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. 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 (Isaiah 64:6). Lordship Salvation is ROOTED in self-righteousness.
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 sick and tired of meeting professed "Christians" too who are as phony as can be; but, Christians at best are people, and people at best are sinners. No one is 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 the Lordship Salvation crowd is one of hostility towards worldly believers. They refuse to recognize carnal believers as BABES IN CHRIST, as the Apostle Paul saw them in 1st Corinthians 3:1.
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.
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.
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" that should eventually lead to a changed life. For some people, it is right away; yet other may take much longer.
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 a "turn around" (U-TURN). 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
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 Talk Out of Both-Sides-of-Their-Mouth
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." The repentance itself should bring about the changed life, we don't have to ADD it to salvation. To do so is damnable heresy. It's the seed of the Word of God that produces new life in the believer. We shouldn't try to change the seed to make it grow better.
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.
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!