Repentance Is “A Change Of Mind”
By David J. Stewart | June 2012 | Updated September 2014
Mark 1:15, “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the
kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
My friend, the greatest theological battles of this generation are over the inspiration of the Bible and the meaning of one single word — “REPENTANCE.” Tragically, America's churches effectively are LOSING THE BATTLE. I say “losing” because MOST Baptist and evangelical churches today are using modern corrupt Bibles and; therefore, have a false understanding of what it means to repent. What good is a belief in an inspired Bible if you're not using an inspired Bible?
The beauty of the situation is that if you research all the plethora of Bibles being sold on the market today—ONLY ONE STANDS ALONE—THE INSPIRED KING JAMES BIBLE!!! This comparison chart speaks volumes (smaller chart). The truth is plain to see for those who desire it.
Dr. Jack Hyles 100% correctly and Biblically states concerning repentance...
“Repentance is not some little silly, 'I'm sorry.' Repentance is not simply a fear of God. Repentance is not a monk fasting and afflicting his body in a monastery. Repentance is not remorse because of sin's consequences. Repentance is not penance performed before the pope as you kiss his toe... Repentance is not being sorry for what I've done wrong. It is not confessing one's sins to a priest. It is not just conviction of sin. It is not the signing of a pledge of abstinence. Repentance is that thing when you come before God and see yourself as you are, and see Him as he is, and say with Isaiah 'Woe is me, for I am unclean!'” —Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001), a quote from the timeless MP3 sermon, THE GOODNESS OF GOD LEADETH TO REPENTANCE!
“Repentance” unto salvation in Mark 1:15 is the Greek word metanoeo, which simply means “a change of mind,” no more. Notice that believing the Gospel is the object of true repentance; not ridding one's life of sin, which is what heretics like Ray Comfort, Creation Science Evangelism (CSE), Jack Chick and John MacArthur teach. Mark 1:15 plainly teaches that the Gospel is the object of repentance. Men repent and believe the Gospel. That is salvation.
The ONLY thing that you need to repent of to be saved, is whatever it is that's been hindering you from coming to Christ to be saved. (See: The Great Meaning of “Metanoia”)
Repentance and believing are not two separate steps to salvation; but rather, repentance is a change of mind that prompts a man to believe the Gospel. They are two parts of one step. The man who has repented has believed, and the man who believes has repented. This is why the Gospel of John mentions the word “believe” and “believed” 85-times, but the word “repent” is never mentioned, not even once. Repentance unto salvation is very simple—you turn to Jesus to be forgiven of your sins; not turning from your sins as a prerequisite to trusting Christ. The former is salvation; but the latter is the heresy of Lordship Salvation, which leads to Hell.
The Real Issue Is Over The MEANING Of Repentance
Read what the Creation Science Evangelism (CSE) website teaches...
Second, repent of your sin. This means that you must turn completely away from your sin. It is more than just saying sorry; it is a complete change of direction as you endeavor, by God’s power, to go His way, instead of the way of sin.
Instead of the object of repentance being believing the Gospel; the object of repentance here is “a complete change of direction as you endeavor, by God's power, to go His way, instead of the way of sin.” They're mandating a change of personal priorities to be saved. CSE says you can't just acknowledge that you're a sinner and believe the Gospel to be saved. Oh no, they require you to go much further and ENDEAVOUR a complete change to go God's way instead of sin.
Ladies and gentleman, this is a pure works-based salvation heresy! It's not just a matter of semantics. Some fool will say, “We'll everyone looks at salvation a little differently.” That's true, which is why they're all going to the Lake of Fire in self-righteousness. There is only one Gospel, that is, Christ died, was buried and resurrected three days later (1st Corinthians 15:1-4).
Salvation is by grace through faith PLUS NOTHING! I'm tired of Baptists claiming to believe that statement while simultaneously saying that a person must endeavor to make a complete change with God's help to be saved. Jack Chick has recently defended himself, writing an entire webpage about why repentance is necessary for salvation. Either Jack Chick is sincerely ignorant of what's wrong with his plan of salvation, or else he's deliberately side-stepping the issue to save face. No one ever said that repentance wasn't necessary for salvation. That's not the issue at all. Repentance is absolutely 100% required for salvation. No one debates that.
THE ISSUE is that Jack Chick, Ray Comfort, Paul Washer, John MacArthur, CSE and other false teachers have REDEFINED what repentance means and are; therefore, all teaching a false concept of what repentance is. John MacArthur's false concept of repentance for salvation matches that of Mormonism. Every one of these men I've mentioned pervert the simple meaning of repentance, which is a change of mind.
