Question of the day: is it necessary?

This is another question that was sent to me by my friend Nick. If you’re like me, you will probably form an opinion immediately upon reading the questions. But take a moment and think about it…

Consider such Scripture verses as Mark 16:16John 1:12John 3:15-16, 18, 36,  and John 6:35, 40, 47.

Here’s the question…

Is it necessary for a person to be repentant in order to obtain salvation? Or is believing simply enough?

Is repentance an immediate bi-product of conviction, or does it come later when the individual can fully understand the depths of sin?

Thoughts? Opinions? Scripture to back up your ideas?

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Posted on March 28, 2011, in Question of the Day and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Scripturally speaking – repentance is turning back to God. Sanctification however is the process God takes us through as his Love changes us into his image.

    I define sin as a lack of love.. a lack of Love towards God, self and others. Holiness on the other hand is defined as being one who truly loves….therefore if we define sin in these terms – we get away from rules and regulations and all the loop holing we do to judge others… and are faced with the fact of how much do we really love….

    When faced with this paradigm – it puts a whole new perspective on what our own repentance looks like.

    • Dude, I would challenge you to clarify your response, because it doesn’t make ME feel good. Redefining key terms shouldn’t be done lightly. Yu make an interesting point, but could you expound?

      • A.C are you asking me to clarify my thoughts?

        When ever the prophets cried out to Israel to repent – it was always in regards to turning away from their false gods and idols and turning back to God as their God.

        Jesus says a new commandment I give you.. to love God and to love one another as he loved us. The 10 commandments are wrapped up in the language of love. If you really love your neighbour – this is how you will treat them.

        Within the construct of the OT – the Israelites were rebuked for not loving each other (lack of social justice) as well as for their idolatry….therefore within the construct of our modern language – sin is easily defined as lack of love towards God, others and towards our self…

        Think of every holy person you know of…what really defined their holiness – and you will find that it was steeped in love.

        • I see where you are coming from, and I don’t want to deny the love aspect. My only question is with regards to the “missing the mark” aspect of sin. Sin can be committed, I would think, even in love. Was that not partly the problem with Uzzah in 2 Samuel? It was also Jesus who said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

          • What was the commandments that we are referring to her A.C? The perpetual ones that Christ tells us to to through the ending of Matthew – where Jesus tells the disciples to teach us to obey all that he taught the disciples to do… this therefore include healing the sick, casting out demons, doing the odd miracle or two etc 😉

            Or could it be in regards to the new command that Jesus gave the disciples… A new commandment I give you.. “To love one another – as I have loved you!”

  2. Different people come to Jesus different ways. I came only understanding He was gracious. As time went on I repented and came to appreciate all the cross meant.

    Other people understand the cross right away. No one understands everything about salvation at the start

    • I’m inclined to agree with purplefacedpansy.

      Even the most knowledgeable theologian doesn’t fully understand salvation or repentance.

      But God watches our hearts, and I have no doubt that Heaven will be populated by unexpected people.

  3. It’s a combination of the two. To put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ to save you is to turn from what you have been “trusting” in for salvation. You can’t have one without the other because they go hand in hand when accepting Christ as Savior.

  4. You cannot have true faith without repentance. we will never FULLY understand how hideous sin really is, and we will spend the rest of our earthly life repenting of sin, but one cannot believe on Jesus without repenting also. John the Baptist called for it, Christ called for it, and the apostles called for it.
    I was speaking with someone today and asking them why she does not follow (aka believe in ) Jesus. her response to me was that there is a particular sin in her life that she knows doesn’t please God. She does not with so give that up in order to follow Him. She isn’t thinking that she must give it up to be saved, but that if she were to follow Him then she would not be able to continue in her sin. She admitted that she is not willing to repent of her sin. If Jesus would let her continue in her sin then she would have no problem with following Him, but since He calls her to repentance she is not willing to follow Him. She loves her sin more than God.
    In short, repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin. you cannot have one without the other.

  5. Such a simple question, and such an at-first seemingly simple answer (after all, many Scriptures, like Acts 2:31, tell us to repent and believe). But then others, like the account of Philip meeting the Ethiopian eunuch, only say “believe.” And we meet people, like “Purple faced Pansy,” who begin like the “adopted” children Paul tells us three times that we all are – children who only learn to obey (and repent) as they grow and get to know and love their adopted parents.

    About a week ago (on 3/23) Linda Krushke blogged about a guest speaker at her church who said he believed the core of holiness (which we often assume is thorough, detailed repentance) was love. He explains eloquently – I recommend you read it at lindakrushke.wordpress.com. It’s titled “Complete love binds us in unity.”

    John seems to tie all these together. He says Jesus told his disciples that if we love God, we will obey him. (For instance, see John 14: 21, 23, and 24.) Verse 21 says, in part, “I will only reveal myself to those who love me and obey me.” (And obeying can mean either (1) listening and learning or (2) repenting, depending on where each of us is in our Christian walk.)

  6. Craig,

    I think that you are misunderstanding what I am trying to say. Let me try to clarify myself.

    Yes, all of the commandments can be summed up and fulfilled in the act of “love the Lord God…” On the other hand, sin cannot be defined only by the lack of love. That is my point. Originally, you said, “I define sin as a lack of love.. a lack of Love towards God, self and others.” Before that you said, “Scripturally speaking – repentance is turning back to God.” I believe you had it right the first time, but in an attempt to expound deeper aspects of truth, wound up redefining what has been clearly defined in scripture.

    In the Authorized Version, ἁμαρτάνω (hamartanō), translated “sin” 38 times, “trespass” 3 times, “offend” once, and “for your faults” once, has the meaning of “missing the mark.” It is used of trespassing against someone. It is the word found in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” It is also the word used in 1 Cor. 8:12, “But when ye SIN so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye SIN against Christ.”

    Again, all I am saying is that I believe that there is more to the word than just a lack of love. And it is those pet “sins” that many love too much to give all their love to Jesus. They would not turn away, lest they lose that love. Hence, their “missing the mark” results in missing salvation.

    I hope you understand that I am not picking on you, nor trying argue.

    • Hi A.C. I don’t think your trying to argue or pick on me. I think we are both coming from a different cultural / traditional and language angle and speaking of the same thing.

      Certainly sin is defined as missing the mark and trespassing against someone…and you are right in describing those who ‘love’ their pet sins to much to turn back to Jesus…. There are a number of ways to describe love… and the love of pet sins I will argue is not a pure love…

      When we delve deeper into how we miss the mark.. it can be described as a lack of pure love..towards God, ourselves and each other… When we sin against the brethren – yes we do miss the mark and wound their conscience… and again, this action can be described, as not purely loving the brethren…rather we are doing things out of selfishness…(not loving ourselves / each other purely)

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