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REFLECT ON REPENTANCE
by Dr. Fred Wittman
Since the leaflet “Reflect on Repentance” has been distributed, a question has been raised. Is not repentance a gift from God and therefore comes to the convert automatically and does not need to be preached as a requirement to salvation? In response, another question is raised. Is proclaiming such a salvation in keeping with all Scripture (since all Scripture must be considered for every doctrine) and sufficient to produce the true Eternal Salvation in The Lord Jesus Christ or is it another gospel (Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Cor. 11:4-4,13-15)?
In order to answer these questions adequately, it is absolutely necessary that a careful examination of all the pertinent Scriptures be considered, since twelve straight forward facts and careful analysis including Greek vocabulary, Greek grammar, and context of eight additional text are being overlooked. These twelve facts are divided into three groups showing the emphasis upon repentance, five occasions by The Lord Jesus Christ, three by Peter, and three by Paul.
Five Facts about The Lord Jesus Christ:
1. The Lord Jesus Christ began proclaiming the Gospel of The Kingdom of The God after the death of John the Baptizer with the requirement, “Repent and believe The Gospel” (Mk. 1;14,15). Notice the order: repentance before faith.
2. In all three Synoptic Gospels, The Lord Jesus Christ stated that He did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Mt. 9:13; Mk. 2:17; Lk. 5:32).
3. The Lord Jesus Christ distinctly declared twice, “Except you repent, you all shall likewise perish. He was referring to the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices and the eighteen people who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell upon them (Lk. 13:1-5). Therefore Jesus emphasized repentance as a necessary requirement for the Salvation from perishing in eternal destruction in the Lake of Fire.
4. The Lord Jesus Christ twice declared that joy shall be in Heaven, in the presence of the angels over one sinner that repents (Lk. 15:7,10).
5. The Lord Jesus Christ declared to the apostles in giving the great commission before He ascended, “that it was absolutely necessary: for The Christ to suffer and to resurrect out of dead ones in the third day; and (absolutely necessary) for repentance and forgiveness of sins to be proclaimed as an herald on the basis of His (The Christ’s) name unto all nations, beginning away from Jerusalem” (Lk. 24:46,47). The resurrected Jesus told the disciples, “Absolutely necessary for repentance . . . to be proclaimed . . . unto all nations.” Thus to fail to include or purposely omit repentance from the proclamation of The Gospel of Salvation is disobedience to The Lord Jesus Christ’s command and mandate! How does The God regard persistent disobedience to The Lord’s commands? He regards it as rebellion, stubbornness, and idolatry, does He not (1 Sam. 15:22,23)? Those who do so are themselves in need of repentance. But such proclamation also falls in the category of another of a different kind of “false” gospel (Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Cor. 11:4-4,13-15).
In addition to these five facts there are three more facts in the apostle Peter’s ministry that require attention (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 8:22).
Three Facts about Peter:
6. Peter, the apostle to the circumcision (Hebrews or Jews) used the keys of the Kingdom in Acts chapter two. On the day of Pentecost Peter preached his first recorded sermon to thousands of Jews in Jerusalem. It is evident that about three thousand people were convicted and believed the Gospel because Luke records, “they were pricked in their hearts.” But they had not yet repented. They cried out questioning, “O men, brothers, what shall we do?” Peter then expressed to them.
“Repent at once and be baptized! Each one of you by using the name of Jesus Christ on the basis of forgiveness of sins and you shall receive the dōrea - gratuitous gift of The Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38 APT).
The gratuitous gift that they received was The Holy Spirit, not repentance (cf. Acts 8:20; 10:45; 11:17). It was not until after they repented that they were baptized and received The Holy Spirit. Repentance came before regeneration and before being baptized by The Holy Spirit into The Church, The Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). They were called upon to repent. It was not automatic. They had to act to repent before The God responded to give Salvation and forgiveness of sins. After they acted (repented) they were baptized in water. And after they were baptized in water they were baptized by The Holy Spirit. They received Him as a gratuitous gift.
7. Secondly, shortly after Pentecost, Peter and John healed the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. A crowd gathered on Solomon’s Porch and Peter preached his second sermon (Acts 3:12-26). After relating the crucifixion and resurrection of The Christ, Peter challenged the Jews, “Repent at once and be converted in order that your sins be obliterated!” (Acts 3:19 APT). Again the message proclaimed called for repentance.
