Repentance According to Spurgeon

All too often you will hear preaching on repentance that really is not Biblical repentance in context of receiving the gift of salvation through faith. You will hear some fundamental pastors deny that Spurgeon was a Calvinist or that he taught Lordship salvation. You may even hear people protest that moderate Calvinism does not change the gospel. If a Pastor teaches that faith is the gift of God, that unconditional election is true, that repentance equals willingness to turn from sin, that repentance is a “grace”, and that there ought to be evidence of that “grace” in a person’s life that truly has it (perseverance of the saints), then does it affect the gospel? The answer is yes and should not be ignored or brushed under the rug. Would it also surprise you that many such Pastors admittedly are big fans of Spurgeon? Let’s take a close look at one of Spurgeon’s sermons called Repentance Unto Life. This was preached back in 1855. If you need to see the full transcript it can be found through a simple Google search.

Spurgeon starts off by making the point that repentance is also for the gentiles. This is potentially a good point to make based on the verse used at the beginning however early on we see Spurgeon refer to grace this way:

“After this the power of grace was so mighty that these Jews could no longer withstand it: and in the teeth of all their previous education, they at once assumed the broad principle of Christianity,” and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.””

Spurgeon then goes on to start talking about his understanding of “repentance”. ”By “Repentance unto life,” I think we are to understand that repentance which is accompanied by spiritual life in the soul, and ensures eternal life to every one who possesses it.”

(Huh? Salvation is a present tense possession. It seems to be that Spurgeon is equating repentance and that of ongoing repentance as a possession as well. This should make sense us later because we will see that Spurgeon claims that repentance is a gift.)

“”Repentance unto life,” I say, brings with it spiritual life, or rather, is the first consequent thereof.”

(Which is it? This is straight up Calvinist style doublespeak. The statement itself really is a contradiction and Calvinism is no stranger to contradictions primarily because it is a concoction of men’s wisdom messing up what God has actually said. The only way it could be the first consequence of spiritual life is if regeneration or at least faith precedes it. This is faith as the gift or pre-regeneration error…Calvinist style…. which is not the gospel as we will see later.)

“…but the repentance here spoken of is produced by the Author of life, and when it comes, it begets such life in the soul, that he who was “dead in trespasses and sins,” is quickened together with Christ…” “…” he who slumbered in the very center of corruption, receives power to become one of the sons of God, and to be near his throne. This I think is “repentance unto life,”—that which gives life unto a dead spirit.”

(So basically Spurgeon is saying that repentance is given as a gift to make a dead person alive. Does that check with scripture? Going back to his original verse is that what it is saying? Or could it be that the verse is talking in general about how salvation is also available to gentiles? Which interpretation fits better with the rest of scripture?)

“I have said also, this repentance ensures eternal life;…”

(This is not how to look at it. Repentance is a change of mind which in itself does not ensure eternal life. What ensures eternal life is the object of our faith Jesus Christ. In order to trust Christ we have to have had a change of mind from trusting anyone or anything else. )

Spurgeon alludes to Arminianism then says “The repentance of our test is not their repentance, but it is a “repentance unto life;” a repentance which is a true sign of eternal salvation in Christ; a repentance which preserves us through this temporary state in Jesus, and which when we are passed into eternity, gives us a bliss which cannot be destroyed.”

(Wait a minute… does repentance preserve us?! No. The shed blood of Christ covers us. The Spirit seals us. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us… So what is Spurgeon talking about?)

Spurgeon then attempts to outline some false ideas of repentance from his perspective. He uses the illustration of Felix and in the midst of it he says:

“…but, let me tell you, you may be after all a castaway, because you have not repented of your sins, neither have you turned to God.”

(So here we see that Spurgeon equates repentance to turning from sins. But is this the definition of repentance?)

“How often has conviction brought you on your knees and you have “almost” repented, but you have remained there, without actually repenting.”

(Spurgeon is saying here that those that refused like Felix did were refusing to turn from their sins. Rather Felix was refusing to believe what Paul was saying. Felix’s problem was not that he didn’t want to stop sinning or that God didn’t gift him yet with repentance but that he would not believe.)

Spurgeon, based on his false repentance example of conviction, then attempts to scare his audience with this: “”Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.””

(The problem though is that adding turning from sins to the concept of receiving salvation by faith is to add to the gospel a meritorious act. If you do this and never actually trust Christ alone to save then you will suffer the very same fate Spurgeon is scaring them about.)

Spurgeon then complains about what he perceives as a non-continuing repentance. “…they renounce certain vices and follies, they clothe themselves in sack-cloth, their tears flow very freely on account of what they have done; they weep before God; and yet with all that, their repentance is but a temporary repentance, and they go back to their sins again.”

(So for Spurgeon, not only is repentance the gift of turning from sins but it MUST always continue (perseverance of the saints) or it was not really true repentance that was given. Is this the gospel? Now Spurgeon attempts to justify this position with the example of Ahab and Naboth but is the context of this story talking about how to receive eternal life!? Spurgeon is not dealing faithfully with the Word here. Spurgeon then starts talking about being afraid of hell versus being afraid of sinning. Remember this is all coming from the perspective that God gives repentance as a specific gift to certain individuals.)

