Friday, March 12, 2010

A Question About Repentance

On Ray Comfort's blog, "Atheist Central," someone asked for clarification about repentance. Here, I have re-posted his question, and my response.

Y = X said...

Hopefully one of the Christians on the site can clarify something for me. Ray quoted the Bible:

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Now, taken literally, which is the way the Bible is supposed to be read. It is the literal word of God and inerrant. This means I just need to believe in Jesus. It doesn't say anything about repentance.

Is this passage wrong? Is it just poorly worded?

These are genuine questions. I have heard Ray chastise those who say, "You need to believe in Jesus." He calls such people false converts but it appears that their belief is Biblically based.

March 12, 2010 7:31 AM
_________________________________________________________ said...

Hey, Y=X. How are you?

It is true that sometimes the Bible includes "repentance" in the call of the gospel:

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)

...and sometimes it is omitted:

Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
And they spoke unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. (Acts 16:29-32)

Now look at John 3:16 with the preceding verses:

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:14-16)

If you look to Christ because you feel the sting of your guilt and sinfulness, as the Israelites looked at the brass serpent when they were feeling the sting of the serpents' bites which stemmed from their rebellion, your faith will be accompanied by repentance.
Now, if someone professes belief in Jesus but has not been convicted by the law of their sin and guilt, they believe in him for some other reason than to have their sin and guilt absolved.

True "faith in Jesus" and "the repentance that leads to life" (Acts 11:18) always go together.

Clarified? Take care, my friend.


March 12, 2010 7:47 PM


WhiteStone said...

I teach women in a jail setting and so I am cautious about saying that "believing" in and of itself gives one eternal life. It is easy to say we believe but if we do not act on that belief (repent and turn and follow Christ) then we deceive ourselves and continue in walking "away" from God (and toward death) instead of "toward" God (and life).

In regards to belief, I sometimes point them to James 2:19 wherein James writes, "even the demons believe...and tremble!" It is a dangerous thing for sinners to say "I believe" and to think that they have done all they need to do.

During Jesus' ministry many of the demons he cast out spoke aloud, recognizing Jesus for who He was, the Son of God. They believed and trembled. But they were not saved. said...

Thank you, White Stone.

The issue of true and false conversion seems to be a constant theme throughout Jesus' ministry as recorded in the gospels, as well as in the early church, as recorded in the writings of the apostles.

I will pray for you and your jail ministry. I used to work for the California Youth Authority, and a few of us had a weekly bible study for the young men there.

God bless you, sister.


Anonymous said...

thx u very much, i learn a lot