Sunday, September 02, 2007

Preach Repentance

by Mark Pierson

With sadness I enter this post. I have friends in the Free Grace movement whom I love and respect; but that does not mean I keep my mouth shut about this system. I have watched how the proponents of this system present their views, how they make man-made divisions into the word.

It seems to me that they are working from a false paradigm which supplies them with a false premise from which to build their case. Their system fails to provide Biblical information to the lost, spiritually dead, rebellious, sin-loving God-hater, who is walking according to the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience, that slave to sin who is by nature a child of wrath, who walks according to the weather vane of this world.

Consider this: the gospel of John begins in chapter 1 to present Christ as God, the Perfect Representative of the Father; the One Who unfolds the Father as a scroll to a world that has not retained God in its knowledge. Romans one through three is clear on this. The world has cast aside all knowledge of its Maker and has fully rejected His rightful rule. As a result mankind is completely under the devil's sway. To ignore what is before us in chapter one of John as we preach Christ is to ignore a major portion of Christ's mission to this earth. I repeat, He came to show us the Father as His only perfect representative.

We are saved by being in Christ the Person. Coming to Christ means taking His yoke upon us and learning of Him. Their system dichotomizes where the Bible does not authorize them. They have split faith and repentance which clearly belong together. In the Great Commission faith, (Mk.16:16) and repentance, (Lk.24:47) are to be preached together.

If I believed the building I was standing in was on fire I would seek the fast escape. So it is with those who are told that they are in rebellion against their Creator and His Christ. That person is commanded by scripture to repent and believe the gospel - IOW, turn from following the spirit of this age, and take Christ's yoke upon him and so learn of Him.

That system, in all practicality, treats men as if there were no issue of original sin, no love of sin and hatred of God, no rebellion against the Creator. Calvinists and nonCalvinists alike agree that repentance flows from the genuine believer.

A couple of points:

1)No where in scripture does justifying faith happen without repentance also being evident. IOW, repentance always shows in the life of the believer. So, I say, nowhere in scripture do we see an unrepentant believer.

2) Let's look at Christ's accomplishments and their effects on the believer - Because of Christ's cross-work Paul was entrusted with a message that would "open eyes,turn people from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins... " Acts 26:18-20. The Father has "conveyed us into His Son's kingdom" where there is redemption (being bought back from Satan's dark rule)and forgiveness of sins. Col. 1:12-14. Also Romans 6 teaches that we were once slaves of sin, but now, because of Christ's accomplishments on the cross, we are slaves of righteousness and of God.

Because of Christ's cross-work, His telling people to repent, through those servants of His who preach His word accurately, is like His having commanded that man to stretch forth his crippled hand, and when he has done so it is whole. And so it is when one is commanded to repent. His life will straighten out because of the regenerating influences of the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ as a result of His cross-work.

Justification is not the whole of the picture. Conformity to Christ is. This conformity, though not automatic, is inevitable, and begins at the moment of regeneration; hence the need to preach repentance to the unsaved. Christ is the One to be looked at for salvation. The world has rejected its Maker and His Christ. The world has thrown off God's rule in their lives. See the second Psalm. Faith and repentance result in the believer being brought into the Kingdom of God, and away from the rule of Satan.