Ray Comfort Perverts Luke 8:13
By David J. Stewart | January 2008 | Updated September 2014
1st Timothy 4:2, “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.”
I admire Ray Comfort's faithful stand for what he believes and he seems like a really great person to know as a friend; but unfortunately, he is very wrong on the matter of salvation. Mr. Comfort is a skilled street preacher. Sincerely, I love the man's zeal, but either a person has to stop wild sinful living to be saved or they don't. These are two very different plans of salvation. One requires human effort, which is what Ray Comfort teaches. The other rests 100% completely on Christ's sacrifice upon the cross, which is what the Bible teaches.
I watched a recent video produced by Ray Comfort's “Way Of The Master” and “Living Waters” ministry websites on YouTube. The video is titled, “Genius—The Movie” (about Beatles' legend John Lennon), in which Ray Comfort errantly teaches...
“The Bible says if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. So stop living for yourself. Turn from your sins, and come to Jesus.”
No where in the Bible are we taught to stop living for our self to be saved. This is human effort. If human effort is required for salvation, then only partial faith in Jesus Christ is necessary. As is true with most of the psuedo (false) Christian religious cults such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists and Mormons, Ray Comfort speaks religious double-talk, teaching that eternal life is the free gift of God, but yet we cannot have it unless we stop living for ourselves. This is unbiblical. A genuine “gift” is completely free, without obligations or requirements, because Christ paid the price for our sins with His blood (1st Peter 1:18-19). Eternal life is a gift, not a reward. If a person has to clean up their life to be saved, then eternal life becomes a reward instead of a free gift.
What you've just read is a satanic plan of salvation, which cannot produce the new birth in Christ. It will produce religion, but religion cannot get anyone to Heaven. When Jesus spoke of “repentance” concerning salvation, he always meant “a change of mind.” Unfortunately, the English word “repent” is defined very differently as “turning from sins, to feel remorse.” Biblical repentance is changing your mind from what you want to do to get to Heaven to doing what God says you must do.
I watched a recent video produced by Ray Comfort's “Way Of The Master” and “Living Waters” ministry websites on YouTube. The video is titled, “Genius—The Movie” (about Beatles' musical legend John Lennon), in which Ray Comfort errantly teaches...
“What you've got to do is repent and trust alone is Jesus... But you have to let go of your beloved sins. You have to turn from them.”
Does a person really have to let go of their beloved sins to be saved? If they do, that is human effort. Can anyone let go of all their sins? Is that possible? No, it is not. Even the best of Christians are still sinners (Romans 7:14-25). You cannot show me even one Bible verse that says to “TURN FROM SIN” to be saved. Romans 3:19 teaches that the purpose of the Old Testament law is to show men their sinfulness, so that the world may become guilty before God, realizing their need for the Savior, which is Christ Jesus the Lord (Galatians 3:24-26). Note: All Scripture quotations and references are only from the trustworthy King James Bible (KJB).
God never intended for people to keep His law as part of obtaining salvation (Romans 3:20); but rather, to completely rest in the finished redemptive work of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:10-11). Then, once we are washed clean by Christ's blood (Romans 5:9; 1st Peter 1:18-19; 1st John 1:7; Revelation 1:5; 1st Corinthians 6:11), God wants us to fulfil the law out of love as His child, and not out of obligation to be saved (Romans 3:31).
On Ray Comfort's website, http://www.wayofthemaster.com, under the drop-down-menu “Get Equipped,” there's a link titled Answers to 100 Common Questions. In this section you'll find Ray's heretical answer to the question... “Is Repentance Necessary for Salvation?” The answers are directly from The Evidence Bible, which was compiled and commented by Ray Comfort. This heresy also appears on Mr. Comfort's other website at... http://www.livingwaters.com/witnessingtool/browse.shtml. Here is Ray's unbiblical answer to the question...
Is Repentance Necessary for Salvation?
... We are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1) and until we forsake them through repentance, we cannot be made alive in Christ ...