“It is not the soul’s state that troubles you, but hell. If hell were extinguished, your repentance would be extinguished; if the terrors awaiting you were withdrawn, you would sin with a higher hand than before, and your soul would be hardened, and would rebel against its sovereign. Be not deceived, my brethren, here; examine yourselves whether you are in the faith; ask yourselves if you have that which is “repentance unto life;” for you may humble yourselves for a time, and yet never repent before God.”

(Spurgeon here is creating a false dichotomy. There is no real problem here since repentance is not a grace in the way he asserts. This is also because repentance for salvation is not turning from sins anyway. So it becomes a straw man argument. Also notice that he takes the verse there from 2 Corinthians out of context. That verse was talking to believers not about the state and nature of their repentance for eternal life. Paul was telling the Corinthians to quit questioning his authority and reflect on how they had obeyed his earlier rebuke of their wickedness as believers. In no way was Paul saying that their obedience proved their salvation.)

”Beyond this many advance, and yet fall short of grace.” (The interesting thing to note here is that adding anything of merit to the gospel is to create another gospel and fall short of grace. Making repentance mean “turn from sins” does this exactly.)

(Now Spurgeon goes on to further clarify what his view of repentance is. For him it is as if turning from sins is not enough. There is more.)

You may approach God, and tell him you are a wretch indeed; you may enumerate a long list of your transgressions and of the sins that you have committed, without a sense of the heniousness of your guilt, without a spark of real hatred of your deeds. You may confess and acknowledge your transgressions, and yet have no abhorrence of sin; and if you do not in the strength of God resist sin, if you do not turn from it, this fancied repentance shall be but the guilding which displays the paint which decorates; it is not the grace which transforms into gold, which will abide the fire.”

Spurgeon tries to prove this by using Judas as an example but Judas had the problem that he never believed. So therefore Judas saying, “I have sinned, in that I have betrayed innocent blood.”” is not an attempt to be saved. Nor do we confess sin to men for salvation anyway. Spurgeon says there is a “kind” of repentance that leads to life.

“Now, having thus warned you that there are many false kinds of repentance, I propose to occupy a short time by some remarks on TRUE REPENTANCE, and the signs whereby we may discern whether we have that “repentance” which is “unto life.””

(The only sign I see scripturally of biblical repentance (change of mind) is that we now trust in Christ alone for salvation. If we trust Christ alone it means we therefore have repented. That is it. We must not, as Calvinists tend to do, grab onto elements of Christian living and make them necessary components of conversion. This is what happens when you make faith or repentance the gift of God. It then has to be quantified by elements of subsequent Christian living.)

“”Repentance” is a hatred of sin; it is a turning from sin and a determination in the strength of God to forsake it.”

(Really? Or is it a change of mind?)

“Some hearts God opens to faith, as in the case of Lydia.”

(I personally believe Lydia was most likely already saved because it said she already worshipped God but remember that Calvinists like this kind of opportunity to try to weave in their understanding.)

Spurgeon tries to backpedal a bit: “You know there are degrees of faith, and yet the least faith saves; so there are degrees of repentance, and the least repentance will save the soul if it is sincere.”

(But how do you know if it is sincere… That is part of the problem because works are needed to prove it beyond Christ alone.)

“”Repentance” is a grace.”

(Really? So not only is it a grace but it is imperfect grace? Hmmm. Where is that in the Bible?)

“Some people preach it as a condition of salvation. Condition of nonsense! There are no conditions of salvation. God gives the salvation himself; and he only gives it to those to whom he will.”

(This is pure Calvinist error which is not the gospel. There actually is a condition and that is Christ righteousness. We must be as righteous as Christ to enter heaven. That is only possible if we receive salvation by faith. How was Abraham saved? Romans 4. Christ’s righteousness is imputed to those that trust Him for it based on what Christ has already accomplished.)

“You feel that you have not faith large enough. What are you to do? Ask for an increase of faith, and it will grow. So with repentance. Have you ever tried to get deep repentance? My friends, if you have failed there, still trust in Jesus, and try every day to get a penitential spirit, Do not expect, I say again, to have perfect repentance at first; sincere penitence you must have, and then under divine grace you will go on from strength to strength, until at last you shall hate and abhor sin as a serpent or a viper, and then shall you be near, very near, the perfection of repentance.”

(Why try to get a more perfect repentance if it is not going to be perfect? Also why would God need to give more repentance if he already elected you from the foundation of the world. Why would he not give you everything needed? Doesn’t make sense at all.)

Spurgeon doesn’t stop here but now adds in another condition.  “First, I tell you, there is always sorrow with it.” “He was not a sheep of God, for he had not been washed in penitence: for all God’s people have to be washed there when converted from their sins.”

(Washed in penitence huh? Where is that in the Bible?)

“The gospel promised salvation only to those who really repent.”

(Once again Spurgeon throws this out there but provides no backup of scripture whatsoever.)

Spurgeon isn’t satisfied yet so he goes on to add another element:  “There must be in this repentance, I think, not only sorrow, but there must be practice—practical repentance.”

“They may not love it for the time; but can they be sincerely penitent, and then go and transgress again immediately, in the same way as they did before? How can we believe you if you transgress again and again, and do not forsake your sin? We know a tree by its fruit, and you who are penitent will bring forth works of repentance.”

