Repentance Does Not Result In A Change Of Behavior

Acts 3:19-21, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” Romans 2:4, “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

One of the most evil things that a preacher can do is embellish the Scriptures, adding to the inspired Word of God things that God didn't say. 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.”

Yet that is exactly what ungodly preachers like Marty HerronSteve PettitJohn MacArthurRay Comfort and Billy and Franklin Graham have wickedly done!!! ADD THOU NOT the Lord warned!!! Yet, all the aforementioned false prophets horribly ADD their own manmade commandments to God's inspired Word.

I had attended the Campus Church on the grounds of Pensacola Christian College (PCC) during this past summer of 2021. I was sickened in my soul one Wednesday night at Campus Church, as I listened to associate pastor Tim Zacharias teach 1,000 church members that repentance leads to a change of behavior. Here is what he said, verbatim: “Repentance is a change of mind resulting in a change of behavior.” Here is a screenshot from the video they showed at Campus Church to accompany their Bible study (I added the appropriate cancellation symbol, because this is FAKE NEWS at Pensacola Christian College!)...

Repentance unto salvation does NOT result in a change of behavior!

It is sad and shameful that such a big religious educational institution like PCC and Campus Church, still haven't got the most basic of Bible doctrines (repentance) correct yet. Go figure!

I mean, this is ridiculous and horrible. The Greek word for “repent” in the New Testament concerning salvation is either the noun form metanoia (a change of mind), or the verb form metanoeo (to think differently). Repentance when applied to getting saved NEVER means that your behavior will change. Anyone who teaches that repentance results in a change of behavior is preaching “another gospel” accursed by God (Galatians 1:6-9).

The sole focus of redemption must be upon Christ alone, and not upon the sinner in the least; otherwise it is a counterfeit gospel. Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith. For the Gospel to be valid, ALL of the burden of sin must fall square upon the Savior's broken body on the cross of Calvary, and none be borne in the least by the sinner. 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.

The true Gospel always points you to CHRIST; a false gospel always points to YOU. 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? It makes no sense!

Why does a man need to change his mind? Obviously, so that he will come to Christ by faith to be saved. A man takes a bath because he perceives (sees and smells) that he is dirty. That is what the law does, it sensitizes humanity to the awfulness of sin (Romans 7:13). Unless a guilty man sees himself as a needy sinner in God's sight (Romans 3:19-20), he will not come to the light of THE TRUTH of the Gospel to be saved (John 3:20-21). So it is imperative that a sinner repent, so that he or she will BELIEVE. 

Here is some solid Scriptural support for what I just said:
Matthew 21:32, “For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.”

Mark 2:17, “When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
The two preceding passages of Scripture perfectly shed light one upon the other. Unlike the harlots (prostitutes) and publicans (greedy tax cheats who took advantage of people), the self-righteous Pharisees refused to come to Christ. The harlots and publicans, upon hearing John the Baptist preach the Gospel, quickly acknowledged their sinfulness and need for salvation. But the pious Pharisees foolishly thought they were already righteous of their own accord, because they tried to keep the law. Of course, no human being is capable of perfectly keeping God's law, except Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:15).

Contrary to what some Christians have been misled to believe, God never intended for Old Testament saints to keep the law (works) to be saved. The Apostle Luke tells us in the following Bible verse, that NO ONE has ever been justified by keeping the law of Moses (that must also include Old Testament saints). Acts 13:39, “And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” If they couldn't be justified under the Mosaic law, then they needed another way.

The Apostle Luke tells us in the next verse that ALL THE PROPHETS give witness that remission of sins has ALWAYS been only through FAITH IN THE MESSIAH. Acts 10:43, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” People were saved back in the Old Testament the SAME way that we are today, which is by grace through faith in Christ.

Carefully notice that the following passage says repentance led to BELIEVING, not to turning away from their sins or a change in their behavior. Matthew 21:32, “For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.” The reason why the wicked Pharisees didn't believe on Jesus is because they refused to repent. That is, they refused to change their thinking! They thought they were whole, having no need for the Great Physician. They refused to acknowledge their sinnership!

