The Unbiblical REPENTANCE Heresy!
“And they went out, and preached that men should repent.” —Mark 6:12
by David J. Stewart
What is Biblical REPENTANCE? It is a dangerous thing to ADD anything to simple faith in Jesus Christ. God's plan of salvation is SIMPLE...
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" —2nd Corinthians 11:3
Are There 2 Gospels? | Repent! Repent! Repent!
To be born again (saved), God only requires for a person to realize their sinful condition and come to the Savior, Jesus Christ, for forgiveness (Romans 10:13).
The thief on the cross simply asked Jesus to “remember” him. The publican who went up to the temple simply prayed “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Those men believed on the Lord.
On Ray Comfort's ministry website, at LivingWater.com, he has a short presentation titled “The Good Test.” At the end of the presentation the following heretical teachings are found...
Do you see God’s great love for you? Do you see your need for His forgiveness? Do what He commands and “Repent…that your sins may be wiped out and times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” (Acts 3:19) You must turn away from sin and turn to God. Desire to have NOTHING to do with sin, and surrender your life to the One who can save you. Jesus died to set you free, and then he rose from death to be your Lord. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” If you will confess and forsake your sins (repent) and trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, God will forgive you and you’ll pass from death to life.
Today, with all your heart—turn away from sin, and surrender your life to Jesus Christ. Please don’t put it off till later. You may die today and then it will be too late. You may not yet have all the answers to your questions, but better to put on the parachute first and then ask questions, then to pass through the door unprepared, grasping for the parachute when it’s too late. You can pray something like this—"Dear God, today I turn from all my sins (name them), and I put my trust in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Please forgive me, and grant me your gift of everlasting life. Amen." There is nothing magic about these words—it is the attitude of your heart that God cares about. (emphasis added)
Ray comfort and Kirk Cameron are heretics! They errantly teach that lost sinners MUST try really hard to stop sinning to be saved...
"You must turn away from sin and turn to God. Desire to have NOTHING to do with sin, and surrender your life to the One who can save you... If you will confess and forsake your sins..."
Ray Comfort is condemned by his own words. The Bible is clear in Romans 4:5... “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Did not the thief on the cross utter just a few words? Does not the Bible proclaim in Romans 10:13... “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved?”
London's mightiest preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, was saved at the age of fifteen by simply obeying Isaiah 45:22... “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Salvation is a FREE gift of God (Romans 5:15; 6:23). A gift CANNOT be earned.
The ONLY thing that a person needs to repent from to be saved is their unbelief. Nowhere in the Bible does God say that we have to “follow Jesus” or “surrender to Jesus” to be saved. That is Catholic theology.
Apostate evangelist, Billy Graham, also teaches Lordship Salvation, requiring that people “count the cost” and “pay the price” to be saved. My friend, there is no cost to mankind for salvation, because Jesus paid the price of our sins with His own precious blood, which is sprinkled on the Mercy Seat in the heavenly Holy Place (Hebrews 9:12,24;12:24). Jesus died upon the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He resurrected from the dead three days later according to 1st Corinthians 15:1-4. This is the “gospel” (good news) that brings salvation to those who believe (Romans 1:16; John 1:12). We are saved by completely RESTING in Christ for salvation (Hebrews 4:10-11).
The truth is that God ONLY requires a childlike-faith to be saved. Does God want us to follow Him? Yes... but not in order to get saved. Our best self-righteous works are filth in the sight of God (Isaiah 64:6). Following Christ is a matter of discipleship, not sonship. Lordship Salvation is ROOTED in self-righteousness, because it requires a person to make an effort to clean up their own life as a prerequisite to placing their faith in Christ. This is a false plan of salvation that does not produce the new birth.
Lordship Salvation Heresy Rooted in Self-righteous Hypocrisy
I believe that the Lordship Salvation crowd are sincere, but sincerely wrong. I understand where they are coming from. I mean, I'm also sick and tired of meeting professed “Christians” who are shallow and as phony as can be; but Christians at best are people, and people at best are sinners. Some people can live above reproach, but no can live above sin. Truthfully, whether you want to admit it or not (in your sanctimonious high tower of self-righteousness), we are all phonies to some degree.
