins? That is correct! The reason why is because Jesus has already paid for our sins with His precious blood on the cross. Jesus paid a debt He did not owe, because we owed a debt we could not pay. The Bible never tells us to ask Jesus to forgive us; but rather, we are told to simply “BELIEVE.” 1st Corinthians 1:21, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” We don't hear enough preaching and teaching today about the GIFT OF GOD!!! Jesus has already paid our sin-debt in full with His shed blood, sprinkled on the heavenly Mercy Seat (Hebrews 9:12, 24; 12:24). 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.”

When you tell a lost sinner that God expects them to “be willing to turn from their sins” to obtain the gift of eternal life and forgiveness of sins, you are lying to them! You are making self-improved a prerequisite to receive what the Lord has already paid for on the cross IN FULL! What right do you have to require more than the price Christ has already paid? The price of our redemption was Jesus blood. The place where that blood needed to be applied is the Mercy Seat in the heavenly Tabernacle. Please don't ADD to the finished work of Christ. Whether a person is willing to depart from their sinful ways has absolutely nothing to do with receiving the free gift of God, which has already been paid for in full by the blood of Jesus. This is what Pastor Charles Spurgeon also taught! Please don't let the Devil and his ministers deceive you. Eternal life is a free gift! A “gift” simply can be received. You don't have to be willing to do anything to receive a gift, otherwise it cannot truly be a legitimate gift. You simply take it!

The gift of eternal life and forgiveness of sins is received simply by BELIEVING that Christ died on the cross for your sins, and He was buried, and three days later Jesus bodily resurrected from the dead for your justification as your High priest (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 4:13-15). This is THE GOSPEL, by which we are saved if we believe. Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Again, there is no mention of turning away from sins, nor of being willing to turn away from sins; but rather, to simply BELIEVE! This is not to say that repentance is not necessary for salvation, because it is. If you didn't repent, you'd never believe. But repentance (as we learned in 2nd Timothy 2:25) is a change of mind toward God, acknowledging the truth of our sinnership and the Gospel, by which those who believe are saved. Hence, the man who believes has repented. And the man who repents has believed.

Evangelist John R. Rice Taught to Simply Believe to Be Saved

This is exactly what Dr. John R. Rice taught, which is where I learned this truth. Dr. Rice states in his excellent book, Dr. Rice... Here is My Question...

“When you get saved, you get saved not because you deserve it, but because you simply let God save you and because you confess your own poor sinful state and your inability to save yourself.”

SOURCE: Dr. Rice... Here is My Question, by Dr. John R. Rice, pg. 304; 1962, Sword of the Lord Publishers; ISBN: 0-87398-158-8

I couldn't agree more. This is what the Bible teaches. Dr. Rice also states in his Gospel tract, What Must I Do To Be Saved...

“The change in your heart, sinner, is God's part and you may be sure He will attend to that. Your part is to simply believe in Him. Whatever else is necessary in your eternal salvation, the Lord attends to when you trust in Him, or believe in Him.” [emphasis added]

SOURCE: What Must I DO To Be Saved, by Dr. John R. Rice

Amen! Dr. Rice is correct. Who are we to judge whether or not a person is sincere. There's a self-righteous group today in our churches, who demand a changed-life as a prerequisite for salvation. This is unbiblical, a heresy, and a perversion of the simple Gospel of Christ Jesus. The thing to do is to take for granted that people are saved when they simply trust Jesus Christ for salvation.

Someone recently told me that they stood in their Baptist church to testify, rejoicing over winning a co-worker to the Lord that previous week. The shameful pastor discouraged her by saying, “We really don't know if that person was saved or not. We'll have to watch their life and see.” My friend, that is a stupid pastor! That is a really bad pastor and he ought to be fired!!! I wouldn't spend another minute in any church where the pastor conditions a person's profession of faith in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ on their performance (works). That pastor has issues, and may need to get saved himself. Heresy is creeping into our churches by the hour.

Whatever happened to “the gift of God,” which “is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Anyone who says that eternal life is a “gift,” but changing the course of your life (or being willing to turn from your sins) is necessary, is a Gospel pervert!!! ARE YOU A GOSPEL PERVERT?

Here is the best quote that I've found on repentance, by Dr. Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951):

“Which comes first, repentance or faith? In Scripture we read, 'Repent ye, and believe the gospel.' Yet we find true believers exhorted to 'repent, and do the first works.' So intimately are the two related that you cannot have one without the other. The man who believes God repents; the repentant soul puts his trust in the Lord when the Gospel is revealed to him. Theologians may wrangle over this, but the fact is, no man repents until the Holy Spirit produces repentance in his soul through the truth. No man believes the Gospel and rests in it for his own salvation until he has judged himself as a needy sinner before God. And this is repentance.” (Except Ye Repent, p. 16)

John 8:32 and 36, “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!