I heard a wonderful sermon today by my favorite preacher, Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001). The sermon I heard perfectly applies to this blog article. Here is a fantastic quote:
“The first thing necessary to get saved is to get bad!” —Pastor Jack Hyles (“God Only Saves Bad People

“Nobody goes to Heaven because he is good; you go to Heaven because you know you're bad, and you flee to Jesus Who died to save sinners.” —Pastor Jack Hyles (“God Only Saves Bad People
Wow! I couldn't have found a better quote to go along with the self-righteous Pharisees in Matthew 21:32 and Mark 2:16-17 who refused to repent (i.e., they refused to change their wrong way of thinking):
Mark 2:16-17, “And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
God doesn't expect us to give up our sins to be saved, for eternal life is a free gift (Romans 6:23); but God does  expect us to walk in His Son when we get saved, so as to obey and please Him, lest we be scourged and chastised by our heavenly Father (Hebrews 12:6-8).

I actually had a very honest unsaved co-worker once refuse to get saved, because he openly admitted that he didn't want the indwelling Holy Spirit, knowing that the Holy Spirit would convict him continually about sin and expect him to live a holy life. That is exactly what John 3:20-21 means, “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” This is why there is no need to tell sinners to turn away from sin to be saved, because it is automatic. A lost man won't even come to Christ to be saved, unless he has first agreed with God's Word that he or she is a guilty sinner! That is why they are coming to Christ to be saved in the first place!!!

Repentance is not a separate event from faith, although they are not the same thing. Here is the best quote that I've found on repentance, by Dr. Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951):
“Which comes first, repentance or faith? In Scripture we read, 'Repent ye, and believe the gospel.' Yet we find true believers exhorted to 'repent, and do the first works.' So intimately are the two related that you cannot have one without the other. The man who believes God repents; the repentant soul puts his trust in the Lord when the Gospel is revealed to him. Theologians may wrangle over this, but the fact is, no man repents until the Holy Spirit produces repentance in his soul through the truth. No man believes the Gospel and rests in it for his own salvation until he has judged himself as a needy sinner before God. And this is repentance.” (Except Ye Repent, p. 16)
For a person to BELIEVE on Christ, we must have “repentance to the acknowledging of the truth” (2nd Timothy 2:25b). You don't repent AND believe; you repent TO believe. Repentance is simply the admission that I am as guilty a sinner as God hath declared me to be in His holy Word. You don't need to give up anything to be saved, except to turn from unbelief to BELIEF! You don't even have to give up all your unbelief, evidenced by Mark 9:24, “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” So even if you still have some uncertainties, fears or doubts, God will still save you if you'll just act on what little bit of faith you have.

I love the classic chair illustration! Let's say you need to replace a defective lightbulb on your front porch, and all you have to stand upon is a flimsy old chair. I actually have an old shaky chair like Let's say that you decide to go ahead and trust that chair, even though you are not sure it will support your body's weight. Dear friend, even if you are 99% certain that the chair will fail, and not hold you up, it is no less than 100% faith just so long as you place all your unsupported weight upon that chair. Isn't that beautiful? Now you understand why Jesus said in Matthew 17:20b, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” The mustard plant has one of the smallest seeds in the world, yet these robust plants grow to be 7 feet tall in Israel. Even the tiniest amount of faith SAVES! ...
“It's not the size of my faith that gets me to Heaven, it's the object of my faith!” —Pastor Ralph 'Yankee' Arnold; sermon: “Where Is Faith?
Repentance and faith happen at the same time, instantaneously. This is why the Gospel of John mentions the word “believe” 88 times, but the word “repent” is not mentioned even once. You don't have to clean off your dirt before you get into the bathtub, you simply need to get into the bathtub. Likewise, you don't need to forsake your sinning to be saved, you simply BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TO BE SAVED (Acts 16:30-31).

