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“The Gospel”
by Art Sadlier   
March 26th, 2020

“… Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day … “ 1 Corinthians 15:3

Here Paul gives a simple definition of the gospel: 1- “Christ died for our sins” 2- “He was buried” 3- “He rose again the third day

This is the way in which Christ provided our salvation as Paul says in verse 2 “By which also ye are saved”.

Other scriptures flesh out the details and give us insight into this marvelous work of Christ, but these verses are the gospel. Notice that he does not mention Faith or Repentance. Why is this? Faith and Repentance have no part in the providing of salvation and are not part of the gospel. Faith and Repentance are how we access (appropriate) the salvation which Christ has fully and freely provided for us. We must make this distinction to avoid confusion about the gospel. We are saved by God’s grace. God provides salvation and we have no part in that but we obtained this provision of salvation “through faith”.

Faith is not work. Faith and Works are contrasted in Eph 2:8, 9 where Paul says “…not of works lest any man should boast”. Faith and Repentance are two sides of the same coin (as we shall see) so that Repentance is not a work. If you think you are earning salvation by your Faith and Repentance, you do not understand the Gospel, and you do not understand Faith. God alone fully provides salvation, by grace, and we obtain it through Faith.

Faith and Repentance are both given as an antidote to perishing, resulting in salvation! The two words are used interchangeably as the way to obtain salvation. Faith (believing) is in John 3:16, 18 & 36, “whosever believeth” and “he that believeth”. It is in Acts 16:31 “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” and in Romans 10:9 “…believe in thine heart …”. Repentance is in Luke 13:3, 5 “…” and 2 Cor 7:9, 10 where Paul says “Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation”. It is likewise found in 2 Pet 3:9, Acts 3:19, Acts 17:30, Acts 26:20 and Matt. 3:7, 8. Which is it, believe in Jesus Christ and put your faith in Him for salvation OR repent and be saved? It is patently obvious, amazingly clear, that Faith and Repentance are two sides of the same coin.

If “Repenting” involves works to earn salvation we would not be commanded to repent to receive salvation. There is no faith without repentance. You cannot exercise faith for salvation without recognizing the cause of your being lost. You cannot exercise faith for deliverance from being lost without being willing and anxious to turn away from that cause which is sin. When you turn from sin you demonstrate that your faith is a valid faith.

Jesus preached repentance in Mt. 4:17 “… repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” and “I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” in Mt 9:13. He “upbraided the cities … because they repented not” in Mt 11:20. He stated in Luke 15:10 “… there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one that repenteth”.

"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Here in Acts 2:38 Peter is saying Repent and be saved and give testimony through baptism, that is the only interpretation that is consistent with scripture. See also Mk 1:15 and Mk 6:12.

The Old Testament speaks of repentance in Proverbs 28:13, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."   See also Isaiah 55:6,7 and Isaiah 59:20.

An example of the necessity of repentance can be found in Matthew 19:16-26. A young man comes to Jesus seeking salvation, verse 16 "And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?"

Jesus used the law to bring conviction of sin upon him, "And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself " (verses 17-19). Jesus was trying to bring conviction of sin upon him in order that he might be saved. Jesusd had previously said, "...except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3).

Paul speaks of this in Romans 3:20, "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin."  He also elaborates in Galatians 3:24 "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." 

The man’s sin was the “love of money". Jesus demanded repentance, calling him to turn away from the sin of the love of money. When the man refused and began to walk away, Jesus did not say “Oh, wait a minute, never mind repentance, just trust Me for salvation!”  "But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven" (verses 22, 23). Jesus verified that there is no Salvation without Repentance.

Do not be misled by the deceitful statement that says: Repentance is not a part of the gospel (true), therefore do not call for repentance in the presentation of the gospel” (false). The saving work of Christ on the cross cannot be applied apart from faith and repentance, Luke 13: 3, 5 "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." See also and John 3:18.

Profession of faith without repentance is not faith at all; it will not result in salvation. It is easy-believism which gives a false assurance of salvation and eventually destroys churches!

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