8. Thirdly, the second occasion in which Peter used the keys of The Kingdom was in a city of Samaria in early Autumn of A.D. 33. Philip had a great harvest of Samaritans committing trust to the Lord Jesus Christ and were being baptized. Among those who were baptized was Simon the sorcerer. When the apostles at Jerusalem heard of the Samaritans hospitably receiving The Word of The God, they sent Peter and John to them. After praying on their behalf to receive The Holy Spirit, they laid hands upon them and they were filled with The Holy Spirit. Then Simon, although baptized by Philip (v. 13), offered money to Peter and John to buy the authority to lay hands upon people to receive this miraculous power of The Holy Spirit. Peter replied,
“May your$ /silver money be together with you$ unto utter destruction! because you$ presumed the gratuitous gift of The God to be acquired by means of resources. It is neither your$ share nor allotted portion in This /Word. For your$ /heart is not right[straight] in the viewpoint of The God. Therefore repent away from this /iniquity of yours$! And supplicate The God! if (and it is true), really the device of your$ heart will be forgiven to you$. For I behold you$ being in 0gall of bitterness and 0bonding together with[objective genitive] unrighteousness” (Acts 8:20-23).
Although Simon believed and was baptized, he had not yet repented. He was still bound together with unrighteousness, therefore according to Paul, he was a bondslave to Sin, unrighteousness, and Satan (Rom. 6:16-18). According to the record of Scripture, Simon requested prayer on his behalf. But there is no indication that he repented or was ever regenerated. Certainly if he had repented there would have been a record of his restoration. Here was a case of one believing without repenting. This further emphasizes the need to emphatically stress both repentance and faith at the time of appealing to sinners to respond to The Christ and His Salvation. For many who have believed with out repentance are like Simon the sorcerer, still unregenerated and carnal, sold under Sin.
In addition to these eight facts there are four more facts that Paul the apostle to the Gentiles emphasized that require attention.
Four Facts about Paul:
9. Firstly, in His confrontation with the philosophers at Athens, Greece, Paul indicated and demonstrated how The Gospel should be presented to Gentiles (Acts 17:22-31). He emphasized, “The God persistently charges all the humans in all places, Repent!” (Acts 17:30 APT). Note this is an imperative given to all humans without an imperative to believe, since it is the first step to the Salvation. These heathen philosophers are hearing the gospel for the first time. However, some did adhere themselves to him later and committed trust to The Christ. The point to note here is that The God is persistently charging all humans everywhere to repent. And The God only communicates this charge through His bondslaves. He does not use angels nor visions. He uses committed bondslave humans to communicate to all humans. Therefore the great commission is to be obeyed and repentance is to be proclaimed.
10. Secondly Paul, when he met the Ephesian elders at Miletus in the spring of A.D. 58, reiterated that with which they were acquainted, how he testified repentance unto The God and faith unto The Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:20,21) and did not shun to announce all the counsel of The God (v. 27) for the space of three years (v. 31). All the counsel of The God included emphasizing the need for repentance.
“I did not shrink back one~ bit from the expedient~ things in order to announce to you& and to teach you& publicly and from house to house, earnestly persistently testifying both to Jews and to Greeks the repentance[change of mind so that direction is changed] unto The God and the faith[totally committed trust] unto The Lord of ours, Jesus Christ. . . . For I positively did not shrink back to announce all the counsel of The God to you&” (Acts 20:20,21,27 APT).
Again, All the counsel of The God included emphasizing the need for repentance.
11. Thirdly Paul, when standing before King Agrippa in A.D. 60, related that it was his practice to repeatedly proclaim that people are to repent and be converted (Acts 26:20).
“but[on the contrary] to the ones in Dahmahskóhs first and in Jerusalem&, both unto all the region of /Judea and to the Gentiles[nations] I consistently reported, Repent and be converted up to The God and continually practice works worthy of repentance!” (Acts 26:20 APT).
If it is true that Paul consistently proclaimed repentance and faith (and it is), then the places in Scripture where repentance is omitted in Paul’s presentation are abridged or condensed and cannot be used to contradict what The Holy Spirit included as commands of The God or The Christ. John himself indicates that he could not include all that The Lord Jesus Christ did (Jn. 20:30,31; 21:25). Scripture never contradicts Scripture. Omissions of facts in certain places in Scripture do not authorize interpreters to conclude lack of consistency or to negate or minimize truth emphasized elsewhere in Scripture. The human tendency is to find texts that concisely set forth the plan of salvation to the exclusion of other texts that relate additional requirements for appropriating The God’s Wonderful and Great Salvation. All Scripture must be considered to support doctrine, not just one, two, or three proof texts.
