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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : A Question about "God granting repentance"

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Joined: 2005/5/19
Posts: 724

 A Question about "God granting repentance"

As I have listened to the way this phrase has been applied in discussions here on the forum and with other believers in my own circles, I have questions and concerns as to how this concept of "granting repentance" should be accurately understood.

Several passages are quoted when discussing the idea of "God granting repentance", one of the primary being
Acts 11:18 - "And having heard these things, they were still, and glorified God, saying indeed it is so that also to the Gentiles God has given repentance unto life."

As I read this verse, it appears to me that these Jews are simply coming to the realization that not only is God seeking to redeem Israel to Himself, but He is also now actively seeking to redeem ALL of the nations to Himself as well. It does not appear to me that the statement should be taken to mean "God granted these certain men repentance."

How should we accurately understand the idea of "God granting repentance?" Is the cross of Christ God seeking to grant repentance to the entire world (whosever believeth) rather than destroying the world? "For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that THE WORLD through Him might be saved." Does this verse mean that God is granting repentance to the world rather than destroying it? Did Christ die for the sins of the whole world? Does God desire for all men to be saved?

Is this what Paul understood when he wrote Romans 3:23-24 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, BEING JUSTIFIED FREELY as a gift.." The grammar of the passage clearly indicates that this justification is directly intended for the all who sinned.

Is it possible that "being granted repentance" should be understood as God's desire that no one perish but for all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth?

It seems that many take the idea of God granting repentance to some men to be that He does not give all men this opportunity. Is God's design to raise up witnesses, and send them forth to preach the good news, God granting repentance to the world?

How did God grant repentance to Nineveh? Was He granting them repentance through the preaching of Jonah?

And was God saying through Ezekiel, that He never delights in the punishment of the wicked, but that His desire would be that all men "repent" and live? Would this not indicate that God in His heart is willing to grant repentance to all men?

The other passage often interpreted and applied in a way that causes me to have questions is Paul's instruction to Timothy. In this passage, Paul is instructing Timothy how to deal with those who are opposing him. The statement often quoted to indicate that God must grant repentance to an individual is this - "peradventure that God will grant them repentance unto the full knowledge of the truth..."

Should we necessarily deduct from this statement that we can not assume God desires for all men to come to repentance? Is Paul really telling Timothy, that we can't really know whether God will grant repentance to someone? Or, are we to understand that we as believers should always "leave room for repentance" like Peter wrote? Are we to always hope that men will come to repentance?

I realize that for anyone to experience repentance is a gift from God according to His wonderful grace. But if God has chosen the way that this gift of repentance is to be experienced is through the hearing of the gospel, then He does in fact desire for all men to come to repentance. The gospel and its good news is genuinely for all men, and God genuinely desires all men to experience salvation through repentance and faith.

I would be interested in reading the thoughts of others about this.


Alan and Dina Martin

 2015/2/28 8:20Profile

Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2779
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Re: A Question about "God granting repentance"

Thank you for bringing this up, it is thought provoking. It really does bring to bear the responsibility and privilege that we have of sharing the gospel to all the world.

God is willing to pardon ALL who repent and believe, but how shall they repent and believe if they don't hear the gospel like Cornelius and his family did?

It seems strange when you think of how reluctant the Jews were to accept that God would include Gentiles in His kingdom when that was what Jesus had commissioned them to do, "go ye into all the world."

In Christ,

Ron Halverson

 2015/2/28 10:42Profile

Joined: 2011/10/23
Posts: 2098


I think one of the main things to get from that verse or verses like that is repentance is a gift and not some thing that man can produce in his sin full flesh when he wills an wants ,but rather when god will ,it not of him who will nor him who runs but of god who shows mercy ,,when i say sin full flesh i mean in the context spoken of ,where it says that Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh . This is speaking of the in carnation of the eturnal son in to a human body ,the human body is refured to as the sinful flesh.

1 So it is impossible for the sinful flesh to repent with out god granting repentance New International Version
Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,

New Living Translation
Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people's hearts, and they will learn the truth.

English Standard Version
correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,

New American Standard Bible
with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,

King James Bible
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

Holman Christian Standard Bible
instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth.

International Standard Version
and gentle when refuting opponents. After all, maybe God will allow them to repent and to come to a full knowledge of the truth,

NET Bible
correcting opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance and then knowledge of the truth

2 scriptures in Romans and Hebrews and Timothy 2;25 above
show that it is gods choice to width hold repentance with certain adversary's ,perhaps he will or perhaps he wont grant repentance ,in Hebrews it says that once some has fallen away it is impossible to repent god closes the gate ,,Romans suggests that even with tears esaw found no repentance tho the bible shows he wanted and sought for repentance with even a broken heart ,

If we couple these letters together and look at romans closely regarding election and predestination , the conclusion is that god does with hold is gospel call to some ,we don't no exactly why ,but god never does anything with a reason ,posable it is due to that fact that some have already denied greatly the light that is given to every man through concince and creation and so god is not oblgated to reveal more

 2015/2/28 20:20Profile

Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5827


Well I certainly disagree with Gary on this point but he already knows that so no biggie.

I think too much is read into those verses.

To me, it is simple. God grants repentance to those who repent.

In other words, in the verse originally quoted:"instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth" simply means that if these men are gently instructed they may see the error of their ways and repent, which God would certainly honor.

God doesn't somehow "put repentance" into someone who then regurgitates it back to Him. God granting repentance simply means that God is faithful to those who repent.


