Monday, November 29, 2010

Repentance: What Is It and How Do We Present It?

Today Ray Comfort posted a defense of the biblical warrant for preaching and commanding repentance on his Facebook fan page. His purpose in writing his defense is to speak out against those who would “..say that we should never tell a sinner to turn from his sins, because that implies that he must “do” something to be saved” and those who would “..say that repentance merely means a change of mind about Jesus.”

You can read the entire article here: Is Repentance Just a Change of Mind?

While I certainly agree that repentance is more than “changing your mind about Jesus,” I would add a few things to Ray’s presentation.

Repentance does not have as much to do with what you are turning away from, as much as it has to do with the One to Whom you are turning. A turn toward Christ will always result in a turn away from rebellion against Him. If He be lifted up, He will draw all men to Himself. To explain repentance solely as a "turning away from sin", without exalting Jesus as the reason for that turning, will surely produce legalists.

How many times have you heard this explanation of repentance following the preaching of the Law and Grace?

"To receive this free gift of God's grace through Jesus Christ you must repent and believe. Repentance is this - Remember all of those laws which you broke, that found you condemned before God? You must now turn from your Law-breaking! Stop lying, stop stealing, stop looking with lust and hating. Turn from your sin and God will save you. This is what faith is..."

This is an unbiblical presentation of repentance, unfortunately, this is how many people continue to share the gospel. Why is this wrong? Consider this, if you tell someone that they must now keep the very Law that condemned them to be saved, have you really given them any good news? You've just told them that it is impossible to keep the Law and 5 minutes later you tell them that they must keep that same Law to be saved. It makes no sense.

Let's clean up both our definition and presentation of repentance.

3 comments:

Joshua Elsom said...

Lest anyone think that I am writing something different than Ray, or that my purpose in writing is to refute what he has said please read my post again. I am not disagreeing with Ray, I am simply adding additional information to what he has written and addressing another error that exists when repentance is not properly defined.

Delle Elsom said...

That's the gospel truth...

Jacque Elsom said...

That's right Josh and you explained it so well even I could understand it.Keep preaching the truth with simplicity and love.