Repent to Believe the Gospel
Who would ever expect to read in God’s word that you must repent in order to believe the gospel? We all know that obeying what the gospel says is repentance (Mark 1:15).
Then there must be some Scriptures that would be hard to accept when we read them in God’s word. We would reject them in our spirits. What are some of these hard to accept Scriptures?
In 3 John 11, God’s word states that only the one who does good is of God. How about people who don’t do good? Yes, you cannot say you are a true follower of Jesus Christ, unless you are continually doing good each day towards others like Jesus gave us examples to do. This affects a lot of people today who say they are saved, but who are not.
Many people today exclaim they are born again—washed by the blood of Jesus. In order for this to be true, they would not only have to know the truth, but practice that truth daily in their lives (John 3:21; 1 John 1:6). That truth is keeping Jesus’ deeds in our lives daily (which is called “the light”) and daily imitating the Way He came to show us how to live. This is how to have the blood of Jesus Christ cover our sins (1 John 1:7). God’s word is emphatic when it says you must practice righteousness to be born of God (1 John 2:29 New American Standard Version).
Obedience to Jesus daily is required for the forgiveness of sins—so says God’s word that cannot lie (1 Peter 1:2).
How many people today say, “Lord, Lord!,” yet they are not doing what Jesus told them to do (Luke 6:46)? They are not overcoming the evil in their lives by continually doing good for God each day (1 Peter 3:10-11; Psalm 37:27; Matt. 5:16).
How many people realize that using our bodies as instruments of righteousness each day is NOW our spiritual service of worship to God (Rom. 12:1-2; Rom. 6:13). Jesus is constantly giving examples in His word to those who are worshiping Him in the wrong way. They profess to know God, but by their daily works or deeds they deny Him. They are not overcoming evil by doing good for God each day. They are still living detestable and disobedient lives before God each day. Why? They are not doing good as Jesus said they should (Titus 1:16). They are still living lawless lives, sinful lives before God because those who teach them are telling them that they need not do anything to receive salvation—it is a free gift. This is only half-truth, just like the half-truths Satan used to tempt Jesus with (Eph. 2:8-9; Matt. 4:1-10).
It’s as simple as this. God is calling people out of a life of lawlessness into a life of righteousness. If you are not living that life of righteousness, you are still living a life of lawlessness (1 John 3:4). Sin is lawlessness, so those who live lawless lives have not yet repented.
Noah and all the true prophets of God, including Jesus and His disciples, preached that a life of righteousness is required daily by God for repentance. They knew that eternal life was a free gift of God but you must be found worthy to be given that gift (Luke 20:35 NASV;2 Thess. 1:5). What makes you worthy for the resurrection of eternal life is a life of good works or good deeds. Jesus said so Himself in John 5:28-29. We were created for good works (Eph. 2:10).
So then, those who preach the incomplete truth of Ephesians 2:8-9 without explaining verse 10 in detail are preaching lawlessness. And that’s exactly what the ministers were doing whom Jesus gave as an example in Matthew 7:22-23. They were preaching lawlessness because they were not preaching that we must do righteousness each day to please the Lord, and we are to overcome evil by continually doing good like Dorcas (Acts 9:36). Instead, their disciples are described in Titus 1:16. In Matthew 7:13 it says that this is the broad way that leads to destruction, which many are following today because they are not being told how to repent.
Repentance is a daily life of righteousness and good works done for God’s glory—called the Way of righteousness (Matt. 21:32; 2 Peter 2:21).
How can you imitate God unless you keep Jesus’ words or sayings (John 8:51; Eph. 5:1)? How can you keep Christ’s words or sayings unless you do the works or deeds of Jesus in your daily life and overcome the evil in your life (John 14:12; Rev. 2:26; 3:21)? Jesus said, “Repent and believe the gospel or you will perish” (Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3, 5; Heb. 10:24)!