Can anyone live perfect? No! I'll tell you what bothers me as much as worldly believers, it's the staunch sanctimonious believers who are filled with contempt and hate towards worldly believers. We are supposed to RESTORE a brother who is weak in the spirit of MEEKNESS. The hidden agenda behind Lordship Salvation is that Satan wants to corrupt the gospel and lead tens-of-millions more people into Hell. Carnal believers are BABES IN CHRIST, as the Apostle Paul saw them in 1st Corinthians 3:1. The problem is not that they were misled by “quick-fix evangelism” (as Ray Comfort and Paul Washer call it); but rather, they've never been properly mentored in the Christian faith.
Part of The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) is discipling new converts, teaching them the ways of Christ from the Scriptures. The Great Commission contains four parts: 1) GO YE, 2) PREACH THE GOSPEL, 3) WATER BAPTIZE NEW CONVERTS AS A PUBLIC PROFESSION OF THEIR FAITH, 4) DISCIPLE THEM, TRAINING THEM TO GO DO LIKEWISE. God intended for the gospel to perpetuate, where I lead you to Christ, and then you go lead others to Christ, and then they go lead others to Christ, and so forth. This is God's plan. And may I say, soul-winning is not a method, it is a command... GO YE!
If you'll check the Bible, some of the Jews who wandered in the Wilderness DID go to Heaven, even though they never made it to the promised land. Just because a believer isn't carrying their cross for the Lord doesn't mean they're not saved. There are some believers today, who are rotting behind prison bars for crimes committed. Though some hypocritical believers would like to conveniently claim that all criminals aren't saved, it's simply not true. Just because your Christian neighbours are getting divorced doesn't mean they aren't saved.
Born again believers are sinners just like anyone else. I agree that we are living in a generation of milquetoast, weak-kneed, believers; but that doesn't mean they're not saved. God uses sinners, and it's a good thing or He wouldn't have anyone to use. Remember, one third of the Bible was written by murderers. God didn't use holy men to write His Word; but rather, he made unholy men holy and then used them to write His Word. Romans 4:5 says that Christ saves THE UNGODLY, and that's the only type of person who has ever been saved by God's grace.
Lordship Salvation Puts the Cart Before the Horse
Jesus taught that we are supposed to carry our cross and follow after Him. I believe that. I don't have a problem with that. I'll be the first to condemn this heathen generation of Christless believers (like the heathens over at Christianity Today who endorse Harry Potter). However, we are talking about discipleship here, NOT salvation.
As an example, the Catholics mandate baptism as a holy sacrament to be saved. The Bible condemns such heresy and clearly teaches that baptism is only an ordinance, not a sacrament. You do NOT have to be baptized to go to Heaven.
A person gets baptized because they are ALREADY saved, not in order to get saved. Likewise, we are supposed to depart from iniquity because we are ALREADY saved, NOT to get saved. I couldn't agree more that a Christian should depart from sin, but this is NOT mandatory to be saved. I know this ruffles some people's feathers, but it is Bible. The Lordship Salvation crowd confuses discipleship with salvation. Becoming a born again believer is the EASIEST thing in the world (2nd Corinthians 11:3).
You must simply come as a sinner to the Savior in faith, believing that He paid for your sins, and ask Jesus Christ to forgive you. We must NOT add anything to simple faith in Christ. If you think this gives a person a license to sin, then you don't understand the Bible. No one has God's permission to sin. The Bible clearly teaches in Hebrews that God will "chastise" His children (Hebrews 12:7,8).
