Hello, this is Brother John. Before you read today’s blog I want to remind you of what other topics are available for you to read. By clicking on the archives icon you can bring up two other articles in October. They are:
1. Good news for bad people – lordship salvation vs. free grace salvation
2. Annihilation – 12 reasons why hell is not eternal conscious torment.
These are full articles. However today I just want to blog a little about the relationship between repentance and justification by faith. Now for today’s article…
The relationship between Repentance and Justification by Faith
In the New Testament, Justification is by faith alone plus absolutely nothing. The key verse to understanding Justification is Romans 4:5 which says, “But to him who does not work, but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited to Him as righteousness.”
Here in this verse we see that there is nothing else needed for salvation besides faith. Paul presents us with the example of a man who does not work. He does not do any good deeds or accomplish any obedience to the law. He does no good moral works of any kind. Additionally, in case you don’t believe me, he is understood to be ungodly. He is not a good person. He is ungodly. He is not said to have a good regenerate heart and to be repentant of sin. He is said to be ungodly. It is in that condition that he believes in Christ…and his faith is accounted to him as righteousness.
Now faith is the trust and the belief that, even though I am an ungodly sinner and can do nothing whatsoever to contribute toward my salvation, I personally am automatically right with God and have his forgiveness and eternal life, simply because the death of Jesus Christ pays the penalty for all my sins. Faith means to abandon your attempts to save yourself and simply trust Jesus’ blood to cover your sins and give you salvation.
Here is the order that Salvation occurs. First, before the foundation of the world, God sovereignly and unconditionally elected us for salvation. Then, at some point in our lives, the Holy Spirit calls us and draws us irresistibly to Christ by revealing the truth to our minds and causing faith. Faith is a gift from God. Upon believing we are forgiven and justified and then regenerated. Thereupon, the Spirit enters us and indwells us as His temple. That, in turn causes the fruits of the Spirit which are love and goodness and self-control etc.
Now where does repentance fit into all of this? Well the New Testament Greek word for repentance is metanoia. It comes from the Greek prefix “meta” which means afterward and the Greek word Gnosis which means knowledge. So metanoia means “afterward knowledge.” It means that you used to think a certain thing, but afterward you have knowledge, so now you think something different. So it means to change your mind. Since that is true, to repent is really a synonym for faith. To repent means that, in the past I didn’t believe in Christ, but I have changed my mind… so now I do.
We see this in the New Testament all the time. In the book of Acts, the Apostles were continually speaking to Jews who had rejected and crucified Jesus because they did not believe that He was the Messiah. So the Apostles would call upon them to repent… to change their minds. This was simply the insistence that they believe in Christ for salvation.
Now many people today think that to repent always means to turn from sin and evil. They think that the Apostles were calling upon men to turn from sin to be justified. But that is wrong. The apostles were not calling on people to make moral commitments for salvation. They were not calling on them to become godly to be saved. Remember, Paul says “to the one who does not work, but believes on Him who justifies the UNGODLY, his faith is credited to him as righteousness.” You see, Ephesians 2 says that it is by grace that we are saved through faith and not of works lest any man should boast. Salvation is not of any works or obedience to the law of God. Paul even says in Romans 3:28 “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith, APART FROM the deeds of the law.”
So it is not by works, it is not by the deeds of the law, it is not by becoming godly, it is by faith only. It has to be faith only because if you get rid of works, and doing the law and being godly, there is nothing left! So here is the relationship of repentance and justification by faith: Justification is by faith alone and repentance is a synonym for faith because it simply means to change your mind and trust in Christ. Thanks for reading my blog today. Your friend always…John Roberts