12. Fourthly, Paul in his Second Epistle emphasized repentance to the carnal ones in the Corinthian church, who still had not repented over the uncleanness, sexual immorality, and excessive-unbridled-shameless-lifestyle which they constantly practiced. It was imperative for them to repent before he came to Corinth, because he wrote that if he comes against the matter again, he would not spare them. He went on to charge them to repeatedly examine themselves by asking themselves, Am I in the faith? He urged them to continually scrutinize themselves (2 Cor. 12:21-13:2,5).
“Lest when coming again to[the face of] you&, The God of mine humble me and I mourn many of the ones |who| have previously sinned and still [sin has not ended] have not repented over the uncleanness and sexual immorality and excessive-unbridled- shameless life-style which they constantly[constant aorist 2] practice. . . . This 0third |time| I am coming to[the face of] you&. At 0mouth of two and three judicial witnesses every declaration shall be established. I previously told you& and I am foretelling you& as if being present the second |time| and now being absent, I am writing to the ones |who| have previously sinned and to all the remaining ones that if (and it may be) I come against the~ |matter| [v. 21] again, I will not spare . . . Repeatedly examine[put to proof] yourselves! Are you& in the faith? Repeatedly scrutinize[approve after examination] yourselves! Or, you& of yourselves fully know[from experience] that Jesus Christ is continually in you&, do you& not? Except a certain~ thing, You& are continually disapproved[after examination] ones” (2 Cor. 12:21; 13:1,2,5 APT).
Since these twelve facts appear to be insufficient evidence to some that repentance needs to be emphasized and is required to appropriate The God’s great Salvation from Sin, it is essential to consider the context, the vocabulary and meaning of the Greek words used by the Holy Spirit, and the grammar of the only four texts which are relied upon to support the assumption that repentance is considered to be a gift. When considering Greek vocabulary, it is not enough to find the simple meaning of the word in a basic, abridged Greek-English lexicon, but the word must be considered etymologically, historically, and comparatively (see Here’s How! The Bible Can Make Sense to You Today! by Dr. Fred Wittman, pp. 41-43). And keep in mind the Axiom which states, “The function of a word depends upon its association with other words.” No other axiom is of more importance, and no other axiom is more often violated. Not only is it necessary to consider the context of the verse, but also the context of the words in the text. When considering Greek grammar, keep in mind that not only do the inflectional endings designate the usage but also the context of the sentence as well as the context of the passage assists in determining the precise nuance and meaning of the words. This is vitally important in determining accuracy of doctrine. We must not fail to consider number and gender.
1. Peter, when confronted by the Sanhedrin led by the high priest in the summer of A.D. 33, used the same words (Acts 5:31,32) that the Lord Jesus Christ used in the great commission recorded by Luke (24:46,47), “repentance and forgiveness of sins” thus indicating complete obedience to The Lord’s third command.
“This+ One The God exalted, Prince[Originator, Captain] and Savior on the right$ of His, in order to grant repentance and forgiveness of sins to /Israel. And we ourselves are His judicial witnesses of these /declarations[spoken words], but also The Holy /Spirit, Whom The God gave[as a gratuitous gift] to the ones complying with Him” (Acts 5:31,32 APT).
There are actually seventeen Greek verbs translated give. In this text the Greek verb for give (grant here) is dídōmi which has seven different categorical uses, with the main use divided into two varieties of expression and the second of which there are three nuances (The Greek-English Lexicon of The New Testament by Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich, Second Revision of Bauer’s Fifth Edition, pp. 192-193). [In addition The New Testament Greek vocabulary contains five nouns, which derive from the verb dídōmi, all of which are translated ‘gift’: dóma - a gift, a present; dósis - a giving (the act); dōreá - a gratuitous gift; dōrayma - a free gift, a bestowment; dōron - a consecrated gift. Each has a different nuance. The last three of these are unconditional; while the first two may be conditional. These will be further considered in another paper.] In the second variety of expression the meaning cited by Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich is “give in the sense of grant, bestow, impart. . . . β. esp. oft. of God (Hom. +) and Christ: give, grant, impose . . .” The This nuance applies to the word dídōmi in Acts 5:31. The word grant means to permit as a right, privilege, or favor (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary). Thus The God granted the ability to repent to Israel the nation.
