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Mike Ince
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I'm reexamining my faith to see if it's genuine. I have learned that faith without works is a counterfeit faith, that justification can only be bought with a legitimate faith and legitimate faith is evidenced by good works, i.e., deeds of faith done through loving action. Faith comes first, and good works flow naturally from those who have had a true conversion of repentance and faith. It seems this is what James was getting at in his scriptural letter to the early church, and may explain why I've lacked assurance for decades (never mind my OCD). Assurance, I'm told, is the privilege of those who are obedient to Christ (even if not perfectly) and I don't see a pattern of obedience when I look at my track record. Assurance is enjoyed by those whose present position is one of obedience and faith.

Obedience and faith?! The gospel I've heard in various places implies it doesn't matter how you live if you have faith and that to suggest otherwise is to follow a futile works-based righteousness. James might say to those preachers, "You believe Christ died for sinners? Good! But even demons believe that..."

I read this yesterday in an article by a guy named J.D. Greear:
"...You can express faith in a prayer, but it is possible to repent and believe without a formal prayer, and it is possible to pray a sinner’s prayer without repenting and believing.

...I read Martin Luther’s commentary on Romans. Luther points out that salvation comes by resting on the facts God revealed about the death of Christ. Just as Abraham was counted righteous when he believed that God would keep His promise, we are saved by believing that He has done so in Christ.

...The gospel is the declaration that Jesus is Lord and has made an end to our sins. We are saved by submitting to those two truths... A person in the midst of a backslide may be saved, but assurance is only the possession of those in a present posture of repentance and faith (Heb. 6:9–10)." (more here: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/s......-heart/)


It is the command to repent that I hear little about when I hear many share the gospel. When it is mentioned, it is downplayed. There are other ideas like the existence of the "carnal Christian" that I learned about through a parachurch ministry yet I haven't found in the Bible. How can a real Christian produce no fruit? And how important is it to talk about repentance when sharing the Gospel?


There are some popular ways of presenting the Gospel and I'm questioning whether presenting half of the Gospel is presenting the Gospel at all.

I don't know what kind of response to ask for here, but it's getting late and I apologize for rambling. This is where I am in my journey, gents. Waiting to consistently rest in the Gospel. Waiting for the peaceful assurance I've never consistently enjoyed. Ready to be an obedient Christian, to be a son in whom the Father delights. And ready to have peace when it comes to the performance of a kind of theater with common roots to sorcery. So much on the mind; thanks for your prayers and for sharing the burden.


"God caused the one who didn't know sin to be sin for our sake so that through him we could become the righteousness of God." 2 Cor. 5:21
The secret of deception is in making the truth seem ridiculous.
Craig Logan
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I was fruitless for a long time in my walk as a Christian. Was I still saved? The grief and misery that plagued me in the back of my mind would lead me to think so. But if a Christian has no outward evidence of their faith, they ought to examine their salvation. We must also realize that salvation not of our own doing.

Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Repentance is a dirty word in our culture, sometimes even in churches. It is not what saves us, but without it our faith will be choked out like the seed thrown among the vines.
"A wizard is not to be made in a day." -Professor Hoffmann (Modern Magic)
Terry Holley
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Here are two "tracts" that were helpful to me in regard to this discussion.

http://faithalone.org/tracts/faith.html

http://faithalone.org/tracts/ycbs.html

In regard to 'repentance", it is interesting to note that the gospel of John, whose purpose is evangelism (John 20:31), never once mentions repentance!