(Spurgeon shows no biblical understanding of “works meet for repentance”. We as believers are to do those things worthy of repentance but not to be saved or even to prove that we are saved. We should do them because we are saved and they are God’s will. We should serve out of love for our Savior. They are not a legalistic tests of genuineness.)

So now we have another element added. You must also hate your sin. “If so—if you can say this in sincerity—if you thus turn to God and hate your sin with an everlasting hatred, you need not fear but that you have a “repentance” which is “unto life.””

(Oh really, is that all? If I have an everlasting hatred…right. How is anyone to know if they have that exactly? So basically that is a fancy way of really saying that you can’t know.)

Spurgeon’s third point is that repentance is a gift but we already knew that. “It is the marvel of divine mercy that it not only provides the way of salvation, that it not only invites men to receive grace, but that it positively makes men willing to be saved.”

“Is it not a stupendous act of divine mercy that he actually makes them willing? He does not do it by force, but uses a sweet spiritual persuasion.”

(Spurgeon tries to use the marriage feast analogy to say that God makes men willing to turn from their sins with a sorrowful hatred and willingness to obey. It is not by force yet he makes them through persuasion… right. Or it could be that God persuades all men through the gospel and the witness of the Holy Spirit but that God has also allowed for man to decide whether he will believe or reject? Remember if choosing to believe is God’s doing then so is refusing to believe. But this is not the gospel.)

“Some of you will say, “Sir, I have been trying to repent for a long time. In pains and afflictions I have been praying and trying to believe, and doing all I can.””

(This is the ridiculous state Calvinism leaves people in. There is no trying to repent (turn from sins) or trying to believe. You just believe the gospel once it is presented to you. Quit making it about performance.)

“If you want faith, remember he gives it, if you want repentance, he gives it! if you want everlasting life, he gives it liberally.” “He can force you to feel your great sin, and cause you to repent by the sight of Calvary’s cross, and the sound of the greatest, deepest death shriek, “Eloi! Eloi! lama sabachthani?” “My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?””

(Wait, I thought he said that God wouldn’t force anyone… just persuasively teach them…)

“That will beget “repentance;” it will make you weep and say, “Alas! and did my Saviour bleed; and did my Sovereign die for me?””

(Now it is true that reflecting upon the cross of Christ can help us as believers to be convicted of our sin and failures as believers but this has nothing to do with justification or trusting Christ for salvation.)

“Then beloved, if you would have “repentance,” this is my best advice to you—look to Jesus. And may the blessed Giver of all “repentance unto salvation” guard you from the false repentances which I have described, and give you that “repentance,” which existeth unto life.”

(So after all that talking, just look to Jesus and hopefully He will give you what you need and it will be qualified and quantified eventually if it really was real. Brother. And this to Spurgeon is the good news gospel?)

In this whole thing I did not see a lot of spiritual understanding from Spurgeon. He talks with religious sounding ease but where was the truth? It sounded more like his preconceived Calvinistic notions were read back into the texts. Is it any wonder then that even moderate Calvinists, especially those that heavily revere and look to Spurgeon as an example, tend to misinterpret the idea of repentance leading to another gospel? It is time for us to stop following after guys like Spurgeon and spend a little more time looking to see exactly what the Word says itself. Do not let one man or hero’s mistake affect you or other you may minister to. You will have to give an account to God for your life as a believer. Spurgeon will have to answer for his own. Further yet, do not be deceived any longer if you have not yet trusted Christ alone as Savior.

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34 Responses to Repentance According to Spurgeon

  1. hollysgarcia says:

    Truthfully? Reading Spurgeon was painful. He is confusing at best, and God is not the author of confusion. It seems the man was all about being the ‘prince of preachers’ rather than rightly dividing God’s Word of truth. I don’t know how someone doesn’t get cross-eyed reading his stuff. I did for years, trying to reconcile with Scripture what he was saying, I cannot tell you either. It was a mish-mosh of contradictions, and Scripture does not work that way.

    He did not add clarity to Scripture but muddied God’s Word. Makes me wonder how his poor congregation lived day to day, or if many of them gave up, wrung their hands and said, “I must not have been gifted with repentance” because I don’t do all those things. Sad…

    Good article Jim in exposing the many errors of Spurgeon.

  2. jimfloyd12 says:

    Thanks Holly. I am also trying to get people to see that those that are big fans of Spurgeon have reason to reconsider. It also shows people how Calvinistic ideas mess up the gospel.

  3. johninnc says:

    The prince of this world must delight in the fact that Spurgeon is called “The Prince of Preachers”!

  4. jimfloyd12 says:

    Prince of deceivers is more like it. Satan know to get the most religious sounding, popular, good sounding guys of the day to spread his lies through half truths and wisdom of men.

  5. mary says:

    Thanks Jim,
    Will pass on to others, thanks for all your effort.

  6. jimfloyd12 says:

    Thanks Mary, hopefully the various Spurgeon quotes are not to hard for people to stomach. I hope though that if some realize how distasteful that there that they also see why it is a big deal for others to share in teaching Spurgeon’s type of error. Let’s quit lifting this guy up as a hero.

  7. sam says:

    Spurgeon had a huge impact on the church today as they are still teaching this same confusing Gospel.Its really amazing that anyone can grind through all the contradictions and have any peace that they have eternal life.If you give out a clear Gospel to anyone in a denominational church they wont except it and the false gospels keep on being spread from one generation to the next.

