The Church of Christ Reverses the Order of Repentance and Faith

Repentance and Faith_01

SOURCE: The Church of Christ gospel “plan” is to hear, believe, repent, confess, and be “water” baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Here it is reasoned that if one will simply perform these “5 steps,” the believer will thereby save himself.

Notice that this plan places faith before repentance.

To those in the Churches of Christ, this is “common sense” because it is believed that ‘one must believe before he can repent.’ This view arises from their understanding of both “faith” and “repentance.”

“Faith” in the Churches of Christ is understood as nothing more than ‘intellectual assent” or accepting the facts of the Christian faith. To them it is believing God’s historical testimony about Himself, Jesus Christ, and that of the rest of the Bible.

Repentance on the other hand is understood as moral “self-reformation.”

In regards to faith, those in the Churches of Christ often fail to understand that there is a deeper, more substantive aspect of faith which is believing on Jesus Christ for eternal life, and most cannot distinguish between mere intellectual belief or assent from a personal faith that is trusting in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.

Here, they will cite that “even the devils believe” (from James 2:19) in their sermons and will contend that even the “faith of devils” is the same as any other faith except that the faith of devils lacks any moral or religious good works.

Thus, their understanding gives rise to their reversal of the scriptural order of repentance and faith, and yet as we will find, there is not a single scripture in the New Testament to support their view.

To the contrary, when we consider this in light of Scripture, we find repentance actually preceding Faith:

“…you did not repent and believe him.” Matt. 21:32

“Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15

“…repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 20:21

“…repent and turn to God.” Acts 26:20

“…not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.” Hebrews 6:1

These verses should make it clear that repentance actually precedes faith.

So why is this important?

This is significant because when Church of Christ members read passages like Acts 2:38 and “Repent and let each one of you be baptized,” they assume that the passage teaches that if you want to be saved, what you must do is make the commitment not to sin anymore (i.e. repent or “self-reformantion”) and then get yourself baptized in water.

However, the word Repentance literally means “a change of mind.”

The word for Repent is “metanoia” and it’s actually two Greek words put together, “meta” meaning after, “noia” means mind or thought.

It literally means “an after-thought”, “post-thought”, or “a change of mind.”

The word was used that if you said one thing, “I think I’m going to go do this…” and then changed your mind, “No, I’m not” –then you have repented.

In Acts chapter 2, Peter just has been telling them about Jesus, whom they thought was just a carpenter, or teacher from Nazareth. He says, “No, Jesus is Messiah, He is the God-Man who came doing the miracles, whom YOU put to death, Whom God raised up, He is both Lord and Christ…”

So when Peter says to “Repent,” he was not merely talking about “self-reformation”, but was telling the people to change their minds about Jesus Christ. They saw Him as a teacher or Rabbi from Nazareth. But Peter was saying, ‘You have got to see Him as Lord, you’ve got to see Him as Messiah, you have got to repent (i.e. change your mind) about Jesus Christ.’

The bottom line is, this whole idea of repentance is that we see Jesus Christ as the Messiah, to trust Him as our Savior. And when you believe in Him there will be the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

And BTW, everyone one of us who put our faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, changed our minds, we all repented.

Whatever else we were trusting in before we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we changed our minds about when we realized that Jesus Christ is the only way, that He is the Savior, and that He is the only One who will take us to heaven.

Edited from Bob L. Ross’ book Campbellism- Its History and Heresies

About Damon Whitsell

Hello, my name is Damon. I have been studying Christian Cults since 1985 and doing Cult Apologetics online since 1998 because I grew up with Mormons, Oneness Pentecostals and Bible Missionaries in my family. All three of these groups (or Cults) think they are the One True Church and the Only True Christians and to be Saved you must join their Church. So as a result I started studying the Bible for myself to try to determine which of these groups had the truth. After much praying, reading and studying I decided the Mormon, Oneness Pentecostal and Bible Missionarie churches are not real Christian Churches at all, rather they are Christian Cults because they do not line up with what the bible really teaches about Salvation and they are not in agreement with other Essential Christian Doctrines. I found that according to what the Word of God teaches, and Historic/Orthodox Christian Teaching, Salvation cannot be earned by any form of human works or efforts I found that Salvation is ALL by the Grace and Work of God and that Salvation and Eternal Life are a Free Gift from God (Ephesians 2:8, Romans 6:23, John 3:16) to all who will Trust in Jesus Christ and the atoning sacrifice He made for us by dying on the Cross for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). The Word of God is clear and plainly says “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Because I know what it is like to be targeted by Cult Groups and to suffer from the spirtual confusion and frustration brought on by their false teachings, I have endeavored to help others find True Eternal Life in Jesus Christ and to break free from the clutches of, and to be healed from the damage done by, Cult Groups who claim to be the One True Church. So it is my hope and prayer that the Lord will use my Websites to help those that need help and that some who use my websites will be helped by them to find the Free Gift of God’s Salvation, that is only found in His only begotten son Jesus Christ.

Posted on January 6, 2016, in Repentance, Salvation, Saved by Grace through Faith and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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