So does a person need to REPENT to be saved? Of course, but not the type of repentance that the Lordship Salvation crowd is propagating. There is a common misunderstanding about Biblical repentance. Many sincere people believe that repentance means to "cease from committing sin," but it does not. Ceasing from sin is a by product of repentance. Doing righteousness is also a by-product of repentance. Repentance is “a change of mind” about what I want to do to get to Heaven, to what God says I must do to get to Heaven. Hebrews 6:1 speaks about repentance from DEAD WORKS. To be saved, you must realize that you are a hopelessly guilty sinner, totally incapable of saving yourself, and then completely REST in Christ Who died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and resurrected from the dead after three days. This is God's plan of salvation. YOU ARE A SINNER! Unless you accept Christ's payment for your sins, you will spend eternity burning in the fires of Hell. Get saved now before it's too late, please!
Dr. Jack Hyles 100% correctly and Biblically states concerning repentance...
“Repentance is not some little silly, 'I'm sorry.' Repentance is not simply a fear of God. Repentance is not a monk fasting and afflicting his body in a monastery. Repentance is not remorse because of sin's consequences. Repentance is not penance performed before the pope as you kiss his toe... Repentance is not being sorry for what I've done wrong. It is not confessing one's sins to a priest. It is not just conviction of sin. It is not the signing of a pledge of abstinence. Repentance is that thing when you come before God and see yourself as you are, and see Him as he is, and say with Isaiah 'Woe is me, for I am unclean!'” —Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001), a quote from the timeless MP3 sermon, THE GOODNESS OF GOD LEADETH TO REPENTANCE!
Some people are very slow to change, but ultimately they become the best Christians, because they are... slow to change. Everybody responds differently. It is one's attitude towards sin and the Savior that first change at the time of salvation, not necessarily the departing from sin. Repentance begins in the heart, not in our lifestyle.
Biblical repentance is turning from what I want to do to get to Heaven, to what God says I must do to get to Heaven. Repentance and faith happen at the same time, simultaneously. A man cannot have faith without repentance, nor can he repent without having faith. The Bible teaches that repentance and faith are inseparable and happen at the SAME time. You don't repent of your sins and then secondarily place your faith in Christ. Salvation doesn't work that way. Biblically, the man who has repented has believed, and the man who believes has repented. This truth is evidenced by the fact that the Gospel of John mentions the words “believe” and “believed” 85 times, but the word “repent” is never mentioned even once.
Repentance and faith are properly demonstrated by the illustration of an evangelist who travels upon an airplane flying from Michigan to Hawaii. The evangelist doesn't leave Michigan first, and then travel toward Hawaii. No, rather, the evangelist is leaving his origin as he travels toward his destination AT THE SAME TIME, simultaneously. Likewise, the person who repents and believes is turning and moving toward Jesus Christ while at the same time turning their back against, and moving away from, sin in their mind and heart. A changed lifestyle is the FRUIT of genuine repentance unto salvation, and not a part of the ROOT of saving-faith. To demand that a person have intent to reform as a requirement for salvation is sinful self-righteousness.
Salvation does NOT hinge on departing from our sins, but rather upon getting our sins forgiven. 1st Peter 2:2 speaks of growing in the Lord... as new born babes. Surely, you wouldn't expect a little baby to walk around the house, let alone run? When a lost sinner comes to Christ for salvation, the salvaging process only begins. Salvation is more than being saved.
When we receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we instantly become a child of God and our name is written in Heaven. But now the lifelong process of growing in the Lord begins. Just as a baby is physically born into the world and grows for the rest of his or her life, so does a spiritually born (i.e., born again) person grow throughout the remainder of their life. Sadly, many believers are midgets, suffering from stunted growth. Every Christian needs the milk of God's Word to grow into a healthy mature believer.
Jesus Promised Never to Turn Anyone Away
Jesus clearly said that he WILL forgive all who come to Him...
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” —John 6:37
Jesus will save the vilest sinner, the most wicked murderer, the sleaziest adulterer... If they will simply come to Jesus for forgiveness (Isaiah 1:18). Jesus only asks that we believe on Him (John 3:16; 6:40; 10:1).
