There must be conviction of sin to be saved.
There are false prophets on both sides of the theological equation:
- 1. One one hand, you have heretics falsely preaching that you must turn away from your sinful lifestyle to be saved.
- On the other hand you have heretics falsely teaching that you can be saved by only trusting Jesus, without any conviction that you are a guilty sinner in God's sight. BOTH sides are in error.
After I got saved, the first thing I remember was that the indwelling Holy Spirit began to convict me about the sin in my life. You see, this is how salvation works. It's just like buying an old building. Once the deal closes, you are the new owner. But now the renovation process needs to begin. In other words, your salvation DID NOT change you one bit!!!
Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001) preached a helpful sermon on this very topic called: "The Sin Question And The Son Question":
To be saved, it is not enough to merely believe on Christ, you MUST also know that you are a guilty sinner, so that you will see your NEED for a Savior. You've got to know what you're being saved from.
And contrawise, it is not enough to admit you are a sinner and merely turn over a new leaf. Reformation (turning from sin), penance (making a mend) and penitence (sorrow for sin) are NOT Bible repentance. Repentance DOESN'T means to turn away from your sinful ways and behavior. Repentance is a change of mind, that's it, that's all, no more! God intentionally chose the Greek word metanoia, which is an all-inclusive, open-ended term. In other words, you must repent (change your mind) about whatever it is that has been hindering you from coming to Christ by faith to be saved. We are saved by believing, not by repenting. Yes, repentance is necessary for salvation, but repentance is automatic.
I absolutely love what Pastor Harry Ironside (1876-1951) said:
“The Gospel is not a call to repentance, or to amendment of our ways, to make restitution for past sins, or to promise to do better in the future. These things are proper in their place, but they do not constitute the Gospel; for the Gospel is not good advice to be obeyed, it is good news to be believed. Do not make the mistake then of thinking that the Gospel is a call to duty or a call to reformation, a call to better your condition, to behave yourself in a more perfect way than you have been doing in the past …Nor is the Gospel a demand that you give up the world, that you give up your sins, that you break off bad habits, and try to cultivate good ones. You may do all these things, and yet never believe the Gospel and consequently never be saved at all.” ~SOURCE: Harry A. Ironside, from the sermon: What Is The Gospel?
I heard a Baptist preacher tonight say that it is not enough to merely say a prayer to be saved, there must also be conviction about one's sin. I agree if he means that a person must be convicted by the Holy Spirit to realize that they are a needy sinner, to be saved (Romans 3:19-20). But if he means that a person must have a drastic change of attitude toward their sins, so that their behavior will change, then he is preaching another gospel. I am not sure exactly what he meant, but will be paying close attention to his doctrine in the future. I wish pastors would be more clear.
Dear reader, not one verse in the inspired King James Bible says to repent "OF YOUR SINS" to be saved. Proverbs 30:5-6, "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." I have little patience with pastors who pervert the grace of God, and then get upset with me for standing up for THE TRUTH. I would rather stay home from church, than to attend a cult that requires people to turn away from sinful behavior to be saved.
I fully agree with my friend Pastor Ralph Yankee Arnold:
“Lordship Salvation is the unsupportable and unbiblical belief that the performance of good works, the promise of good works, or the evidence of good works, must accompany faith in Christ to establish or provide evidence that such faith has resulted in eternal life.” —Pastor Ralph Yankee Arnold ('Jesus versus John MacArthur')RIGHT DOCTRINE MATTERS!!! I am saddened by how many Baptist pastors have become offended when I handed them a hardcopy of Michael P. Bowen's excellent book: "I Never Knew You."
Kindly said, Evangelist Billy Graham was a false prophet (1918-2018). I know that offends many Baptists, but it is just the plain truth. Billy Graham foolishly insisted that to be saved, a person must repent and continue to repent their entire life from sin, and openly acknowledge Christ in their daily life. Graham was a LIAR!!! We read in John 19:38 that Joseph of Arimathaea was a secret disciple of Christ, for fear of the Jews. And again in John 12:42-43 we read that many chief rulers believed on Christ, but they did not confess Him, for fear of the Pharisees. Clearly, Billy Graham was WRONG!!!
Dear friend, you DON'T have to turn away and forsake sinful behavior to receive God's free gift. You simply need to be convicted that you are a guilty sinner in need of redemption. Whether or not such a person experiences accompanying sorrow (penitence), a desire to make a mends (penitence), or a willingness to forsake sinful bad habits (reformation) is IRRELEVANT to getting saved, which is by faith alone in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:26). Remember, Jesus paid your debt of sin in full on the cross of Calvary.
The Apostle Judas felt felt sorrow (penitence), he returned the 30 pieces of silver (penance), he was a changed man (reformed); but Judas went to Hell in his sins without Christ, because he lacked FAITH in the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew 27:3 says that Judas "repented himself," but this is a different Greek word than is used for salvation. Judas merely felt sorry for what he had done.
BEWARE of these false prophets today, who insist that to be saved you must feel utter conviction about your sins, so that you will turn over a new leaf and live a changed life. They are preaching damnable heresy, and I will go to my grave exposing them with all my might, by the power and grace of almighty God.