 2015/2/28 20:49Profile

Joined: 2011/11/11
Posts: 710
San Diego


2Peter 3:9 has the phrase "He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

In Luke 13 Jesus remarks about the accidents in the local news where certain men had died. He assures the disciples and other hearers that these men were no worse sinners than anyone else, but that if they (His hearers) did not repent they would likewise perish.

These passages in context strongly suggest that repenting is a wise choice of a sinful man who is seeking a right relationship with God. I agree with Todd, that the "granting of repentance" is simply a way of expressing that God is pleased with the action, sees it as proper humility, and accepts it in accord with the way He grants salvation.

I still see salvation as a covenant, with actions required on both sides to make it complete. Through the death and resurrection of Christ and the revelation of His desire to save us, His part was ready. We enter into the covenant with a choice to turn from selfish sinful ways and let Jesus' death count as our death. Behold, a covenant is established, sonship and eternal life are granted... through the repentance!

Obviously, many reject that even believing there must be some other way to be saved. I don't believe there is another way, and I don't make the rules.

Tom Cameron

 2015/2/28 21:21Profile

Joined: 2011/10/23
Posts: 2098


ha what tod you disagree ,how dare you ....

i dont know tod sounds like a contradiction ,god gives repentance to those who have repentance already ,

Obviously god would not need to grant something that someone already has .

or where did they get repentance from unless it is through god granting repentance

GOd indeed puts repentance as a seed in man in the sinful flesh ,,the very beginnings of repentance means changing ones thoughts that then leads to changing ones actions ,..

HOW can the natural man ,that carnal mind which is at enmity toward god and not subject to the law of god ,{as paul puts it } change his mind about sin and god ,,only through the power and the workings of gods spirit can the carnal mind change and be put to death ,and renewed in the spirit of the mind to begin to think right thoughts about sin and god ..

how does one then continue to walk in the spirit and turn from sin and do the opposite of sin in the flesh ,,,,,...

Jesus said it ,he said he said he who commits sins is a slave of sin ,,,,,a slave is a slave held in chains a slave to his master sin ,not able to break the chains ,,but Jesus said if the son sets you free you will be free indeed ,,

the sinful flesh that Christ came in the likeness of has no power but is weak and sinfully subject only do the desires of the flesh ,,,,salvation is by grace ,and grace alone paul and the apostals made it verry clear that it is impossible to please god in the flesh ,and that in the flesh nothing good dwells ,,just weakness and evil desires corruption and contradiction .

god desires all to come to repentance ,,,yes all the elect that were chosen by him before the foundation of the world .. and he will get what he desires , because it is an election according to his good pleasure ,and becasue it is not of them that wills or those that run But of god who shows mercy

Remember Paul said he has created vessels of wrath fitted and prepared for destruction ,and other are prepared for glory ...

I mean ,just look at the facts in romans shows that god did not grant esaw repentance and this choice to not grant him repentence was nothing to do with a for knowledge of his works but for others reasons even tho esaw seeked for repentence with tears he did not find repentance , never chose esaw before he was born ,,but instead he chose Jacob who was a deceiver and a lier ,he chose the more unlikely one ,,,,,romans shows a relatively clear picture of election that is not based upon they that will nor they that run but is based upon gods good pleasure and his purposes and mercy

this election that paul teaches in romans ,is compared to us who are being saved and those who are being lost ,if one has the courage to go ever and over these verses in romans with a prayfull heart ,the shocking truth quite clear tho one may derive extra reasons for how salvation occurs ...

It is strange also that when we look to just the crusafiction of christ ,we see 2 things that seem to opose and contradict yet as the fundamental catilist ,gods determint pour pus and foreknowledge and ultimit power and choice .was what nailed the son of god to the cross ,Jesus the high priest offers him self and the blood was released as the high priest under the power o the holy spirit spills the innocent blood ,the bible says it pleased the lord to crush ,,,,,,,yet yet

according the scripture evil men performed this my there own will and were gulity of murdering the son of god as peter said mmmm......but haw can that be

Well this i know for my bible tells me so ,so it reveals the over arching power and dermined power and plans of or creator the father the son and the holy spirit ,

Who sutains and unhold all things by the word of his power


 2015/2/28 22:41Profile

Joined: 2011/11/11
Posts: 710
San Diego


Hard to argue with all that.........

Tom Cameron

 2015/3/1 0:17Profile

Joined: 2006/11/26
Posts: 3783


The Word clearly says that it is the will of God that
none should perish, but that all would come to

We must ask the question why is it that if it is the
will of God that all would be saved, then why are
so many perishing?

Men cannot repent unless the Holy Spirit convicts
them that they have sinned, and then the man
can either accept or reject this conviction.

Repentance involves both godly sorry and a
turning away from sin in response to the dealings
of the Holy Spirit. The lost is convicted that he is
a sinner, and the Christian is convicted of specific
sins that must be confessed.


 2015/3/1 8:15Profile

 Re: We are responsible

TMK, I agree with you.

Although I'm an advocate of TULIP, I think that doctrine and those that profess it, focus too much on the doctrine instead of the people involved.

I.e. "God calls all men, everywhere to repent."

 2015/3/1 11:13

Joined: 2011/10/23
Posts: 2098


hi there brothers ,,im not trying to carry this on beoned reasonable discussion but this verse 2 peter 3.9

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.y,

the one above that is most often quoted is actual talking about the elect, peter is refuring to those who have been called out god this is not talking about every sinner in the whole wide world ,,this is why peter clearly says with you god is painent ,

 2015/3/2 2:59Profile

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