“As Long as I Repent!”
Jorge L. Trujillo
is the role of repentance in the life of a person? What is
repentance for and how do we obtain it? These are questions for
which the Bible gives clear answers to. But any topic of doctrine of
the Bible can be misapplied and misused if there is no clear understanding
of the message of the Bible in regards to it. For example, when
those who teach that born again Christians can loose their salvation
due to sin in his or her life are presented with the unavoidable conclusion
that they are teaching ‘salvation by works’ that is - a person remains
saved because of his/ her ability to remain sinless or by living a "holy
- they respond that that it is not true, they claim not to
teach salvation by works but by faith alone. Following that answer
however, they also add that the person who commits a sinful action is not
necessarily lost because of the sin committed but because of lack of
repentance from that sin.
In the minds of these individuals who realize that a true Christian
can and often do commit sins of different kinds, they still need to find a
‘foundation’ for their doctrine of lost salvation. Since
obviously there is no way a single Christian can live a totally sinless
life (1 John 1:8-10), the problem remains: How can a person remain
saved while still committing sins? Their solution to this dilemma
is that people remain saved “as long as they repent”
before they die. Therefore,
according to them a Christian can commit any kind of
unthinkable sin, but if that person “repents” from that sin before
dying, then salvation is not lost or at least recuperated. This
argument also leads them to conclude that if a born again Christian
commits a sin and does not repent before dying, that person will be lost
rather particular way of thinking is prevalent among many Christians today
and is taken as Biblical truth, but is it so?
have to clearly state that while thinking and teaching that one’s
salvation is kept because of “holy living” is absolute
legalism (or moralist salvation) and contrary to the message of
salvation by grace alone, to say that salvation is lost for not repenting
of sin is a detestable form of
antinomianism (living without regard to God’s law) as we hope
to demonstrate. The
former is a humanistic attempt to merit final salvation by ‘good works’
which is a slap in the face of the complete saving work of Christ by
pretending that any man is capable of saving himself by first ‘believing
in Christ’ (faith) and then by ‘living a holy life’ (works) -- faith
+ works salvation.
Such idea is nothing more than the same false gospel prevalent in
the midst of the church since the days of the Apostle Paul and against
which he wrote in his letter to the Galatians.
The latter is a form of thinking that undermines the sanctity and
seriousness of God's law. Sadly, many honest Christian leaders have being led astray with these
type of doctrines but there are those who under the guise of being servants of the Lord
and zealous for holiness and purity are preaching salvation by human
effort undermining the Word of God and the true salvation of the Christian
religion by Grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
(and Re-saved) by Repenting
the other hand we have those who insist that salvation is kept “as
long as they repent of the sins committed”. They, skillfully yet
erroneously teach both a form of “man-centered salvation” as well as a
dangerous form of “antinomianism” which promotes sinful conduct
and lack of fear in God in
every way since “I can always repent”.
This way of thinking is too often found in the sinful examples of
many who oppose those who stand firmly on the grace of God and
maintain that a born again believer once saved by the Grace and power of
God is eternally secure in Him. Many
of them continually live and act in deplorable ways such as lying,
deceiving, and cheating, committing all kinds of sexual immoralities and
spiritual adulteries "without fear of God" (Rom. 3:18) but according to them, being
‘kept saved’ because they
“repent”. To these teachers
'repentance' is something that man does whenever he wants to or feels like
it. So, is therefore a “man-centered salvation”
system where God is passively waiting for man to do his part. Interestingly
at the same time, this kind of
because when people ‘think’ that they can simply repent from their sins
and thereby ‘retain’ or ‘regain’ their salvation, they will easily sin because
somewhere in the back of their minds, they ‘believe’ that they can
repent from whatever sinful activity they engaged and ‘remain saved’.
way of thinking is no better than the doctrine of “Once Saved Always
Saved” which they vigorously and I should also say ‘hypocritically’
oppose. While it is true that
some false teachers preach that one person’s first and only confession of faith
is all it takes to be saved, be it raising the hand at church, responding
to an altar call at a crusade and repeating the prescribed “sinner’s
prayer” regardless of how they live and act even if no real visible
change has occurred in their lives after that moment, the “saved by repenting teachers” preach
(or imply) that
you can live a sinful life as long as you repent at the end of the day or
at the end of your sinful affair. “I
know that I will not loose my salvation as long as a repent”; those
are the words I've heard time and time again from the lips of those who hold to such unbiblical doctrine.
It's no wonder that supposed Christian people engage themselves in all sort of sinful
actions and remain free of remorse and continue to happily sing the tunes of God
because “All I have to do is repent”.
