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Looking for the meaning of repentance. – Oct 24, 2004

Hello. I just found this site while looking up the word repentance in the Google search engine. Our pastor is leading a Sunday school class on the psalms and today’s study focused on a penitent psalm, Psalm 51. The word repent came up and left me with some questions which we weren’t able to explore fully, being limited on time and answering the remaining questions in our workbook. I broke the word repent down to its roots as I understood it:

“re” meaning go back and “pent” meaning summit or top. So I thought it meant going back to the status of mankind before the fall, wrong. The discussion concluded with repent being defined as turning away from sin, also wrong, as I now see. Since so many of us are taught how to lead someone to Christ imploring them to repent of their sins, what is the best way to lead someone to the Lord. Is the ABC formula of Admit, Believe and Confess sufficient?

Sharon

Note: Full name and email hidden until permission to release such info has been obtained.


Jack Heckathorne’s Reply….

From: “Jack Heckathorne” <jack@gjcn.org>
Subject: Commentary question

Hi Sharon,

Actually, as far as salvation is concerned all we need to do is believe in the person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross. It is not necessary to admit that we are sinners or confess sin to be saved. Look at it this way, Sin is why Christ died on the cross. God the Father required the payment of death for sin. Jesus died as a payment for the sin of others and since he has no sin of his own he is qualified to do this. If one of us tried to do this we would be condemned because of our sins therefore, we are not qualified. Jesus, having no personal sin, could be resurrected. It is the resurrection that is salvation. If we believe in him we have that same resurrection.

“For the wages (payment) of sin is death, but the gift (not earned or deserved) of God (the Father) is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

Salvation is a GIFT since Jesus Christ made the payment of death so then nothing is required of us.

God the father was satisfied with the work of Christ. Since Christ paid the price of sin already there is nothing left for us to do. Our sins have been paid for and are not an issue for salvation. It is not necessary to admit that we are sinners. The Bible tells US that we are all sinners. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Any honest person already knows he is a sinner anyway.

Confession of sin is not a condition for salvation; it is for believers who sin after they are saved to return us to fellowship with God while on earth. It is necessary for our spiritual walk with the Lord. A carnal Christian is one who sins and does not confess it. He is not controlled by the Holy Spirit. Your scripture of Psalms 51 is discussing this very thing. The writer here is a saved person confirmed in verse 14 where he says “thou God of my salvation”. In verse 3 he acknowledges his transgressions or sins. We find the very same thing in the New Testament in 1 John 1:9. John here is a saved man and he has addressed his writing toward the church when he writes “If we (Christians) confess our sins (name them to God) He (God the Father) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Satan always wants to add something to faith. He wants us to add our works, emotions, giving up something, changing our life etc. because if we believe we have to do all that to be saved we may tend shy away from God. It is a very clever tactic. We must realize that Satan wants to deceive us and this is just one of his ways.

So, to answer your question when we explain the Gospel we should explain that everyone was born a sinner because Adams sin was passed down to us. This causes us to have a “sin nature” in our soul so when we are born we are born physically alive but spiritually dead. Because we are spiritually dead we cannot enter heaven. The Bible tells us that we are “quickened” (made alive) when we believe. We cannot earn our way in nor can we do anything about our sin nature, our past sin or our future sin. The Bible tells us that we must be born again. First we are born physically then when we accept Jesus Christ we are born spiritually. At this time our sins which have been paid for are now forgiven, all of them.

As far as the unbeliever is concerned he should understand that he is saved through faith in Jesus Christ. He should change his unbelieving mind to a believing mind.

I normally quote this verse: Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the (eternal) life, he that believes in me, though he were (spiritually) dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26)

Remember, salvation is a gift. A gift is not earned or deserved. It is freely accepted. Believing is a non meritorious act. There are no strings to salvation.

I believe that if we gain a full and true understanding of the Gospel, repentance, confession etc. that we can explain the Gospel in our own words and vernacular. You have a gift to reach people that no one else can and when you are ready with your knowledge of these things God will bring people around to you so that you can lead them to the Lord.

Thank you for your question,

Regards,
Jack Heckathorne

Also Please read the commentary “Can you Lose your Salvation”, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ” and “Fear vs Faith” for details