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by Bill Perkins
Compass International, Inc.
The “repentance in salvation”question is hotly debated between the dispensationalists and covenant theologians. The idea of “salvation without repentance” understandably sends many into fits of rage. But is salvation without repentence even possible?
Lewis Chafer wrote:
Roy B. Zuck writes:
Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead
the third day; and that repentance for forgiveness
of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the
Dr. Charles Ryrie says of this verse,“Clearly, repentance for the forgiveness of sins is connected to the death and resurrection of Christ.”(Charles C. Ryrie, So Great Salvation, Victor Books, p. 98).
that your good works will save you, but they won’t. The only thing that can save you is your faith and belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Neither did Jesus tell the woman at the well in Samaria to repent. When she recounted her story, the other Samaritians didn’t “repent,” rather they “believed.”
Christians do sin and when we are convicted about that sin, we need to repent, or change directions, away from the sin toward God’s way. But this repentance has nothing to do with salvation. It’s simply a Believer maturing in his/her faith.
For those who continue to stand firm while contending for the faith…
from J.C. Ryle’s Old Paths “Forgiveness”
1) Forgiven souls HATE SIN. They can enter most fully into the words of our Communion Service, “The remembrance of sin is grievous unto them, and the burden of it is intolerable.” It is the serpent which bit them—how should they not shrink from it with horror? It is the poison which brought them to the brink of eternal death—how should they not loathe it with a godly disgust? It is the Egyptian enemy which kept them in hard bondage—how should not the very memory of it be bitter to their hearts? It is the disease of which they carry the marks and scars about them, and from which they have scarcely recovered—well may they dread it, flee from it, and long to be delivered altogether from its power! If you and sin are friends, you and God are not yet reconciled. You are not fit for heaven; for one main part of heaven’s excellence is the absence of all sin.
2) Forgiven souls LOVE CHRIST. This is that one thing they can say, if they dare say nothing else—they do love Christ. His person, His offices, His work, His name, His cross, His blood, His words, His example, His ordinances—all, all are precious to forgiven souls. The ministry which exalts Him most, is that which they enjoy most. The books which are most full of Him, are most pleasant to their minds. The people on earth they feel most drawn to, are those in whom they see something of Christ. He is their Redeemer, their Shepherd, their Physician, their King, their strong Deliverer, their gracious Guide, their hope, their joy, their All. Were it not for Him they would be of all people most miserable.
3) Forgiven souls are HUMBLE. They cannot forget that they owe all they have and hope for to free grace, and this keeps them lowly. They are brands plucked from the fire—debtors who could not pay for themselves—captives who must have remained in prison forever—but for undeserved mercy—wandering sheep who were ready to perish when the Shepherd found them! What right then have they to be proud? I do not deny that there are proud saints. But this I do say—they are of all God’s creatures the most inconsistent, and of all God’s children the most likely to stumble and pierce themselves with many sorrows. We have nothing we can call our own–but sin and weakness. Surely there is no garment that befits us so well, as humility.
4) Forgiven souls are HOLY. Their chief desire is to please Him who has saved them, to do His will, to glorify Him in body and in Spirit, which are His. “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits?” (Ps. 116:12), is a leading principle in a pardoned heart. It was the remembrance of Jesus showing mercy that made Paul in labors so abundant, and in doing good so unwearied. If anyone points out to me believers who are in a carnal, slothful state of soul, I reply in the words of Peter, “They have forgotten they were purged from their old sins.” (2 Pet. 1:9.)
But if you show me a man deliberately living an unholy and licentious life, and yet boasting that his sins are forgiven, I answer, “He is under a ruinous delusion, and is not forgiven at all.” I would not believe he is forgiven if an angel from heaven affirmed it, and I charge you not to believe it too. Pardon of sin and love of sin are like oil and water—they will never go together. All who are washed in the blood of Christ, are also sanctified by the Spirit of Christ.