  8. jimfloyd12 says:

    That is very true Sam. The devil has planted the lie very deeply even into our churches. Men tend to look to men for answers rather than search the scriptures diligently to see which things are so.

  9. mary says:

    I know as i was saying to someone today, the biggest tragedy of the day is people dying under false gospels, i cannot bear it, it compels me to probe people to see if they are under one.

    I pray god will lead us all to open hearts to release some of these people from their deadly gospel. Satan has unfortunately masterfully succeeded to a great degree.

  10. Ken. Groenewald says:

    This is the man that has Pastors singing his accelaids, sometimes even quoting him more than the Bible. His “good news” has absolutely no saving power. It is not the same Gospel that Paul preached, but “another gospel” that Paul warned us about. Gal 1:6-9.

  11. Alice says:

    Thank you Jim for an excellent expose’ on Spurgeon, I can’t believe I accepted his teachings as Biblical all those years…! How gullible was I? Someone gave me Spurgeon’s book: Morning and Evening Devotionals as a gift years ago but now I have to put it in the trash…! He caused so much confusion and preached a gospel which doesn’t save lost sinners unlike Rom 1: 16.
    Your critique of Spurgeon’s writings opened my eyes to the fact that I was simply following the herd without really checking against the Scriptures being a Berean.

  12. jimfloyd12 says:

    Alice, you were probably not any more gullible than I was during my college days. Ironically enough I was in a society in Bible college named after Spurgeon. (We were required to join one for some reason.) I had not read much of his but it was the norm not to question why Spurgeon and others should be looked up to. I meant during those days to study him further and his teachings but I am glad I never got to it. It is by God’s grace and the witness of His Spirit through the Word that I did not come out of there as at least a moderate turn from your sins Calvinist.

  13. mary says:

    I thought I was being a berean all those years and I was lost under a false garbled gospel, it really churns my stomach, now everything is clear and clear to me how many will end up in hell under the false gospel they have all accepted, you can’t tell the religious person that they are in error and are under a false gospel, satan has successfully blinded the masses.

    Sad and perilous times we are living, I long for the day I do not have to carry this heavy heart anymore.

  14. JohnBrian says:

    The Acts 11:18 Spurgeon sermon which Floyd critiques can be found here:
    http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols1-3/chs44.pdf

    “The only way it could be the first consequence of spiritual life is if regeneration or at least faith precedes it. This is faith as the gift or pre-regeneration error…Calvinist style…. which is not the gospel as we will see later.”

    I agree with Spurgeon that regeneration, which includes the gifts of repentance and faith precedes the actuation of those gifts. Since Romans 8:7-8 informs us that in his unregenerate state, man at enmity with God, cannot please God, it is necessary for God to give him everything with regard to salvation. Not only is salvation the gift, but all that pertains and leads to salvation is gifted to man by God.

    A perfect example of regeneration being the initial act of life is in the resurrection of Lazarus. Jesus waited until he was dead and decaying before he came to the tomb and commanded him to come forth. It was that command that brought the life that enabled Lazarus to obey the command, which he did. Dead men don’t mind being in graves because they’re dead. But those who have been made alive while in their graves, do mind, and exit the grave with haste.

    “So here we see that Spurgeon equates repentance to turning from sins.”

    Yes he does! True repentance leads to salvation and is evidenced by the change in life in accordance with 2 Corinthians 5:17. The individual who does not give evidence of a change from the old to the new is not “in Christ.”

    “The problem though is that adding turning from sins to the concept of receiving salvation by faith is to add to the gospel a meritorious act.”

    “The interesting thing to note here is that adding anything of merit to the gospel is to create another gospel and fall short of grace. Making repentance mean “turn from sins” does this exactly.”

    Absolutely not, since repentance is a gift from God! Here we see Floyd’s problem – he is attempting to mix the anti-Calvinist with the Calvinist view. Since Calvinism affirms that faith and repentance are gifts, there is nothing “meritorious” about them. One cannot affirm the Calvinist view, and at the same time insist that faith and repentance are meritorious as those are mutually exclusive notions.

    Floyd continues this theme:

    “We must not, as Calvinists tend to do, grab onto elements of Christian living and make them necessary components of conversion. This is what happens when you make faith or repentance the gift of God. It then has to be quantified by elements of subsequent Christian living.”

    The problem here is that if repentance is sourced in the heart of man, it has to be diminished to solely mean “a change of heart” with no action attached to it, otherwise it becomes meritorious and we all agree that a work cannot provide salvation. Faith also is a gift from God, and that is why it also is not a work. Neither faith nor repentance finds it’s source in the heart of the unregenerate.

  15. johninnc says:

    JohnBrian, you said: “True repentance leads to salvation and is evidenced by the change in life in accordance with 2 Corinthians 5:17. The individual who does not give evidence of a change from the old to the new is not ‘in Christ.'”

    My comment: How much evidence? To whom? For how long?

    The only evidence of salvation is whom one is trusting to get him to heaven.

    2 Corinthians 5:17 means that whoever has received eternal life through faith in Christ has been regenerated, resulting in the creation of a new man who is a sinless, incorruptible child of God.