If belief is all that is necessary for salvation, then the logical conclusion is that one need never repent. However, the Bible tells us that a false convert "believes" and yet is not saved (Luke 8:13); he remains a "worker of iniquity." Look at the warning of Scripture: "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth" (1 John 1:6). The Scriptures also say, "He that covers his sins shall not prosper, but whoso confesses and forsakes them [repentance] shall have mercy" (Proverbs 28:13). Jesus said that there was joy in heaven over one sinner who "repents" (Luke 15:10). If there is no repentance, there is no joy because there is no salvation.
Carefully notice that Mr. Comfort attempts to use Luke 8:13 to bolster his heresy that believing on Jesus Christ is insufficient by itself to save a person. Luke 8:13 states:
"They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away."
Now let's take a broader look at Luke 8:12-14:
- Luke 8:12 — "Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved."
- Luke 8:13 — "They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away."
- Luke 8:14 — "And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection."
- Luke 8:15 — "But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience."
We see FOUR distinct groups here. The first group clearly did not get saved, because the Bible states it.
The second group DID get saved, because the Bible says they believed for a while. For Ray Comfort to teach that the people in Luke 8:13 weren't saved is heresy. The Bible says they received the word “with joy.” We read the parallel account of Luke 8:13 in Matthew 13:20-21:
"But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
This Scripture is addressing the believer who does not confess nor bare fruit for Christ because of fear of persecution. This truth is perfectly illustrated by the chief rulers in John 12:42-43 whom the Bible states were SAVED...
"Nevertheless among the chief rulers also MANY BELIEVED ON HIM; but because of the Pharisees they DID NOT CONFESS HIM, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."
Ray Comfort is wrong! For someone to receive the Gospel is saved!!! There are many believers today, most in fact, who cower in their churches. They would never protest on a street corner against abortion, would never go door-to-door confrontational soulwinning, et cetera. The Bible clearly states that the people in Luke 8:12 didn't get “saved,” and even uses the term.
In sharp contrast, the people in Luke 8:13 wanted to be saved, and were saved; but they were not strong enough in the Lord to deal with persecution. Every one of Jesus' disciples abandoned Him when he was arrested, and was tried as a criminal, and sentenced to death on a cross. They fell away in a time of temptation (i.e., hardship); but they didn't lose their salvation, nor does it mean that they had only believed without repenting. Ray Comfort is teaching heresy!
The folks in Luke 8:13 were saved, and so were the people in Luke 8:14. The Bible says they were “choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life.” This again describes most believers today. The average believer today is more concerned about making money, upgrading their cellphone and having a good time. They are not honoring God with their life or resources. If anything, they give God a little pocket-change and some spare time. The believers described in verses 13 and 14 never make an attempt to win a soul to Jesus Christ.
In striking contrast, the believers in Luke 8:15 are soulwinners, who faithfully and patiently preach the Gospel.
Sadly, Mr. Comfort and his sidekick, Kirk Cameron, are doctrinally corrupted and confused; likely because they are followers of heretic John MacArthur (evidenced by Kirk Cameron promoting the John MacArthur Study Bible on his website). They are WRONG to teach that repentance unto salvation means ceasing from sin. They are also wrong to teach that repentance is a completely separate act from believing upon the Lord to be saved. These are 2 deadly heresies concerning salvation.
THE TRUTH is that you simply turn to the Lord by faith in Christ's sacrifice on the cross to be forgiven of your sins. The very moment that you receive the Gospel as full-payment for your sins, you are saved immediately, completely and eternally. It's that simple. We are the SINNER and Jesus is the SAVIOR! Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith.
Biblical Repentance Means to Change Your Mind
There is a fine line between the turning from sin that genuine repentance brings; verses the turning from sin that false prophets like Ray Comfort require for people to get saved. Again, Mr. Comfort states:
If belief is all that is necessary for salvation, then the logical conclusion is that one need never repent. However, the Bible tells us that a false convert "believes" and yet is not saved (Luke 8:13); he remains a "worker of iniquity."
