Is it your understanding that all sins, past, present and future, are forgiven upon conversion and that we don’t have to repent of any sins that we may commit after conversion? (Part 3)
Let us review a few more of the many Scriptures that disprove the concept of “once saved, always saved”; that confirm that our sins which we might commit in the future are not automatically forgiven in advance when we “accept” Jesus Christ; that teach that repentance is vital and necessary; and that answer such ridiculous assertions about not having to keep asking for forgiveness or repenting in order to have our sins forgiven.
2 Chronicles 7:14: “… if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Matthew 4:17: “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
Luke 13:2-3: “And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’”
Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”
Acts 3:19: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…”
Acts 17:30: “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent…”
2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
There are many other references but the above should suffice to prove the point that repentance in Scripture is a key requirement for a true Christian.
In our booklet “Teach Us to Pray,” further information is given about the need for repentance. We quote as follows:
On Page 47, under the Subheading: “We Must Confess Our Sins to God”:
“1 John 1:8-9 says: ‘If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’
“Psalm 32:5 adds: ‘I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said: “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.’
On Pages 47-48, under the Subheading: “We Must ASK for Forgiveness”:
“When we confess our sins to God; that is, when we acknowledge our sins to God and admit our mistakes to Him, we need to ask God at the same time to forgive us our sins. Even though God is more than willing to forgive us, we still need to ask Him.
“In Psalm 25:18, David asked God for forgiveness, when he prayed: ‘Look on my affliction and my pain, And forgive all my sins.’ He stated in Psalm 86:5: ‘For You, LORD, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.’
On Page 48, under the Subheading: “We Must Ask in FAITH”:
“When we ask God for forgiveness, we must firmly believe that He WILL forgive us. We read that ‘through this Man [Jesus Christ] is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified’ (Acts 13:38-39).”
On Page 48, under the Subheading: “We Must FORSAKE Our Sins”:
“Proverbs 28:13 says: ‘He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.’
“When we forsake our sins, we actually turn away from them. We read in Jeremiah 36:3: ‘It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the adversities which I purpose to bring upon them, that everyone may turn from his evil way, that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.’
On Pages 48-49, under the Subheading: “We Must REPENT or RETURN to God”:
“It is not enough to turn away from our sins. We must at the same time turn, or return to, God. This is another way of saying: We must REPENT of our sins. That is, we must forsake or turn from our sins—cease doing what is wrong—and we must turn to God by doing what is right.
“John would not baptize people who had not shown in their lives ‘fruits worthy of repentance’ (Luke 3:8). Christ came to call sinners to repentance (Matthew 9:13). He also said that we will perish, if we don’t repent (Luke 13:3, 5). He said that Nineveh was spared, because they repented (Matthew 12:41). Paul said that he might have to mourn for many ‘in the church’ who did not repent of their sins (2 Corinthians 12:21)…
“Isaiah 55:7 tells us: ‘Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.’
“Jeremiah tells us in the Book of Lamentations: ‘Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the LORD; Let us lift our hearts and hands To God in heaven’ (chapter 3, verse 40). Jeremiah goes on to explain that God did not pardon them for their transgression and rebellion (verse 42). Why not? Obviously, because they had not turned back to God—they had not yet repented of their sins. Solomon understood that God will forgive us our sins if we ‘pray… and confess… and turn from [our] sins… and return to [God] with all [our] heart and with all [our] soul’ (2 Chronicles 6:26, 38-39; compare 1 Kings 8:33-40). Notice, too, Daniel’s prayer, asking for forgiveness after repentance, in Daniel 9:1-20, especially verse 13.
“In Acts 26:18, Christ tells Paul that forgiveness is predicated on turning from darkness to light. Compare, too, Peter’s admonition to Simon Magus, in Acts 8:22: ‘Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.’”
On Pages 49 and 51, under the Subheading: “God Does Not Forgive Without Repentance”:
“God does not forgive us if we REFUSE to repent—refusing to admit and confess our sins to God, refusing to ask for His forgiveness in faith, and refusing to forsake and turn from our evil ways by turning to God and living His Way…
“God does not forgive us our sins if we refuse to repent of them, but He is quick to forgive, once we realize our sin and truly repent of it. Since we are to pray, ‘Forgive US OUR debts,’ this prayer includes not only the forgiveness of our personal individual sins, but also a request to God to forgive the sins of others (compare Numbers 21:7; 1 Samuel 12:19, 23).”
On Page 51, under the Subheading: “Summary”:
“Because of Christ’s Sacrifice, we can ask God the Father to forgive us our sins. But we must acknowledge and confess our sins to God, and we must ask and pray in faith for His forgiveness while turning to Him and forsaking our evil ways. If we refuse to repent of our sins, we cannot expect that God will forgive us.
“But that’s not all. There is yet another condition that we must fulfill in order to obtain God’s forgiveness of our sins. This condition is taught in the next sentence of the prayer outline.”
These excerpts clearly show that we have to ask for forgiveness—not accepting the erroneous belief of the “once saved, always saved” concept where this “understanding” is that “when God justifies a sinner, He clears his guilt, past, present and future,” as one such proponent put it. Such a misleading approach can lead to “Christians” letting down their guard and not really having to concern themselves about their future behaviour, because whatever sins they commit have already been forgiven without them having to repent of them. Such an approach is very dangerous, and without true personal repentance, no one can be in the future Kingdom of God as a ruling member of the God Family, for eternity! It is just that serious!
One writer pondered the following:
“OSAS” (Once Saved, Always Saved) tries to make two types of the sexually immoral, drunkards, swindlers, greedy etc – one type being saved because of a past moment of faith and the other type being unsaved because he never had even one moment of faith!”
To complete this study, let us look at the book of Revelation. In chapters 2 and 3 are quite a number of references for the need to repent, be faithful until death, hold fast, persevere and overcome (these are underlined in the verses quoted below). These requirements are the very antithesis of the assertion, previously mentioned, that Christians “do not always need to be asking God for forgiveness” and “believers do not have to keep asking for forgiveness or [keep] repenting in order to have their sins forgiven.”
Following are passages from Revelation 2:
(Verse 5) Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.
(Verse 7) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God…
(Verse 10) Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
(Verse 11) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.
(Verse 16) Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.
(Verse 17) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.
(Verse 22) Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.
(Verse 25) But hold fast what you have till I come.
(Verse 26) And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations…
(Verse 29) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
We conclude with the following passages from Revelation 3:
(Verse 3) Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.
(Verse 5) He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
(Verse 10) Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
(Verse 11) Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.
(Verse 12) He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
(Verse 19) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
(Verse 21) To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
We would all do well to heed the phrase which is used a number of times in these two chapters of Revelation: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)