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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Is Turning from Sin Necessary for Salvation?

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Oracio
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Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1850
Whittier CA USA

 Is Turning from Sin Necessary for Salvation?

Brethren, it is taught by some that turning from sin is not necessary for salvation, that only believing in Christ is necessary. One of their arguments is that the word repent does not appear anywhere throughout John’s Gospel, which Gospel to them is thee Gospel that emphasizes how one can have eternal life. Yet based on that kind of logic, there is no need to believe in or warn anyone about the existence of hell since the word hell isn’t found in John’s Gospel either; and based on that logic we do not need God’s mercy since the word mercy is also not found in John’s Gospel.

I would contend that while it is true that the word repent is not found in John’s Gospel, the need to turn from sin for salvation is most certainly taught therein. For example, in John 3 when Christ reasoned with Nicodemus about his need for the new birth, the need for repentance (turning from sin) was implied. How do I know that? Well, our Lord reprimanded Nicodemus for not being acquainted with the new birth as it was taught in the Old Testament. And how was it taught in the OT? Ezekiel 36:25-27 puts it this way,

“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them."

Another example is in the case of the women caught in adultery in John 8. Did not our Lord tell her, “go and sin no more,”?

Our Lord also said in John’s Gospel that His sheep hear His voice and FOLLOW Him (Jn. 10:26-28).

And there are more examples from John’s Gospel that could be cited.

Those that deny the need for turning from sin argue that when the New Testament mentions repentance it is synonymous with belief/faith/trust in Christ and that it has absolutely nothing to do with any turning from sin. And they say that men of God like Paul Washer, Ray Comfort, A.W. Tozer, John MacArthur and others have erred in preaching that repentance involves a turning from sin and that it is necessary for salvation.

But does the New Testament really teach that repentance has nothing to do with a turning from sin? The following are examples of repentance being taught as a turning from sin:

“But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! 21 “You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 “For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”-Acts 8:20-23

“Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 “And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. 23 “I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.”-Revelation 2:20-23

“But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. 21 And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”-Revelation 9:20-21

The late H.A. Ironside (theologian and pastor of Chicago's Moody Church) explained this issue well in his book titled "Except Ye Repent." Ironside wrote there,

“The arrangement of the four Gospels is in perfect harmony. In the Synoptics [Matthew, Mark, and Luke] the call is to repent. In John the emphasis is laid upon believing. Some have thought that there is inconsistency or contradiction here. But we need to remember that John wrote years after the older Evangelists, and with the definite object in view of showing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that, believing, we might have life through His Name. He does not simply travel over ground already well trodden. Rather, he adds to and thus supplements the earlier records, inciting to confidence in the testimony God as given concerning His Son. He does not ignore the ministry of repentance because he stresses the importance of faith. On the contrary, he shows to repentant souls the simplicity of salvation, of receiving eternal life, through a trusting in Him who, as the true light, casts light on every man, thus making manifest humanity's fallen condition and the need of an entire change of attitude toward self and toward God (Except Ye Repent, 37-38).”

Brethren, the need to turn from sin for salvation is clearly taught throughout both Testaments. May we not allow the enemy of our souls to deceive us in this vital matter.

Blessings


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Oracio Sandoval

 2017/9/28 16:59Profile
TMK
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Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 4167
NC, USA

 Re: Is Turning from Sin Necessary for Salvation?

The dispute may be over an issue of timing.

In order to be saved you must agree with God that your way stinks and you must surrender and decide to follow His way and you have to mean it. You must believe that Jesus is the only means to do this.

If you are truly converted you will gradually turn from sin. You may turn from some sins miraculously fast; others may take time.

What I would strongly disagree with is that you must turn from sin IN ORDER to be saved.


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Todd

 2017/9/28 17:49Profile
Oracio
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Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1850
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

I don't think I have any disagreement there TMK. I would only clarify this part of your post in terms of how I see it:

Quote:
What I would strongly disagree with is that you must turn from sin IN ORDER to be saved.


I would say one must turn from sin (repent) and trust in Christ IN ORDER TO RECEIVE salvation. Repentance and faith (two inseparable things) are the channel or means through which we receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life. If anyone one of those two things are absent there is no salvation. In fact, you cannot have anyone of those two things being absent. Genuine repentance is accompanied by genuine saving faith and vice versa.