In sharp contrast, Dr. John R. Rice (1895-1980) correctly states...
“To repent literally means to have a change of mind or spirit toward God and toward sin. It means to turn from your sins, earnestly, with all your heart, and trust in Jesus Christ to save you. You can see, then, how the man who believes in Christ repents and the man who repents believes in Christ. The jailer repented when he turned from sin to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ” (John R. Rice, What Must I Do to Be Saved?, 1940). [emphasis added]
Whereas Ray Comfort attempts to separate repentance from belief; Brother Rice correctly recognizes them as ONE AND THE SAME. A man who turns toward God in faith to be forgiven of his sins has repented! A man who has repented of his sins is one who has come as a guilty sinner to the cross of Christ for salvation. This is the simplicity of salvation. Ray Comfort, as heretic John MacArthur, makes salvation hard.
Take a look at what MacArthur says on page 93 of his book, Hard To Believe:
"Salvation isn't the result of an intellectual exercise. It comes from a life lived in obedience and service to Christ as revealed in the Scripture; it's the fruit of actions, not intentions. There's no room for passive spectators: words without actions are empty and futile...The life we live, not the words we speak, determines our eternal destiny" (Hard to Believe, p. 93). [emphasis added]
Do you see the night-and-day difference between turning from sin that genuine repentance brings; verses the turning from sin that false prophets like Ray Comfort and John MacArthur require for people to get saved? We turn to Christ to be saved from our sins; we don't turn from our sins in order to turn to Christ.
Christ Died, That's History; Christ Died For Me, That's Salvation
I believe Mr. Comfort is sincere. Nevertheless, he is teaching damnable heresy and must be exposed for doing so, because he is influencing millions of people for Satan. Many people today think they can't be saved unless they are willing to turn over a new leaf and stop committing sin. I have news for you, Ray Comfort commits sin every day, just like you, me and everyone else. Salvation is receiving, NOT giving. Eternal life is a free gift from God (Romans 5:15;6:23; Ephesians 2:8,9), paid for by Jesus' precious, literal, liquid, blood (1st Peter 1:18,19; Hebrews 9:12; Revelation 1:5).
The problem is that preachers oftentimes confuse the FRUIT of a believer's faith (James 2:18-21) with the ROOT of a believer's faith (Romans 4:3-5). The change is the FRUIT of the Spirit, the result, of repentance; not repentance itself. A changed life is the FRUIT of genuine repentance, and not a part of the ROOT of saving-faith; but you cannot mandate the FRUIT for salvation, otherwise you're corrupting the gift of God into a qualifying process. The only evidence of salvation is the presence of the Holy Spirit. All of the satanic religious cults (like Seventh Day Adventism) teach doing good works and ceasing from bad works, but they are not saved. They don't have the Holy Spirit. They cannot understand the Scriptures (1st Corinthians 2:14).
Luke 8:13 cannot be used to prove the false doctrine that believing on Jesus is insufficient to save. Those folks in Luke 8:13 were already saved. If you have childlike faith in the Savior to forgive your sins, that's all you need to be saved. The Word of God refers to the Biblical Gospel as “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2nd Corinthians 11:3). Thankfully, the Gospel is very, very simple...
1st Corinthians 15:1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
Anyone who acknowledges their guilty condition in God's eyes (being condemned under God's Holy Law—Romans 3:19), believing on Jesus as the Christ Who died for our sins on the cross and raised up three days later is saved (John 3:16). Acts 10:43 plainly states: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” That is the simplicity of the salvation that is in Christ.
Please understand that you don't repent first, and then believe second. That is not how salvation works. Repentance and faith happen simultaneously (at the same time). The man who repents has believes, and the man who believes has repented. The only thing that you need to repent of to be saved is whatever is hindering you from coming to Christ to be saved. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 6:1 to repent from “DEAD WORKS.” Dead works is what you think you must do to get to Heaven. To “repent” means to change your mind—to change your mind from what you want to do to get to Heaven, to what God says you must do to get to Heaven. Here's what God says you must do in 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.”
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