Pastor Bob Gray Sr. at the Longview Baptist Temple church in Texas correctly preaches . . .
“Repentance means to change your mind—change your mind—change your mind about how you want to get to Heaven to what God says you've got to do to get to Heaven. If you've got to repent of all your sins, you're still headed for Hell tonight.” —Pastor Bob Gray Sr., a quote from the awesome MP3 sermon, Why You Should Be A Part Of A Growing Church
On page 1513 of THE EVIDENCE BIBLE, under the section “Questions & Objections,” Ray Comfort addresses the statement: “Because Jesus died on the cross we are forgiven of every sin.” Here’s Ray Comfort’s reply to this statement…
“The forgiveness that is in Jesus Christ is conditional upon ‘repentance towards God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Acts 20:21). It is a gift that God offers to everyone, but individuals must receive it by repenting and trusting in Christ, or they will remain dead in their sins. No one has Biblical grounds to continue in sin, assuming that they are safe just because Jesus died on the cross. See 1 John 3:4-6.” [Emphasis added]
SOURCE: THE EVIDENCE BIBLE, by Ray Comfort, pg. 1513; 2003, Bridge-Logos Publishers, Orlando, Florida
Those are some very dangerous words at the end, “…assuming that they are safe just because Jesus died on the cross.” Are not all believers “safe” in Jesus Christ? Yes, they certainly are safe (Ephesians 1:13; Isaiah 28:16; Romans 10:11); but Ray Comfort teaches they are not. Ray Comfort is teaching heresy to say that believers who fail to forsake their sins are not safe in their salvation. Such reasoning places a heavy burden upon the sinner, requiring one to depart from sinful bad habits as a prerequisite to be saved.
Since the Bible is clear that even the best of Christians are still sinners (Romans 7:14-25), then how much sin is allowable before reaching the danger zone of not being saved? Ray Comfort says you're not safe just because Jesus died for your sins; but that you MUST also forsake the world, cease from dirty thoughts and telling fibs. On page 1197 of THE EVIDENCE BIBLE, Ray Comfort comments on Matthew 7:22,23...
"These are perhaps the most frightening verses in the Bible. Vast multitudes of professing Christians fit into the category spoken of here. They call Jesus 'Lord,' but they practice lawlessness. They profess faith in Jesus, but have no regard for the divine law. They tell 'fibs' or 'white' lies, take things that belong to others, have a roaming eye for the opposite sex, etc. They are liars, thieves, and adulterers at heart, who will be cast from the gates of heaven into the jaws of hell."
SOURCE: THE EVIDENCE BIBLE, by Ray Comfort, pg. 1197; 2003, Bridge-Logos Publishers, Orlando, Florida
In sharp contrast, read what Dr. John R. Rice (1895-1980) has to say Scripturally about worldly believers. Mr. Comfort places emphasis upon holy living as to whether or not a person will make it into Heaven. But is this what the Bible really teaches? As I showed you earlier from the Bible in Mark 1:15, men repent and believe the Gospel. That is salvation. “Repentance” unto salvation in Mark 1:15 is the Greek word metanoeo, which simply means “a change of mind,” no more. Whatever that change of mind is leads a person to receive the Gospel as payment for their sins to be saved.
Notice that the change of mind doesn't lead a person to forsake personal sins, give up partying and the world, surrender all to Christ, et cetera. These things are not salvation. So you ask, “Well then, do you think a believer can go out and live like the Devil and still be saved?” The answer is yes; but to clarify, if a person has experienced genuine repentance unto salvation, then Christ has now entered into them and they become a new creature as 2nd Corinthians 5:17 says. The Holy Spirit is going to convict that believer about sins. God chastises His children (Hebrews 12:6-8).
When I first got saved at age 13, the Holy Spirit started convicting me about some things. As a young teen, I remember one of the first things I was convicted about was how I spoke to my mother. My dad would have rearranged my face if I disrespected him, but mom was more easy going. It's unbelievable the way some kids talk to their parents and boss them around. It is sinful. I wasn't that bad, but up until I got saved I was starting to sass my mom. When I believed the Gospel and became a Christian—a still, small, voice (Holy Spirit) inside my heart said, “I want you to be careful how you speak to your mother.” I began to read my Bible daily and fall asleep reading it. My mom would turn my little nightlight off. I remember my mother one day saying, “You've changed.” In hindsight that means a lot to me. The change was Jesus Christ!