Now notice how Peter logically concluded his thought. He stated that the apostles were judicial witnesses to the declarations of The Lord Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit, also a judicial witness, was The One Whom The God gave as a gratuitous gift (1 Thes. 4:8) to the ones complying with Him. The ones to whom The God has granted repentance, in response comply with the spoken declarations of The Christ, which He commanded to be proclaimed. They repented and totally committed trust. This response is absolutely necessary to receive the gift. How can one comply with The Holy Spirit with out understanding what is involved with the requirement taught by The Word of The God through a bondslave disciple of The Christ?
Just as through history, The God gave some conditional (the Adamic, the Abrahamic, the Mosaic, and the New) covenants and some unconditional (the Noahic, the Davidic, and the Everlasting) covenants to humans, so also He grants conditional gifts and unconditional gifts. Repentance is granted to those who will respond to the offer of Salvation by repenting and committing persistent trust to the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore repentance is a conditional grant or as some prefer conditional gift.
2. The same nuance of dídōmi is utilized by The Holy Spirit in Luke’s account of the Jews’ response to Peter’s report of the gratuitous gift of the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles in Kaisáhreiah (Caesarea) in Acts 11.
“Then after hearing these~ things, they became quiet. And they glorified[exalt with majestic radiant. splendor] The God, saying, So then indeed The God granted the repentance unto absolute life also to the Gentiles[nations]” (Acts 11:18).
This is stated after the fact of their repentance. It is the same with the door of Salvation and committing trust to The Lord Jesus Christ. Outside the door and above it is the sign which reads, “Whosoever will may come and commit trust unto The Lord Jesus Christ.” Then after one comes, passes through the door and is saved, when looking back, The Scripture is seen written above the door, “Chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.” So Scripture teaches that The Lord Jesus Christ commanded we proclaim repentance. And after one repents, it is seen that The God has granted us to repent. But the disciples of The Lord Jesus Christ are required to proclaim the Gospel which absolutely includes the charge to repent and turn to The God from our sins, our disobedience, and our old master, Sin and become a bondslave to Righteousness and obedience and to persistently commit trust unto The Lord Jesus Christ.
If repentance is a gift as is faith and it is not necessary to preach repentance because it is automatically given by God, then it should not be necessary to preach, “Believe on The Lord Jesus Christ,” because faith is also said to be given by God. However, faith must be proclaimed as an herald because Paul wrote, “How shall they commit trust upon Whom they did not hear? (Rom. 10:14 APT). Then since it is also given (granted) by The God, the same should be asked about repentance. How shall they repent if repentance is not proclaimed, since Jesus told His disciples, “Repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed on the basis of His (The Christ’s) name unto all nations”? How? Please tell. If the answer is “It’s a gift,” which kind of gift? Conditional? or unconditional? There are many professing that they believe in The Lord Jesus Christ still living in sin with no change in their lives because they have never heard at the time they believed they must repent of their sins and turn away from them.
3. The apostle Paul, in proving the guilt and inexcusable behavior of humans who judge others and practice the same sins, reckoning that they shall escape the judgment of The God, wrote the following to The Romans in early A.D. 58 (Rom. 2:4,5).
“Or are you$ despising the$ wealth$: of His /kindness and of His forbearance and of His longsuffering, and are being ignorant that the kindliness of The God is attempting to [conative present tense]lead you$ unto repentance? But according to your0 /hardness and unrepentant heart you$ are treasuring up for yourself anger in 0Day of Anger and Revelation of The God’s Righteous Judgment” (Rom. 2:4,5 APT).
The verb ‘lead’ is a translation of the third person, conative present tense of the Greek verb άγει, which means “attempting to lead.” Please note that these humans are ignorant of The God’s kindliness to them and had not repented due to a hard and unrepentant heart. Paul told them that they were treasuring up for themselves anger for the Judgment Day. They were being warned to repent. The God had not given them repentance although He attempted to lead them to repentance through His kindliness. They were ignorant of The God’s kindliness and of their need to repent. Had someone of them expected that repentance would come automatically? It didn’t! It needed to be proclaimed as The Lord Jesus had told His disciples.
4. Later, near the end of His life in the summer of A.D. 68 just before being martyred, Paul wrote to Timothy his son in the faith and gave him a list of qualifications of a bondslave teacher of The Lord Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 2:24-26).
