Tag Archives: Repentance

Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession.... Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer


the more I get into it, the less I'm sure it matters how we say it.

Gospel:  Good News.  The power of salvation for those who believe.

(update 1)

I found this: “Ten reasons NOT to ask Jesus into your heart”.

I would submit that it's not the "asking Jesus into your heart" that's the problem.  It's the leading an unbelieving person in "the formula" for the sake of following the formula.

The writer says that people who pray this prayer backslide.

I would reply...people who don't pray that prayer may backslide also.  You would have a hard time convincing me that it was the prayer that did it, not the idea that perhaps (whatever they said at the time of their "conversion") it was the person that was at fault.

The formula, "I'm sorry for my sins, please forgive me and be my Savior" is just as much a "formula".  And it can fail just as badly.

Reason number 10: People who ask Jesus into their hearts are not saved and they will perish on the Day of Judgment.

The writer says that is "scary" to him.  To me, scary is judging the salvation of another person based on the specific words they used on the day they turned to Jesus and not what is in their hearts.

There are a few things that I remember from my childhood...one of them is telling my mom that I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart.  She asked, "Why?".  I was able to articulate that I was sorry for my sins and I wanted Jesus to save me.

And she led me in that "sinner's prayer".

Does that mean that I am not saved and I will perish on the Day of Judgment?  Of course not and that's why I think it's important to look at the behavior, beliefs and reasoning of the person...not the formula that they're using.


Is it important to teach belief and repentance?  YES!  it is vital.

But to bluntly state that those who pray the sinner's prayer are lost...that smacks so much of 'everybody who doesn't do it just like I do are heathens' that it makes me very uncomfortable.

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The audio book is on my iPod and I've been listening to it on my travels.   I know I have a paper copy somewhere, but I can't put my hands on it right now.

There was something that resonated with me.

Repentance is not "oops, sorry".  Lewis said something to the effect that repentance is a turning - an "unlearning" of the bad behavior that has been learned.

(there is a difference between "sin" and "sins" that I may get into later)

But in order to repent, you have to have a part of "good" inside you that wants to unlearn the behavior.  That part of you is already good - already turned.

Only a good man can repent.  Only a bad man needs to.

Only a perfect man can repent perfectly - and the perfect man doesn't need to.

The bad man must repent and cannot.

Lewis was not Reformed by any stretch of the imagination, but what I can apply here is "regeneration".  We are all affected by "total depravity" - every part of us is touched by Adam's sin.  We are sinners who sin and we all are in need of repentance.

Through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to repent, however imperfectly.  It is only through the act of the Holy Spirit who calls that we are able to turn to him.

Perfect repentance?  Only God is perfect and only Immanuel, God With Us, is our perfection.

I am a bad person.  There are things that I don't know how to repent of!  I can only trust Christ to cover that sin.,


"A God without wrath brought man without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross." (H. Richard Niebuhr)

I had the opportunity to visit the "Cathedral of Faith" Sunday.  They are a Pentecostal, Word-of-Faith church.  This week they started a new series, "Treasure Hunters".

Key words:  "self esteem",  "abundant living", "finding your dream".

this week's lesson - what is stopping you from reclaiming your dreams is fear.  The speaker said several times that the "greatest - ahem...the commandment given most often in the Bible is 'not to fear'.

If only we would stop being afraid, there is nothing that we could not accomplish.  Let go of our fear, grab onto the power within us and remember our dreams!

"Star Wars" theology.

No mention of the cross, of Christ's finished work, of redemption, repentance.

Only "get out of the boat", "expect to get wet", "Jesus won't let you drown".

"We are saved, after all that we can do."

It's all about what is within us, helped by the "genie in the bottle", Jesus.  The "stuff" that we have forgotten how to access can be ours once again.

"A God without wrath brought man without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross." (H. Richard Niebuhr)

For those for whom the terms of that sentence are well nigh incomprehensible, English biblical scholar T. W. Manson's spoof may strike closer to home: "Jesus goes up to Jerusalem to give a course of lecture-sermons on the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, and then becomes the victim of an unfortunate miscarriage of justice." Substitute one or another therapeutic banality ("I'm O.K., you're O.K."? "Follow your bliss"?) for the subject of the talks, and Manson's jibe still tells.

"Saving Faith" was a sermon that was delivered on March 15, 1874 by Charles H. Spurgeon, the text of which is available here.

I tend to get all wrapped up in studies and debates (got a little OCD going on...) but God consistently uses them, not to "win" - since the battle is already won, but rather to solidify (or reveal) to me deeper things about Him. A while ago, I learned (through a Word-Faith debate) what faith is not. Now I am seeing, in more concrete ways, what faith is.

Luke 7:50 "And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace."
Luke 18:42 "And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee."

What was it that saved these two people? Christ said it was faith. Not love, not repentance, not works, not humility, not earnestness. Faith.


First of all, because God has a right to choose what way of salvation He pleases. He has chosen that man be saved, not by works, but by faith in His dear Son.

But more: the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace (Romans 4:16).

If our salvation is entirely by grace, it must be entirely through faith. If there is any of me, any works, any merit of my own, then it is no longer entirely by grace, but by grace and works. Spurgeon said, "Faith is chosen by Christ to wear the crown of salvation because it refuses to wear the crown."


No, faith is not salvation, it is the vehicle God has chosen to use. When we are hungry, we eat with our mouths, but it is not our mouth that fills us - it is the food. Our mouth is but the means by which to gain nurishment.

Just so, salvation is only by the grace of God - faith is the means by which to gain it.

All who are saved will travel a different road. Right now, I'm dreading facing my mom over an issue - but I'm not a cookie cutter Christian and I'm not going to try to be one anymore. My faith has traveled a different road.

Like the repentant woman and the blind man, faith is manifested in different ways and we must not measure ourselves by other Christians. Paul used meat as an example, "He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God." (Romans 14:6).

Where the Bible is silent, we have freedom. Thank God! Through faith, I can eat meat (or not).