Terry
Co-author with illusionist Andre' Kole of "Astrology and Psychic Phenomena."
Stephon Johnson
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Mike, you are right to examine your faith as James exhorts us to do! Might I encourage you by pointing out that your concern and humility to do so, in itself, is a great indicator that you are regenerated and being led by God's Holy Spirit! God's lifelong process of sanctification after we are Justified by His saving Grace, will always have us taking a closer look at what is lacking in our faith, habits, speech, thoughts and whatever else He convicts us of. But you know when it is God's conviction and not Satan's condemnation, because genuine conviction "draws" you closer to God; whereas condemnation pushes you away!
You are also right that we should not be presenting only half or part of the Gospel. As a friend once told me: "It's only 'good news' if you first know the 'bad news'!" If we do not talk about sin, hell, judgement, and repentance...then we aren't giving the full gospel!
Terry: The main purpose of John's Gospel was to show the Deity of Christ. John also penned the book of Revelation, which speaks the word "repent" 6 times in the first 3 chapters, and 10 times total in the whole of Revelation (NKJV).
Repentance is certainly a "component" of salvation by Grace alone through faith alone to the glory of God alone. Even our repentance is given by God. Plus, we cannot pick our doctrine from silence in a single book. As with everything, you must take scripture in context as a whole, doctrine based on one verse cannot contradict other verses on the same matter. And scripture as a whole, commands us to REPENT! It is right response: death to life, sinfulness to holiness, blindness to sight! The transformation of salvation elicits a change in mind, in desire, in direction.
And finally, Mike, I will be praying for you in your journey, Brother!
WHAT IF you wake up tomorrow with ONLY the things that you THANK GOD for today?
Terry Holley
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I think we need to step back and define what "repent" means. I'm interested in the definition from those who say that it is a necessary step or "component" for/of salvation.

For me, assurance of salvation comes from what Christ has done for me, not what I do for Him. I trust in His work for me, not in my work for Him. There are times I feel like the Apostle Paul and what he wrote in Romans 7:14-20 regarding knowing what is good but not always doing what is good. I'm thankful that I can agree with Paul as he sums up the dilemma in verses 24-25: "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

To me, the purpose of John's gospel was what he stated in John 20:31 - "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

In regard to the book of Revelation, it is my view that it was written to believers in Jesus Christ, not a mixture of believers and non-believers. So yes, "repent" is used in the letters to the churches in Revelation 1-3, but it is not a call to eternal salvation. It is a call to a change of thinking and action.

I personally believe that too many Christians have been listening to Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron when it comes to the doctrine of salvation.
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Stephon Johnson
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From Ligonier.org:
Both Matthew and Mark record that Jesus’ first sermons were a summons to repentance. The Greek word for repentance is metanoia, which comes from two Greek words, meta and nous. Meta means “after” or “beyond,” and nous means mind. Literally, a metanoia is an afterthought or a second thought. The Greeks used it especially for times when a person had second thoughts about something, regretting that it was too late to make any changes.The true background for New Testament terms, however, is always in the Old Testament. Repentance in the Old Testament was certainly a “second thought” or afterthought, because all men are born in sin and their first thoughts are evil. In the Old Testament, however, repentance goes beyond merely changing your mind. The Bible links mind and life far more closely than did the Greeks. The biblical concept of repentance means not just changing your mind but also changing your life and emotions. Thus, in the Old Testament, repentance frequently involved emotional turmoil, though it was far more than mere emotionalism.Repentance means a change of mind-set. It means a change of your fundamental attitudes and outlooks on life. In Hebrew terms, it means changing the desires of your heart, consequently changing the orientation of your whole life.When Jesus spoke of repentance in connection with the coming of God’s kingdom, He was not referring to superficial change. He was not talking about breaking off from some particular sin and reforming your life, though, of course, that is included. Rather, He was calling for a total change of orientation. The coming of the new covenant means that the old way of life—the way of death under the Adamic curse—is to be renounced. The kingdom of life and resurrection has arrived, and men and women are to press their way into it.The story of the Prodigal Son shows the meaning of true repentance. When the prodigal returned to his father, he did not say, “I’m sorry I did wrong, but there were the following extenuating circumstances.…” No, he fully confessed his own iniquity, and asked to be readmitted to the household on the father’s terms.
WHAT IF you wake up tomorrow with ONLY the things that you THANK GOD for today?
robvh
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Mike, I think it's great that you're asking these questions.