    This new man is a result of the second birth, a spiritual birth, which all who possess eternal life have undergone. The flesh nature, which is neither good, nor righteous, does not go away when we are born again. That results in a conflict between the flesh and the spirit, which will continue until we die, or are raptured. We are instructed to walk in the newness of life (Romans 6:4), to put on the new man (Ephesians 4:24), and to walk in the spirit (Galatians 5:16 and 25) so that we can manifest the fruits of the spirit (which are good things) and not the works of the flesh (which are evil).

  16. ALICE says:

    JohnBrian said: “Neither faith nor repentance finds it’s source in the heart of the unregenerate”.
    My question/s to him:
    1.Why would Jesus continually tell people to ‘believe’ in Him in the Gospel of John, (John 3:16, 6:47) if in fact an unregenerate person can’t believe in Jesus UNTIL they are first ‘regenerated’ by the Holy Spirit? Why didn’t Jesus tell the Jews in plain and simple language that they couldn’t possibly believe in Him UNTIL AND UNLESS the Holy Spirit regenerated them FIRST and then be given the ‘gifts’ of faith and repentance?
    2. Why would Jesus ‘tease’ the people by telling them that He will give Eternal Life to EVERYONE who believes in Him if in fact, He will be the One Who has to give them the ‘gift’ of faith to believe, and that this gift will ONLY be given to certain chosen few ELECT?

  17. JohnBrian says:

    “Why would Jesus continually tell people to ‘believe’ in Him in the Gospel of John, (John 3:16, 6:47) if in fact an unregenerate person can’t believe in Jesus UNTIL they are first ‘regenerated’ by the Holy Spirit?”

    You assume, without Scriptural backing, that God may only command man to do what in his unregenerate state he has the ability to do. We affirm with Romans 8:7-8 that man will not and cannot submit to God’s authority, so God must grant that ability to him. God does that by replacing his stony heart with a fleshly heart, which is why Calvinists’s affirm that regeneration precedes belief. Regeneration is the initial act of salvation and it is God’s act. He grants repentance and faith which actuate in belief.

    “Why didn’t Jesus tell the Jews in plain and simple language that they couldn’t possibly believe in Him UNTIL AND UNLESS the Holy Spirit regenerated them FIRST and then be given the ‘gifts’ of faith and repentance?”

    While Jesus didn’t use your words in that exact order, he did teach that the unregenerate were unable to believe.

    In John 8:47 Jesus speaking to the Pharisees said:

    “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

    Notice the order here – they do not hear because they are not of God. Only those who are “of God” are able to hear.

    In John 10:25-27 Jesus says something similar to a group of Jews:

    “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

    Notice the reasoning – those who do not believe are not the sheep, while the sheep hear and follow. The order of Jesus words confirm that none become sheep by following, but rather follow because they are sheep.

    “Why would Jesus ‘tease’ the people by telling them that He will give Eternal Life to EVERYONE who believes in Him if in fact, He will be the One Who has to give them the ‘gift’ of faith to believe, and that this gift will ONLY be given to certain chosen few ELECT?”

    God gives eternal life to all who believe (John 3:16), so there is no “tease.” He also commands believers to proclaim the Gospel to the world, because that is the means by which any man is saved (Romans 10:14-17). God commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30) but man is unwilling and unable to obey that command. God must therefore make the first move for man to be able, and he does that by bringing the dead to life.

    Notice in John 1:12-13 that it is not anything in man that causes the new birth, but rather it is solely God.

    “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

    All the regenerate of all the tribes, people, nations, and tongues (Rev. 7:9) are regenerate because God extended mercy and grace to haters of Himself, not because they made a “right” decision.

  18. JohnBrian says:

    johninnc wrote:

    “My comment: How much evidence? To whom? For how long?

    The only evidence of salvation is whom one is trusting to get him to heaven.”

    While I am in agreement with everything you have written beyond the above statements, I believe your initial question is invalid. No human can see another human’s heart to see that they are or are not trusting in God solely. What we can see is the evidence of their life. If there is no change in the manner of their life, then according to 2 Cor. 5:17, they are not “in” Christ, no matter how loudly they profess they are.

    How much evidence and to whom, and for how long is an invalid question. King David didn’t give evidence of faith when he committed adultery and then murder to cover up the adultery. But that wasn’t all there was to the story – he wrote Psalm 51 after Nathan called him out for his sin. While believers do sin, they don’t spend a lifetime wallowing in the sin, but rather repent and turn back to God.

    There is a gentleman in my hometown who was in my youth group 40+ years ago. He professed faith and my dad baptized him. But for the last 40 years his lifestyle gives no evidence of being “in Christ.” Our churches are full of folks who are “professors” but not “possessors” of Christ. I believe the coming persecution against the church because of the court’s decision this past week, will serve to purify the true church of those who are solely “professors.”

  19. johninnc says:

    Alice, all of the convoluted Calvinist philosophies, mysteries, tensions, paradoxes and so on are of their own making.

    2 Corinthians 11:3: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

    According to JohnBrian, “faith also is a gift from God, and that is why it also is not a work.”

    God does not view faith as a work. It is not because he gives us the faith, but because he has declared that faith is not a work.

    Romans 4:5: “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

    Romans 4:16: “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,”

    Rather than simply taking God at his word, the Calvinist has to “rationalize” why faith is not a work. At the heart of this rationalization, though, is the insistence on bringing works back into the salvation equation.

