Except Ye Repent
by Cooper Abrams
Introduction: Repentance has an important part in our salvation, and in our lives after a person is saved.
2. So what we are seeing is two truths. Clearly, Jesus said one must repent and other verses say we are to believe.
3. Thus, we have two statements on the same subject which is salvation.
4. We must apply the truth found in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
6. Salvation is without question received by faith as Ephesians 2:8-9 state: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) How salvation is received is not the question. The question is what part does repentance have in salvation.
C. Paul taught Repentance and Belief.
2. Many individuals and churches practice a type of soul-winning referred to as "easy believism" They will use the Road to Salvation" afterwards asking the person to pray a simple prayer and subsequently tell them they are saved. I too use the Roman's Road at times, but with an importance addition. That addition is Acts 20:20. It teaches repentance and faith.
3. There is often no repentance in the Romans Road as most people use it. It has the effect of telling people that all you have to do is accept the historical Jesus Christ, pray a short prayer and be saved. However, realizing and accepting the fact that one is a sinner and need God's forgiveness is the first step toward salvation.
4. In accepting Jesus Christ, you must realize you are a sinner, and you do not deserve heaven being lost in our trespasses and sin. "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. . ." (Eph. 2:1). A person who does not believe God and accept this that will not be saved. If one thinks, he is good enough or has not committed enough sins to keep him out of heaven, he will never accept Jesus Christ and forgiveness because he does not believe he needs too.
Even the word "saved" means saved from something. The Gospel says that Christ died for our sins. Being saved means being saved from one's sin. It means being forgiven of our sins. The Gospel says we are sinners and are guilty before God. However, Jesus died on the cross to pay the debt of sin we owe and cannot pay. One cannot be saved a part of accepting that he is a sinner and under the condemnation of their sin. Therefore believing the Gospel involves repentance, which is accepting by faith, meaning believing God's word that we are sinners and that Jesus Christ offers us redemption by His grace and mercy if we will by faith accept it.
5. However, in true salvation, the person hears the Gospel and by faith accepts it will accept will understand that he is lost in his sins and needs a Savior because he cannot save himself. The person that is truly saved responds to the Gospel and will by faith put his trust in Jesus Christ to save and forgive him and in doing, so he will repent of his sins.
E. The key to understanding the matter is to comprehend what the word "repentance" means. The most common definition of repentance is that when one repents they stop and go in the opposite way. In other words, they turn around. It is a lot more than simply being sorry for doing wrong thing. It is going in a completely different direction.
The word literally means "to perceive afterwards" which as Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words explains. That means one who repents understands or "perceive" that he is a sinner, and they realize they are living their lives apart from God who created them. Whereas the person realizes the way, they earlier thought was wrong, and now they see the truth. They have "perceived again". They understand that Jesus Christ came to earth, God incarnate in man, to go to the cross and there to pay for their sins. They believe the Gospel as Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.
God says salvation is received by faith alone, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) The spiritual birth is God's act of changing the heart when a person believes, which then changes how they see things. When one repents they perceive or understand that the way they lived their lives was wrong. Now, knowing their past actions were wrong they stop doing those things and go in a new direction. That brand new direction for the Christian is to obey the Lord Jesus Christ. We then follow God, by following His word the Bible. In turn repentance means having a change of heart and action. This truth is expressed in 2 Corinthians 5:17 quoted above.
The one who truly believes in Jesus Christ and is saved becomes a brand new creature or creation of the Lord. God makes us a new person, by giving us a new nature; that is the nature of God, which enables us to live righteous lives.
1. Too many today are the converts of individuals, TV evangelists, churches, and denominations, but are not the converts to Christ. The sad state of unrighteousness (righteousness means doing right) in the lives of many "professing" church members attest to this fact of modern Christianity. Many who profess to be Christians have not repented, meaning they do not perceive that the way they lived their past life a part from God was wrong. Many are told all they need to do is to say a prayer, and they will be saved. The evidence they have not been truly saved is they do not live godly lives, and obeying God's word. They have not repented of their sins. They are going in the same direction as before. They have not apparently understood or accepted that living in sin is wrong.
Note what Jesus prayed for believers just before He was to be crucified. In John 17 Jesus prayed:
In talking with a person who claimed to be a Christian I ask him. What do you do that identifies you as a Christian to others? Do you go to church? Answer, NO. Do you give thanksgiving offerings and tithes to the Lord work? Do you read your Bible? Do you attempt to witness and win others to Christ? All questions were answered in the negative.
Is it proper for you to make a cola soft drink and call it a Pepsi? What about if you opened a fast food restaurant and called your burger's "Big Macs?" No individual has the right to use a title or trade mark, unless he uses it legitimately. If I buy a Pepsi plant, buy the Pepsi franchise, use the Pepsi formula, and pay the royalties I can call my soft drink a Pepsi. Why, because that is what it is. It legitimately is, in content, is a actual Pepsi. It can be tested and proven to be a real Pepsi.