5) Forgiven souls are FORGIVING. They do as they have been done by. They look over the offenses of their brethren. They endeavor to “walk in love, as Christ loved them, and gave Himself for them.” (Eph. 5:2.) They remember how God for Christ’s sake forgave them, and endeavor to do the same towards their fellow-creatures. Has He forgiven them pounds, and shall they not forgive a few pence? Doubtless in this, as in everything else, they come short—but this is their desire and their aim. A spiteful, quarrelsome Christian is a scandal to his profession. Forgiveness is the way by which every saved soul enters heaven. Forgiveness is the eternal subject of song with all the redeemed who inhabit heaven. Surely an unforgiving soul in heaven would find his heart completely out of tune. Surely we know nothing of Christ’s love to us but the name of it, if we do not love our brethren.
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Now that we are in the midst of the ‘Christmas’ season, I’d like to share some different perspectives on the holiday. Personally, I’ve struggled with the idea of celebrating Christmas for a number of years and as a family we have dropped many of the ‘traditions’ that are associated with it. For example, we no longer incorporate the Roman Catholic Advent or the worldly Santa & elves.
I wrote about this two years ago citing an A.W. Pink article that speaks of the “cruel bondage to the prevailing custom of “Christmas”, namely that of exchanging “gifts…” and I wondered how the Lord would have us proceed.
Pilgrim, of DefCon blog, wrote a convicting post recently on how his family has decided to deal with this issue. The post and comment thread offer much to think about.
Judy, of the simple front porch blog, has added her thoughts, as well, sharing that she would like to preserve the joy that seems to be inherent to this time of year.
Here’s another perspective from Dave Hunt of The Berean Call:
Christmas as generally celebrated today is one of many carry-overs from Roman Catholicism that survived the Reformation. Historian Will Durant reminds us that Roman Catholicism grew out of the merger between paganism and Christianity that took place under Constantine in the early 300s. Commenting upon the resulting “Christianization” of the Roman Empire, which Reconstructionists such as Coalition on Revival (COR) director Jay Grimstead look back to fondly as a model of what they hope to achieve, Durant wrote:
Paganism survived…in the form of ancient rites and customs condoned…by an often indulgent Church….Statues of Isis and Horus were renamed Mary and Jesus…the Saturnalia [Festival of Saturn in celebration of the winter solstice] was replaced by Christmas celebration…[I]ncense, lights, flowers, processions, vestments…which had pleased the people in older [pagan] cults were domesticated and cleansed in the Ritual of the Church….
In spite of its pagan/Roman Catholic origins and crass commercialization, we can rejoice that Christmas annually brings a reminder of the Savior’s birth. Unfortunately, however, Christmas festivities generally perpetuate the confusion concerning who Jesus Christ really is, why He came, and what He accomplished. This is not surprising, considering the misunderstandings even among His own disciples at the first advent – and the far greater confusion that the Bible warns will precede His second coming. Indeed, the whole world – including millions of “Christians” – will follow and worship the Antichrist, convinced that he is the true Christ.
Christmas celebrations remind us that the same misunderstandings that prevented so many from recognizing Christ when He came to earth will prevail when He returns. The causes of confusion 1,900 years ago remain the key issues today: What is the Messiah’s true mission – and the nature of His kingdom? When, how, and by whom will the Kingdom be established – and what is its relationship to Israel and the church? Many “Christians” today are blind in the same way as those early “disciples” who turned from Christ because He didn’t meet their false messianic expectations.
Even John the Baptist became so disillusioned that he demanded of Christ, “Art thou he that should come, or look we for another?” (Mt 11:3). Such doubts seem impossible for the one whom God had sent to “prepare the way of the Lord”! Already filled with the Holy Spirit as a six-month-old embryo, John had leaped in the womb of his mother Elizabeth upon hearing the voice of the virgin Mary, who had just learned that she would give birth to the Son of God. Called and inspired of God to be the “forerunner of the Messiah,” John testified, “He that sent me to baptize…said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he…and I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (Jn 1:33-34). Confident in that supernatural revelation, John boldly declared, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!” (Jn 1:29). Yet the day came when, in despair, he sent two disciples to ask Christ whether He really was the Messiah after all!