“Now it is absolutely necessary for The Lord’s bondslave: . . . in meekness[patient submissive suffering of offences] educating by discipline the ones holding adverse opinion so that The God may grant to them repentance unto full 0knowledge[from experience] of 0truth and they regain sobriety of mind out of the devil’s snare, who& stand captured absolutely alive by him at the determined will of that+ one” (2 Tim. 2:25,26 APT).
This last qualification concerns the method and action of dealing with those who hold adverse opinion to The Christ’s bondslave and to the truth so that The God grant to them repentance to come to full knowledge of the truth. Again at the point of writing they had not repented. It was Timothy’s obligation to educate them in meekness of their need to repent. Failure to repent of their adverse opinion leaves them in the devil’s snare in condemnation which is pride (1 Tim. 3:6,7). Earlier Paul wrote to Titus on the same subject (Tit. 3:10,11).
“Persistently refuse a human[generic] heretic after first and second admonition! being aware that the such like one stands being diverted, in fact he is continually sinning and is being self-condemned to punishment” (Tit. 3:10,11 APT).
There are four more Scriptures to consider which are often cited by those who hold, “repentance and faith are gifts from God and therefore it is not necessary to proclaim repentance and faith in order for people to get saved.” This puts all the blame on God that so many are not saved and none of the blame on humans. Yet so many Scriptures emphasize the responsibility of humans to participate with The God in order for Him to give the Salvation that there needs to be a balance between the sovereignty of The God and the responsibility of man.
Consider 1 Corinthians 2:14:
“But a soulish human does not welcome the~ things of The Spirit of The God. For to him they are foolishness. And it is not possible |for him| to know[from experience] |them| because they are investigated spiritually” (1 Cor. 2:14 APT).
The translation of the Greek word for ‘know’ has misled many people into thinking the natural man cannot do anything toward receiving or understanding the Salvation. Many preachers and teachers have bought in to the extreme Calvinist belief that total depravity and total corruption spoken of in Scripture means total inability. This verse of Scripture does not state that the soulish or natural human cannot οîδα - perceive spiritual things, only that he does not δέχεται - welcome or hospitably receive them. But this text does state that it is impossible for that one to γινώσκω - know them from experience. It also does not say that he cannot perceive or be aware of all spiritual things. Because if humans could not perceive Scriptural facts concerning The Lord Jesus Christ, His sacrificial death and resurrection-ascension, the Salvation, forgiveness of sins, the repentance, and the faith spoken of in The Word of The God, no one could ever get saved. “The Holy Spirit of The God apart from The Word of The God is mute. The Word of The God apart from The Holy Spirit of The God is powerless” (Earl Radmacher). These two, The Word of The God and The Holy Spirit of The God work together to communicate to humans these basic spiritual truths especially regeneration (2 Pet 1:21-23). Even Calvin Himself wrote of our inability as unregenerate humans that in “depravity and corruption, we recognize that true light of wisdom, . . . we are prompted by our own ills to contemplate the good things of God; and we cannot seriously aspire to Him before we begin to become displeased with ourselves” (Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. I, Edited by John T. McNeill, pp. 36,37). Thus Calvin indicates his belief that man can aspire to God when he becomes displeased with himself. Is not that what Scriptural repentance really is? Man becomes aware of his true condition before God, he becomes displeased with himself and turns in aspiration to God in total commitment, placing his unconditional and unending trust in The Lord Jesus Christ. This Scripture verse (2 Cor. 2:14), in context from verse ten to sixteen, is dealing with “the deep things of The God” (v. 10) and “the things graciously granted to us by The God” (v. 12).
Additionally the fact that Paul wrote to Timothy concerning those who hold adverse opinion had some knowledge but not full knowledge of the truth because they needed to repent, indicates that it is possible to know some things but not the deep spiritual things.
Consider Ephesians 2:8,9:
“For by the grace^ you& are being permanently saved ones through the faith^. And this~, not of yourselves! |It is| the consecrated gift of 0God! Not by means of works! lest anyone boast” (Eph. 2:8,9 APT).
