As someone with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the world expects me to be an “inspiration”. However, I’m nothing admirable. I’m just a man in a wheelchair, a sinner saved by grace.
2 Samuel 7:18: “Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?”
Who am I? This is the attitude we must have, when all of us deserve to burn in the eternal fires of hell. What did I do to earn my salvation? Absolutely nothing! Let me show you the determining factor of who goes to heaven.
Acts 16:30-31: “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
What does it say we have to do in order to be saved? Does it say we have to go to church? That we have to be baptized? Does it say we have to live a good life and give up or repent of our sins? If we had to do anything other than believe, Acts 16:30-31 would be a lie, for the jailer asked, “…what ‘must’ I do to be saved?”
Unfortunately, many are being poisoned by the diabolical teachings that one must “repent of their sins” to be saved (i.e. alcohol, fornication, smoking, etc.). Nowhere in the Bible does it say we even need to be willing to turn from them, while the terms “repent” and “saved” never occur in the same verse. Instead, “believe” and “saved”, or “faith” and “saved” occur numerous times. “Repentance” has nothing to do with being sorry for our sins as manmade, fallible dictionaries like to define. The most common usage of the word in the Bible involves God repenting, and He has no sins to be sorry for. When God repents, He only changes His mind.
Genesis 6:6: “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.”
Exodus 32:14: “And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.”
1 Samuel 15:35: “And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.”
Psalm 106:45: “And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies.”
If the word “repentance”, or any variation of it, directly means to repent of sin, it would mean that God repented of His sins, which is heresy. This is why it’s so important to not assume what the Bible says. In the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), it talks about “repentance for the remission of sins”, which is how people get confused. Understand that “for” can be used as “because”, so instead of “repentance so that you may have the remission of sins”, what the Bible tells us is, “repentance because of the remission of sins”. Because there is already the remission of sins, we have to repent to receive it. I can prove this if you look at Luke 24:47, which says: “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
Do you see the separation between repentance and remission of sins? Hence the “and” in between. So the real question is, what is repentance? And what is the remission of sins? In the Gospels, it’s “repentance, repentance, repentance”, but the real definition is finally explained in Mark 1:15, “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
“…repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Repentance means to repent of what you believe, not sins. To further elaborate, repenting of sin, or the turning away from sin, is works. This is proven in Jonah 3:10: “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”
So what is it to turn from evil ways? Works! And what is salvation?
Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Think about the Ten Commandments for a moment. Most of the law is to refrain from doing certain things, such as (in Exodus 20):
“Thou shalt not kill.”
“Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
“Thou shalt not steal.”
“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”
Therefore, to refrain from sin is the works of the law. And what did the Apostle Paul say?
Romans 3:27: “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.”
Now, you might wonder why I didn’t mention the book of John. Did you know that the word “repentance”, or any variation of it, is not found in the one book that was written for the sole purpose of salvation?
John 20:31: “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
You might also wonder if God is giving us a license to sin…
Romans 6:1-2: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”
Indeed. The more we sin, the more grace will abound, but should we continue in sin?
Romans 6:15: “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”
The balance is love, which is what a lot of people who claim to be Christians fail to understand.
John 14:15: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
Because of God’s love, He gives us the freedom of choice. The question is, do we love Him, hence the “if”?
For verses like John 5:24, Acts 16:30-31, Romans 4:5, Romans 10:13-14, and many others which proclaim that anyone who believes on the LORD Jesus Christ and puts all their faith on Him is saved, to be true, God has to save people who are unwilling to turn from their sins. Or else He is a liar. Take the most famous verse in the Bible:
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Salvation is to believe alone, nothing more, and nothing less. Am I saying we shouldn’t repent of our sins? Repenting of sin is something God commands those who are already saved to do. He repeatedly commands this in Revelation chapters two and three, but it has nothing to do with salvation. Repenting of sin is something you should continue doing after you’re saved.
Hebrews 6:1: “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward god,”
In James 2, it says that faith without works is dead, but when reading the chapter, we must also look at Romans 4.
Romans 4:2: “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.”
There are many who are confused when reading James 2 as they somehow think that works is a part of salvation, which contradicts the whole message of the Bible. Remember Ephesians 2:8-9? James 2 talks to saved, born again Christians, which is why the chapter begins with “My brethren”. It’s a book that talks about using our works to show our faith to others because to human beings, works is justified. It’s not saying that faith is works.
James 2:18: “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”
What does it mean to believe? First, the wages of sin.
Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
We’ve all sinned, and not only that, the Bible says we come short. So according to God, we as sinners will never measure up to what He expects, and there’s a punishment for our sins.
Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
God’s punishment for sin is death. Yet there’s a second death. It’s not the end after we die.
Revelation 20:14-15: “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
This is our payment; going to hell. We have to pay for all the sins we’ve committed.
Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
I’m sure none of you are a murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, or idolaters, but everyone has told a lie. According to the verse, all liars are going to the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. But God loves us, and since He loves us, He doesn’t want us to go to hell. This is what God did for us…
Romans 5:8: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
God became a human being. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. He lived a perfect life that we could never live, and never sinned. He was eventually crucified.
