Thursday, July 13, 2006

Does Salvation without Repentance exist?

This is a question that I've been wrestling though on a personal level for years. I grew up in the church and have known many people (friends and acquaintances) that have claimed to be Christians, but yet their lives don't back it up. For years I have pondered the question, "Is it possible to truly know Christ, and not change?" The decision I came to quite a few years ago, is the same one that I claim today. WITHOUT REPENTANCE, you CANNOT be saved. I know that sounds really harsh but let me explain what I mean.

A common misconception that most people have about Christianity is that, if you attend church you're a Christian; if you read your Bible, you're a Christian; if you speak the Christian lingo, you're a get the point. This is a completely incomplete (if that makes sense) way to look at it. Are we defined by what we do? Do our works make us Christian. Absolutely not (Eph. 2:8-9)! Don't hear me say in this post that works make us Christian because that is absolutely wrong. It is only by God's Grace that we are saved.

But let's examine something, In 2 Corinthians, 5:14-21 (great verses....definitely a must read) Paul talks about how, when we come to know Christ as our savior, we are to be controlled by his love (v.14). When we become a Christian, we are a new creation. That is what it means to be born again, we change in mind, heart, and disposition. We are DIFFERENT. Friend, if you have not seen a change in your actions, or desires at all, there honestly may be a problem. I don't want to sound preachy at all. If you knew my heart, you would understand that I struggle as well with sin. We all do. The difference when we are saved is that we are no longer SLAVES (Romans 6). We are no longer slaves to sin. We can have victory over it because Christ is in us! So repentance has to happen because we become new. We have the mind of Christ. Our desires change, we are a new creation!!! Isn't that good news? True salvation must be accompanied with true repentance. The problem with many in the church today is that they are going through the motions. They don't own their faith, they just put on a front. But we are commanded to flee the things of our old self, and set our mind on things above (Col. 3:1-5). We are called to a higher standard. It is a life that depends on God.

The truth is, the Christian life is IMPOSSIBLE to lead without God's help. Apart from him we are sinners, and without his strength we can do nothing. Do yourself a favor and thank God for saving you (if you have come to faith), and choose today to live on his strength alone. Be encouraged, walk in the light (1 John)!


At 23:40, Blogger Chloe Lou said...

I definately believe that you have to repent to be saved. Because when you ask Christ into your life, you are telling him that you are a sinner and cannot live a life worth living without his forgiveness and direction in your life. I know there isn't a right and wrong way, but that's what came to my mind the other night when you were talking about it.

At 10:55, Blogger danny2 said...

the catholic church believes that sanctification (the process of becoming more like Christ) is a necessary part of becoming saved. they believe you are not really saved til your sanctification and justification (declared righteous by God) cooperate together.

the protestant church opossed this heresy. it is justification alone that puts a person in right standing with God.

but somehow, as we drew that critical distinguishing line, we began to give people the idea that they could become justified and never experience sanctification. but what then do we do with philippians 1:6?

i enjoyed the post matt. here's a great article by piper explaining that repentance is an inward work with outward manifestation.

At 15:28, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Look forward to reading your column and was so much in agreement with it. There has to be repentance in our heart or we would not be asking Christ into our hearts. JESUS CHRIST shed HIS blood for our sins and we will never be able to be worthy of that, at least not me.

At 00:08, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think another problem with the church today is that so many people think that profession = belief, when the real equation looks more like belief = action. (You can tell a lot about what a person believes by his actions.) And since faith and works go hand in hand, the evidence should be there for all to see.

I like the way James 2:26 is paraphrased in the Message: The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing.

At 00:16, Blogger jason said...

the classic understanding of faith, as I understand it, says that there are three aspects to faith; understanding, belief, and the third aspect (fiducia) love or emotion. What we've done today is reallly done away with the fiduciary faith. We hold mental assent to be enough. I would encourage anyone to read Macarthur's The Gospel According To Jesus. he does an excellent job of bringing this principle out of Jesus' teaching.

At 13:10, Blogger spydrwebb said...

Thanks for being relevant and honesst. It's important that more people in the Church not only agree to be honest, but to some degree exploit their honesty and brokenness because there are too many people in the Church that still appear unapproachable.

At 07:52, Blogger Theop said...

Interesting question that Christians have struggled with from before the beginning of the Church. John Baptized Jesus and according to Mark Jesus went about declaring the gospel saying, "Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand". This is something a Christian should struggle with for him/herself and not judge others. Encouragement is of course always appropriate. Thank you for your insight on this critical issue.

At 22:10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if i do this blog thing wrong forgive me please its my first time your writing on salvation w/o repentence is right on you can face God or not theres no kinda pregnent or kinda saved

At 09:12, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Matt, I enjoyed your blog post and the other comments. I, too, am a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. My wife is coming to Christ, and ponders this very question--how can a person's profession alone, a single prayer of "forgive me God", save their soul, and yet they go on living the same life as before. Also, in response to 'danny2' comment, in Roman Catholocism, sola Scriptura is not accepted. Thank you for posting your comments--they were helpful to me. -Mark

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At 18:22, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe we must repent, but I believe repentance is a gift from God to us. I believe we are justifed in Christ Jesus alone and our justification causes us to be santified by God's power not our own and in God's perfect timing not our own, the problem is we can't see peoples hearts, to us we may think it is but a confession, but truth be told it is a cry to God for help...I think it can be scary when you hear the words repent, because peoples lives are so messy, some people have been through unbelievable things and it takes alot of time and prayer and love and support in order for them to heal, I think allowing those who accept Christ time! time for Christ to grab their heart, time for him to heal them and HE will santify them...our God is great, his goodness leads us to repentance, they need to get to know GOD...I think this is where most people try on their own power to santify themselves because they are afraid and fear God as well as what others think, but the truth is, perfect love casts out fear, and it is God's love and patients that changes the unchangeable. The power of the cross breaks every CHAIN:)

At 10:54, Blogger Jahaleel Abiah Daniel said...

thats the reason why Jesus came in.. because for the caused of sin that separates man from God.. Jesus loves sinners and he saved us if weve only believed Him. Without REPENTANCE sinners are doomed to eternal death. faith without work isdead, clearly stated at the bible.. if u just merely believe but without change, its nothing.

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At 18:22, Blogger Steve Finnell said...


Is repentance a necessary act that is required by men for salvation or are men saved by "faith only?"

Acts 17:30-31 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.

People should repent because God commanded it and because all men will stand before Jesus on Judgment Day.

Luke 24:47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

People should repent for the forgiveness of their sins. On the Day of Pentecost, in Jerusalem, men were required to repent in order to have their sins forgiven. They needed to make the commitment to turn from sin and turn toward God. Yes, they needed to repent in order to be saved. (Acts 2:38)

Romans 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.

Men need to repent in order to not experience the wrath of God. A stubborn and unrepentant heart can make men reluctant to believe what Jesus said "and has been baptized shall be saved." (Mark 16:16) Shall be saved; follows water baptism and belief.

2 Corinthians 7:10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

People should repent because it leads to salvation.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

All people should repent in order not to perish. Contrary to Calvinist teaching God wants all men to repent.

Luke 13:2-3 And Jesus said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? 3 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will likewise perish.

People should repent because Jesus said "repent or perish."

Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

All men should repent so that they can have their sins forgiven and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

It men believe (John 3:16), confess (Romans 10:9-10), repent (Acts 3:19) and are baptized in water (Acts 2:38) then they are saved. It can take 2 hrs more or less.

Repentance does not stop at water baptism. You also need to repent after you become a Christian.


Galatians 5:19-21 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.




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