You don't have to promise not to get dirty anymore to be clean, you simply get into the bathtub. The precious BLOOD of Jesus cleanseth us from all sin!!! 1st John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” God doesn't want you to turn away from sin to get saved. Don't you dare if you want to be saved. Whether it be your sins, or your righteousness, Christ had to die for all of it, because it's all filth to God (Isaiah 64:6).

He Died For Your Righteousness Too! (MP3 sermon by Pastor Jack Hyles)

You don't have to promise God to do better, or clean up your dirty life, to be saved. You simply by faith receive His sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins. Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6-9). We are all ungodly sinners, by nature and by choice (Romans 3:10-23). Jesus died for all mankind, for both the good and the bad. God only saves BAD PEOPLE!!!

It loathes me when pastors pressure people to depart from a lifestyle of sin if they want to be saved, or pressure people that their behavior will change if they are really saved. How then is eternal life still the free gift of God? Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” There are no toll booths to enter into God's Kingdom. All this talk about grieving over sin, changing one's behavior, being faithful to run the race to the end, living a lifestyle of repentance, and experiencing repentance in the full moral sense is all rubbish! It is reformation (turning from sin), penitence (sorrow for sin) and penance (amending one's sins), but not Bible repentance (a change of mind). Remember, God called the Gospel “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4).

Evangelist Michael P. Bowen, in his excellent defense of the Christian faith titled: 'I NEVER KNEW YOU,' says it best I think:
“I am at eternal odds with the false, counterfeit messages of salvation-by-works that are taught from virtually every pulpit today, on every television channel, and on every Christian radio station; however, I am not at eternal odds with the individuals who preach these counterfeit messages. My heart literally goes out to all of them because they simply do not understand Christ’s plan of salvation. They have been lied to by a crafty enemy named Satan, whose sole aim is to take as many people with him to the lake of fire as he can possibly manage to steal away from God using a counterfeit plan of salvation that appears so real, so genuine, and so holy that few ever realize they have been deceived by it. Oh reader, so many of today’s professing Christians who think they are going to heaven when they die are not going to make it to heaven as they had assumed because they’ve been lied to by today’s error-filled gospel messages.”

SOURCE: Michael Patrick Bowen, I NEVER KNEW YOU, pg. 17; © 2009, Hard Copies Available.
The Gospel of John mentions the word “BELIEVE” 88 times to have eternal life. John 6:47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” The Gospel of John is God's Gospel tract. John 20:31, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” That is so simple! Repentance is automatic. When we witness the Gospel to a lost person, we simply need to make sure that they know they are a guilty sinner in God's sight. They need to know what they are being saved from. Nothing more is necessary or permitted.

Christ does the saving—all of it. Our part in salvation is to cease from our own labors and get out of the way, resting completely in Christ's finished work through the cross of Calvary, by the precious blood that He joyously shed for our sins (1st Peter 1:18-19; Revelation 1:5).

No one has ever been saved who didn't first admit that he or she is a guilty sinner in God's sight (1st John 1:18-10). Pastor Jack Hyles makes this truth very clear in this classic sermon titled: “Fundamentalist Heresy.” The Dr. Jack Hyles' camp have often been accused of running people through a quick-prayer “1-2-3, follow me” gimmick shallow type of salvation profession, just to count numbers and then brag to others. In the preceding sermon Dr. Hyles refutes those who would dare claim somebody as being saved, who hadn't been properly dealt with concerning sin and the Gospel.

What must a person do to be saved. The Bible already answers the question in Acts 16:30b-31, “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.” Did you see anything in there about grieving over your sins, repentance in the full moral sense, forsaking the world, repenting of sin, following Christ, counting and paying the cost, living a lifestyle of repentance, or behavior modification? I sure don't, but maybe my glasses aren't working. You tell me.