This verse is used to substantiate that faith is the gift of God. However, this question must be answered, What gender is ‘the faith,’ ‘the grace,’ and ‘this’ (‘that’ in AV)? Both ‘the grace’ and ‘the faith’ are feminine^. But ‘this’ (‘that’ in AV) is neuter~. Usually the Greek pronoun agrees in gender and number with its antecedent (the noun, phrase, or clause to which it refers) unless there is an idiomatic reason and there is not one here. Therefore it is grammatically impossible for ‘the gift’ to be referring to either faith or grace. When the subject of the main verb is referred to by a pronoun without specific identification, it is put in the neuter gender and singular number. In this case the subject of the main verb σεσωσμέοι - ‘saved’ is the Salvation. Therefore because the neuter gender and singular number of the pronoun τοûτο (this or that in AV) is used, “the gift of God” is the Salvation and neither grace, the means by which, nor faith, the channel through which the Salvation is received. [Charles Goodwin and Wm. David McBrayer, Seven Dynamic Word Studies in the New Testament (Roswell, GA: The Original Word, 1990), p. 47; A. T. Robertson : A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in Light of Historical Research, pp. 704, 1182 and Word Pictures in the New Testament, 6 vols., p. 525 vol .iv (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1934 and 1931).
However, Paul does refer to the feminine form of the noun translated salvation in the neuter gender in Ephesians 6:17, “the helmet of the Salvation” thus solidifying the fact that the gift is the Salvation Therefore Ephesians 2:8,9 does not support that faith is a gift of God, but rather it supports the fact that the Salvation is “the gift of God.”
Consider Acts 16:31,32:
“Then when the jailor[prison guard] became awake out of sleep and, after beholding the doors of the protective guardhouse standing opened, he unsheathed a short sword for himself. And he was about to execute himself, presuming the bound+ ones to have escaped. But Paul called in a loud[great] voice, saying, Practice not one~ thing evil to yourself! For we are all individually in this place. Then after petitioning lights, he rushed in and, while becoming trembling within, he fell prostrate before /Paul and /Séelahs. And after leading them without[off away from], he expressed, O Lords! what is it absolutely necessary for me to do in order to be saved? Then they said, Commit trust upon The Lord Jesus Christ at once and you$ yourself shall be saved, and the house of yours$. And they spoke The Word of The Lord to him and to all the ones in his /dwelling” (Acts 16:27-32 ATP).
The jail and the jailor’s house was just struck by an earthquake. All the prisoners were loosed. The jailor had been charged by the magistrates safely to keep the prisoners watchfully secure. To fail to do this meant severe punishment ending in painful death. Many guardsmen of those days when so-charged, after realizing the prisoners escaped, committed suicide rather than face the terrible consequences that were certain to occur. Emotionally shook by being wakened by the earthquake and presuming the worst, that the prisoners had escaped, the jailor drew his short sword from its sheath and was about to commit suicide, when Paul stopped him with a shouted command. It appears that at this point, Luke, under the direction of The Holy Spirit, gave an abridged version of the rest of the story which took place off away from the inner protective guardroom.
Note how Luke sums up what took place away from the guardhouse. They, Paul and Silas, “spoke The Word of The Lord to the jailor and all the ones in his dwelling.” Certainly this included the proclamation of the Gospel concerning The Lord Jesus Christ’s vicarious death, burial, resurrection-ascension, the Salvation, eternal life, and the forgiveness of sins based upon the repentance and committed trust in The Lord Jesus Christ. This is understood because Paul stated before King Agrippa that he “repeatedly reported first to the ones in Dahmahskóhs and in Jerusalem&, both unto all the region of /Judea and to the Gentiles[nations], Repent and be converted up to The God and continually practice works worthy of repentance” (Acts 26:20 APT).
Since Scripture never contradicts Scripture and omissions of facts in certain places in Scripture do not countermand what Scripture teaches elsewhere. The whole of Scripture on any subject must be considered and taken into account to determine what The God has revealed concerning that subject. Thus to say that Paul, whose practice was to include repentance with faith whenever he proclaimed the Gospel of The Christ, did not include repentance in his message to the Philippian jailor is assuming that silence on the matter indicates omission. Thus the ones taking such a position resort to unwarranted redaction of Scripture, a very serious and dangerous action.
Finally, consider Romans 10:8d-10.