That is how salvation works. You repent (change your mind) to believe the Gospel (Christ's death, burial and resurrection), and then the Holy Spirit (Christ's Spirit, Romans 8:9) comes to indwell you and speaks to your heart as you read the Bible. 1st Peter 2:2, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” A changed life is the result (FRUIT) of salvation. A man's faith in Christ is the ROOT of salvation. The day I got saved was like a light switch was turned on and the Holy Spirit began to open my eyes to spiritual things. What a glorious salvation!
Picture a tree as representing a Christian. The roots are salvation; but the fruit on the branches is the result of what the roots have grown into. Hence, it is our faith in Christ's death, burial and resurrection that saves us by Christ's blood and blossoms over time into a fruitful life of pleasing God. The changes are impossible without the tree's roots. This well illustrates the foolishness and impossibility of the heresy of Lordship Salvation, which teaches that a tree must first grow limbs and bear fruit before there are even any roots. That's not possible in reality. The roots (faith) must come first.
Dr. Mark G. Cambron Has it 100% Correct On Repentance
Here is an excellent and needful writing by Dr. Mark G. Cambron (1911-2000) on the subject of REPENTANCE. Please read the following quote carefully, because Dr. Cambron is one of few theologian who gets it, that is, he understands the simplicity of the Gospel and that repentance does not mean turning from sin as proponents of Lordship Salvation foolishly teach...
Repentance is necessary for salvation.
The Greek word for repent is metanoeo, which, translated into English is: to change ones mind. It does not mean to turn from sin. That would add works to salvation.
Repentance for salvation means a change of mind from men's ideas of salvation and religion, to an acceptance of Gods only way of salvation.
This results in a completely new creation, not a reformation of the old. The old nature remains as evil as ever after salvation and has not been reformed . . . The old nature can now be controlled by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.
God guarantees salvation. This is His gift to us.
God guarantees reward and fruit to the obedient son.
God guarantees chastening and loss of rewards to the disobedient son.
God does not cast out disobedient children, but in some cases, does take them home. He does not permit His children to live as they please without His discipline and guidance.
Many teach repentance for salvation incorrectly, by including some form of human effort or righteousness, such as willingness to turn from sin, or turning from sin. This is heresy and has confused many people. It adds works to salvation and causes many to not understand Gods great gift. It is probation, not salvation. It is completely unscriptural. It is Galatianism and a counterfeit of the gospel.
It is a tragedy that many Christians live shallow Christian lives. The Cambron Institute is dedicated to the task of training Christian men and women in the importance of total dedication and making Jesus the Lord of their lives not to be saved but because they are saved.
Shallow Christianity cannot be cured by adding works to salvation.
Salvation is not the result of what we do, but is by receiving what God has done for us. Acts 13:38, 39; Acts 20:20: Gal. 1:8,9; Gal. 2:4; Gal. 2:21; Gal. 3:1.3; Gal. 5:1-4; Eph. 2:8-10; II Cor. 5:21;John 3:16-18; Phil. 3:9; Titus 3:5-8:11 Cor. 11:13-1 5.
SOURCE: The Cambron Institute
Obeying God Rather Than Men
I feel bad exposing people. God knows my heart. I used to love passing out Chick Tracts. I was one of Jack Chick's biggest fans. I loved the pictures in the tracts that I had seen since childhood. But then one day I realized that he taught a false Gospel. It took me 8-long-months of prayer and heart searching. God convicted me through His Spirit and said, “Are you right in what you're saying?” The answer was a resounding, “yes, yes and yes.” As much as it hurts me to expose Jack Chick, I KNOW that I'm doing the right thing because the truth is THE TRUTH.
The same thing can be said of Ray Comfort and many others whom I expose as false prophets. It really hurts me in my heart. Sometimes the good guy has to be the perceived villain for the benefit of those he's trying to help. I'm continually asking God, “Am I doing the right thing here?” It's not like I arrogantly just pick and choose who I like or don't like and then have it in for them. God forbid! No, rather, I go by the truth and principle.
Dr. Jack Hyles (1926-2001) has taught me more than any man alive through his books and sermons. I heard Brother Hyles recently say in a sermon that he allows principles to make his decisions for him, so he doesn't have to go by emotions and personal bias. He said that a family in the church was upset and threatening to leave because he expelled their daughter from the Christian high school. She broke certain rules that required expulsion. Dr. Hyles said he followed policy, not his personal feelings or bias. A rule is a rule and cannot be broken for anybody, not even a longstanding family in the church. I love people, but I will expose anyone who corrupts the Gospel (as we all should, Titus 1:10-13).