It's an ear-tickling message that we are not asked to repent, bear fruit, engage in works, or change our ways; or that a simple declaration of faith is a lock on salvation no matter what we do after that. However, any reading of the New Testament will yield many passages that contradict that idea.

Here's a little something to remember (and to serve as a reminder to keep learning and digging):

Sometimes the biggest lies are not lies of commission but of omission.
Terry Holley
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I'm not familiar with the verse that states, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him, repents, bears fruit, engages in works, and changes their ways shall not perish but have eternal life."
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Craig Logan
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Repentance does not bring salvation, but we are called to repentance. We are saved by the blood of Christ alone, but if there is no evidence of repentance, we are misunderstanding WHY we are saved.

To the OP, I think it is important to stress two things;

1. Christ alone offers salvation. We cannot earn it.
2. We are asked and expected to bear fruit. This comes from devotion to God and repentance from sin.
"A wizard is not to be made in a day." -Professor Hoffmann (Modern Magic)
Russo
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Repent = repent = repent = ???? Just say I"M SORRY AND WONT DO IT AGAIN" AND REALLY MEAN IT-- ( and know at least you'll try not to do it again - we are human, not Angels)-REPENT SOUND SO HEAVY - and Satan will keep jabbing you. Though, see 1st Cor. 10:13 (:->)
Stephon Johnson
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John 3:16 quoted by Terry above hinges on whoever "believes" is saved. We have a lesser view of this word in modern English language. The Greek word "pisteuo" means more than "yes, I believe in Jesus" as we hear so many say today. It means "to place your trust in" Jesus, that being the Christ who came in flesh, suffered, was buried, and rose again, is able to save - and bearing fruit that shows you believe.
To illustrate: I watch a man successfully cross a canyon on a tight rope pushing a wheel barrow, and he asks me "do you believe I can do it again?" And I enthusiastically applaud and say "Yes I do!" He then asks that I ride in the wheel barrow on the return crossing, to which I say "no way!" Then I have given lip service, believing in word, but not in deed. I have not "put my trust" in him.
Once God has quickened our heart to realize so great a gift given to so great a sinning wretch as we are; we cannot help but fall on our faces in repentance! It isn't something we DO to get salvation or make it effectual. It is a natural response to the realization of who God is and who we are in the light of His Holiness!
And connecting this to the OP: We are right to be ever mindful of our sin, and of His righteousness, and to examine ourselves in the light of His word. And a gospel presented without stating that repentance should happen, creates false Christians who say "sure, I believe" and then rise each day to live fruitless, wicked lives, never bowing the knee to God as a result of their so called "profession of faith".
Blessings! This is great discussion!
WHAT IF you wake up tomorrow with ONLY the things that you THANK GOD for today?
robvh
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Quote:
On Mar 20, 2014, Terry Holley wrote:
I'm not familiar with the verse that states, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him, repents, bears fruit, engages in works, and changes their ways shall not perish but have eternal life."


That was the point, wasn't it, Terry? That you don't get the whole truth by looking at only a single verse or a mere handful of verses. You have to consider the New Testament as a whole to see what Jesus requires of us. If you do that, then what you wrote above in quotation marks actually provides a more complete picture.

Of course, it would be silly to expect Jesus or the Apostles, every time they mention faith, to repeat again the qualities of faith and the difference between a living faith that saves and a faith without works which is dead. Jesus' parables about the pruning of branches and about the people locked out of the wedding feast teach us very clearly that simply proclaiming "Lord, Lord" is not enough. There must be works and not ONLY works but God's work for us.

God bless,
Rob
Terry Holley
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Quote:
On Mar 20, 2014, robvh wrote:
Quote:
On Mar 20, 2014, Terry Holley wrote:
I'm not familiar with the verse that states, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him, repents, bears fruit, engages in works, and changes their ways shall not perish but have eternal life."