“This is the declaration[spoken word] of the faith[committed trust] which~ we persistently proclaim as an herald: ‘‘If (and it may be) you$ confess Jesus with your$ mouth, 0Lord, and you$ commit trust in your$ /heart that The God raised Him up out of dead ones, you$ shall be saved. For with 0heart He is continually being trusted unto righteousness and with 0mouth He[Mt. 10:31,32] is repeatedly being confessed in regard to salvation.” (Rom. 10:8d-10 ATP)
Note Paul distinctly wrote that this is the declaration of the faith which he and others persistently proclaim as an herald. He did not use the term Gospel. The faith is only part of the Gospel, therefore precise understanding of what follows will not expect repentance to be included since he is not discussing the proclamation of the Gospel but rather one aspect of the faith, the declaration of the faith. Scriptural faith, when exercised, results in confession. The word confess is the translation of the second person singular aorist subjunctive of oμολογέω (homologéō). This is a compound word with λογέω, the verb meaning ‘to say’ and the prefix oμός meaning ‘the same as’ thus ‘to say the same as’ or ‘to speak in accordance with.’ The idea in context with The Christ is “to say the same as The Christ.” The Christ says that He is Lord and Master (Jn. 13:13). In keeping with what Paul already taught the Romans in chapter six that one is either a bondslave in continual obedience to the Sin or bondslave in continual obedience to Righteousness. A bondslave calls his master, ‘Lord.’ Note the confession involves owning Jesus to be ‘Lord.’ One confesses only what is true, but professes what may or may not be true. One can only confess Jesus to be Lord if indeed Jesus has been made Lord and the bondslave has repented, changed his or her mind about serving Sin and Satan, and will start to serve Righteousness and The Lord Jesus Christ as a bondslave (Rom. 6:16-18). Repentance is understood to have taken place because the one confessing Jesus to be Lord can only do so by repentance, that is by turning away from sin, by stopping being a bondslave to sin and disobedience and yielding one’s body, soul, and spirit to The Lord Jesus Christ to serve Him as a bondslave (Rom. 6:13-18).
This paper began by pointing out twelve facts that are often overlooked by some who hold that repentance is a gift and need not be proclaimed, emphasized, or required to appropriate The God’s great Salvation from Sin. These facts emphasizing this need for repentance are divided into three groups as follows. In the first group The Lord Jesus Christ emphasized repentance five times in His ministry. In the second group Peter emphasized repentance in his proclamation of the Gospel three times, especially when he used the keys to The Kingdom first in the introduction of the Gospel to the Jews and also in the introduction of The Holy Spirit to the Samaritans. In the third group Paul emphasized repentance on four occasions, publicly on three occasions: to the philosophers at Athens; to remind the Ephesian elders how he persistently earnestly testified both to Jews and to Greeks the repentance unto The God and the faith unto The Lord of ours, Jesus Christ; and to King Agrippa that his repeated message from His conversion to now has been, “Repent and be converted.” On the fourth occasion Paul included in his Second Epistle to Corinthians the need for some to repent who had not yet repented of their sins of immorality and had not been disciplined by the Church. He challenged them to examine themselves if they really are in the faith.
Then the only four texts which are relied upon to support the claim (assumption) that repentance is a gift were considered. In two of the texts (Acts 5:31,32 and 11:18) Peter used the Greek verb dídōmi which has seven different categorical uses, some of which do not indicate gift and those which do indicate gift may indicate certain conditions must be met, while others do indicate an unconditional gift. However, grammarians and lexicographers indicate that the meaning and better translation of Peter’s two uses of this verb should be ‘grant’ which means “to permit as a right, privilege, or favor” according to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary. Since repentance is granted, it is conditional upon action or “works meet for repentance” (Acts 26:20).
In the third text examined (Rom. 2:4,5), it was noted that the verb ‘lead’ is a translation of the third person, conative present tense of the Greek verb άγει, which means “attempting to lead.” The humans to whom Paul referred were ignorant of The God’s kindliness to them and had not repented due to a hard and unrepentant heart even though the kindliness shown to them did not bring its desired effect which is their repentance. So if repentance is a gift it was rejected because it was conditional upon their action, lack of repentance, or refusal to repent.
In the fourth verse again the Greek verb dídōmi is used in its nuance meaning ‘to grant.’ The ones holding adverse opinion needed to be educated to repent in order to escape the devil’s snare and come to full knowledge of the truth. They had γινώσκω - some ‘knowledge’ or Paul would not have used επιγινώσκω - ‘full knowledge.’ They did not have full knowledge of the truth and therefore needed to demonstrate repentance both of their adverse opinion and of being still enslaved to Satan, held in his snare in order to come to full knowledge of the truth.