When does repentance take place? Repentance occurs that very moment when we turn to God for salvation. When you BELIEVE upon the Lord Jesus Christ and turn to Him for salvation, then you have already turned your back on sin. You have repented in your heart and mind. You can't be saved without admitting to God (i.e., realizing one's guilt) that you are a sinner justly deserving of Hellfire. It was your repentance that caused you to realize your sinful condition and then turn to God. If someone has the flagrant attitude that they can ask Jesus to forgive them, and then continue living in sin... GUARANTEED... that person is NOT saved. Why? Because salvation is of the heart and your heart is not there. If you have repented OF your sins, not FROM them, then your mind should be changed about sin. You cannot fool God.
Some people just can't stand the thought that a person can be saved and still have sin in their life. Folks, that is true of every single person who has ever been saved! Is anybody without sin apart from our Lord? No! I am not condoning sin, not at all. I am simply saying that following Jesus is NOT a Biblical requirement to be saved. Making a commitment to Jesus is NOT a Biblical requirement to be saved. Making Jesus the Lord of your life is NOT a Biblical requirement to be saved. All that God requires is for us to realize our GUILTY, and just condemnation under God's Law, and then place our complete trust on the precious Savior--Jesus Christ.
Repentance Towards God
It is dangerous to separate repentance from faith in Christ. The Lordship Salvation crowd has attacked simple faith in Jesus Christ, demanding that REPENTANCE from sins be added to salvation. If you realize that you're a hell-deserving sinner, and believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God Who shed His blood upon the cross for your sins, and you are willing to rely upon Him alone for salvation... then all you need to do is to call upon the Lord to forgive you. If you were sincere, then you are not going to have the attitude that you have a license to sin.
You are going to be thankful and want to change some things in your life. But this is all after-the-fact. I've never led anyone to the Lord who didn't have a desire to please God to some extent AFTERWARDS. I realize that the Bible speaks MUCH about REPENTANCE, but repentance concerning salvation is the repentance of faith towards God, not from sins...
"Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." —Acts 20:21
Our repentance is TOWARDS GOD. Isaiah proclaimed that anyone who would look to the Saviour would live. Jesus spoke of the Water of Life, the Bread of life, the Door, the Resurrection, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It is ONLY through Jesus Christ that anyone can be saved. To teach that lost sinners must "follow" Jesus to be saved is heresy. No, lost sinners must only TRUST Jesus to be saved.
New converts need to be taught. We must teach them the Bible, prayer, faithfulness to church, soul winning, baptism, holy living, separation, etc. We must allow the Holy Spirit to work in their heart and not try to do the Holy Spirit's job. If they are truly saved, we should see some signs of God working in their life, some desire for the things of God. I have known professed believers who never showed any signs of being a Christian.
If you asked them about their salvation, they knew all the correct lingo. Are they saved? I sincerely doubt it, but only God knows for certain. I doubt very much that George W. Bush is a believer, he shows more signs of being an occult member than anything. Is Billy graham a Christian? I doubt it. Yet, we must keep in mind that some of the most sinful men in the Bible (like Lot and Solomon) were believers.
The purpose of this article is not to try to decipher who is saved and who is not, the purpose of my article is to expose the heresy about unbiblical repentance. Unbiblical repentance is when someone teaches that a person must depart from sins or follow Christ to be saved.
I NEVER ask anyone to receive Jesus Christ as their "Lord and Savior"... only as "Savior." The Greek Word for "Lord" is simply "KURIOS" ("Supreme in authority," i.e., God Almighty). Jesus is God, Almighty God! A true believer recognizes Jesus Christ for who He really is... Almighty God! Many false religions portray a distorted image of Christ, "another Jesus," as the Apostle Paul warned us about (2nd Corinthians 11:4).
If you believe that Jesus Christ is Almighty God (John 10:33; Colossians 2:9), who came in the flesh in the form of a man (John 1:1,14; 1st Timothy 3:16), born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), to atone for our sins with His precious blood (1st Peter 1:18,19), then you have seen the true Savior. John 6:40 says that God's will is for us to believe upon the Son...