Although given supernatural revelation as to His identity, John completely misunderstood Christ’s mission. Hadn’t the prophets said that the Messiah would set up His kingdom and reign in Jerusalem? Then why was he, the herald of the Messiah, in prison! John did not understand that Christ had come to die for our sins so that both Jew and Gentile, united in one church, could go to heaven. Nor did he comprehend that there had to be a Second Coming.
So it was with the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane. Amazed, they watched the One whom they thought had all power, as, seemingly powerless, He was arrested, bound, and led away. Obviously, Jesus of Nazareth couldn’t be the Messiah after all! Dreams shattered, they fled for their lives. Likewise the two on the road to Emmaus: “We trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel…[but they] crucified him!” (Lk 24:19-24). His death, which we recognize today is the very heart of the gospel and without which we have no life, convinced Christ’s contemporaries that He could not possibly be the Messiah, the Savior of the world.
“If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him!” (Mt 27:40-44) was the jeering taunt of the bloodthirsty mob and the religious leaders gloating at the foot of His cross. “If thou be the Christ, save thyself and us!” echoed one of the thieves hanging beside him. Whom He came to save, from what, to what, and how, was clearly not understood at the time by anyone – not even by His closest disciples.
When Christ tried to explain that He must die for the sins of the world, Peter rebuked Him for being so “negative.” Yet Peter, only moments before, had declared by revelation from the Father that Jesus was the Christ (Mt 16:16-17). Obviously he didn’t understand the Messiah’s mission, even though he knew who He was. “Get thee behind me, Satan!” (Mt 16:22-23), Christ had retorted quickly to Peter, showing the importance He put upon correcting such a gross misunderstanding of His mission.
So it was with those in Jerusalem (Jn 2:23-25) who “believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.” They believed He was the Messiah, but they had a false view of what that meant. “Jesus did not commit himself unto them” because He knew what was in their hearts and that they would not believe the truth. We see the same error in those in John 6, who, because Christ had healed and fed them, wanted to “take him by force to make him [their] king” (Jn 6:15). There were many who called themselves His “disciples” (today they would be called “Christians”) who had a false view of the Messiah, and when He tried to explain the truth to them, would not hear it but “went back and walked no more with him” (Jn 6:66).
We learn from Christ how to handle the multitudes who want to follow Him for the wrong reasons. We must do today what He did then. Many came “forward” to tell Jesus they believed in Him and would follow Him faithfully. Contrary to today’s methods, Christ didn’t have His disciples quickly sign up such persons as “church members” before they changed their minds, and get them involved in the choir or some committee in order to keep them active in the church. “The foxes have holes and the birds have nests, but I have nowhere to lay my head” (Mt 8:20), Jesus told the eager would-be converts. “Are you certain you really want to follow me?” Such “negativism”!
“So you want to follow Me?” Christ would say. “Then let Me tell you where we’re going. I’m heading for a hill outside Jerusalem called Calvary where they’ll nail Me to a cross. So if you would be faithful to Me to the end, you might as well make up your mind: take up your cross right now, and follow Me, because that’s where we’re going!”
Today we’re far too sophisticated to present the gospel in such negative terms. We’ve studied success motivation, psychology and Dale Carnegie courses in “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and consider such new techniques to be ideal for “winning people to Christ.” So we fill the churches with multitudes who imagine that Christ’s mission is to make them feel good about themselves by building up their self-esteem, answering their selfish prayers and fulfilling their self-centered agendas.
The Reconstruction/Kingdom/Dominionists are more confused than John the Baptist, though their error is similar. They refuse to walk in the rejection of Christ, bearing the reproach of His cross, because that would be “defeatism.” They imagine that we’re in the Millennial kingdom already and are supposed to act like “King’s kids.” They think that it’s our task to establish that Kingdom through taking “dominion” over the media, educational institutions, and political leadership. The “signs and wonders” promoters imagine that they are in the process of taking dominion over all disease and even over death itself without the resurrection and return of Christ.