Lastly, four Scriptures, often cited to show that repentance is a gift, were carefully examined in relation to ‘the faith’ and appropriating the Gospel. (1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 2:8,9; Acts 16:31,32; Rom. 10:8-10). It was noted the misunderstanding of the meaning of 2 Corinthians 2:14 is due to a misunderstanding of γινώσκω the Greek word translated know. Γινώσκω (ginoskō) means know from experience. Paul purposely did not use οîδα which means ‘to perceive’ or know by perception. So a soulish human can perceive and understand some spiritual truths basic to the Salvation including repentance.
Another misunderstanding arises in Ephesians 2:8,9 in which the Greek grammar is often not taken into consideration concerning the demonstrative pronoun translated ‘this’ or in the Authorized Version ‘that.’ Pronouns must agree with their antecedent in number and gender except for an idiomatic reason. The gift mentioned in the text cannot be ‘the grace’ nor ‘the faith’ because they both are feminine and the demonstrative pronoun is neuter. Rather the neuter is used to designate the unspecified subject indicated by the main verb which is ‘saved.’ Thus the Salvation is the gift spoken of in this text. It was noted also that Paul used the neuter gender of the feminine noun “salvation” to describe the helmet in the Christian armor (Eph. 6:17), thus solidifying the fact that the Salvation is the gift to which Paul refers.
Yet another assumption which is raised from Acts 16:31,32 was examined and found to be an unwarranted redaction by totally ignoring the statement, “They spoke The Word of The God to him (the jailor) and to the ones in his dwelling” (v. 32) and thinking that all that Paul said was, “Believe on The Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” A further lack of consideration seems to be Paul’s statement before King Agrippa that it was his persistent practice to repeatedly report wherever he went, “Repent and be converted up to The God and continually practice works worthy of repentance” (Acts 26:20 APT).
Finally, it appears that an assumption that Paul stated the whole plan of The Salvation in Romans 10:9 and 10 when in reality he distinctly stated that he was dealing with the declaration of the faith which is only a part of the plan of the Salvation. However it was noted that in the confession necessary to proceed out of the mouth of the one to be saved is confessing Jesus to be one’s ‘Lord.’ Because one who confesses what is true that Jesus is one’s own Lord can only come after repentance has been experienced since he or she must cease yielding his or her members to Sin and disobedience and yield himself or herself as a bondslave to Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:13-18).
Can there be any honest denial to the fact that Scripture teaches that repentance is necessary to receive the gift of The Salvation? And if it is required to receive The Salvation can it honestly be Scripturally supported that it is not necessary to proclaim repentance when proclaiming the Gospel, since Jesus commanded in the great commission that repentance be proclaimed (Lk. 24:46,47), the apostle Peter obeyed the commission and proclaimed repentance when he used the keys of the Kingdom to the Jews and to the Samaritans, and Paul claimed to the Ephesian elders and before King Agrippa that he persistently proclaimed repentance to the Gentiles wherever he went?
Indeed failure to acknowledge and to proclaim the necessity for sinners to repent to receive the Salvation is to proclaim another gospel of a different kind other than the Gospel that The Lord Jesus Christ , Peter, and Paul preached (Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Cor. 11:4, 13-15).
“I marvel that you& are so hastily deserting away from The One+ |Who| summoned you& in Christ’s grace unto another gospel of a different kind, which is not another of the same kind, except some are the ones disturbing you& and desirously willing to alter the gospel of The Christ. But on the contrary even if (and it may happen) ourselves or an angel out of Heaven pronounce a gospel to you& contrary to which gospel we pronounced to you&, he is to be cursed to destruction! As we have foretold, even this present time again I am saying, If (and it is true) anyone pronounce a gospel to you& contrary to what you& received alongside |me|, he is to be cursed to destruction!” (Gal. 1:6-9 APT).
“For if (and it is true) actually the one coming proclaims as an herald another Jesus of the same kind, whom we did not proclaim as an herald, or you& are receiving another spirit of a different kind, which you& did not receive, or another gospel of a different kind, which you& did not hospitably receive, well were you& holding back from |him|. . . . For the such like ones |are|: false apostles, deceitful workers, transfigurers[alterers of outer appearance] of themselves into apostles of Christ! And not a marvelous~ thing! For /Satan himself is repeatedly transfiguring[alter outer appearance] himself into an angel of light. Therefore no great thing! if (and it is true) the domestic[deacon, attendant to needs] servants of his also are being transfigured[altered outer appearance] as domestic[deacon, attendant to needs] servants of righteousness, whose /end shall be according to their /works!” (2 Cor. 11:4, 13-15 APT).Ω 3/22/2005
| | understood $singular &plural /the 0no article +masculine ~neuter
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