    Following are some excerpts from a draft of Ron Shea’s upcoming book that help to clarify the difference between the convoluted, man-made concept of “infused grace” and the Biblical view of “grace”.

    “In the Bible, grace is God’s disposition to bestow eternal life freely on whosoever trusts in Jesus, apart from their obedience to God’s laws or self-generated righteousness.

    Following Augustine, however,
    1. Grace became an Aristotelean substance that God infused into a sinner to empower him to live rightly.
    2. Justification was the process of transformation brought about by this wonderful substance.

    A good example of this theology is modern Calvinism. The infusion of “irresistible grace” must work a transformation in your life. If the transformation of your life does not reach a certain point, “you were never really saved.” This is twelfth century Catholicism. It is justification by works!”

    JohnBrian said: “True repentance leads to salvation and is evidenced by the change in life in accordance with 2 Corinthians 5:17. The individual who does not give evidence of a change from the old to the new is not ‘in Christ.’”

    My comment: we see, from JohnBrian’s comments, that error begets error. God gives repentance and faith, therefore they are not a work. But, then if life changes do not begin to show up, salvation never really happened. So, in the end, no works, no salvation.

  20. johninnc says:

    JohnBrian, you said: “There is a gentleman in my hometown who was in my youth group 40+ years ago. He professed faith and my dad baptized him. But for the last 40 years his lifestyle gives no evidence of being “in Christ.” Our churches are full of folks who are “professors” but not “possessors” of Christ.”

    My comment: This sounds an awful lot like fruit inspection. Without having heard the testimony of the gentleman to whom you refer, I could not offer any insight into his beliefs.

    Your testimony, based on your above comments, seems to be that works are ultimately required to prove that someone is saved.

    I simply go with what the Bible says. One cannot trust in both grace and works.

    Romans 11:6: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”

    JohnBrian, do you think that, starting today, if your life doesn’t show any evidence of being “in Christ” for the rest of your life that you will go to heaven?

    I welcome you to read the article linked below:

    http://expreacherman.com/stemming-fruit-inspection/

  21. jimfloyd12 says:

    Hi John Brian,

    I think I can help point a few things out for you to think about.

    You said: “I agree with Spurgeon that regeneration, which includes the gifts of repentance and faith precedes the actuation of those gifts. Since Romans 8:7-8 informs us that in his unregenerate state, man at enmity with God, cannot please God, it is necessary for God to give him everything with regard to salvation. Not only is salvation the gift, but all that pertains and leads to salvation is gifted to man by God.
    A perfect example of regeneration being the initial act of life is in the resurrection of Lazarus. Jesus waited until he was dead and decaying before he came to the tomb and commanded him to come forth. It was that command that brought the life that enabled Lazarus to obey the command, which he did. Dead men don’t mind being in graves because they’re dead. But those who have been made alive while in their graves, do mind, and exit the grave with haste.”

    Remember that repentance and faith are not specific gifts given. All men have the capability to change their mind or believe something. The only exceptions are babies and some with certain mental handicaps. Nowhere does the Bible say that they are gifts in the sense you are using them. There is a verse that confirms that repentance is granted to gentiles. But that is just an acknowledgment that salvation is also available to them not just Jews. Faith could also be given as a spiritual gift but that is different from the faith with which a person receives the gospel.

    Lazarus is not a good example because He was physically dead not spiritually dead. Do not make that mistake that many or the more extreme reformed Calvinists make in thinking that the two can be equated. So the logic goes that since God declared for Lazarus to come forth physically from the dead that He goes around secretly doing this for us spiritually thereby making us do so. Rather, the correct way to see it is that the gospel message goes forth and the person either believes or rejects it.

    Exiting the grave with haste?? I do not believe that is even an applicable principle. Lazarus’ physical resurrection showed Christ’s power as God. It was a miracle and a rather unique one at that.

    In regards to Spurgeon equating repentance with sins you said,

    “Yes he does! True repentance leads to salvation and is evidenced by the change in life in accordance with 2 Corinthians 5:17. The individual who does not give evidence of a change from the old to the new is not “in Christ.””

    My Comment – There is passage that says this. Not one. But there are places where it says if you did not believe then you are still condemned. You have to see 2 Cor 5:17 in its immediate context.

    2Co 5:14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
    2Co 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
    2Co 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
    2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
    2Co 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
    2Co 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
    2Co 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
    2Co 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.

    We see that Christ died for all because all were dead. Now we which are alive should not live for ourselves but should live for Him who died and rose again for us. The word “should” is not the same as “will”. Compare with Eph 2:10. Believers here are being instructed as to how they should live. Verse 17 like John said is speaking about our new man that was created through regeneration and the reconciliation that then takes place. Why? Because our sins are not any longer imputed to us. We instead have Christ’s righteousness. See verse 21.

    Now onto your other comment…

    Jim F

  22. jimfloyd12 says:

    John Brian, you said to Alice,

    “You assume, without Scriptural backing, that God may only command man to do what in his unregenerate state he has the ability to do. We affirm with Romans 8:7-8 that man will not and cannot submit to God’s authority, so God must grant that ability to him. God does that by replacing his stony heart with a fleshly heart, which is why Calvinists’s affirm that regeneration precedes belief. Regeneration is the initial act of salvation and it is God’s act. He grants repentance and faith which actuate in belief.”

