I must answer this question at the beginning of this article with a resounding “Yes!” My heart has been torn due to so many today who would answer this question “No.” Like Jude, I would like to write concerning our common salvation but I must “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3) especially concerning repentance. “Earnestly contend” means to agonize in defense of, to strive or fight strenuously in defense of, and speaks of a vigorous, intense, determined struggle to defeat the opposition.
There is no doubt that we are living in the Laodicean church age with the Lord ready to spue many out of His mouth (Rev. 3:16: “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”) because they are preaching and teaching that repentance is not needed for a sinner to be saved. Some even say repentance is not for a saved man. Lord help us! To say such is really “taking away from the words of this book.” (Rev. 22:18) I know in context that applies to the book of Revelation but it also has an application to the entire Bible. The Lord also said in that verse if one takes away from this book “God shall take away his part out of the books of life” which means such a one is not saved. This does not mean he can be lost after he was saved. It means he was never saved.
The Bible has much to say about repentance being necessary in one’s life for them to be saved. The Lord made this very plain in Luke 13:3 & 5: “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” He even commanded the church to preach repentance in Luke 24:46-47: “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Even Paul, after he turned to the Gentiles, reminded the elders of Ephesus what he taught them and testified both to the Jews and Gentiles. (Acts 20:20-21: “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”)
There are those who claim that anyone who preaches repentance for salvation is preaching works for salvation. They are so blinded. (II Cor. 4:3-4: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”) A person cannot repent until God grants repentance to him. That comes about by godly sorrow working repentance in a person. (II Cor. 7:10: “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.) For those who do not know what godly sorrow is--it is deep God caused sorrow over your sin against God. This can be called a part of Holy Ghost conviction which is necessary for one to be saved. The sad thing about this is that many of those who do not believe in repentance to be saved do not believe salvation is a work of Holy Ghost conviction. Such are not saved themselves. (Mat. 15:14: “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.)
Charles H. Spurgeon is revered as the “prince of preachers” by many including those who do not believe in repentance to be saved. Bro. Spurgeon has many sermons in print which deal with repentance necessary for salvation. One such sermon entitled “Faith and Repentance Inseparable” was preached on July 13, 1862 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle from Mark 1:15: “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
Another man of God who preached in the mid 1900's gave this definition of repentance: “Repentance is an awakened sinner giving up all pretension to righteousness and natural goodness, and taking his place as an utterly lost, wicked, condemned, hell-deserving sinner at the feet of a Holy God realizing his only hope is for God to pardon him and forgive him for Jesus sake. Whether it takes the Holy Spirit a few days, a few weeks, or even years, to bring a sinner to that place, he must be brought there or he will never be saved. The sinner who never comes to that place never gets saved.”
Some say repentance is just a “change of mind.” It is, but it is more. It is also a change of direction, a change of attitude, a turning from sin, self, and the world and turning to the Lord, taking up sides with Him against yourself. A person cannot and will not do that without a completed work of Holy Ghost conviction. (John 16:8-11: “And when he is come, he will reprove (conviction) the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”)
“Repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ.” Some say that all a person has to do to be saved is just believe. But faith without repentance is a structure in mid-air, without a foundation and that will not stand. If you deny repentance as being necessary for one to be saved then you are not saved. If you make light of any preacher who preaches repentance, then you are not saved. The Bible is very plain about this subject. I pray that you will get honest about your condition before God and allow the Holy Ghost to work in you repentance and faith so that you might be saved while there is an open door, a preacher of righteousness, and a striving Spirit.
This is only a skeleton article on the subject of repentance. If you would like to hear or read more in depth on this subject just ask us for more material and we will be glad to send it to you free of charge. “He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit sayeth.” (Rev. 2:7a)
THE PERSUADER - July-Sept., 2009