"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 6:40
I don't see anything in the above Scripture about making a commitment, turning over a new leaf, following Jesus, making Jesus Lord, or anything even similar. I only see what the Bible says, "...that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life..."
It is not that these people haven't repented, it is because they are immature in the Lord... BABES IN CHRIST (1st Corinthians 3:1). Very few believers are fortunate enough to have a caring pastor with a hungry heart for souls. Most pastors are just making a living, and the people in his congregation are idly following him. Judgment MUST begin at the house of God (1st Peter 4:17).
When Charles Spurgeon was asked what to do about people who fall asleep in church, he wisely responded "Wake the preacher!" America's pulpits are DEAD, and so our pews are dead as well. Instead of standing-on-the-promises, most believers are sitting-on-the-premises. Again, it is heresy to try to force a person to forsake their sins to be saved. Jesus never asked us to give up anything to be saved.
Discipleship Comes After Salvation
In Romans 12:1, the Apostle Paul said...
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
Paul is asking these BELIEVERS to make a commitment to God. They are ALREADY saved, but they have NOT yielded themselves to God yet. According to the Lordship Salvation crowd these people were never saved. How ridiculous! When a baby is born into this world physically, everything is new to him/her.
The same is true about being born-again, everything becomes new, a whole new world of understanding is opened (2nd Corinthians 5:17). Now the growing process has begun and God's Holy Spirit will nurture that child of God, through the Word of God and preaching (1st Peter 2:2; Titus 1:3).
Sadly, many believers have lost their fire for God. It is tragic that the world is going to Hell while believers across America are merely playing church. Thank God for the zealous few Christians who are trying to make a difference for God in this world; HOWEVER, we are talking about Christian maturity here, not salvation. America is filled with immature believers. My guesstimate is that 95% of all true believers are as carnal as can be, caught up in the cares and riches of this life (Luke 8:14).
Many of them look like good Christians, but as I have often found... they are only "Christian" to a degree. Still, this doesn't mean that they are not saved. It does mean that they're backslidden or have never matured in the Lord to begin with. We can only teach them, pray for them, and CHALLENGE them to live for God by exemplifying Christ in our own life.
Lordship Salvationists Speak With a Forked-Tongue
Lordship Salvationists hypocritically claim to believe in salvation by faith alone in Christ, while simultaneously demanding that lost sinners forsake their literal sins to be saved. This is a great contradiction.
The simple and plain truth of God's Word is that we must be born-again (John 3:3). This is the "repentance" that God expects of us to go to Heaven. Yes, a BELIEVER should live righteously to please God, but this will be a natural result (by-product) of repentance when that person gets saved. No one can be saved through self-righteousness (Ephesians 2:8,9). A person who truly gets saved will experience changes in their life. But again, this is after-the-fact.
Abraham didn't offer up Isaac in order to be saved. That would be ridiculous! Rather, we read that Abraham "believed the Lord" in Genesis 15:6 and was saved. It wasn't until many years later, when Isaac was old enough to talk, in Genesis 22, that God asked Abraham to offer up Isaac (to test Abraham's faith).
When James speaks of Abraham being "justified by works" in James 2:21, the Bible is referring to the event in Genesis 22, i.e., the FRUIT of Abraham's faith. In sharp contrast, the Apostle Paul speaks of the ROOT of Abraham's faith in Romans 4:3-5, which is a reference to Genesis 15:6 when Abraham was saved BY FAITH ALONE.
The Bible is clear on this in 2nd Corinthians 5:17...
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
God expects us to carry our cross and separate from the sinful world; but that has nothing to do with salvation itself. Something is wrong with a generation of professed Christians who carry no cross, never offend anyone, never witness to anyone, etc. But these are not prerequisites to be saved. Jesus saves us, and then He cleans up our life through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit if we'll yield to Him.