2 Corinthians 5:21: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Jesus was also crucified more than two thousand years ago, meaning He died for the sins we’ve never even committed. Jesus paid it all, past, present, and future, all our sins, gone, gone, gone!
1 Peter 2:24: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
Every sin we’ve ever committed, when Jesus was on the cross, it was as if He did them. He was being punished for stealing, murder, lying, etc. He never sinned, but bore all our sins, and was punished for them. Then His body was taken down and brought to the grave. His soul went down to hell for three days and three nights.
Matthew 12:40: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Where’s the heart of the earth? The core. Hell is, in fact, a physical place.
Acts 2:26-27: “Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”
How did Jesus pay for our sins if we have to suffer more than He? He had to go to hell. And three days later, He rose from the dead.
Acts 2:30-32: “Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”
This is the remission of sins.
1 John 2:2: “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Did you notice the letter “D” at the end of “saved”? It’s past tense. That means it’s already done. Getting saved isn’t a process. Once you’re saved, that’s it.
John 5:24: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
The point is that everyone who believes on the LORD Jesus Christ is saved. They’re immediately passed from death unto life. There are hundreds of verses in the Bible that say this. And did you notice how it says believe “on” the LORD Jesus Christ? That means we’re putting all our faith on Him to get to heaven, and not to just believe there’s a God. We don’t rely on what we personally do, or our good works. Our righteousness is worthless.
Isaiah 64:6: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
We need to humble ourselves before the LORD Jesus Christ because it’s only by His grace that we can be saved.
Romans 5:15: “But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.”
Is a gift something you have to pay for, or is it free?
Who pays for a gift; the giver or receiver?
So who’s giving us eternal life and paying for it?
When Jesus died on the cross, shed His blood, and went to hell for three days and three nights for us, He paid for our salvation, and eternal life.
If I gave you a gift and said, “Here’s your gift, but you have to give me five dollars.” Was it still a gift?
What if I said, “I’m giving you a free gift, but you have to clean my wheelchair”? Was it still a gift?
If you had to do any work, then it wasn’t a gift. And so if I gave you a gift right now, who would it belong to? And if it belongs to you, can I come back at any time and take it away?
What if in a few months you did something I didn’t like and I came back to take it away? Would that still be a gift?
Titus 1:2: “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;”
When God gives us eternal life, He won’t take it away. If He does, He’s a liar, and God can’t lie! He promised this before the Earth was even created. You might wonder what might happen if we stopped believing, but the Bible is very consistent. In 2 Timothy 2:13, Paul said to Timothy, “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.”
If somewhere down the line we stopped believing for any reason, yet God abides faithfully, which he will, it’s impossible for Him to deny Himself. God said in Psalm 89:34-36: “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.”
Once God makes a promise, it’s forever. Just because we forsake Him, doesn’t mean He will reduce Himself to sin by lying. It’s like if a child says to his father, “I hate you! You’re not my dad!” Is he still his son? What I’m saying is we can’t lose our salvation. Once we’re saved, it’s eternal.
If I said, “I’m giving you this gift, and it’s yours forever.” Then, somewhere along the line, I took it away for any reason. Was I telling the truth that it was eternal? And if we receive a gift and it lasts forever, we only have to receive it once.
When God gives us eternal life, it’s forever. We can’t lose it. Jesus said in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” No matter what we do; if we get out of church, or even commit a grievous sin like murder, or suicide, God won’t take away our salvation. He will punish us here on Earth and we should be afraid, but we’ll always remain to be His children because we weren’t good enough anyway. We come short, remember? We’re sinners.
Psalm 89:31-33: “If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my lovingkindness will i not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.”
The only reason we’re going to heaven is through the blood of Jesus. We weren’t good enough to be saved, and don’t need to be good enough to stay saved. It’s by grace through faith.
1 John 5:13: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
This is why eternal security, and knowing that we can’t lose our salvation is the determining factor. Without it, we can never receive the free gift, and in faith, we know for certain that we have eternal life. Jesus said in Revelation 1:18, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”
When I understood the truth, I was saved, and not because I was a good person, or that I earned it. I confessed to being a sinner and believed. It was then and there that all my sins were washed away and I knew I was going to heaven, regardless.
Psalm 103:12: “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
Who am I? I’m a God fearing, Bible believing, soul-winning, fundamental Baptist. I believe the King James Bible is the perfect, preserved Word of God (Psalm 12:6-7, Proverbs 30:5-6, Matthew 24:35, John 1:1). I’ve put all my faith on our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ (Acts 16:30-31) because salvation is by grace through faith alone; neither more, less, nor repenting “of sins”, before or after (Ephesians 2:8-9, Jonah 3:10). I believe in eternal security and that we can never lose our salvation once we believe (John 5:24). I follow God’s commandments out of love, not compulsion (John 15:14). Alleluia.