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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:
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repent and belive the gospel

Let’s start with some words of Christ Himself.

Luk 13:1-5, 1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answering said unto them, SUPPOSE YE that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

What was Jesus saying to those present? First, because our modern dictionaries define repentance and other words according to how the words are used and not necessarily what they mean according to  their historical meaning and root words, we must biblically define repentance.

Jesus used the Greek words metanoeō for repentance. Strongs defines it as “to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider”. This is consistent with the root words meta (to change) and noeos (mind). Repentance here simply means to have a change of mind. What were those present to have a change of mind about? First notice that in verse 2 Jesus says “SUPPOSE YE”. He is concerned about their thinking and wants them to change their mind from thinking that they are better off than the Galileans who had their blood mingled with their sacrifices. He was saying that unless they changed their minds from thinking they were not as bad as the Galileans who they supposed suffered for being sinners above other Galileans, they too would likewise suffer and perish.

These scriptures show us in action what repentance is. The first one shows us that God says turning from evil ways is a work. So turning from sin cannot be a salvific requirement since we are not saved by works.

Jon 3:10  And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

If to repent means to stop sinning, how do you explain the 13 text that say God repented? 2 times he repented of things he had done and 11 times he repented of things he was going to do. If you will read these text you will plainly see that by saying God repented, it means he changed his mind.

All 4 of the following verses use the same Greek word with the same meaning of having a change of mind. We are to change our mind to believe the gospel and to go from unbelief to believing and having faith in Jesus.

Mat 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.

Act 19:4  Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

Act 20:21  Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Mar 1:15  And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.


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