(man’s spiritually-dead condition, the gospel, repentance, justification & testimony, and Christian behavior)
~ Man’s spiritually-dead condition ~
Ever since Adam & Eve disobeyed God in the garden of Eden by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2.15-17 & chapter 3), man’s default condition has been a state of sin-guilt & spiritual death. A hell-deserving state which man can not remedy himself, but can only be remedied by the Lord Jesus Christ’s substitutionary sin-atonement & imputed righteousness. A spiritual rescue that is nothing less than a miracle of God whereby He translates man from sin-guilt, and spiritual death & darkness, to sin-forgiveness, and spiritual life & light in the kingdom of His precious only begotten Son.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
2 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.”
12 “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”
Moreover the person whom God has formed Christ in (Galatians 4.19), the person whom God has quickened by His Spirit (Colossians 2.13), the person made righteous by the faith of Christ (Romans 3.22), knows full-well that he or she deserves to be thrown into hell. That’s not an offensive notion to such a person, because it was God Himself Who made that person acutely aware of their sin-guilt before Him, which in turn caused them to crave His mercy.
(A person has to know that they’re drowning before they’ll desire to be rescued).
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
10 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
It’s also true that most of humanity will justly go to hell under the righteous judgement of God.
13 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Conversely, the thinking of a lost person is to see themselves as a “basically good person,” (regardless of whether or not they claim that they’re a Christian).
~ The gospel ~
So what is “the gospel?” The gospel is the good news that the Lord Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection has fully accomplished the salvation of God’s people.
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.“
1 Corinthians 15.1-4
1 “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
That’s the only gospel that saves, and any alteration to that gospel is another gospel, a false gospel that saves no one.
(Which is why you must scrutinize the content of whatever gospel message someone presents).
False religion always perverts the gospel.
~ Discarding essential elements of it, (like omitting the resurrection).
~ Adding requirements or actions of man to make it effectual. (such as but not limited to: requiring the sinner to repent “of their sins,” or by adding some religious rite for the sinner to perform).
~ By misapplying the atonement, (like claiming that everyone’s sins have been forgiven).
~ Sometimes false religion will even go so far as to omit any reference to the gospel altogether. And will present in lieu of the gospel, some sort of an intellectual appeal to the sinner’s spiritually-dead reasoning as the way to right-standing with God. (Which has no power to save anyone).
So don’t be like the heretics of false religion. Understand the gospel, and proclaim it boldly just as Paul did:
15 “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
~ Repentance ~
The misinformation about the meaning of “repentance” in relation to someone’s justification before God is perhaps the most common, & spiritually-deadly deception of religion. This is A HUGE DEAL, (I can’t over emphasize the importance of this matter).
So please pay very close attention to what you’re about to read.
Repentance is required for anyone to be saved.
Therefore it’s paramount that we understand what repentance means, (not what religion says that it means, but what it actually means).
~ “Repentance” defined ~
Is repentance a degree of remorse? No, but people are often remorseful when they repent and believe the gospel.
Is repentance turning away from sinful behaviors? No, but people often turn away from sinful behaviors when they repent and believe the gospel.
So then what does “repentance” mean?
“Repentance” means a change of one’s mind/heart about something.
Incidentally, if you’ll research your king James bible, you’ll find that God Himself frequently “repented.” And certainly God wasn’t turning away from sins, (because He’s not capable of sinning).
Look please at Jonah 3.10 as one example of where God repented:
“And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”
It’s false religion, false prophets, and corrupt modern bible versions which teach that you have to repent “of your sins” to be saved.
So now allow me please to give you three examples of why it’s damning heresy to teach that someone has to repent “of their sins” to be saved.
1. Scripture clearly teaches us that salvation is the free gift from God by grace through faith, not of our works.
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
“17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
“And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
2. No living person has ever stopped sinning.
The requirement that someone has to repent “of their sins” to be saved is to put an impossible burden on someone to accomplish. Why? Because it’s impossible for anyone to stop sinning, regardless of whether they’re saved or unsaved, (see Romans 7.14-25).
And someone’s good efforts to stop sinning counts for nothing where justification before God is concerned.
God doesn’t grade people on a curve to let them into heaven. A person is either fully righteous as the free gift from God, or they’re fully unrighteous, and under His wrath. (There is no middle ground).
3. The Lord Jesus Christ’s redemptive work for the salvation of God’s people is finished.
You and I add nothing to that which has already been perfectly accomplished in the Lord Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
Our supposed morality can’t supplement that which God has already perfectly done any more than we can supplement last Monday’s weather.
