May 28, 2019

Repent & Believe, Part 15: How Important is It?

The foundational issue regarding gospel extremes centers on one’s understanding of what it means to repent and believe. How important is it? It could cost the very souls of men and women.

Dr. John Van Gelderen

On one occasion, a lady who operated a country/western radio station heard the gospel and expressed a desire to receive the Savior. However, the witness speaking with her, having adopted a lordship salvation position in reaction to easy-believism, maintained that the woman must discontinue operations at the station in order to be saved. Tragically, the woman responded by backing down from making a decision for Christ. Far better would it have been to see her trust Christ for salvation and then, on that basis, teach her to grow spiritually and deal with the lifestyle issue through the power of the Spirit. In this case, it was not a matter of the woman bringing up an issue or association she would cling to over salvation. Involvement with the radio station was made an issue to her as part of the object of dependence.

Believers must learn to declare the gospel—plus nothing, minus nothing.

The biblical balance of believe and repent reveals the importance of declaring the gospel to sinners in order to see people saved and then declaring the gospel to saints to see people grow. Sinners must hear of sin, judgment, credited righteousness based on the finished work of Christ, and the decision of faith/repentance. Saints, in turn, absolutely need to learn the truth of the Spirit-filled life. Maintaining this precision of emphasis will keep the evangel crystal clear when ministering both to sinners and to saints.

Dr. John Van Gelderen
Revival Focus

Site Publisher Addendum:

When a man [teaching Lordship Salvation] tries to carefully introduce verses about discipleship as though they are strictly evangelistic, remember that the Bible teaches that the lost must come to Christ for salvation and then follow after Him in discipleship. Salvation and discipleship are two very different things. We must not use verses intended to teach discipleship to try to lead a man to Christ. To do so creates confusion and frustration. The message becomes a gospel of faith, plus works…. Salvation has primarily to do with Jesus Christ as Savior; discipleship has primarily to do with Jesus Christ as Lord. Salvation is the new birth, a one-time event in which a man by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5) is saved from sin, death and Hell. Discipleship is a process, maturing and growing as a believer over a lifetime, “in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).  (In Defense of the Gospel: Biblical Answers to Lordship Salvation [Rev. & Expanded Edition] pp. 93-94)

Previous Articles in the Repent & Believe Series
Part Ten: The Clarity of Turning to Christ

Part Eight: Confusing Terminology: “Turn from Sin