That was the point, wasn't it, Terry? That you don't get the whole truth by looking at only a single verse or a mere handful of verses. You have to consider the New Testament as a whole to see what Jesus requires of us. If you do that, then what you wrote above in quotation marks actually provides a more complete picture.

Of course, it would be silly to expect Jesus or the Apostles, every time they mention faith, to repeat again the qualities of faith and the difference between a living faith that saves and a faith without works which is dead. Jesus' parables about the pruning of branches and about the people locked out of the wedding feast teach us very clearly that simply proclaiming "Lord, Lord" is not enough. There must be works and not ONLY works but God's work for us.

God bless,
Rob


Not familiar with see this one either:

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — AND by works...."

Just sayin'.
Co-author with illusionist Andre' Kole of "Astrology and Psychic Phenomena."
robvh
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Terry,

You're "just sayin'"... but apparently not reading and considering. Please try, because you continue to take single verses and treat them as though they're the entire message. My whole point is that individual verses taken out of the context of the NT fail to give a complete picture. It omits crucial elements and results in bad, even dangerous theology.

It is indeed by grace through faith that we are saved. There's nothing we can do to earn the gift of eternal life. However, the Bible warns that faith without works is dead! Jesus warns us that the branches which don't bear fruit will be cut off and burned. He tells us the story of the wedding guests who get shut out from the feast. The Apostles talk about running the race and "working out your salvation".

We are encouraged to study all of scripture. We don't base out entire faith on one verse or just a small handful of verses. That's dangerous. Yes, reading the entire NT means encountering verses that challenge us and make demands of us. That's why many people don't do it. But they should ask themselves an important question. Is there faith rooted in Jesus or in themselves?

God bless,
Rob
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It's true you cannot be saved without repentence. That's another point in James where it shows the DEVILS believe and tremble (which is more than can be said about some Christians!). Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron have it spot on in this regard. Consider the following:

Acts 3:18-19 - But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

Repentence isn't a works-based salvation. Repent means literally to change one's mind - you are agreeing with God about your sin that it's against his holiness. We sometimes try to overthink things - for instance, "praying" could be called a work, so if you pray to God to save you then you cannot be saved because it's of faith AND "of works." Well that's a ridiculous idea. You are talking to GOD for goodness sakes! While "belief" is all that's necessary - you must know in WHOM you are believing - and that's Christ: Messiah. You cannot come to Christ without repentence - an attitude of the heart, not a work.

It would be impossible to formulate a theology of salvation apart from repentence unless you also reject the completeness and full authority of Scriptures.

Hope this helps!
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Terry Holley
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It is my understanding that there are basically three views of repentance and its relationship to salvation:

1) To repent means to turn from one's sin, and therefore a step in procuring salvation.

2) To repent means to change one's mind about Jesus Christ - synonymous with believing.

3) To repent means to turn from one's sins, but it is not a condition of eternal salvation.

In order to continue this discussion in a positive and worthwhile way, it seems to me that it important for each individual who contributes to weigh in on which of the three positons they side with (or perhaps you have another position to add).

Any one want to go first?

Terry
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Stephon Johnson
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I have already been Crystal clear on how scripture presents REPENTANCE. How I view it myself, or my opinion, is irrelevant. I hold to what the WHOLE of what God's word has to say about it. As with ALL other issues of theology & doctrine, whether I personally feel comfortable with it or not; I submit to the Word of God, and align my view to match!
To hold to traditions, or my feelings on the issue, is to say that I know better than God!
Scripture is clear that we ARE to repent, and I bow the knee, and say "You Lord are the Creator, and I am the creation!" I will do as The Lord commands!
All I know is that IF you are God's elect, and He calls you and saves you and gives you a heart of flesh instead of a heart of stone...YOU WILL REPENT of your sin! How can you not? That's all I can say on this issue. God's Blessings to everyone!
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Matt Adams
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It seems all of us agree on this except for Terry.

