> > please elaborate upon the word "repent." Of
> > course, repent is the translation of the Greek word meaning to
> > "change your mind." But could you be specific about exactly what is
> > involved in the repentence which accompanies salvation?
The prime Biblical example of gospel repentance is Paul in Philippians chapter 3. Paul said that all of his religious deeds before he was saved were nothing but wickedness. In verse 6, he said that before he was saved, he was BLAMELESS according to righteousness in Law! Yet he counted himself LOST when he was in this religion. Why did he count himself lost? Because of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord. When God saved him, God gave him the KNOWLEDGE that his salvation was conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone, his works totally excluded. And when God gave him that KNOWLEDGE, he counted his former religion as nothing but self-righteous dung, because he realized that in his former religion, he believed in salvation conditioned on the sinner. This is called REPENTANCE. This repentance is a change of heart, wherein one turns FROM believing in, worshiping, and serving a false god and a false christ TO believing in, worshiping, and serving the true God and the true Christ. The person turns FROM believing in the false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner TO believing in the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone. And in order for the person to TRULY turn from one to the other, he must RECOGNIZE that the gospel he USED to believe was a FALSE GOSPEL, the god he used to worship was a FALSE GOD, and the christ he used to trust was a FALSE CHRIST. He must RECOGNIZE that these sins are indicative of LOSTNESS. He must RECOGNIZE that when he believed in a false gospel and a false god and a false christ, he was an open idolater, bringing forth dead works and fruit unto death. Without this RECOGNITION, there is no repentance. Paul RECOGNIZED that in his former religion, he was bringing forth fruit unto death. In Romans 7:4-5, Paul RECOGNIZED that when he was lost, he was IN THE FLESH, and he was BRINGING FORTH FRUIT UNTO DEATH. Now was Paul talking about his old party days where he engaged in all kinds of immorality? NO! When he was lost, he was BLAMELESS according to righteousness in Law. Paul was talking about his life of RELIGION, DEDICATION, and MORALITY! He counted it as bringing forth fruit unto death. He RECOGNIZED it to be so.
Now I'd like to give you a scenario to illustrate this point.
Here's the scenario: A man claims to believe the doctrines of grace. He claims to agree with the definition of the gospel. He says that salvation is by the sovereign grace of God alone, based on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone, without any contribution from the sinner. He says that the work of Christ demands and ensures the salvation of all Christ represented, that Christ only died for His people, and that universal atonement is heretical. So far, so good. But then he says that when he was unregenerate, he was an irreligious drug dealer, until God saved him and changed his life. He says that when he first became a believer, he believed that Christ died for everyone without exception in the whole world, based on his misunderstanding of some Scripture passages that seemed to teach universal atonement. He says that it wasn't until a few years after his conversion that he encountered a Reformed book that explained particular redemption, and then he saw the precious truth of particular atonement and the heresy of universal atonement. He now considers his spiritual life to be much more enriched now that he has come to know the truth of particular atonement.
What is this man's current spiritual state? This man is still as lost as when he was an irreligious drug dealer. He was lost as an irreligious drug dealer, he was lost as a religionist who believed in universal atonement, and he continues to be lost as a religionist who has now "come into" the doctrines of grace. How do we know this? It has to do with his REPENTANCE, which shows how much he VALUES the gospel. When this man saw the truth of particular redemption, what did he think of his former religion in which he believed universal atonement? Did he count it as dung? Did he say that he was in the flesh and bringing forth fruit unto death? Did he say that he was worshiping and serving a false god and a false christ? Did he say that he believed a false gospel? No. He believes that he was regenerate while he believed in universal atonement. And remember - universal atonement is equal to salvation conditioned on the sinner, because those who believe in universal atonement DO NOT believe that the work of Jesus Christ ALONE demands and ensures the salvation of all whom He represented. They DO NOT believe that the work of Jesus Christ ALONE is what makes the difference between heaven and hell. They believe that it is the work of the SINNER that ultimately makes the difference between heaven and hell. So, since this man believes that he was regenerate while he believed in universal atonement, it is clear that HE HAS NOT REPENTED. He does not consider belief in universal atonement to be belief in a false gospel. Instead, he believes that one can believe the gospel and believe universal atonement at the same time. So not only has he not repented, he does not really believe the gospel.
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