9 “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
~ Here’s an example of real repentance in salvation ~
God the Holy Ghost convicts a sinner of their sin-guilt, and that sinner subsequently cries out to the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy. God gives that sinner the faith of Christ, and he or she believes that the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ has fully accomplished their forgiveness and right-standing with God the Father.
That person repented (changed their mind) and believed the gospel.
~ They changed their mind in that they previously believed that they were a basically good person, but then they came to see that they are entirely bankrupt of any personal merit.
~ They changed their mind about (and abandoned), whatever false religious beliefs they held, and clung to the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ as their only & entire rightstanding with God.
Do you now see why it’s damning heresy to tell someone that they have to repent “of their sins” to be saved?
Such is not only an impossibility for anyone to perform to satisfy God’s justice where man’s sins are concerned,…
But such thinking that someone has to repent “of their sins” to be saved, reflects the disbelief that the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ has justified God’s people.
Such thinking fails to see one’s own merit or morality as the filthy rags that it is.
Such thinking tramples underfoot the blood of the covenant, regarding Jesus’ sacrifice as insufficient by itself to fully cleanse & justify a guilty sinner before God.
~ The bait & switch ~
Maybe you already know this, but it’s worth mentioning anyway because of the prolific danger that it poses.
That being, preachers of every description (and professing Christians in general), will often tell you that they believe that salvation is by grace through faith, and they will even claim that in their statements-of-faith. But far too often, when you immerse yourself into their teaching, you eventually discover that they don’t really believe that righteousness really is the free gift from God by the obedience of one (Romans 5.17-19). Their bait-and-switch deception is made evident when they eventually infer that you must repent “of your sins” to be saved.
However now you’re armed with enough information that you shouldn’t be deceived by those sorts of tactics anymore.
~ Justification & testimony ~
How many times have you heard someone’s incorrect salvation testimony that emphasized the person, and what they did?
~ “I gave my life to Jesus”
~ “I repented of my sins”
~ “I was a victim, but I overcame…”
~ “I did xyz at the church”
Real justification, real testimony IS NOT about what we have done to get saved. Real justification, real testimony, is all about what God has done in the salvation of His people.
In real salvation, Jesus gives His life to the guilty, spiritually-dead sinner. (The guilty, spiritually-dead sinner doesn’t give his spiritually-dead life to Jesus).
So now please allow me to show you from scripture some very important details about someone’s Justification by God.
Please prayerfully read the following scripture:
1 “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
1 “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”
Our supposed morality, and our supposed law keeping is nothing more than a pathetic joke when held up to the perfect standard that God requires for entrance into His kingdom.
God makes someone right with Him as a free gift. The objects of His love and mercy are merely the recipients of His faith & grace, (because it couldn’t happen any other way). We don’t have anything to bring to the table except spiritual death, guilt, & neediness.
Intellectual assent to the right information isn’t Christianity.
Improving your mortal life in some way isn’t Christianity.
Doing good deeds in the name of Jesus Christ isn’t Christianity.
Repenting of your sins isn’t Christianity.
Being savvy to your brand of religiosity isn’t Christianity.
Belonging to a church isn’t Christianity.
Having done something associated with religion isn’t Christianity.
What true Christianity is, what true testimony is… is to have been justified in the Lord Jesus Christ’s death, burial & resurrection, and made alive by God (from spiritual death).
19 “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.“
So where are you spiritually?
Are you religious?
Why do you believe that you’re a Christian?
Is the life of the risen Lord Jesus Christ your life?
~ Christian behavior ~
So then, since God lavishes all of that grace on someone, does the Christian’s behavior really matter? Yes, of course it does, (read Romans chapter 6).
All Christians are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5.17), who have been given a new heart (Ezekiel 36.26), we are ambassadors for Christ here on earth, and God’s indwelling Spirit guides our attitudes and actions, (2 Corinthians 3). Therefore we’re fully equipped to carry out the mission that God gives each one of us Christian to do.
But we must understand the difference between our Justification by God (Romans 5.1), and our service to God, (Romans 12.1).
Our spirit is born again (John 3.3), but our unregenerate flesh is not (Romans 7.14-25), nor will our unregenerate flesh ever be perfected, (Galatians 3.3).
Therefore our admonition to follow in everyday life is beautifully expressed in Galatians 5.16: “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.“
Thank you for sharing some of your valuable time with me in considering these vital topics of salvation.