I will say this though - I think it's a matter of the heart. God isn't looking for us to have all the correct boxes checked. Not ANY of us had a perfect salvation doctrine in place when we were saved! But if one truly "believes on Jesus" then they will repent of their sin, believe he is Lord of their life, get baptized, and all the other things that Christians do. God knows the moment of salvation and knows their heart - each of these things are spiritual truths that He reveals. When a person is truly being drawn of the Spirit, he just needs to continue to surrender his own will to the Spirit's.

I'm glad God has it sorted.
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Stephon Johnson
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AMEN Matt! And to give Terry the brotherly benefit of the doubt here, I don't see him denying any of the essentials that we all hold true. He is just very sensitive to anything being a "work" that "procures" salvation. On that much we also agree, we do not work for our salvation or receive it as wages for a life well lived!
I am of the Reformed faith, a Calvinist, and Amillennial eschatology. I know without even checking, that I differ radically with others on here on issues of doctrine. But I will only take up the cause of an essential doctrine - of which I regard Repentance to be important.
"In the essentials Unity, in non-essentials Liberty, and in all things Charity". We should be careful to speak the truth in love always. I thank Terry for his contribution to this, along with all others. And if Terry and I were face to face I'd shake his hand and buy him his favorite beverage!
Grace, and Blessings!
Stephon
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Vlad_77
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Quote:
On Mar 19, 2014, Terry Holley wrote:
Here are two "tracts" that were helpful to me in regard to this discussion.

http://faithalone.org/tracts/faith.html

http://faithalone.org/tracts/ycbs.html

In regard to 'repentance", it is interesting to note that the gospel of John, whose purpose is evangelism (John 20:31), never once mentions repentance!

Terry


Terry,

You fail however to recognize that St. John repeatedly mentions repentance in the Book of Revelation. Additionally, just because St. John did not use the word repentance in his Gospel does not invalidate the Gospels of Sts. Matthew, Mark, and Luke, nor the Epistles of St. Paul, nor Acts, nor the Book of St. Peter which focus heavily on repentance. There is no "privileging" of Gospels Terry. The synoptic Gospels are not "lesser" than the Gospel of St. John. Also, please bear in mind that St. Paul's Epistles were written not to individual people, but to the churches in Rome, Corinth, Thessalonika, etc., who were struggling against heretical ideas. Did you know Terry that the very divinity of Christ Himself was even debated? Arius, who baptized the Roman emperor Constantine denied the divinity - the Godhood of Christ! Arianism survives or more accurately was resurrected and is a cornerstone of the Jehovah's Witness sect. They do NOT believe that Jesus IS God. Rather, they believe He was CREATED (caps for emphasis). The Mormons hold a similar doctrine. Yet, Christ Himself used the self-referential "I am" - the same that God the Father used in the Old Testament. Christ said, "Before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58). And since my brother you are well versed in St. John's Gospel, read the opening of the Gospel and what St. John meant by The Word.

Your arguments stem from a relatively recent movement largely rejected by mainline Protestantism called "lordship salvation." It surfaced at the Dallas Theological Seminary in the 1970s and flies in the face of the following:

2 Chronicles 32:25
Matthew 3:8
Matthew 4:17
Matthew 21:32
Mark 1:4
Luke 3:3
Luke 17:3
Luke 17:4
Acts 2:38
Acts 3:19
Acts 17:30 (a COMMAND to repentance)
Acts 20:21
Romans 2:4
2 Corinthians 7:9
2 Corinthians 7:10
2 Peter 3:9
Revelation 2:5 (HUGE, and written by St. John).
Revelation 3:3

Lordship salvation rejects the very Scripture it purports to defend. Worse still, to ignore or take away anything from the Book of Revelation is perilous. It is the only book in the Holy Bible which ends with such a threat: "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" (Revelation 22:19).

Yours humbly in Christ,
Vlad
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