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Oracio Sandoval

 2017/9/28 18:36Profile
MrBillPro
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Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2822
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 Re:

Quote:
Todd said....If you are truly converted you will gradually turn from sin. You may turn from some sins miraculously fast; others may take time.

Yep, others may take sometime, I'm still turning since 1995...


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Mr. Bill

 2017/9/28 18:38Profile
Oracio
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Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1850
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

Just to clarify, even after one is saved through repentance and faith, one continues to repent and trust Christ as a way of life. So there is no sinless perfection being referred to by me.


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Oracio Sandoval

 2017/9/28 18:41Profile
Oracio
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Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1850
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

Also TMK, you wrote:

Quote:
The dispute may be over an issue of timing.


If by that you mean to say that you believe faith comes before repentance, I would definitely strongly disagree as I see them taught as being inseparable from one another throughout Scripture.


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Oracio Sandoval

 2017/9/28 18:44Profile
Oracio
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Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1850
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

Some have described saving faith as a "repentant faith." I don't have a problem with that because repentance and faith are so interwoven together that sometimes it's hard to clearly delineate a clear-cut distinction between them.


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Oracio Sandoval

 2017/9/28 18:53Profile
TMK
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Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 4167
NC, USA

 Re:

The problem with making turning from sin a prerequisite for salvation is this: how much turning is required?

Oratio- what do you mean by "repent?" It may be we have a differing definition of what that term entails. I certainly agree that "repent and believe in the gospel" is required- after all Jesus said it (Mk 1:5).


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Todd

 2017/9/28 21:01Profile
Oracio
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Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1850
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

Quote:
The problem with making turning from sin a prerequisite for salvation is this: how much turning is required?

Oratio- what do you mean by "repent?" It may be we have a differing definition of what that term entails. I certainly agree that "repent and believe in the gospel" is required- after all Jesus said it (Mk 1:5).


But couldn't we say the same about faith? How much faith is required for salvation? We know that not just any ole kind of faith saves because James 2:14-26 warns that there is a kind of faith that is dead and does not save and that even demons believe and tremble.

But to answer your question, I think you defined what repentance is quite well in stating:
Quote:
In order to be saved you must agree with God that your way stinks and you must surrender and decide to follow His way and you have to mean it. You must believe that Jesus is the only means to do this.

If you are truly converted you will gradually turn from sin. You may turn from some sins miraculously fast; others may take time.


Those that deny the need for repentance deny the need for surrender; many of them hate to hear the word surrender used in gospel appeals. There's a popular little booklet titled "Living Water" which is basically the Gospel of John with commentary notes in it. The commentary notes boldly state that there is no need for any surrender to Christ, that one only needs to "believe" the gospel.

In true repentance one is deeply sorry/broken over their sins against God to the point that they renounce and forsake any and all known sins in their life as they turn to Christ; At first one may not know that certain things are sins but nevertheless one determines to forsake what one clearly knows to be sin. Afterward, God gives us more light and we continue to forsake our evil ways by God's grace as we grow spiritually.

The tax collector in Luke 18 comes to mind as a picture of a true penitent.

Proverbs 28:13 says, "He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy."

In Ezekiel 18:30 God says, "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin."

Isaiah 55:7 says, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon."

I'd also point out the verses I shared from the New Testament in the OP, verses which clearly show that repentance involves a turning from sin, whether it be murder, fornication, idolatry, etc.


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Oracio Sandoval

 2017/9/29 0:46Profile
Sree
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Joined: 2011/8/20
Posts: 1560


 Re:

Quote:

Is turning from Sin required for Salvation?



Salvation itself is to be saved from Sin (Matt 1:20). But sadly many (99.999...%) CHristians think that salvation is to be saved from Hell. There is no Biblical proof of it. If salvation itself is to be saved from Sin then how can turning from Sin not be essential to salvation? Because of false understanding of salvation, they have false understanding of Sin.

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. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”

Without repentance there is no belief.

Which one of you will marry a person who is still living in Adultery with another person? You expect your spouse to leave the adultery relationship before they enter in an relationship with you. How do you think God who is almighty one, will accept you as a bride when you are still in adultery with the world?





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Sreeram

 2017/9/29 11:29Profile





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