Chapter 6 – Repentance
What place should repentance have in your presentation of the gospel? Is repentance the same thing as belief? Or is it something distinct from it? Is it important to emphasize repentance, or should we never mention it in this age of grace? What does repentance really mean, anyway? These are some of the questions the soulwinner must face (and answer) regarding the subject of repentance.
There can be little doubt that all men, from Adam on, have had to repent in order to have a right relationship with God. The importance of this is brought home when we realize men of every Biblical age preached it.
John the Baptist preached it (Mark 1:15); the Apostle John proclaimed its necessity (Rev. 2:5); Paul preached repentance wherever he went (Acts 17:30; 20:21 ); and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself strongly emphasized that men who refused to repent would perish (Luke 13:3, 5). So, you see, repentance is necessary for salvation.

The question is, “What does the Bible MEAN by ‘repent,’ and how should it be presented to the lost?” The important thing is NOT what repentance has COME to mean down through the centuries since Christ’s time, but rather – and this is of utmost importance – what the word did mean WHEN IT WAS SPOKEN by Christ, Paul, Peter, and others in Biblical times.

If you look up “repent” or “repentance” in a modern dictionary you will read definitions like the following: “regret; to feel sorry for sin and seek forgiveness; to turn from sin.” Based on these definitions, preachers have been going about earnestly trying to get men to quit their sinning, or at least to work up a genuine sorrow for sin. But is this the divinely appointed task of Christians – to get men to change their ways?
No! This kind of preaching often leads to a form of self-righteousness and self-reformation – not to salvation. Does a sinner have to turn from or give up his sins to be saved? COULD he do this? Did you? Have you yet given up all sinning?
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (I John 1:8).
It is sadly apparent that our modern-day misuse of the word “repent” has done a great deal of harm and has confused multitudes. Because of the wrong use of the word “repent” men have gotten the idea that a Christian is one who doesn’t smoke, drink, curse, go to dances or movies, or do anything that is wrong or immoral.
This negativism has blinded people to the fact that a Christian is “one of Christ’s” – one who, through faith, has received Christ as his Saviour. Once a person has Christ and His power in his life, THEN his behavior often changes. But this change is the RESULT of being a child of God; it is not the CAUSE.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s