It’s all very positive and ecumenical. Christian lobbyists are willing to work with Moonies and Mormons and all others who are in favor of bringing traditional values back to America. And at Christmas time, once again, being able to publicly display a cross or a crèche becomes a rallying point – a very low common denominator indeed for ecumenical agreement. In defense of such folly, Christian leaders stoutly defend the correctness of working with all those “who call Jesus ‘Lord.'” Seemingly forgotten are the words of Christ:
“Many will say to me…Lord, Lord, have we not…in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me…” (Mt 7:22-23).
There are multitudes, such as Mormons and Catholics (to say nothing of many Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, et al.) who call Jesus “Lord” but are not saved.
On October 17 , Paul and Jan Crouch welcomed three Catholics to their Praise the Lord program: two priests and a woman lay leader. Paul displayed his usual naïveté and incredible ignorance of theology by smoothing over any differences between Protestants and Catholics as “simply matters of semantics.” In his eager embrace of Transubstantiation, a heresy so great that thousands died at the stake rather than accept it, he declared:
“Well, we [Protestants] believe the same thing. So you see one of these things that has divided us all of these years [Transubstantiation] shouldn’t have divided us all along because we were really meaning the same thing but just saying it a little differently….I [am] eradicating the word ‘Protestant’ even out of my vocabulary….I’m not protesting anything anymore…it is…time for Catholics and non-Catholics to come together as one in the Spirit and one in the Lord.”
But Catholics have a different gospel of salvation by works and ritual through the essential mediation of that Church.
Christmas, with its emphasis upon “baby Jesus,” tends to perpetuate another serious Catholic heresy: the pernicious myth of Christ’s subservience to His mother, which Roman Catholicism has deliberately promoted for centuries. Mary certainly should be called “blessed” as the mother of our Lord – but she is not “Co-Mediatrix” and “Co-Redemptrix” as Romanism teaches. In Catholic cathedrals throughout the world, for example, one quickly notices that the paintings, statuary, and stained glass give Mary the dominant role. She is even at times shown on the cross as our Redeemer. Jesus is either a helpless babe on His mother’s breast, a small child between her knees, or a lifeless victim of the Cross in her arms. Never is she in subjection to Him, and rarely if ever is He shown in the triumph of His resurrection. She is the “Queen of Heaven,” where Jesus remains a child subject to her direction.
Typical is the beautiful thirteenth-century stained-glass window we recently observed in a church in France. At the top are the words Le Pergatoire, indicating that it is a depiction of “purgatory.” Mary and Jesus are shown on a cloud (i.e., in heaven), with the tormented souls in the flames of purgatory below them, arms extended upward in supplication. Are they crying out to Christ for help? No, they are appealing to Mary. She wears the regal crown.
And Jesus, the Lord of Glory, who triumphed over Satan at the Cross and now sits at the right hand of the Father – how is He depicted? As a child about seven years old, standing between the “Queen of Heaven’s” knees! No wonder the souls in “purgatory” do not appeal to Him for help. At the bottom of the beautiful stained-glass depiction of this abomination are the words: Mère Marie, sauvez nous! (“Mother Mary, save us!”)
Such heresy does not originate in the imaginations of the artists but in tradition and dogma not only tolerated but promoted by the Roman Catholic Church. The fear of purgatory is very real to a Catholic, and “Mary” has provided an escape for those faithful to her. She allegedly appeared to St. Simon Stock on July 16, 1251, and gave him what is known as “The Great Promise”:
“Whosoever dies wearing this Scapular [two pieces of brown cloth containing Mary’s promise on one, her picture with “Baby Jesus” on the other, worn one in front, one in back, connected over the shoulder by two strings] shall not suffer eternal fire.”
