No Life Change = No Forgiveness
December 30, 2013
Repentance is foundational to being forgiven by God. But does repentance mean a one-time prayer, a confession of sin, and a claim? Or does it mean a turn from sin? Does it mean an acknowledgement of sin or a renunciation of sin with ensuing deeds that prove that renunciation? A habitual sinner may acknowledge that he sins, but has he repented? Of course not. Even if he claims to have done so, his continuation in sin proves that he has not. This is why God’s Word repeatedly warns that such people will not stand before God on Judgement Day forgiven. (Mt. 25:31-46 // Heb. 6:4-6 & 10:26-31 // 2 Peter 2:20-22 // Rev. 20:11-15 & 21:7,8,27 // etc.) Such people did not produce the good fruit of righteousness, but instead, their lives produced thorns of evil works. (Luke 3:9 // Heb. 6:8)
Evil works, no matter what someone’s claim or belief is, will damn the doer of sin (Mt. 5:27-30 & 13:41-43,49,50 // John 5:29), even those who, while on earth, had considered of themselves any of the following:
1. Believers in Jesus’ words (John 8:31)
2. Believers who were waiting for His return (Mt. 25:1-13)
3. Servants of Christ (Mt. 7:21-23 & 24:45-51)
4. People who had fellowshipped with Him. (Luke 13:22-28)
A lot of people claim the above things. But, the deciding factor for salvation is obedience –obedience to God’s commands (Mt. 19:17), to the Gospel of Christ (2 Thes. 1:7-10), to righteousness (Rom. 6:18), to the will of God (Mt. 7:21), and to the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 8:9) If people’s deeds display obedience to these / to God’s Word, then they are walking in repentance, and thus, in justification. (Ja. 2:24) If they are not “producing fruit in accordance with repentance” (see Mt. 3:8), then they are the chaff which Christ will burn up with unquenchable fire. (v. 10,12) For without repentance / a changed life, there is no salvation. (Luke 13:3,5 // Rom. 6:16-18,22,23)
Consequently, everyone must repent of sin, as Jesus commands. (Mark 1:15) Everyone, as John the Baptist proclaimed, must submit to the immersion of full repentance in order to be forgiven of sin. (v. 4 // Luke 3:3) This certainly has to do with deeds and not with a one-day experience. The people who came out to be baptized by John knew this, for they were asking him what they had to do in order to produce the fruit necessary for salvation. (Luke 3:7-14) We see that John affirmed their concern by telling them specific actions were necessary (same verses), and we know that Jesus did the same (Luke 6:46-49 & 18:22), as did Paul (Acts 26:20), James (Ja. 2:14-26), Peter (1 Peter 4:1,2), John the Apostle (1 John 5:18), and the other writers of Scripture.
However, in order to be adequately trained in obedience, everyone must submit to being taught –that is, to being taught to obey everything Christ commanded. (Mt. 28:20) For everyone must obey the Lord’s commands in order to be in-dwelt by the Spirit. (John 14:23 // Acts 5:32 // 1 John 3:24) Thankfully, we need no man to teach us, as it is the grace of God (the grace that brings salvation in the Person of Jesus, the Word of God), as well as the anointing of His Spirit, that teaches us godliness and gives us the power to act accordingly. (Titus 2:11-14 // 2 Peter 1:3,4 // 1 John 2:27)
These are not my teachings. They are the teachings straight from Jesus’ lips (Mt. 19:17 // John 15:6,10), as well as from the entirety of God’s Word. (Gal. 6:7,8 // Eph. 5:5,6 // Col. 3:25 // 2 Tim. 2:5,19 // 1 John 2:3,4,15-17,28,29 // 3 John 1:11 // etc.)
Therefore, everyone should take warning, understand that repentance is –no, not just a mind change, but a life change, and a change that corresponds to the acknowledgement of one’s sins, a deep sorrow and contrition over those sins, and the renunciation and total rejection of sin itself.