I suggest that many who use the name Christian, fail every test that determines what a real Christian is. When I was in Vietnam, I could buy a Rolex watch for $50.00! It looked like one and had the name on it. The problem is that a genuine Rolex watches sell for thousand of dollars and although these claimed to be Rolex watches...they were, in fact, fakes. If you tested the watch, it proved to not to be genuine.
The fact is Rolex did not make the watches. I suggest that men or churches make many converts and they are not made by God.
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." (Rev. 12:9)
2. Sometimes people deceive themselves;
Titus 3:3 "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. "(Titus 3:3)
"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. " (Eph. 4:14 )
4. A Christians attitude about sin is different than the world's. A true Christian understands that the sin he commits today, Christ had to suffer for 2000 years ago on the cross. In is as 1 Corinthians 11:28-31 true believers are "discerning f the Lord's body." They examine their lives and confess their sins in repentance.
2. The popular idea today is continued in sin, live like you want, no change of heart, no change of mind, no conviction, yet I'm OK, why? I believe there is a Jesus. Think about the message of the TV evangelists and many churches today. It is to emphasize that God wants you healthy and wealthy. The only sin they mention is not giving your money to their "ministry." The fact is it is sin to finance these false teachers.
3. James 2:19, says the even the devils believe that there is one God, they believe and tremble...the point is that their belief is a head knowledge of truth, but there is not acceptance of that true.
2. Being "conformed to Christ" means to be conformed what Christ stands for and He stands against sin, all sin.
3. Ephesians 1:11-12, says we are predestined to ". . . Be the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ." A person whose life is dominated by sin is not a testimony or any glory to Christ, whether he calls himself a Christian or not.
According to our God and Creator as He has recorded in His word the Bible, "Who is the only one who can pay for sin?" The answer is Jesus Christ and Him only! 1 John 2:2, says he is the "propitiation" for our sins, but not for ours only, but for the world." Where in that verse or any verse does man pay for his own sin? Where does the God say that anything except the shed blood of Jesus Christ can atone for sin? It DOESN'T!
B. Actions outwardly qualify or show evidence of one's faith. If there is a change of heart and mind toward sin, then it is true saving faith!? If no change of heart or mind...there is no salvation. Believe without repentance is only a head knowledge of Jesus Christ the heart is not changed. Most people in the world who does not know that Jesus was a real person. I saw a Jewish anthropologist on TV and she was asked the question, "Was Jesus a real person?" She replied certainly he was and there is much evidence of him. But just knowing about Jesus and wanting to go to heaven is not enough. We must believe with full acceptance of fact that He is God come to earth who paid for our sins. We must understand that we, the individual has sinned against God. Note what God says about this:
The person who sees himself as a sinner sees that sin is rebellion against God. He sees that it is destructive and dishonors the sinner and our God and Creator. That is what the Gospel teaches, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save men from their sins. It teaches that one must believe that and by faith put their faith in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation. When one truly understands this truth, he can believe and by faith put his trust in Jesus Christ and be saved. It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit who brings conviction to a person's heart when they hear the Gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ. That convicting act of the Holy Spirit enables a person to believe and be saved by God's grace.
C. If there is no change of heart or mind - there is no saving faith - no true faith, and no salvation.(1 Cor. 2:14-16, 2 Cor. 5:17)
D. The believer, before salvation, sins and feels no real guilt, remorse, or desire to stop sinning. If his sins cause him trouble, or he gets caught, he might feel sorry, because he was caught....but that is not biblical repentance. Scriptural repentance means one has a change of mind that comes by faith in accepting Jesus Christ.
2. Godly sorrow produces repentance, which forsakes sin and turns from it.
2. Sin bothers a true believer... but it does not bother the lost man. Note what Paul said about this in Romans 7:15-25.
3. Paul says there is warfare in the life of a true believer with the old carnal nature that wants to sin. The lost man is not engaged in the conflict between sin and righteousness. He has only one side...the sinful side that is satisfied with sin.
2. They were very religious.
"I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:32.
2. Paul preached repentance, to the Jew and the Gentile:
4. 2 Corinthians 7:10 "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death."
5. The writer of Hebrews, makes it clear the it would be impossible to restore a person to repentance who had rejected salvation, and be renewed to repentance. This again shows the necessity of repentance in salvation.
Hebrew 6:6 states, "If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."
A. REPENTANCE is turning from sin to righteousness.
B. Can Christians sin? Do Christians sin?
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:8-9)
2. Where does true peace come from? Note, Rom. 5:1 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
3. Christians who are not discerning of sin are trying to be good and can't. They sin, but don't enjoy it! They want peace, and it alludes them.
2. Christ came to save sinners, if you believe and confess you are a sinner in repentance, God says you will be saved. In that moment....the matter will be settled for all time. You will become a child of God, and have victory over sin.
"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Romans 6:6.
3. For the believer, God says to confess your sins to God. Stop fighting with God and obey Him. That is the only way to overcome remaining sin in your life and have peace.
4. You cannot add Jesus to your sin and think it will do any good. It would be like making soup and putting in too much salt. You cannot add enough sugar and make it right.
5. Luke 24:46-47 says, "And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (Luke 24:46-47)
The verse says where forgiveness takes place also repentance is present.