Like the Mormon’s magic underwear, the Catholic’s scapular will supposedly accomplish what the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ could not. In 1322, Pope John XXII received a further promise from “Mary” known as “The Sabbatine Privilege”:
“I, the Mother of Grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in Purgatory [who died wearing the scapular], I shall free.”
St. Simon Stock’s famous prayer ends thus: “O Sweet Heart of Mary, be our salvation!”
Christmas offers a rare opportunity to share the true gospel of Jesus Christ and to expose and correct the ecumenical and confused picture it presents annually to the world. Millions are seduced into thinking they are Christians because they have a sentimental feeling for the “baby Jesus.” Let us remember what Christ said to those who believed on Him:
“If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn 8:31-32).
It is that truth that we are called upon to proclaim in clarity and power.
How ever you and your family choose to spend these last few weeks of the year, please remember the most important commandment that Jesus gave us is: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” …every day of the year.
I have looked at the 12 Steps program closely, and have discussed it with many who are in AA. The tragedy is that AA becomes the new addiction. I have talked with people who say they are Christians and that they are trusting Christ for eternity, yet they cannot trust Him to keep them off alcohol during this life. They are desperately afraid to leave AA, because they believe it is only through AA that they can stay dry. So AA actually keeps them from true deliverance, freedom and joy they could know through Christ! According to AA, you are always a recovering alcoholic–never recovered. That isn’t biblical. Christ cures, heals, saves, delivers.
Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
‘Apples of Gold’ devotional
The Berean Call
Psychology erroneously attempts to explain human behavior in terms other than our sinfulness and moral accountability to God and turns sin into a mental disease or some unconscious urge caused by past traumas, etc. This is the trap that so-called Christian psychologists fall into continually.
For I know that in me (that is in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
‘Apples of Gold’
The Berean Call
For the LORD shall rise up as [in] Mount Perazim he shall be wroth as [in] the valley of Gibeon that he may do his work his strange work and bring to pass his act his strange act.
The judgment work of Christ is not an easy work to speak on because, you see, even Isaiah in Isaiah 28:21 calls it God’s quote “strange work,” because to Isaiah it seems to be so contrary to the greatest attribute of God which is His love, the supreme quality of His nature. But you see, God must be a God of judgment because He loves. You see, He loves so much that the day is coming when He’s going to protect those who are the objects of His love from evil forever. And the only way He can do it is to destroy evil, you see? So even that is an act of love…to protect and preserve the full manifestation of His love to His people forever. And so He will come in judgment to destroy sinners and sin. (emphasis added)
The Saga of Two Conquerers, Part 2
(~from the commentary on Zechariah 9:9-17)
“I, the Lord, have spoken! I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at My Word.”
Alas! how prevalent the sin of sacrilege is–even with some professing Christians! The common use which is sometimes made of sacred words, the light and flippant manner in which holy phrases are employed, the carnal use which is frequently made of the words of Scripture itself, the interlarding of vain conversation with Scripture phraseology, and what are intended to be witticisms–at the expense of God’s holy Word. These are sins of greater prevalence and magnitude than, perhaps, many who are beguiled into their commission are aware!
We can scarcely conceive of anything more grieving to the Holy Spirit–than the manner in which some people deal with His inspired Word. Nor is the low spirituality which this solemn trifling with the Bible betrays, less painful.
A heavenly mind will guard the sacredness and purity of God’s Word with holy jealousy! How can it be otherwise? To the Bible, the instrumentality of God’s truth–the believer is indebted for his quickening, for his sanctification, and for his comfort! To trifle, then, with that holy Word, to quote it flippantly, to speak of it irreverently, to jest with it profanely–would seem a crime from which a mind stored with its precious treasures, and imbued with its hallowed spirit–would recoil with holy dread!
Oh, beware, reader, how you sport with, or trifle with–God’s holy Scriptures! Oh, it is a fearful thing to quote with sportive lip, to touch with unhallowed hands–the holy Word of God!
“My heart stands in awe of Your Word! I rejoice in Your Word like one who discovers a great treasure!”
from Octavius Winslow, “The Officer’s Daughter” 1861
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