This is the process of growing in the Lord. Lordship Salvationists say "Lordship" cannot be optional in order to be saved; but Romans 12:1 puts them to silence and shame. The fact that Paul is "beseeching" believers in Romans 12:1 to "present their bodies a living sacrifice" is proof that some believers do NOT surrender their lives to the Lord, and are not reasonable. Does this give a new convert a license to sin?
Of course not, but a new convert may not see anything wrong with drinking a beer, as a mature Christian certainly would. We have to be careful about where we draw lines concerning who is saved or who is not. Samson commit fornication, Noah got drunk, King David committed adultery and murder, Jacob lied and stole, Peter publicly denied Christ, etc. I am not condoning sin, I am simply saying that there is a great misunderstanding about repentance circulating in many of our churches today.
The Lordship Salvation crowd is understandably upset with all the phony “Christians” in the world who bare no cross for the Lord. I am too! But we must not make the grave mistake of ADDING works to salvation in the name of “repentance.” Biblical salvation itself should bring about a changed life, so we don't have to ADD it to salvation. To do so is damnable heresy. It is one's faith in the Word of God (i.e., the gospel) that causes God to work the supernatural miracle of the new birth. We shouldn't try to change the seed to make it function better. You cannot force people to live right. You cannot do the Holy Spirit's job. You cannot change the plan of salvation without corrupting it.
What many people don't realize is that repentance is simply the elimination of what has been hindering us from coming to Christ to be saved. Our love for sin kept us from the light. This is what John 3:20 teaches, “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” So the person who sincerely comes to Christ only does so because they have repented, that is, acknowledged their guilt of sin, and they are now also believing on the Lord. The man who by faith turns toward Christ has simultaneously turned his back against sin, dead works and unbelief. Repentance is not turning away from the act of sin, forsaking the world and making full surrender to serve Christ; but rather, it is by faith turning to Christ because you realize that you are a guilty sinner who is totally incapable of saving yourself (Romans 3:19).
The solution is not to change God's simple plan of salvation; but rather, to fill America's pulpits with men of God who will PREACH the Word of God and challenge God's children to live for God. There is nothing wrong with America that couldn't be solved by a generation of Billy Sunday's. New converts need to be discipled.
What is happening is that the works-based philosophy of Roman Catholicism has crept into evangelical churches, even many independent Baptist churches, requiring people to make an effort to stop sinning as a requirement to be saved. This is religion at its deadliest, which cannot produce the new birth. Much of the apostate preaching from the Reformation era was heresy, requiring people to forsake sinful living as a means to salvation. The Bible doesn't teach this. We learn from the law of Moses that we are woeful sinners, and as such cannot perfectly keep the law to obtain salvation by our own effort (works).
Hence, God has made a way of escape through Christ, Who is the Lamb of God Who paid the price for our sins by His precious blood. We need God's righteousness since we don't have any of your own. That's why Matthew 6:33 tells us to SEEK YE FIRST HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!!! 2nd Corinthians 5:21 teaches that we become the righteousness of God in Christ. 2nd Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Again, to be saved, you must realize that you are a hopelessly guilty sinner, totally incapable of saving yourself, and then completely REST in Christ Who died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and resurrected from the dead after three days. This is God's plan of salvation. YOU ARE A SINNER! Unless you accept Christ's payment for your sins, you will spend eternity burning in the fires of Hell. Get saved now before it's too late, please!
The Curse of Lordship Salvation
The Hypocrisy of Lordship Salvation
The Foolish Doctrine of Lordship Salvation
Scriptural Proof that Lordship Salvation is a Lie
Lordship Salvation Ignores Babes in Christ and the Backslidden
Catholics Teach the Exact Same Meaning of “Born Again” as Lordship Salvationists!
Ray Discomfort | Ray Comfort is Wrong On Salvation! | The Damnable Heresy of Ray Comfort
Ray Comfort's Perverted Gospel | Hell's Best Kept Secret | Ray Comfort Perverts Luke 8:13
Conversion and Salvation
Salvation is More than Being Saved
Ye Must Be Born Again!