    There is actually scriptural backing for God to be understood as genuine. He is not saying one thing all the while doing or meaning another. He is no respecter of persons, He has no variableness or shadow of turning, He is truth, He is love.etc.. all these principles help us understand that if He tells someone to believe the gospel then He is being true about that meaning it is possible. There is only one example I can think of where He told someone to do something impossible (the rich young ruler) but He was doing so in order to help Him understand his lostness and that there was nothing he could do in order to inherit eternal life. It was a way to show Him his need of a Savior. Consider Nicodemus. Jesus told him how to be saved through faith. No turning from sins was mentioned. Same for the woman at the well. He told her of the living water. Her sinful lifestyle was something to be dealt with then as a believer not as an unbeliever.

    The carnal mind is indeed unable to come to God on its own left to itself. How it is not left to itself should the gospel of Christ be presented. Regeneration is salvation. There is not need to be saved in order to be saved. That is utter nonsense because if you are regenerated then you are already saved.

  23. jimfloyd12 says:

    John Brian, please bear with me as there is a lot to respond to. You said to me regarding Spurgeon’s repentance error,

    “Absolutely not, since repentance is a gift from God! Here we see Floyd’s problem – he is attempting to mix the anti-Calvinist with the Calvinist view. Since Calvinism affirms that faith and repentance are gifts, there is nothing “meritorious” about them. One cannot affirm the Calvinist view, and at the same time insist that faith and repentance are meritorious as those are mutually exclusive notions.”

    Ok, my name is Jim or Jim F. Not Floyd…

    Anyway, no I actually hold none of the Calvinist view so I am not mixing anything with it… Yes I know Calvinism affirms that repentance and faith are gifts in that sense. They tend to not understand Eph 2:8-9 properly. They make those verses to refer to all of the salvation “process” not just the free gift itself. They do this by twisting the greek to suit their needs. There have been many that have hashed this out already so I am not going to rehash it here. You can find the articles online pro and con.
    The problem with the Calvinist view then is if I am correct Biblically then yes the Calvinist view is indeed works because they (repentance and faith) are not gifts and therefore are something men must do. Remember their definition of faith is not just believing but doing. Same for repentance. The reformed tend to describe it as a change in doing something not just believing.

    You went on to quote me saying,

    “We must not, as Calvinists tend to do, grab onto elements of Christian living and make them necessary components of conversion. This is what happens when you make faith or repentance the gift of God. It then has to be quantified by elements of subsequent Christian living.”

    And then you said,

    “The problem here is that if repentance is sourced in the heart of man, it has to be diminished to solely mean “a change of heart” with no action attached to it, otherwise it becomes meritorious and we all agree that a work cannot provide salvation. Faith also is a gift from God, and that is why it also is not a work. Neither faith nor repentance finds it’s source in the heart of the unregenerate.”

    That is exactly what repentance means… change of heart/change of mind. It is synonymous with faith and can be used and is used in the Bible that way. Not that they are exactly the same but that they are both intertwined and necessary for the other. Changing your mind based on new information (the gospel) to trust Christ alone (the result). If you believe trusting Christ alone as the result the it can be said that you have changed your mind to what you previously believed. That is repentance/faith. IT is the only condition and only non-meritorious way for lost men to receive the free gift of salvation and have it still be consistent with grace and have the gospel still be genuine good news.

    Please also see my post on Is your Gospel Good News.

    Faith is in the mind which is synonymous with heart. Unsaved people believe things all the time. It then is no stretch for them to believe the gospel which itself is indeed the power of God unto salvation. Rom 1:16

    Jim F

  24. ALICE says:

    Jim and Johninnc,
    Thank you for your comments above, I learn a lot from your responses regarding how to refute ‘Calvinism’ Biblically with Scripture references. I have to say however that engaging a Calvinist in a discussion can be exhausting and frustrating. It baffles my mind as why they can NOT see what is so obvious in the Bible, so simple, so plain, so easy to understand that even a child can get it if explained clearly. Why is that they turn something so simple in to a complicated, convoluted philosophy? It is almost like Isaiah: 5:20 in which a Calvinist turns everything upside down calling good ‘evil’, light ‘darkness’ and bitter ‘sweet’ and visa versa. I have heard Dave Hunt debate James White a few years ago and it was just gut-wrenching to listen to James White, I couldn’t bear it..!
    It is like they don’t want to hear the simple truth that Jesus, God in human flesh died for the sins of the whole world, rose from the dead and offers eternal life to everyone who trusts in Him for salvation as a gift of grace apart from works. There….so simple, why does the Calvinist make it so difficult???

  25. JohnBrian says:

    johninnc said:

    “Your testimony, based on your above comments, seems to be that works are ultimately required to prove that someone is saved.

    I simply go with what the Bible says. One cannot trust in both grace and works.”

    Sorry that it seems that way to you but I simply go with what the Bible says in 2 Cor. 5:17 – if you are “in Christ” you are a new creature. If there is no evidence of new creature-liness that individual should not think that his repeating a prayer after someone, will stand him in good stead at the judgement. Works necessarily follow salvation.

