I was listening the other day to the Old Testament book of Proverbs. A popular passage of Scripture from Proverbs 3:5-7 caught my attention. Specifically, the phrase, “lean not unto thine own understanding.” Then it dawned on me that all of the junk theology being preached in hundreds of thousands of churches today is the consequence of violating this Biblical truth. Those false prophets are LEANING UPON THEIR OWN UNDERSTANDING!!!
One popular false teaching is that you must “repent of your sins” or “turn from your sins” to be saved. Two major counterattacks made by these false teachers against the proponents of a free grace Gospel are:
- “You have left off repentance!” - No, we in the free grace camp still believe that a sinner must repent to be saved (Mark 1:15). Repentance is not optional. However, the Bible meaning of “repent” regarding salvation is always either the Greek noun, metanoia, which means: “a change of mind”; or it is the Greek verb, metanoeo, which means: “to think differently.” Repentance is simply a change of mind concerning whatever has been hindering you from BELIVING ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST to be saved (Acts 16:30-31). You don't get saved by repenting, you get saved by believing, but you would never believe without repenting (i.e., without thinking differently). The object of repentance is not turning away from your sins, it is believing the Gospel. The man who believes has repented, and the man who repents has believed! They are one and the same event.
- “You believe people can live like Devil, wilfully committing the very sins for which Christ died.” - Yes and No. Yes, a saved person can live like the Devil and still be 100% assured of eternal life. We know this because getting saved is a free gift from God. Jesus paid for that gift with His precious blood. A gift is something given freely without obligation or compensation. So, yes, you can live like the Devil as a child of God, and still be assured of eternal life, because our eternal security is based upon God's faithfulness to keep His promises, and not our faithfulness to live a holy life.
But, No, you don't have God's permission to continue in gross immorality as a believer. The truth is that EVERYONE continues in sin. Even the best Christians still sin every day! So to tell someone to “turn from their sinful ways” to be saved is a fallacy, an impossibility. Christ came to die for our sins, because we cannot completely escape our sinful nature, not as long as we are in the flesh. God is not an absent parent, He will chastise His children (Hebrews 12:6-8). God commands every believer to depart from iniquity (2nd Timothy 2:19, and to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God (Romans 12:1-2).
- Salvation is not a reward for the righteous, it is a gift for the guilty!
- Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith.
- Turning away from sinful ways would be a work. Faith puts all of the merit where it belongs, on the object of our faith, Jesus and His work.
- If to “repent” means to forsake our sinful ways TO BE SAVED, but Jesus already paid for our sins by dying on the cross, then what are we repenting from?
- Faith is the only righteous thing that I can do.
- Jesus didn't die for your sins, just so you could keep living in sin; therefore, you must turn away from a sinful lifestyle to be saved.
- Jesus paid for your sins, and all He asks in return is that you forsake your sinful ways.
- No judge would pardon your sins if you intend to keep committing them (Ray Comfort's favorite falsehood).
- Nothing unrighteous can enter into Heaven; therefore, you must forsake your sinning.
- The Bibles says in 2nd Corinthians 5:17 that if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; therefore, you cannot continue living in sin if you want to go to Heaven (Pacific Garden Mission's 'UNSHACKLED' radio program uses this Devil's lie all the time).
- There were no saints in the Bible who didn't follow Jesus as their “Lord” (Evangelist Tom Williams uses this demonic heresy). The Bible is full of saints who selfishly chose to go their own way, lived in horrible sin and didn't follow Christ as their Lord (Samson, Esau, Joseph's wicked brothers, Solomon, Demas, Ananias and Sapphira, et cetera).