Dear friend, the only requirement for you to be saved is to simply come to God as a needy sinner, and to place your trust (reliance) in His only begotten Son Jesus. Simply receive His sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins, believing that He was buried and bodily resurrected from the dead three days later. This is very simple and historically true. Christ died, that's history; Christ died FOR ME, that's salvation!

Pastor Tim Zacharias (at Campus Church on the property of Pensacola Christian College) makes the Gospel sound utterly complicated. He arduously states:
“I need to be clear, there can be no salvation without repentance in the full moral sense. You need to be grieved about your sin. You need to come to a place where you understand the consequence of sin. You come under the condemnation and conviction of the law of God, and it causes you to change and to turn to Christ, and to call out to Him for salvation.” SOURCE
Friend, do you think those simple folks—the harlots and publicans to whom John the Baptist preached—experienced all that? They simply knew that they had messed up in life, that they were big time SINNERS! They knew they deserved to go to Hell. Whether or not they felt sorrow doesn't matter as far as eternal life goes. The Bible doesn't require that you feel the emotion of sorrow to be saved; but rather, that you simply come to God as a needy sinner. I love how Evangelist Alexander Marshall (1846-1928) explained repentance:

What do you mean? “I am not sorry enough for my sins.”

And if you were very sorry, would God be more willing to save you than He is now? “I think so.”

Then you are completely mistaken.

“But does it not say, unless we repent we shall perish?”

Yes; but what do you think is the Scriptural significance of “repentance”? If you say “sorrow for sin” you are wrong. It does not mean sorrow for sin: it means a CHANGE OF MIND (Matt. 21:29). This change will doubtless produce sorrow; but sorrow and repentance are two very different things (Heb. 12:17. margin, and II Cor. 7:9). When God calls on you to “repent, and believe the Gospel,” He wishes you to lay aside your wrong thoughts, and believe the glad tidings that He proclaims to you. Formerly you may have imagined that you were required to feel very sorry before being saved. Change your mind. You may have supposed you must first “feel” some great change in order to know you were saved. Change your mind. First believe in God's great love to you, as revealed in His gospel, and you will KNOW that you have eternal life (John 5:24). SOURCE
Where does the Bible say all that junk? I fully agree that a person must admit they are a guilty sinner, so they will see their need for redemption in Christ (Romans 3:19-23; Galatians 3:24-26). But the way Pastor Zacharias explains it, it would scare a person! Where does the inspired King James Bible say we must “change” to be saved? It does not. Repentance is a change of mind unto the Gospel itself, not a profound willingness to reform, grieve, change and depart from sin. Oh why can't men just leave the Gospel alone? I know some people will accuse me of splitting hairs, but I am against anything that complicates or obscures the simplicity that is in Christ. Dear friend, if you know you are a guilty sinner and will place your confidence in Jesus Christ, believing that He died in your place on the cross, was buried, and three days later resurrected from the dead, and that is your only hope for eternal life, you are saved! Nothing more is required or allowed by God. God the Father simply wants you to trust in His only begotten Son (John 3:16-18; 6:40).

I Was Saved Simply by Believing the 'GOOD NEWS' of Jesus Christ

I got saved when I was 13 years old. I did know that I was a sinner, and for the first time in my life I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The church pastor said that Sunday morning, that if you don't have the indwelling Holy Spirit convicting you about sin you're not saved. I knew there and then that I wasn't saved. That morning from my pew, I called out to Jesus for the first time and asked Him to save me. I believed that Christ died on the cross for my sins, was buried, and resurrected three days later. I knew that. I believed THE GOSPEL (1st Corinthians 15:1-4).

I found out many years later that I could have just BELIEVED on Christ, without calling, and still been saved. We are saved by BELIEVING, even before we call. I didn't feel grieved over my sins. I didn't experience REPENTANCE IN A FULL MORAL SENSE. I wasn't a theologian back then, and thank God I'm still not a theologian today 41 years later! God deliver us from theologians!!! I just knew that I had been a bad boy! God saved me because I trusted Christ. Galatians 3:26, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

I dare you to show me even one place in the New Testament, where we are taught to do all this repentance junk that we hear from preachers today. Over and over the Word of God simply teaches us to BELIEVE. John 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” It is high time for all preachers to stop focusing on what the Bible does not!

