Hello again, dear ones! Today the twisted scripture we’re going to be working with is Ephesians 2:8-9. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. That’s a beautiful truth, is it not dear ones? This is one of those verses that we could read and reread for all eternity without ever tiring of it. Unfortunately some have used this verse to negate other verses. Namely, as we’ll be discussing today, all verses referencing repentance.
A while back Tom, our brother in the faith over at excatholicforChrist, shared a link with me about repentance here, it’s well worth the read! It was his observation that some who hold to King James Onlyism tend to have a negative view of repentance. Their claim is that repentance is a work and is therefor not needed for salvation. As you’ll see in my graphics, Scripture says otherwise. Here’s where almost every Twisted Tuesday leads, rather than allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture, we tend to impose our views on it. This is called eisegesis and has caused more heresies than can be numbered. There’s going to be times when we don’t understand God’s Word, or when a verse stands out as one that needs clarity. When this happens we need to be very careful not to add our own opinions to the text. Good hermeneutics is key! If we seem to be contradicting Scripture with our interpretation than there is something seriously wrong with our interpretation.
This is what has happened with the view that repentance is a work. Scripture clearly states that salvation is of God, we have nothing to boast in. We can only sit at the feet of the cross amazed that we have been saved from the wrath to come. Scripture also tells us to repent, and put our faith in Christ alone. How does Gods Word reconcile this? Simply, by stating and repeating an important truth, repentance is a gift from God. It’s imperative at this point to discuss a distinction the Bible makes clear, there is a worldly sorrow not leading to repentance, and a Godly sorrow that does lead to repentance. The worldly sorrow is one where the sinner feels the sting of consequence, where as the Godly sorrow feels the sting of offending ones Creator.
To use myself as an example, without any understanding of God’s Law, and a wicked heart full of pride and lust, I took to the alter at every call, repeating the same prayer, hopeful that my sins would not be found out. Washing the outside of the cup. I did this for over a decade, dear ones. It’s been noted before that some have genuinely repented when repeating the Sinners Prayer. Those brothers and sisters felt the weight of their sin in Godly sorrow. Others, like myself, had no idea what the need for repentance even was. We used the Sinners Prayer as a get out of hell free card, a way to have our cake and eat it too, to sin freely without considering the one against whom we sinned. This is the true heart of man, when left unchanged by Gods grace, able to deceive itself right into Hell.
When I heard Gods Word rightly divided, His Law explained, His grace expounded upon, I felt Godly sorrow for my sins. How could I, wickedly full of hatred for the one true God, now humbled by His sovereignty, fall at His feet and ask for forgiveness? I could have more readily walked the surface of the sun that night than walk to the throne of God, if I had been left to my own works all would have been lost. However, in my lostness, in my brokenness, in my utter helplessness, God gave me the gift of repentance and faith. God gave me the confidence to approach His throne. It was all Him, and He alone is owed the glory!
The very air we breathe when speaking a prayer of repentance is a gift from God. A new heart is given at the point of salvation, the old man filled with worldly desires dies, and a new creation replaces it. That new creation desires to do the will of God, though imperfectly, with a new heart that loves Him, and this is a gift of God. In short, God gives repentance and faith, salvation, sanctification, adoption, and justification. To Him be the glory, and the honor, and the praise, forever and ever amen. We must share the Gospel, giving the law to the proud, showing grace to the humble, calling all men to repent. Poke holes in a life boat and it will sink before any can jump inside it and be saved. Give the entirety of the life boat, the Good News of the Gospel, to the lost. We can not save anyone, but we can plant seeds, or water where others have sown, while trusting in God to bring the increase. Gods Word is perfect, we need not discount one verse to bolster another.
As a reminder, brethren, let’s continue to uphold our brother Jim in prayer as he is overseas on missions. 2018 has seen many countries harden against the church planting, evangelizing, and related mission trips. Thank you Pastor Jim for your faithfulness! We look forward to your safe return, and the updates that come with it. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.