  26. JohnBrian says:

    Alice wrote:

    ” It baffles my mind as why they can NOT see what is so obvious in the Bible, so simple, so plain, so easy to understand that even a child can get it if explained clearly.”

    It baffles our mind too when synergists cannot see what is so obvious in the Bible, that everything with regard to salvation, is gifted to us by God, therefore is NOT a work, subsequently we have nothing in which to boast.

  27. johninnc says:

    Alice, Calvinism seems to appeal to the “deep thinkers.”

    I ordinarily will try to correct someone once, or maybe twice. But, if they are insistent on promoting their false doctrine, I move on.

    I think you might have seen the comment from expreacherman linked below, but if not, here it is again:

    http://expreacherman.com/2013/03/15/lordship-salvation-for-kids-crazy-love-lite-a-review-of-francis-chans-childrens-book-halfway-herbert/#comment-41286

  28. ALICE says:

    If ‘faith’ and ‘repentance’ are gifts given to the Elect by God, I would expect them to be perfect in faith and repentance ( if they mean: turning from sin) but in reality I do NOT see the Calvinists living in perfect faith and obedience (keeping commandments of God) at ALL times until the end of their physical lives.

  29. jimfloyd12 says:

    We are not synergists for one thing. Faith is not a work anyway even if we have it ourselves. Johninnc has already shared some of the verses with you and you ignore the plain truth of them. Calvinism and the Catholicism from which it came are philosophies of men that is why everything is so convoluted.

  30. jimfloyd12 says:

    Alice,

    Yes John is right. You can present a hardened Calvinist some simple truths to ponder but really as with anyone need to let the Holy Spirit do the contending.

    Satan appeals to human pride and intellect. He often dangles the carrot of deeper thinking and unlocking hidden truths but it is all a shame. Look how things turned with that trick in the garden of Eden.

  31. jimfloyd12 says:

    Exactly Alice. And what though did many Christians in Bible times live like. Think of the Corinthian believers alone. What kind of gross sins did they commit as believers. Or what about those in James that we saved but had dead faith? Or those that were double index or those that were at war with each other? We see believers in Galatians that were drawn back to law keeping. Believers in Heb that were not obedient in faith just like the children of Israel in the wilderness even putting God to an open shame. This all happens because we still have two natures so to speak… The old man and the new man. But as we see in I John 1 we do as believers have sin and if we deny it we are lying.

  32. Reblogged this on In Defense of the Cross and commented:
    This is just what I was looking for.

  33. Jason says:

    The problem with reading spurgeon is that he is confused. A lot of people put stock in spurgeon and his readings. To listen to him he must have attained sinless perfection. Now I appreciate anyone including him uplifting God and preaching against sin. Paul said if any man or angel, ANYONE, preaches another gospel let him be anathema. I hate to say even spurgeon is in error. My salvation experience was not one two three repeat after me. I got under conviction of sin. Terrified of hell I sought the lord for salvation. For a solid year I walked forward every service, once crawling down the aisle on my knees. Begging God to save me. Until one Wednesday night I saw the light. I didn’t say a prayer, didn’t have time. I trusted from my heart Jesus crucified and risen. He was my only hope. And always will be. God help you today to see him as your savior. Ditch these preachers and get you a King James Bible. Prayerfully ask God to show you the way of salvation. Never be satisfied with an unheartfelt experience. Saying a prayer with no change of lifestyle is worthless as gasoline in hell. Easy believeism and quick prayerism doesn’t save. It’s the blood or hell. Simple faith will save.

  34. Jason says:

    The biggest problem I find with calvanists is no real peace and assurance. They keep “repenting ” and afflicting their souls. Always trying to be even more sorrowful out of a unregenerate heart. Ever learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. It takes God to save a sinner, not Doing some work and following preachers. People listen to me, this is the best advice you will hear. If you want wisdom don’t seek it from other writings than scripture. Ask god for wisdom who will give it liberally and upbraideth not. Read the scripture for your self and ask the spirit to interpret it for you. Scripture is the best commentary on scripture. I do listen to some preachers on YouTube, but let me tell you they are few. One man who has the most sense is Charles Lawson out of Knoxville tn.i only listen to him because he is sincerely humble and will tell you the same thing as me. That his opinion doesn’t matter. It’s what God says that matters. And he preaches from the King James Version. But don’t let that replace your own bible reading. READ IT FOR YOURSELF. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. I promise you that if you are saved you will have more assurance and peace from simply taking God at his word instead of listening to different ministers. Different ministers tell you different things. And genuine sorrow for sin is evidence of conversion. But there is no desire to turn from sin in unregenerate man. Man is undone, ruined, and lost. He must be regenerated. And I promise you if you are regenerated you will sorrow over your sin. A man who can sin and get by with it is a bastard and not a son. That’s still bible. None of this sinless repentance and sinless perfection is in the Bible anywhere. It just simply says godly sorrow works repentance unto salvation. When you see yourself lost undone and ruined and feel condemned to hell and see that god is just if you do go there, you have no choice but to say yes lord I am. Who cannot feel sorrow in the heart knowing his sin separates him. But no matter how heartfelt your repentance is or whatever degree it is , if it leads you to Calvary then it’s real. You’re not saved by repentance you’re saved by faith. Ephesians 2 doesn’t say by grace are ye saved through repentance. It says faith. Get the horse before the cart.

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