Such schemes are simply diabolical forms of distorting the truth
and must be exposed as such. Men
cannot mock God – each one will reap according to his or her works.
is no doctrine in the Bible that teaches that you can go ahead and sin
just because you will later repent or that salvation is not lost or even
“recuperated” once you decide to “repent”.
The Bible clearly states that men are either "under grace" or
"under law". If under grace then there is no condemnation to them because
the penalty for our sins has being paid in full by Christ (Rom. 5:1).
But if under law, then the full condemnation of the law is upon
them and they shall pay the penalty of sin.
From this point of
view salvation is then a work of man and not a work of God.
Conditioning man’s salvation to man’s actions is simply basing
salvation upon the merits of man. It
is man who by an act of the will “chooses to repent” or "not repent",
thereby ‘meriting’ or ‘not meriting’ the continuation of his or
her salvation or the reinstatement of it. Salvation is then not based upon perfect work of the
rock of the ages, Christ the Savior, but on the merits and will of man
instead. According to such scheme, man can and does get saved (or keep his/
her salvation) at his or her own will - to his or her glory.
in the Bible
Repentance is a
very important doctrine of the Bible.
The first step toward salvation in the process of conversion is
repentance (Acts 20:21). That word comes from the Greek ‘metanoia’ and means to
change one’s mind, especially about sin.
There is a repentance that is according to God (ie. God produced)
and leads to salvation but there is another type of repentance that is
according to man (ie. carnally
devised) and leads to condemnation (2 Cor. 7:10).
Men must repent in order to be saved BUT
repentance is not something that is produced by man so he can get his
salvation, repentance is “given by God”.
When a person convicted by the work and power of the Holy Spirit
feels the pain of sin after having offended God, the
Lord Himself will lead him to repentance.
Such repentance is said to be produced by God.
If God does not give repentance man will not repent but when God
gives repentance man will always repent.
Him [Jesus] God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and
Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God,
saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”
And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to
teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those
who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance,
so that they may know the truth, 26 and that
they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the
devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will
As we can clearly see in the
Scriptures, repentance is part of the work of God in salvation and was
given by Him both to Israel and the Gentiles. Even those who are in
the church but are captives of Satan have no hope of repenting if God does
not grant them such gift of grace and be saved. Paul is not even
sure that it will happen but states "if God perhaps will grant them
Esau as an example. The Bible
states that after having lost his birthright to his brother Jacob, when
he sinfully sold it for a bowl of soup, Esau desired it back but
repentance was not found for him.
lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for
one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For
you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he
was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it
diligently with tears.
Repentance is required of God - is
a command to all men (Acts 17:30). It is a necessary prerequisite for
salvation, yet again if God does not grant repentance to the sinner, there
will be no repentance and no salvation. What does that mean?
Salvation is all of Grace and all of God, from beginning to end (Phil.
Repentance and the Christian
After becoming a believer in Christ,
repentance is not a ticket to ‘retain’ or ‘buy back’ a lost
salvation. Repentance is part of the believer’s life because he or she
is secure in the hands of the Father. Salvation is a gift of God and so is
repentance, which is such an important part in the life of the believer.
Christians repent of and confess their sins not because they fear loosing their
salvation but because God has wrought salvation in them and guides them to
it (1 John 1:9-10). A true Christian does NOT
think that his or her "holy life" can earn them any points or merit them
salvation nor keep him or her saved (or re-saved them).
NEITHER do they sin thinking, “I can repent later”.
Christians know they sin more than they want to which means that
one sin is one too many (Rom. 7: 14-25). They struggle against sin in their lives because
it offends their Savior and live holy lives to please their Master but in
no time should they believe or think that such “holiness” can earn
them salvation or keep them from the wrath of a Holy God.
The justification in Christ is what determines the standing of a
child of God in His presence. We
are not accepted because we keep ourselves sinless nor because we “keep
repenting”. His Grace and
mercy saves us because God has bestowed his love on us and given us
salvation by justifying us from all of our sins, adopting us as His
beloved children, Hehas made us perfect and sanctifies us by His word.
We, as Biblical Christians should
always be paying attention to those strange doctrines that creep into the
church, which on the surface seem to be biblical and sound doctrinal
truths but are nothing more than a different Gospel than the one once
delivered to the saints.
having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through
our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith
into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the
glory of God.
Many of those who believe that salvation can be lost because of sin
also make an unbiblical distinction between different kinds of sin
where only those “big sins” such as adultery and murder are considered grave
enough to cause one’s salvation to be lost, while other no so grave
sins are bad but not as bad as to make a person loose his or her
separation and distinction of various sins lacks any scriptural
support. While it is
true that some sins cause more damage than others, ALL sins, not just
some, cause a person to be eternally separated from God and deserves
the penalty for it, eternal condemnation in hell (Rom. 6:23; Rom
©1999-2009 Jorge L. Trujillo
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