John 6:47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” John 11:25-26, “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” Acts 16:30-31, “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
There is not one mention in the inspired King James Bible of “repent of your sins,” or “turn away from your sins,” to receive God's free gift of eternal life. I have met some deceived Baptist pastors who are cowards. They are afraid to go against their peers in the Bible Jones' camp. So instead of defend the Gospel, they make excuses to give the benefit of the doubt.
When I visited the Lighthouse Baptist Church on Guam in 2018, Sean Quinlan was their pastor. He is affiliated with Pensacola Christian College in Florida. I kindly let him know that some of their literature in the church tract rack, taught that you must turn away from your sinful ways to be saved. He didn't care! Pastor Quinlan's excuse was that you have to turn “from” something in order to turn “to” something. Although that is a true statement, it was wicked of Pastor Quinlan to use it to justify ungodly preachers who require people to forsake living a lifestyle of sin to be saved.
Dr. John R. Rice (1895-1980) correctly understood that believing on Christ and repentance are simply two different ways of looking at the SAME event. ...
Repentance is not a different plan of salvation from having faith: it is part of the same plan of salvation. Or rather repentance is simply another way of describing or looking at the plan of salvation. One who turns from sin to God has done so by trusting in Jesus Christ. A change of mind toward sin is necessarily involved in saving faith.SOURCE: Evangelist John R. Rice, “Acts: Filled With The Spirit,” pp. 250-252; Sword Of The Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; ©1963
Dr. Rice is correct—one who turns from sin to God HAS DONE SO BY TRUSTING IN JESUS CHRIST!!! In sharp contrast, this is very different than the heretical preachers who teach that you MUST turn away from intentionally committing sin to be saved. Read the following Satanic heresy taught by Evangelist Ray Comfort (which is the same junk theology taught at Bob Jones University today). Ray Comfort says:
“That's all repentance is—You've sinned against God; it's a matter of saying, 'God, I'm sorry,' and then LIVING A LIFESTYLE that proves the reality of your repentance. That's what repentance is, it's a continual thing! God, 'I'm sorry, but I'm not going going to lie or steal or blaspheme Your name ever again. It has that attitude! And the second thing—trust in Jesus!” [emphasis added]
Do you see the DRASTIC difference between the mindset of John R. Rice versus Ray Comfort concerning repentance? Dr. Rice correctly teaches that repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin. The man who believes has repented and the man who repents has believed. They are not two separate acts. They are two different parts of one action of trusting Christ as one's personal Savior. The man who acknowledges that he is a guilty sinner (Romans 3:19)—trusting in Christ Who died on the cross to pay for those sins (Ephesians 1:12-14)—is saved (Acts 16:31). This is Bible repentance—a simple change of mind that compels a person to believe the Gospel to be saved.
In sharp contrast, Ray Comfort (and other heretical proponents of Lordship Salvation) teaches that turning away from sinful behavior is a separate act from believing. Mr. Comfort errantly says that repentance is “a continual thing,” which you must do for the rest of your life to prove that you are really saved. This is a perversion of the Gospel (Acts 15:1; Galatians 1:6-9). In essence, Dr. Rice correctly teaches that we repent TO believe; whereas Ray Comfort errantly teaches that we repent AND believe.
Respectfully said, I heard Pastor Charles Lawson heretically teach that your faith is not valid with God, unless you have repented (stopped deliberately committing) from your sins. This is Calvinism, not the Free Grace Gospel. Pastor Lawson doesn't understand what it means to repent. Turning away from sins is reformation, not repentance. Sorrow for sins is penitence, not repentance. Trying to amend one's sinful ways is penance, not repentance. Repentance is a simple change of mind, where you acknowledge that you have sinned against a holy God, and thus see your desperate need for the Savior (Galatians 3:24-26). Anything more is a perversion of the Gospel.
The phrase “turn from sin” is no where found in the Bible, so we ought not use it, lest we confuse people concerning how to be saved. Dr. Rice uses the phrase, and I don't think he should, but he very clearly explains what is meant by his use of the phrase. What Dr. Rice is teaching is very different than what Ray Comfort, Charles Lawson, John MacArthur, Paul Washer, Steve Pettit, Marty Herron, John Piper, and countless others teach these days. It is true that in order to turn “to” something, you must logically also turn “from” something, which is exactly what repentance is—a change of mind from unbelief to belief.
It Is Not Okay To Embellish The Gospel
There is only one Gospel. What saith the Scripture? Galatians 1:6-7, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” In the Epistle of Galatians, Paul rebukes the churches of Galatia for moving away from the hope of the Gospel. Paul plainly says that the foolishness they have fallen for is NOT another Gospel. And so I say to you today—Oh Harvest Baptist Church of Guam, and Bob Jones University, and The Master's University, and Faith Baptist Bible College And Theological Seminary, and Moody Bible Institute, and Pacific Garden Mission's UNSHACKLED radio—who hath bewitched you that you should believe another gospel? Oh foolish Lordship Salvation crowd, woe unto you all!
The Bible clearly defines “The Gospel” in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 as three things: Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He was buried. Three days later He resurrected from the dead physically. Jesus was seen in His resurrected body by over 500 brethren at one time (1st Corinthians 15:6). Anyone who comes to God as a needy sinner (Romans 3:19-20), receiving Christ's sacrifice on the cross as payment for their sins (2nd Corinthians 5:21), believing that He is risen and alive (Romans 10:9-10), is saved (Romans 10:13).
Salvation is a matter of taking God at His Word as recorded in the Bible, believing what God has promised by faith. The Gospel is not Good News to be lived, it is Good News to be believed. 1st Corinthians 1:21, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Repeatedly in the Bible we are taught that the way of salvation is simply to BELIEVE. No where are we taught to forsake our sinful bad habits to receive God's gift of eternal life. It is a gift (Romans 5:15-18; 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9). A gift is a take proposition, not a give proposition. Salvation is receiving, not achieving.