Satan Always Tries To Move The Ancient Landmark
Who am I? Absolutely nothing! A worm! A stick in the mud! You're enjoying this aren't you? Ladies and gentleman, the world is going to Hell. The Devil is trying to blind people from the truth. Since he cannot outright get us to betray our convictions and faith, he subtly tries to redefine what repentance and faith are! The Devil is always trying to move the landmark. Did you hear what I said? The Devil is always trying to move the landmark. What does that mean?
Proverb 22:28 says, “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” When a man died in the Old Testament, sometimes dishonest neighbors would take advantage of a widow and her children by moving the property landmark which divided the land (showing who owns what). Today you'd hire a land surveyor to define a property's landmarks. By moving the landmark at night when no one was looking, a little bit at a time, they could steal a large portion of land over time and no one would know it. God hated this kind of evil and that's why Proverbs 22:28 warns against moving the ancient landmark which their ancestral fathers had set.
Likewise, this is how Satan is corrupting America, our churches and the Word of God, that is, by moving the landmark a little at a time. Incrementally Satan takes over. If you give the Devil and inch, he'll become a ruler. Most Christians today are so choked by the cares, riches and pleasures of this world (Luke 8:14) that they couldn't care less where the landmark's at. Other believers prioritize big screen projectors, entertainment and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) more than they do clothing standards, having a pure Bible and sound Biblical doctrine in the church. How can you have pure doctrines if you don't have a pure Bible? You cannot!
The landmarks have been moved, and will continue to be moved in our nation and churches until Christians put them back where they belong. The King James Bible is our Final Authority (the only true Landmark). If the U.S. Supreme Court is the landmark, then we're in serious trouble (and we are in America). If the Southern Baptist Convention's new Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) is the landmark, then we're in serious trouble because it has a crooked and faulty foundation (Westcott and Hort). What a sick joke to even call the HCSB a Bible! It a perversion, like homosexuality! The HCSB is to the Bible what homosexuality is to the human body, vile perversion and filth.
The NIV 2011 is shocking, much worse than the NIV 1984 (which is horrible in itself). Satan keeps moving the landmark. I shudder to think what the next generation of churchgoers will fall for and accept. Faithful Christians must get angry and say, “Stop! Hold it right there buster, you're not going to move that landmark. You put it back where it belongs and get out of here you rascal!” Would to God that Christians had done that in 1963 when a sick-minded group of liberals on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to remove the Bible from all the public schools. The schools became Satan's that very day. We said as a nation, “Here Devil, take my children and indoctrinate them.” The landmark is gone. The lines of morality are gone. Every Christian ought to be like a pitbull toward sin and heresy creeping into the home, marriage and church.
Corrupt Modern Bible Versions Can Only Yield Corrupt Doctrines
Remember, “repentance” unto salvation in Mark 1:15 is the Greek word metanoeo, which simply means “a change of mind,” no more. Anyone who ADDS to this definition or alters it to mean something different is corrupting the Gospel. The corrupt NIV, HCSB and other perversions of the Bible are fueling corrupt doctrines in our churches.
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has sold-out to the Devil. Granted, I like to hear every once in a while that the SBC takes a stand against same-sex marriage, et cetera. Unfortunately, once a group starts tampering with the Words of God their days are numbered. The group may continue, but the Lord won't be with them. Even as I type they have forsaken the pure, inspired and preserved Words of God. It's so sad. God gives us His Words, preserved unto every generation just as He PROMISED in Psalm 12:6-8; but then the SBC and many like them reject those Words for something more hip to our times.
And to no surprise, the HCSB version butchers Romans 10:9, teaching the heresy of Lordship Salvation...
HCSB - 9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
KJB - Romans 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
Do you see the drastic difference in meaning? This is why 75% of all evangelical churches today have a wrong understanding of what it Biblically means to repent. Mark 1:15, “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
“Repentance” unto salvation in Mark 1:15 is the Greek verb metanoeo, which simply means “to think differently,” no more. (Metanoia is the noun form, which means, “a change of mind”). Notice that believing the Gospel is the object of true repentance; not ridding one's life of sin, which is what heretics like Ray Comfort, Creation Science Evangelism (CSE), Jack Chick and John MacArthur teach. Mark 1:15 plainly teaches that the Gospel is the object of repentance. Men repent and believe the Gospel. That is salvation. Please read, The Great Meaning of “Metanoia”.
Whatever happened to “the gift of God,” which “is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Anyone who says that eternal life is a “gift,” but says changing the course of your life (or being willing to turn from your sins) is necessary, is a Gospel pervert!!! ARE YOU A GOSPEL PERVERT?
Here is one of the best quotes 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)