I think Evangelist John R. Rice (1895-1980) had the right idea about repentance and faith:
There are those hyper-dispensationalists who think that John the Baptist preached a different Gospel from Christ when he commanded repentance (Matt. 3:2). But it is the same repentance Jesus commanded in Matthew 4:17, in Luke 13:3 and 5, and the same repentance that Paul preached in Athens that God “now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30 31). 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. [emphasis added]

SOURCE: Evangelist John R. Rice, “Acts: Filled With The Spirit,” pp. 251-252; Sword Of The Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; ©1963
I couldn't agree more. The way you repent is by BELIEVING. Dr. Zacharias rightly teaches that sometimes in the Bible “repentance” is used as a euphemism (the substitution of an expression) for salvation. For example: Luke 5:32, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” That is essentially what Dr. Rice just explained. Jesus was calling them to salvation. The man who believes has repented! So why teach that a person can BELIEVE in the name of Jesus, but still be lost if they have never repented of their sins? It is IMPOSSIBLE to believe on Christ and still be lost. You may follow Jesus, or call Him “Lord” and not be saved (Matthew 7:21-23), but those who believe on Him as Savior are saved (Acts 16:30-31).

Now, in fairness to Dr. Zacharias, I think what he intends to teach is that you cannot merely add Jesus to your life in a positive sense, without realizing the negative aspect of one's sinnership and deserved penalty in Hell. You've got to know what you are being saved from. You must admit that you are a sinner to be saved (1st John 1:10). Pastor Jack Hyles preached a helpful sermon titled: “The Sin Question And The Son Question.” In this sense I fully agree with Pastor Zacharias, and he does cover this aspect of salvation in his Bible study.

The true Gospel always points you to Christ; a false gospel always points to you. I am tired of being the bad guy for telling THE TRUTH and defending the Gospel. The Bible says in 1st Corinthians 13:6 that love “rejoiceth in THE TRUTH.”

If A Man Is Wrong On Repentance, You Cannot Trust His Theology

Repentance does not mean a change of mind that leads to a change of behavior. That is manmade reformation, not the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer (Galatians 5:22-25). I am unalterably opposed to the heretical teaching that repentance means more than a change of mind (because that is what it really means).

I love you all. I am just a fool for Christ. Jesus said out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh (Matthew 12:34). I cannot help but write about the things I see and hear (Acts 4:20). My neck hurts so bad with burning pain. My nerves burn throughout my body from my neck injury. I am just taking things one day at a time. Love me or hate me, I am telling THE TRUTH. I am not leaving Campus Church (as long as they will have me), at least for the foreseeable future. They are great people and I am happy to have a church family, but time will tell if they embrace me or shun me. The satanic Bob Jones crowd rejected me, because they are snobs, but I never rejected them.

It is not easy being a truth-teller. The Gospel is very simple. One of my favorite sermons is by Pastor Ralph Yankee Arnold titled: “Caught Between Grace And Works.” Anybody who talks about repentance leading to a change of behavior doesn't understand the Gospel. Anybody who talks about repentance leading to a change of behavior is corrupting the Gospel of free grace. Friend, your behavior has absolutely NOTHING to do with the free gift of God, which is eternal life. You don't have to reform or beg God to save you, you simply need to believe what He did for you on the cross. Jesus paid for your sins. Christ is risen! Trust Him oh sinner!

So what am I saying? I am saying keep an eye of Campus Church moving forward. If you ever hear any of their pastors teach that repentance means more than a simple change of mind unto the Gospel itself, RUN! The $64,000 question was asked by the fearful Gentile Roman jailer: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30b). The profoundly simple answer was once and for all settled by the Apostle Paul: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31b). The invitation to believe was extended to the man's entire house, as it is also extended to you dear friend.

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