Arminian Today

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Preaching Repentance

I was reading from Luke 24:47 this morning and noticed a difference between the NASB and the ESV over this verse.  The ESV reads:

47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

The NASB reads:

47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

Do you notice the difference?

The difference is in the usage of the word “and” in the ESV and the word “for” in the NASB.  The NASB footnotes the verse as saying that later Greek manuscripts read “and.”  I prefer the NASB reading.  The NASB points to the repentance as bringing the forgiveness of sins.  The ESV makes the repentance and the forgiveness of sins as separate.  I agree with the NASB here.  Repentance produces the forgiveness of sins.  This is clear in the rest of the New Testament such as in Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 8:22; 17:30-31; 20:21; 26:20.  While Acts 5:31 does seem to separate repentance and the forgiveness of sins, it is clear from the Scriptures that repentance does secure the forgiveness of our sins.

Now there is some truth of course to the fact that God grants us both as separate.  God grants repentance (2 Timothy 2:25) and He grants forgiveness of sins through Christ (Ephesians 1:7).  They are not exactly the same but you can’t have one without the other.  Repentance and forgiveness of sins go hand in hand.  One must repent to be forgiven.

This is needed preaching in our day.  Some churches will preach faith in God without talking about repentance.  My boys went to VBS (vacation Bible school) last week at another church and received “gospel tracts” one day.  These tracts talked about “steps to peace with God” but said nothing of repentance.  Not one word.  It talked about faith in Jesus but nothing about repenting of their sins.  Nor did it define sin.  It simply said, “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23) but didn’t show our own personal guilt before God (Romans 7:7).  This is the purpose of the moral law (Galatians 3:23-24).  The law reveals our need for salvation and shows that we are sinful before a holy God.  The law does not save us but it shows our need for salvation.  The law says, “You are guilty!” but leaves us there.  The gospel shows our Savior and our response to that gospel is faith and repentance of our sins.  This brings about the forgiveness of our sins.

We must then preach repentance.  We must preach repentance to all.  We must warn sinners to repent of their sins by showing them their sins by the Law of God.  Repentance is often used in a negative sense but it is in reality a positive event as we see our sins by the Law of God and come to repentance by the grace of God and the divine work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-11).  Repentance is the first message the great John the Baptist preached (Mark 1:4) and the first message of Jesus Christ Himself (Mark 1:14-15).  Should it not be ours as well?

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/30/2013 at 12:55 PM

2 Responses

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  1. IT amazes me how many are opposed to repentance because they think repentance is a work. I think this comes out of Lewis Sperry Chafer and Dallas Seminary. We are saved by faith, so repentance is somehow an addition to faith. In my mind, what’s the point of faith apart from repentance? The other problem, as you point out, is treating sin generally rather than a turning from actual, real, repeated sins. The idea that Christ saved me so I can sin without feeling guilty is a very sad, misguided reading of Scripture.


    06/30/2013 at 5:23 PM

  2. I note they also differ whether it should say “should” or “would”.


    07/01/2013 at 4:55 AM

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